Professor Akram worked as an immigration lawyer before joining Boston University’s faculty in 1993, serving as the founding executive director of Boston’s Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project and the immigration project at Public Counsel, a public interest law firm in Los Angeles. She has taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Al-Quds University’s School of Law, and as a visiting professor at the American University of Cairo’s Forced Migration program. She has guest-lectured at Birzeit University’s law center, at the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, and at the Graduate Institute at the University of Geneva. Her publications include International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace, (S. Akram, M. Lynk, I. Scobbie, & M. Dumper, eds. Routledge Press, 2010).
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist. She is the author of a bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (2010) and the founder of a non-governmental organization, Playgrounds for Palestine. She currently lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Leila El-Haddad is a Palestinian freelance journalist, author, blogger, and media activist from Gaza City. She is currently based in the United States. El-Haddad is the author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between (Just World Books, 2011) and co-author of the The Gaza Kitchen (Just World Books, 2012). She is also a contributing author of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict and a policy advisor with al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. El-Haddad writes principally for the al-Jazeera English website and the Guardian.
Rania Khalek is an independent journalist covering the plight of the underclass and marginalized. Her work has appeared at The Nation, Al Jazeera America, Truthout, Salon, AlterNet, Extra, Citizen Radio, Electronic Intifada and more.
Amer Zahr is an Arab-American comedian, speaker, and writer. Drawing on his experiences growing up as a child of Palestinian parents, he finds the humor in society, culture, and politics. He has produced and headlined in 3 of his own comedy tours, “1001 Laughs Comedy Tour,” “We’re Not White!” and “In 1948.” He is also the producer of the annual “1001 Laughs Dearborn Comedy Festival” in Dearborn, Michigan at the Arab American National Museum. Amer recently completed production on his first documentary film, “We’re Not White,” a comedic and informative approach to the Arab-American struggle to get a box on the United States Census Form. He is also the author of the well-read blog “The Civil Arab,” as well as his first book, “Being Palestinian Makes Me Smile,” a collection of his writings relating to being Palestinian. Amer holds an MA in Middle East Studies and a JD (law degree), both from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He writes and speaks widely on political and social affairs, and has appeared on radio and television, including ABC’s “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.” Some of his writings have been featured in major publications.
Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American Hip-Hop artist – born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC and living in Los Angeles. Known for taking audiences on a lyrical journey from the jasmine-tree-lined courtyards of Nizar Qabbani’s Damascene homes, to the flooded riverbanks of Langston Hughes’ Harlem Renaissance poems – Offendum has been featured on several major news outlets (BBC / Yahoo / ABC News / Aljazeera / PBS), toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, helped raise thousands of dollars for various humanitarian relief organizations (PCRF / KinderUSA / ANERA / Islamic Relief), lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions (Harvard / MIT / Stanford / Columbia / American University of Beirut / NYU-AbuDhabi / Qatar Education City), and most recently been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa. He is currently hard at work promoting his solo release – affectionately dubbed “SyrianamericanA”
Ahmad Nabil Abuznaid Esq., is a co-founder, and the Legal & Policy Director for the Dream Defenders, a Florida based non-profit founded in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, working to end systemic injustice and build collective power with the next generation of revolutionaries. Ahmad was born in East Jerusalem, Palestine. It was there growing up while living under a brutal military occupation that he first developed his interest in social justice and activism. Ahmad returned to the US for high school and then attended the Florida State University, where he received his bachelors in International Affairs, with a minor in business in 2006. Ahmad later received his JD from the Florida Coastal School of Law in 2011, and he is a member in good standing of the Florida bar. Ahmad has been a commentator on CNN, MSNBC and has had op-eds published in the National Journal, MSNBC, and other online editorials. Most recently Ahmad co-authored an article that was published in the University of Miami Law Review titled: “Stand Your Ground” Laws: International Human Rights Law Implications.”
Dr. Zahi Damuni is a co-founder of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition USA and currently serves as the chair of the national board of the organization. He is a Palestinian born in Haifa and has been an activist for Palestine since his student days. Dr. Damuni was a tenured professor at Penn State College of Medicine before he established a biotech research company in San Diego. He is currently on leave from the company working as a professor of Biochemistry and Physiology in a Medical School in the Caribbean.
Handala Dabke Troupe is a highly acclaimed Palestinian dance/dabke group performing Palestinian folklore and modern patriotic dance and choreography. Based out of South Florida, this group is dedicated to preserving Palestinian art, folklore, culture, and song. The Troupe has performed widely including at numerous Arab festivals and events in the US, and most recently in a concert in South Florida featuring Arab Idol star Mohammad Assaf.