Panelists for the 2012 Film Series
Nabil AbuGharbieh is a Palestinian American born in Hebron. He grew up in post-1948 Jerusalem where he experienced life under Jordanian rule, and subsequently, Israeli occupation. He came to the U.S. in 1975 were he went to school and received a PhD in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught Mechanical Engineering at the University of Jordan and has been living and working in the U.S. since 1990. Nabil is active in local interfaith programs including those addressing solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Haneen Abuqalbeen is a Palestinian American who was born in Jordan. She traveled to the United States in the year 2000 and has lived there ever since. Haneen is a human rights activist with a keen focus on the Middle East; especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She has organized events to raise awareness in the Tampa Bay community surrounding Middle East politics. Haneen has also founded the Arab Cultural Association and Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of South Florida.
Lana Hijazi, is a journalist and film director, from Gaza Strip and a graduate student in film at Syracuse University. During the 2009 war on Gaza, she directed the documentary film titled "The War Hates Children." Following the war, she directed another documentary tilted "Correspondents in Gaza."
She wrote the script and narrated "Hadeel," a documentary film that won the judge's committee award in Al-Jazeera 3rd Documentary Film Festival. In 2009, she had participated in the "NUFF film festival" workshop, held between Gaza and Norway, regarding the siege and blockade.
She has worked as a film director for other films like "Besieged Waters," "Betdalha Ghorba," "Needle and String," "Back to Jafa," "In Gaza: Venom=Hope," "The Desert's People," and "Acrid & Honey."
She participated in three international courses regarding media in Oxford, Egypt and New York.
And she worked in Gaza as a local manger for (City to City Project) its a project between Gaza & Tromso in Norway, which helps youth to learn more about filmmaking. Besides she worked as a senior producer for a film about Gaza Under the siege called "Inshalla."
Julia C. Hurley
Julia Hurley is a Palestinian rights and peace advocate. Following the September 11 attacks on the United States, which she witnessed from her hometown in New Jersey, Julia became a staunch conservative who was "afraid of Arabs" and supportive of Israel's policy toward Palestinians. But, in the years that followed, her perspective completely changed. She dedicated herself to better understanding Palestine and the Middle East by speaking to Palestinians, studying their conditions while earning her Bachelor of Science in Diplomacy and International Relations at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University, and visiting Palestine and Egypt, where she studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo. Julia has traveled to the West Bank three times since 2007. She went to Gaza for the first time in December 2009 bringing with her $17,000-worth of school supplies, clothes, medicine, and toys. Julia returned to Gaza in June 2011, living there for three months, volunteering with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and writing about life in Gaza. Today, Julia advocates for Palestinian rights by speaking, writing, tweeting, and volunteering on various projects. She is also the Adopt a School Campaign Liaison for American Friends of UNRWA and serves on the board of the NJ Chapter of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF). Julia has committed her life to seeking freedom and equality for Palestine, peace in the Middle East, and long-term security for the United States and the world.
Since 1995, Kathleen Kern has worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, West Bank. The teams accompany Palestinians who are nonviolently resisting the Israeli government's control of their lives; they network with Israeli and international groups who are also nonviolently working to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. She is the author of numerous books, including As Resident Aliens: Christian Peacemaker Teams in the West Bank, 1995-2005, which details the work of CPT in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and We Are the Pharisees, which examines how Christians have twisted Jesus' teachings to promote anti-Semitism. Her farcical novel, Where Such Unmaking Reigns, is based on her experiences working with CPT in Hebron. It was selected as a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize in 2002.
The producer of One Family in Gaza, Jen Marlowe will take part via Skype.
Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights advocate. Jen began her professional life working at Seattle Children's Theatre. From 1994-2000, she did youth theatre work in Seattle, using theatre as a platform for students to tell their stories. Jen lived and worked in Jerusalem from 2000-2004, using some of these same techniques to engage in dialogue-based conflict resolution with Palestinian and Israeli teenagers. Jen also did conflict resolution work with youth in Afghanistan, Cyprus, India, Pakistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was while working with youth in conflict areas when she first picked up a video camera – at that time, in order to record messages being exchanged between Israeli and Palestinian youth.
