Staff and Board

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801awad5Mubarak Awad is the Founder of the National Youth Advocate Program in different locations in United States, which provides alternative foster care and counseling to at-risk youth and their families.  He is also the Founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, Palestine, and was deported by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1988 after being jailed for organizing activities involving nonviolent civil disobedience.

Mr. Awad has since formed Nonviolence International that has branches in different parts of the world, promoting peace education and nonviolent action in dealing with political and social issues, which works with various movements and organizations across the globe. He has also been an adjunct professor at the American University in Washington, DC USA since 1989 at the School of International Studies focusing on promoting dialogue and transforming post-conflict societies teaching graduate courses on Methods and Theory of Nonviolence.

Mr. Awad was born in Jerusalem, Palestine and currently resides in Gaithersburg MD, USA. He is married to Nancy Nye, has two children and one grandchild.

Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International. A well know international human rights attorney, Kuttab has is well known speaker on nonviolence. He is also a co-founder of the human rights group, Al-Haq and president of the Board of the Bethlehem Bible College.

Michael Beer has been the Executive Director of Nonviolence International since 1998. Michael is a global activist for human rights, minority rights and against war and casino capitalism.  He has trained activists in many countries, including Burma, Kosovo, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, USA and Zimbabwe.  He is a frequent public speaker on nonviolence and has been broadcast on CSPAN, CNN,  and other major media. Michael is the co-parent of two children along with his life partner, Latanja.


Dr. Asna Husin, Asna Husin teaches Philosophy of Education and Islamic Civilization at the Ar-Raniry State Islamic University Darussalam in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She currently serves a senior researcher at Nonviolent International in Washington D.C. working on Cultural Resources for Islamic Peace Building. Asna gained a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University (1992) and her Doctorate in
Religious Studies from Columbia University (1998). Dr. Husin was an Associate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University (1998), while teaching Islamic Civilization as an Adjunct Professor at State University of New York, Old Westbury. Dr. Husin then worked as the ‘Director of Women’s Program’ for the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP 1998–2000), during which she organized the World Women Assembly in 1998 in Amman (Jordan) attended by religious organizations from 33 countries. Upon returning to Banda Aceh in 2000, she established the Peace Education Program (PPD) as an independent affiliate of the Washington-based NGO Nonviolence International (NI), while resuming her teaching tasks at Ar-Raniry. With PPD she trained over 70,000 students and Acehnese teachers in peace education and conflict management over the course of twelve years and worked closely with the Ulama leaders of Aceh. Dr. Husin participates in academic conferences worldwide on Islamic peace, human rights and gender equity, Ulama institutions, and civilisational

Andres Thomas Conteris serves as Director of Latin America Programs. He founded and supports the Spanish Headline News for Democracy Now. For decades, he has worked to end US damaging policies in Latin America, and went on a famous 40-day hunger strike in front of the White House to end the US military occupation of Vieques, Puerto Rico. He is based in Marin County, California.

David Kirshbaum directs the Palestine Media Project and our New York office. David’s professional training is as a psychotherapist for the severely and chronically mentally ill and the elderly. He also studied Yoga with the SYDA Foundation with the hopes of combining Yoga with psychological treatment to increase patients’ quality of life on a number of levels. He received his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and practiced for about 8 years in both California and Georgia.

A longtime activist, David has previously been involved with environmental issues, culminating in the organizing of Watershed Alliances in the area of Atlanta, Georgia, and the start of a museum of environmental sciences on the campus of Georgia Perimeter College. In 2001, he got involved in human rights work focused primarily on the struggle in Palestine.


Jahandad Memarian
 is a senior research fellow at Nonviolence International is a master’s holder in Western Philosophy graduating from the University of Tehran. He also worked as a journalist for several Iranian newspapers.

Jahandad won a full scholarship from the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology to pursue his PhD in epistemology at  the University of Munich, Maximilian. However, he preferred to take the FLTA scholarship from Institute of International Education and spent the 2010-2011 academic year at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Fulbright scholar. Moreover, he has experience working as a researcher in the Iranian Parliament Research Center.

photo_33053Paul Magno is the finance director at Nonviolence International. A long-time activist, Paul has been involved with the Catholic Worker movement since 1981, as well as many other nonprofit organizations on the local, national, and international level. He is the father of two grown daughters.



Betty Sitka has worked for decades in organizations promoting peace education and nonviolence. She served as the Director of the Center for Global Peace at American University for many years.  After having served as NI’s Vice President for Financial Affairs, she has returned as a Senior Research Fellow focused on peace education curriculum and our programs promoting a celebratory approaches to social divisions rather than simply tolerance. She now serves on the Board of Directors.

Maurizio Geri serves as a senior research fellow in Peace and Security.  He holds a PhD in International Studies/Conflict and Cooperation from Old Dominion University. He is an analyst on international security, conflict management and democratic issues in the regions of Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Originally from Italy, where he got his BA in Political Science and MA in Cultural Studies, he has professional experience in peacekeeping and human rights in Latin America and South Asia working with different INGOs. His first book “Ethnic Minorities in Democratizing Muslim Countries. Turkey and Indonesia” is a forthcoming publication with Palgrave Macmillan. He writes policy articles also for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and collaborates with Wikistrat. He has a blog on international affairs, particularly on democracy and security issues ( 


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