If you’re a Palestinian and you want to find reasons to be sad, it’s not difficult,” says Zahr. “I believe that no matter who we are, and no matter what sort of situation you’re in, there are at least 5 to 10 funny things that happen to you every day. Or if you’re a Palestinian, it’s more like 50 or 100 things. We live in a surreal universe, and we see a lot of weird stuff.”
Ahmad Abuznaid, co-founder and Legal and Policy Director of Dream Defenders, is empowering the next generation of Palestinian-American youth organizers to mobilize alongside other communities of color. Founded after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and headquartered in Florida, Dream Defenders is a non-profit organization that provides trainings for youth (primarily ages 13-35) around Palestine, campaign strategy, power mapping, mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, and more.
By day, award-winning author and Palestinian American Susan Abulhawa is a science writer for medical journals. Her real passion, however, is literature. After spending four years writing "early mornings, at night, on the weekends, any spare time I could find," her debut novel Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury Press, 2010) was born.
Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) founder Nasser Abufarha is bringing Palestinian olive oil and other traditional delicacies to mainstream American and European markets, while also improving economic conditions for farmers in the West Bank. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, Abufarha learned about fair trade practices being used in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.
Professor Lila Abu-Lughod's most recent work is the seminal book: Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory. Edited with Ahmad H. Sa'di, it focuses on Palestinian memory and the experience of expulsion. It was published by Columbia University Press in April 2007. "Although all my own anthropological fieldwork over the last 30 years has been in Egypt, my chapter in the book is about my father's return to Palestine after 40 years," she says.
Ali Abunimah likes to solve problems. Concerned about accurate reporting on Palestine, Abunimah co-founded Electronic Intifada in 2001, a popular website devoted to fair coverage of the region. He has also become a frequent media commentator.
Lama Abu-Odeh is an accomplished scholar and professor at Georgetown University Law Center as well as at the university's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Before joining the Georgetown faculty in 1999, she taught at Stanford Law School. Abu-Odeh has written extensively on Islamic Law, including "The Politics of (Mis)Recognition: Islamic Law Pedagogy in American Academia," published in the American Journal of Comparative Law.
Businessman Bulus (Paul) Ajlouny is a US Navy veteran and former publisher of Jerusalem's renowned daily newspaper, Al-Fajr. Born in Ramallah, Palestine in 1933, Ajlouny is the former Vice President and General Manager of Kinney Mechanical Maintenance, where he held responsibility for the maintenance of the World Trade Center, two Port Authority buildings, and other large-scale complexes.
Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is a former Presidential appointee and Director of Women's Health at a large community health center in California. Born in 1962 and raised in a Palestinian family in Los Angeles, she ran her own gynecological practice for 11 years after earning her medical degree from UC-Irvine and receiving specialty training in gynecology at Los Angeles County USC Women's Hospital.