Hanan Ashrawi – Palestine

Linked with Israel and Palestine in these times, with Israel and Palestine on my blogs, with  Hanan Ashrawi and the Price of Dissent, and with General Union of Palestinian Women GUPW.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Dr Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi (b. October 8, 1946) is a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar. She was a protégé and later colleague and close friend of Edward Said. 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. 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 has a Ph.D. in Medieval and Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia … (full text).

Her political activism on wikipedia; her bio on world-trek and on globetrotter; .

She says: “I do not look at people on the basis of their religion. I believe in the separation between religion and the state”. (1000peacewomen).


Hanan Ashrawi – Palestine

She works for the Miftah Palestinian Liberation Committee MPLC (no other internet presence dedected); for Women for Peace and Justice in Palestine WPJP (named in: Groups to Hold Silent Vigil to Mourn Palestinian Women and Children, April, 2002; and in an archive list of Indimedia, 8 April 2002); and for the National Reform Committee NRC (named on: local development forum).

Watch her video: Riz Khan – Hanan Ashrawi (on english Al Jazeera), 25 Apr 07, 17.40 min.

Find her and her publications on amazon; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Arabs & Israel 8679: Hanan Ashrawi for the P.A., oct. 4, 2002.

She says also: … As a teacher myself, as an academic, I’ve always felt it’s a learning and teaching situation; but one thing I think that comes through is the confidence that comes from self-respect. To demand respect of others you have to respect yourself and you have to be confident  to stand up also to injustice and not to accept it, not to be intimidated. I’ve always told my students, and I enjoy that, that they can question, that they can provoke. Even when I was a minister I always told them, “Provoke reality, don’t acquiesce to it. Challenge it. Speak up.” The courage to speak out, not to be complacent, not to accept the givens, not to accept also, as my father said, the limits. “To be daring,” he said, “be daring in the pursuit of right, of what is right, justice.” And a sense of daring, of questioning, of not being deflected, comes also from a recognition that your humanity is what you have in common with others. There is a common language that emerges, regardless of whether it’s Arabic, English, French, German, Japanese. There is a common human language that recognizes no boundaries. At the same time, the human will and the human spirit are the determining factors in everything you do. There will always be small-minded, narrow-minded, power-driven, power-hungry people who will try to set limits, who will try to give you constraints. And the human spirit to refuse such constraints. The willingness to take risks and to vindicate your humanity, it seems to me this is essential … (full long 5 page interview text – see also the first page).

Sorry, I stop here pasting actual or past articles from different writers inside or outside of the Israel-Palestine communities. I do not want amplify the already running battle of justifications, mutual accusations, re-writing the history, belonging to particular viewpoins who of each side should be right or wrong … I just stop here the play for my blogs.

(Here only what’s on the website of 1000peacewomen): Hanan Ashrawi was born in 1946 in Nablus in an Anglican Christian family. Her father, Da’ud Mikhail, was the leader of Sulayman Al-Nabulsi’s National Socialist Party who settled his family in Ramallah after 1948 war.

She completed her BA in English literature at the American University in Beirut and her PhD in Medieval Literature at the University of Virginia in 1971. She was prevented from returning to the West Bank by Israeli authorities from 1967 to 1973. But later on, she was granted permission and became a professor of English Literature at Birzeit University (1974-95), where she established BZU’s legal aid committee and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1986-90).

She is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a recognized human rights activist. She has actively worked in the General Union of Palestinian Woman in Lebanon (1967-72) and in the Information Office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (1968-70). In 1996 Ashrawi became an elected member of Palestinian Legislative Council for the Jerusalem district and served as the Minister for Higher Education and Research in the first Palestinian Authority Cabinet (PAC). However, she resigned two years later due to disagreement with the late Palestinian President Arafat over issues of governance, human rights and political reform.

