A personal friend of mine and someone I admire deeply, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi is the most respected and well-known spokesperson for the Palestinian cause. Dr. Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi is a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar who was a protégée and later colleague and close friend of the great intellectual Prof. Edward Said. Dr. Ashrawi was an important leader during the First Intifada, served as the official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process, and has been elected numerous times to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Ashrawi is a member of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Third Way party. She is the first woman elected to the Palestinian National Council. Dr. Ashrawi serves on the Advisory Board of several international and local organizations including the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Human Rights Council. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in literature in the Department of English at the American University of Beirut. Ashrawi also earned a Ph.D. in Medieval and Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia.
One of the first persons I met when I became active on the issue of Palestine and justice back when I was getting a degree in International Relations from Kent State was Sam Bahour . He's a businessman and entrepreneur who was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1964 to a Palestinian father and Lebanese-American mother. Sam moved with his family to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in the 1990s following the signing of Oslo Accords to become involved in developing the economy of the future Palestinian state. He graduated from Youngstown State University in 1989 with a degree in computer technology, and subsequently worked for several American software firms, before moving to the West Bank in 1995. Since relocating to the West Bank, Sam has been involved in numerous business development initiatives. He was part of a group of businessmen who established the Palestine Telecommunications Company. He also founded several private businesses, and was part of a plan to open a Western-style shopping center in the West Bank. In addition, he earned an MBA in a joint program between Northwestern University in Illinois and Tel Aviv University in Israel. I have enormous respect and admiration for Sam as a man of dignity, intelligence and principle. I think this interview shows why.