Mubarak Awad is the founder of the National Youth Advocate Program in the 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, 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, an organization aimed at promoting peace education and nonviolent action in dealing with political and social issues. NI has multiple branches in the United States and overseas and has worked with various movements and organizations across the globe. Mr. Awad has also been an adjunct professor at the American University in Washington, DC since 1989 at the School of International Studies. He focuses on promoting peace dialogue and transforming post-conflict societies, as well as teaching graduate courses on the methods and theory of nonviolence.
Mr. Awad was born in Jerusalem and currently resides in Gaithersburg, MD. He is married to Nancy Nye, has two children, and one grandchild.
Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International. A well-known international human rights attorney, Mr. Kuttab has established himself as a prominent speaker on nonviolence. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and is 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 argues against war and casino capitalism. He has trained activists in many countries, including Myanmar, Kosovo, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Zimbabwe, and the United States. He is a frequent public speaker on nonviolence and has been broadcast on CSPAN, CNN, and other major media outlets. Michael is the co-parent of two children with his life partner, Latanja.
Dr. Asna Husin teaches Philosophy of Education and Islamic Civilization at the Ar-Raniry State Islamic University in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She currently serves as a senior researcher at Nonviolence International in Washington, D.C. working on cultural resources for Islamic peace building. Dr. Husin obtained a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 1992 and her Doctorate in
Religious Studies from Columbia University in 1998. Dr. Husin was also 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 Programs for the World Conference on Religion and Peace from 1998 to 2000, during which she organized the 1998 World Women Assembly in Amman, Jordan, which was attended by religious organizations from 33 countries. Upon returning to Banda Aceh in 2000, she established the Peace Education Program as an independent affiliate of the Washington-based NGO Nonviolence International while also resuming her teaching tasks at Ar-Raniry. With the Peace Education Program, Dr. Husin 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 regularly participates in academic conferences worldwide on Islamic peace, human rights and gender equity, Ulama institutions, and civilizational heritage.
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 the United States’ damaging policies in Latin America. Famously, Mr. Conteris went on a 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 the Nonviolence International 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. 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. He was a key player in the creation of the Watershed Alliances in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and the opening of a museum of environmental sciences on the campus of Georgia Perimeter College. In 2001, David became involved in human rights work focused primarily on the struggle in Palestine.
Jahandad Memarian is a senior research fellow at Nonviolence International and is a Master’s recipient in Western Philosophy 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. He decided, however, to accept an FLTA scholarship from the Institute of International Education and spent the 2010-2011 academic year at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Fulbright scholar. Jahandad also has experience working as a researcher in the Iranian Parliament Research Center.
Paul 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 focusing on peace education curriculum and programs promoting a celebratory approach to social divisions. Additionally, Ms. Sitka now serves on the Board of Directors.
Maurizio Geri serves as a senior research fellow in Peace and Security at Nonviolence International and holds a PhD in International Studies/Conflict and Cooperation from Old Dominion University. Mr. Geri is an analyst on international security, conflict management and democratic issues in the regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Originally from Italy, where he got his BA in Political Science and MA in Cultural Studies, Mr. Geri has professional experience with multiple INGOs in peacekeeping and human rights in Latin America and South Asia. His first book “Ethnic Minorities in Democratizing Muslim Countries: Turkey and Indonesia” is a forthcoming publication from Palgrave Macmillan. He also writes policy articles for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, collaborates with Wikistrat, and has a blog on international affairs, focusing on democracy and security issues: www.democraticgeography.net.
Eliza Fetter is a research fellow at the Washington, D.C. branch of Nonviolence International. Eliza graduated magna cum laude from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a concentration in Criminal Justice. She also completed a minor in music, focusing on ethnomusicology and the effect of cultural diplomacy on the state of international relations.
Throughout her education, Eliza has led and participated in volunteer organizations focusing on women’s rights and the treatment of those with special needs. She has lived and studied in six different countries and hopes to continue her career in an international setting.