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About Us

Who We Are

The interfaith organization "Builders of Peace" was founded in 2001 and became an independent organization in 2006. Interfaith peacemakers are not affiliated with any government, political party, or special interest group. It is funded by individual donations and foundations.

Interreligious Council of Builders of Premises

Michael F. Brown is Director of Communications at the Institute for Understanding the Middle East. Previously, he was a member of the Palestine Center, executive director of Partners for Peace and Washington correspondent of Middle East International. From 1993 to 2000, he lived and worked in Gaza, first as part of the Gaza Mental Health program, and then at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. His articles have been published in the Baltimore Sun, International Herald Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune and News & Observer.

Iliz Cohen is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and currently resides in San Francisco. She is a Sephardic Jew with roots from Turkey, Rhodes and Cuba. She has been an activist for peace in the Middle East for 17 years and is working on a doctorate in anthropology, focusing on issues of justice and justice for marginalized groups in Israel and Palestine. For two years, she has lived and worked with Palestinians and Jews in Israel, and has also led previous delegations to the Middle East.

Shady Hakim is currently studying at Georgetown University, where he is receiving a master's degree in Arabic studies and a doctorate in history. From 2002 to 2005, he directed the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) educational program on Middle East peace in Los Angeles. Shady spent more than three months in the occupied West Bank working with a group of Christian peacekeepers in Hebron in solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli groups for peace and human rights (1998-1999), most recently as part of the for delegation in the summer of 2004 and led a delegation of Casa students in the spring of 2006. He also spent several years studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt.

Scott Kennedy was Chairman of the Middle East Task Force and Chairman of the National Security Council. He is the co-founder and staff member of the Nonviolence Resource Center in Santa Cruz, California. He traveled to the Middle East more than 30 times and led delegations back in the 1970s, and most recently in November 2006.

Mara Kronenfeld works in the Department of External Relations of AMIDEAST. He received a master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. Mara worked in the Department of Planning and Institutional Studies at the American University in Cairo and as a teaching assistant at the summer institute of the National Endowment for the Humanities on the topic "Muslim Europe". In 2001-2002, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, Syria, where she researched the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims in 19th century Damascus. She stayed in Damascus for another year as the head of the English language club at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Alta Schwartz has been working on the problems of the Middle East for the past decade. She received her bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Emory University and is currently completing a Master's degree in Public Administration with a specialization in nonprofit organization management at the Andrew Young School of Political Studies at GSU. Alta has traveled most of the Middle East and participated in various programs, including Seeds of Peace, Interfaith Peacemakers, and the National Council on American-Arab Relations. She has worked with several organizations, including the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Middle East Peace Education program of the American Friends Service Committee.

Interfaith Room-Builders

Mike Daly has been working with interfaith peacemakers since July 2004. Prior to joining IFPB, he studied Arabic in Damascus as a Fulbright Scholar, worked as a public relations consultant for the United Nations Development Program in Ramallah, and completed a year of intensive Arabic studies at the American University in Cairo. Mike last headed the IPFB delegation in March 2006.

Joe Groves has been working with IFPB since 2001. He has been working in the Middle East for 29 years, working in the USA, Israel and Palestine and living in Iraq. He was a professor of religious Studies and Director of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Guilford College, and is currently an adjunct professor of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at American University.

Jacob Pace joined Interfaith Peacemakers in 2007 as an assistant director. He previously worked with Partners for Peace, the American Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and the Nonviolence Resource Center in Santa Cruz, California. Between 2003 and 2005, he spent more than a year in Israel/Palestine, working with the Jerusalem Institute of Applied Research in Bethlehem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza.

©2007 Interfaith Peace-Builders