In her book The Hour of Sunlight, Jen helped her Palestinian co-author, Sami Al Jundi, tell his story starting with ten years in an Israeli prison. He was involved in militant anti-occupation activities as a youth and spent the last two decades of his life working towards nonviolence and peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
Jen is also the playwright of There is a Field, which addresses issues faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel. The play launched globally in October 2010, to mark the ten-year anniversary of Black October.
She's joining us through Skype. As we understand her schedule, she'll be in the Middle East during our screening of her film.
Dr. Ismail Abadan Mehr
An anesthesiologist at St. James Mercy Health System in Hornell NY, Dr. Mehr volunteered numerous times overseas for emergency medical relief – including during the Gaza war in 2009. He said, "I still remember the indescribable joy I felt once I stepped foot inside Palestine [through the Rafah checkpoint from Egypt] and I saw the same feelings mirrored on the faces of my team members. It's ironic how crossing into a land which has been violated and victimized for the past 60 years brought out such feelings."
Israel's embargo has crippled Gaza's healthcare system, Dr. Mehr reported. "The medical equipment is outdated and in shambles. If something breaks down parts cannot come in. If someone has cancer, he or she won't find chemotherapy for treatments. The Palestinian medical community is eager for knowledge and training in newer treatments and techniques. Unfortunately they cannot venture outside of Gaza, nor can outside experts come in on a frequent and consistent basis to help train professionals in Gaza."
During his mission, he provided anesthesia with an outdated and substandard anesthesia machine.
His medical work abroad has been through the Islamic Medical Association of North America for which he chairs its Medical Relief committee.
In his spare time he coaches football at Hornell High School.
An artist from Corning NY, Dianne Roe has been a peace activist on issues relating to Palestine since she first traveled there with a United Methodist group in 1989. In 1995 she went to Hebron for the first time with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and was a full timer with CPT, primarily in Hebron until 2008. During her time in Hebron she met hundreds of Palestinian families who lacked freedom of movement, access to land, who suffered from settler or soldier violence, or who had homes demolished or trees uprooted. As she witnessed the human face of the occupation, she determined to show that face to others. Her witness extends to Upper NY (UNY) where she is part of the UNY United Methodist Task Force for Peace with Justice in Palestine - Israel. She is also on the leadership team of UNY Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA).
Yonathan Shapir was born in 1946 in Kibbutz Nachshonim, only two miles from the green line (Israel/Jordan border until 1967 and Israel/occupied West Bank border since 1967). He served in the Israeli military as an officer in the 1960s and 1970s. He participated in the founding meeting of the Tel Aviv branch of Peace Now in 1977 and continued to be active in the peace movement. He is currently active in J Street and Move to Amend. He is a professor of Theoretical Physics, Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Rochester.
Gloria Webster is a Palestinian-American born in Damascus, Syria, to two Palestinian parents. She moved to the United States with her family as a thirteen year old. Gloria has a degree in sociology from Lemoyne College, Syracuse NY and has been a strong supporter for a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Rev. Gordon V. Webster
A former Co-Pastor of Downtown United Presbyterian Church , Gordon is a current board member of the Brian and Jean Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue, Nazareth College. He is the President of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam (the Oasis of Peace Village, Israel – whose residents since the 1970s have been half Jewish and half Arabic. They built an elementary school to teach their children all their lessons in both Hebrew and Arabic.) He is active in interfaith and ecumenical leadership in Rochester. He and Gloria were married at Most Holy Rosary in Syracuse.
David Zlutnick, the director/producer of this film, will take part via Skype. He's the founder and primary film/media producer of Upheaval Productions. He has a strong history within independent media, both written and visual. In the past he has worked with numerous independent print publications and his work has been featured in a variety of media outlets including Democracy Now!, Colorlines, and Truthout, among others. A founding member of Media Insurgente, David worked to produce multiple short documentaries through this organization that were shown widely both within the United States and internationally. He currently lives and works in San Francisco producing documentaries and video journalism through Upheaval Productions.