She founded the Miftah movement- a Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy-, which she has become its Secretary General since 1998. Ashrawi is also a member of a number of NGO’s and institutions including Woman for Peace and Justice in Palestine, the National Reform Committee. In 2004 she became a member of PLC Affairs Committee. Dr. Ashrawi is also a former member of the UN Secretary-General’s Dialogue between Civilizations.

She is a high profile dignitary because of her acclaimed efforts; she has therefore been awarded several Honorary Doctorates, including: Doctor of Humane Letters, from the Virginia Theological Seminary, 1993; Doctor of Laws, Bath University, England,1993; Doctoral Universities, Vrije University of Brussels, Belgium, 1997; Doctor of Humane Letters, Smith College, 1999; Doctor of humane Letters, Earlham College 1999; Doctor of Civil Law, Saint Mary’s University, Canada, 2000; and Doctor of Humane Letters, American University in Cairo, 2003.

As a Christian Palestinian, Ashrawi defies those Israeli allegations that Muslims are persecuting Christians in Palestine. She points out that the number of mixed marriages between Muslims and Christians is considerably high. However, she believes that the Israeli allegations simply aim to stigmatize the Palestinians with suppression in order to justify the Israeli brutal violence against the Palestinians and to worsen their situation. Ashrawi says: “The Israelis make up so many claims to attack the Palestinians and to stigmatize them with violence and intolerance.

At one point they alleged that the Palestinian textbooks foster violence against the ‘other’. In fact, objective studies show that Palestinian textbooks in many ways are far fairer than Israeli textbooks when it comes to the question of the ‘other’– long way ahead of Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks. They also claimed that the Palestinian textbooks are anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic- which is totally absurd. There is not a single anti-Semitic word in the Palestinian textbooks to support those claims. But anyway, the Israelis are incessantly making fads of accusations.”

Ashrawi emphasizes that Palestinian children don’t have to learn about violence from textbooks. Violence, she confirms, is something they watch everyday in the news and see it in their neighborhood where their houses and shops are bombarded, or where their parents are arrested and beaten up in front of them and detained for years. Studies show that more than 80 percent of Palestinian children are in a state of constant trauma.

This makes them lead an absolutely abnormal life, being robbed of their natural source of security and comfort, i.e. their families. They feel that their parents are vulnerable to violence and unable to provide them with security and shelter.

Hanan Ashrawi was married to Emile Ashrawi, a photographer in 1975 and has two daughters and one grandchild. She has played an efficient role in representing the Palestinians in the peace negotiations from late 1980s onward, when the Palestinain Liberation Organization (PLO) members were debarred from the talks.

Ashrawi was part of the advisory council and spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid peace talks in 1991, though she voiced reservations about some of the Palestinian leadership’s standpoints. She wanted to resign from the participating Palestinian delegation during the Oslo Accords in 1993, but she was strongly requested to continue the talks with the Palestinian negotiating team.

However, her discontent with discourse of the negotiation made her to finally withdrew from the team at the end of 1993 and to form the Miftah movement, a pro-democracy NGO, of which she remains the Secretary General. Between 1996 and 1998, Ashrawi was the Palestinian Authority Minister for Higher Education, before leaving to vote against the Palestinian Authority Cabinet (PAC) in 1998, despite being offered the tourism portfolio. She was appointed as spokeswomen of the Arab League on 2001, with special emphasis on the Palestinian issues. She was a signatory to the 2002 statement in al-Quds that appealed for an end to the suicide bombings.

Ashrawi lives with her family in a home opposite the Muqaata (the Presidential Residence) compound in Ramallah. She is the author of several poems, short stories, articles and books on Palestinian culture and politics. She became a symbol of Palestinian national identity after she had appeared in the American ABC TV’s Night Line in 1988. She became a familiar face in the international media, thanks to her political savvy and eloquence that debunked the “negative stereotypes of Palestinians”. (on 1000peacewomen).


Find the General Union of Palestinian Women GUPW: on their website; on Antonym /Synonym; on United Nations Development Program UNDP /Lebanon; on acronym finder; and on wikipedia;

Labeled Faces in the Wild LFW.

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