Rabbi Arik Ascherman was the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights for fifteen years. Rabbis for Human Rights is an organization that gives voice to the Jewish religious tradition of human rights for Is- raelis, Palestinians, and foreign workers alike. He currently develops special projects for the organization. In 2009, he was the co-recipient of the Leibowitz Prize, awarded by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din. Ascherman lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Einat Ramon, and their two children. On July 7, 2010, he was featured in an article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/opinion/08kristof.html
Rabbi Dov Berkovits studied at the University of Chicago. He holds degrees in sociology, philosophy, and Jewish history from Yeshiva Uni- versity and received rabbinic ordination there. He went to Israel in 1970 and lives today with his family in Shilo. He studied in Israel at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav and at the Shalom Hartman Institute until becoming chairman of the faculty at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, a position he held for fifteen years. In 2001, Rabbi Berkovits founded Bet Av Center for Creativity and Renewal in Torah. He has published three books, most recently The Temple of Life: Family Relationships and the Sanctity of Life. His teaching has inspired thousands of students from all sectors of Israeli society. Rabbi Berkovits has written widely on Judaism and the arts and on Jewish environmental thought. He writes a weekly column for an Israeli newspaper on the Talmud and issues of contemporary concern.
Since the death of her thirteen-year-old daughter, Smadar, in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, Israeli peace activist Nurit Peled-Elhanan has worked to promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2001 she was one of the winners of the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and Freedom of Speech awarded by the European Parliament. She is the author of Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propa- ganda in Education (I. B. Tauris, 2011).
Dr. Einat Ramon teaches modern Jewish thought, literature, and femi- nism at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. A former dean of Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Ramon received ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 1989, becoming Israel’s first woman rabbi. She received her PhD from Stanford University and is the author of many published articles and the recent book A New Life: Religion, Motherhood, and Supreme Love in the Works of A. D. Gordon. Since 2006, Dr. Ramon has been active in the clinical pasto- ral care movement in Israel. She has been involved in setting up the first clinical pastoral education unit in Israel, participating in the net- work of spiritual caregivers as the writer of the professional standards for training chaplains. Recently she set up an academic program special- izing in Jewish spiritual care at the Schechter Institute. Ramon consid- ers herself currently a nondenominational observant Jew, she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, and their two children.
In 1988, Leah Shakdiel, Israeli peace activist, became Israel’s first female member of a local Religious Council, following a successful struggle that ended with a landmark Supreme Court decision. Through teaching and continued activist work with Israeli Human Rights NGOs like Machsom Watch, Mirkam Azori, Darom4Peace, and Rabbis for Human Rights, Shakdiel works to bring the values of peace, equality, human rights, and social justice to the next generation of Israelis.
Jimmy Carter served as the thirty-ninth president of the United States, from 1977 to 1981, during which time he oversaw the Camp David Accords, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. President Carter is the author of more than twenty books, including Talking Peace: A Vi- sion for the Next Generation, Living Faith, and Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. He is the founder of the Carter Center, which is dedicated to advancing human rights, ending human suffering, and preventing and resolving conflict worldwide. In 2002, President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ziya Meral is a Turkish Christian writer and researcher and a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Cambridge. He was trained as a sociologist at the London School of Economics and as a theologian at the London School of Theology, Brunel University. Meral has an extensive research and human rights advocacy record across the Middle East on religion and minority issues, and he regularly publishes academic essays and opinion editorials and comments in British and international media on Middle East and Turkish politics. He has delivered lectures and briefings at leading academic and political centers of the world, including the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of State, and the British Parliament and has regularly briefed U.K., U.S., EU, and UN officials.
Hanna Siniora is a Palestinian Christian living in East Jerusalem and the co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Informa- tion. He has served as the editor-in-chief of Al-Fajr, an East Jerusalem newspaper, and started the weekly English Al-Fajr, serving as its editor. In 2007 Siniora was awarded the Peace Prize of Honor from the Order of the Knights of Malta in recognition of his commitment to Palestinian- Israeli peace. He was also awarded the Papal Silver Olive Branch for Peace.
Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, Miroslav Volf is one of the most respected living Christian theologians. A native of war-torn Croatia, Volf’s writing often draws on his own experience of war, injustice, and suffering to promote reconciliation and peace. Volf received a Dr. of Theology from the University of Tübingen in Germany and is the author of many scholarly articles and numerous books, including Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation and Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.
Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Yale University and a former president of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers. Wolterstorff received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard Univer- sity. Prior to teaching at Yale, Wolterstorff taught for many years at Calvin College. He is the author of many books and published arti- cles, including Until Justice and Peace Embrace and Justice: Rights and Wrongs.
Fethullah Gülen is a Turkism Muslim scholar with millions of followers. An inspirational leader who encourages a life guided by Islamic principles, Gülen was ranked the most important public intellectual in the world in a Prospect Magazine/Foreign Policy poll. He is the author of many books, including Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance and The Essentials of the Islamic Faith.
Award winning journalist and human rights defender; author of Murder in the Name of Honor. She has focused on the brutal crimes that are committed against Jordanian women in the name of family honor. Husseini has earned nine local and international awards, including a medal from Jordan’s King Abdullah II in 2007, for reporting on such crimes. Her work has resulted in the formation of the National Jordanian Committee to Eliminate so-called Crimes of Honor.
Hedieh Mirahmadi is an attorney, author, and founder and president of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education (WORDE). WORDE works to improve communication between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to reduce social conflict and political instability. Mirahmadi is the editor of several books, including Islam and Civil Society and In the Shadow of Saints.
Abdolkarim Soroush is an Iranian philosopher, devout Muslim, and one of the leading intellectual forces behind the Islamic republic’s pro-democracy movement. A Muslim activist during the 1979 revolution, Soroush has since braved death threats to argue for Islamic pluralism and challenge the notion that religion should not be open to different interpretations. The author of many books, including many about Islam and Democracy, Soroush has taught at the University of Tehran, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. In 2005, Time listed him as one of the world’s 100 most influential individuals.
Abdurrahman Wahid was Indonesia’s first democratically-elected president and the long-time leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama, one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world, with close to 40 million members, where he promoted the rights of minorities and non-Muslims. An outspoken voice that the Islam is about inclusion and tolerance, in 2003 Wahid was the recipient of the Friends of the United Nations Global Tolerance Award. Wahid passed away in 2009 at the age of 69.