PASSIA Academic Course



The PASSIA academic course on History, Religion, and Politics in the Palestine-Israel Conflict was developed upon the request of the St. Olaf College, Minnesota, USA, to provide a comprehensive seminar for their Mediterranean Semester group during the period of 11 November-17 December 2014.

PASSIA consulted with colleagues and experts - both locally and internationally - in order to plan and implement such a course, which was to focus on ancient-historical and religious aspects of Jerusalem but also cover the various dimensions of the (contemporary) Palestine-Israel conflict and give an inside look into the political situation on the ground. PASSIA organized a six-week lecture and excursion program accordingly (see below), put together a comprehensive reading package as well as a list of further research material, and served as point of contact and guidance throughout the course program.




Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the America Jewish Committee, Jerusalem, Director of its Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding.

Rabbi Rosen is a former Chief Rabbi of Ireland (1979-85), Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, an International President of Religions for Peace (WCRP); Honorary President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ); serves on the Executive of the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCORL); is a member of the Elijah Institute's World Board of Religious Leaders; founder of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI);  was made a papal Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his contribution to promoting Catholic-Jewish reconciliation and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to interfaith relations.


Rev. Rafiq Khoury, Lecturer at the Latin Seminary, Beit Jala.

Rev. Khoury has spent most of his professional career producing textbooks for the training of catechists; is the driving force behind the standardization of catechism in the Holy Land since 1973; has published a number of academic articles and research papers concerning the history of and current situation in Jerusalem as well as on Christian-Muslim relations and dialogue in Palestine; is a board member of the Al-Liqa' Center and the Secretary General of the Synod of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.  

Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, The Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazzali's Work at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Professor of Islamic Philosophy/Coordinator for the MA program in Contemporary Islamic Studies at Al-Quds University.

Dr. Abu Sway has been active in interfaith dialogue for many years; has published many papers and articles concerning Islam and the various aspects of the Palestinian issue and numerous papers on Al-Ghazzali, Imam Al-Nursi, and on various contemporary issues such as Islam and globalization and Islam and the environment; is one of the winners of the Science and Religion Course Award 2001 of The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, CA;  was named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the collection of Prince Al-Walid bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding of Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan in 2012.

Dr. Nazmi Jubeh, Professor of History and Archaeology, Birzeit University, Birzeit.

Dr. Jubeh’s research melds archeology, history, politics and architecture; former Co-Director of the Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah, and former Chairman of the Department of History at Birzeit University; is well known for his expertise on Jerusalem in general and the holy sites in particular and serves as an advisor to the Palestinian Authority on Jerusalem; was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the bilateral peace negotiations in Washington DC; serves on the board of trustees of several cultural institutions in Jerusalem; published several books and a large number of articles on history, archaeology, politics and architecture.


Dr. Yousef Natsheh, Director of Islamic Museum and Monuments at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem.

Dr. Natsheh directed the Department of Islamic Archaeology in Al-Haram Ash-Sharif in Jerusalem and taught in various Palestinian universities; he is a council member of many Palestinian societies interested in architectural heritage and  a consultant for various projects concerning Jerusalem; has written books and more than 40 articles about Jerusalem’s architectural heritage; has contributed to many international and national workshops, symposiums, and conferences; was entrusted to supervise the restoration project of the Mamluk monuments in and around the Al-Haram Ash-Sharif, and was nominated the local Palestinian expert for the UNESCO mission to Jerusalem in 2004.

Dr. Menachem Klein, Senior Lecturer in Bar Ilan University's Department of Political Science and a senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

Dr. Klein is a Board Member of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories; he has served as an external expert adviser for Jerusalem Affairs and Israel-PLO Final Status Talks to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and as a member of the political advisory team operating in Prime Minister's Office;  has been active in many “unofficial” negotiations with Palestinian counterparts, and is a signatory to the Geneva Accord; published several books.


Dr. Adel Manna, Senior Research Fellow, The Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem.

Dr. Manna was the former Director of the Academic Institute for Arab Teacher Training at Beit Berl College as well as of the Center for the Study of Arab Society in Israel at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; his research focuses on the history of Palestine in the Ottoman period and most of his publications – in English, Arabic and Hebrew - deal with different aspects of this time (e.g., society and administration in Jerusalem, history of Palestine, the Notables of Palestine); he was also the editor in charge of the second "Arab Society in Israel" yearbook published in 2008 and has edited “The Palestinians in the Twentieth Century: an Inside Look” (1999). Currently he is writing a book about the Palestinians in Israel during the first decade of the existence of the State of Israel.

Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Chairman of PASSIA, Jerusalem.

Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi was born in Nablus on 22 March 1944 but has spent most of his life in Jerusalem. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, UK. He has devoted most of his life to academic research and dialogue, as well as the publication of books, articles and other materials aiming at providing a deep understanding of the various aspects that make-up the Palestinian Question. He established and co-founded numerous forums and institutes, in Palestine: in 1972, he co-founded the Al-Fajr daily newspaper as well as the Council for Higher Education in the West Bank (1977-1980). He was the founder of the Arab Thought Forum in Jerusalem in 1977 ans served as its elected president until 1981. From 1985-86, he was an advisor for the Jordanian-Palestinian joint Committee as well as a special adviser to the Ministry of Occupied Land Affairs, Amman, Jordan. He founded the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) in 1987.

Furthermore, in 1990, Dr. Abdul Hadi co-established the Black Sea University Institute in Bucharest, he co-founded the Jerusalem National Committee (with Faisal Husseini) in 1992, and the EuroMeSCo Network in 1995. He was further a founding member of the Arab Team for Muslim and Christian Dialogue in Beirut (2000), and a member of the Arab Thought Forum of Prince Hassan bin Talal in Jordan (2002). In 2011, he contributed to establishing the Arab Society for Development in Jerusalem.

Since 2009, Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi is a member of Board of Trustees of the Yasser Arafat Foundation, Cairo, and in 2011, he joined the Group of Palestinian Independent Personalities and worked for Palestinian reconciliation. He has published numerous articles, monographs, and essays and edited several publications, including, 100 Years of Palestinian History, A 20th Century Chronology (2001) and The Palestine Question in Maps 1878-2014, (2014).


Daniel Seidemann, Attorney, expert on Jerusalem, founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem.

Mr. Seidemann has been a practicing attorney in Jerusalem and a partner in a firm specializing in commercial law since 1987, also specialized in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem; in particular, he has worked on issues and cases related to government and municipal policies and practices, representing Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem before the statutory planning boards regarding development issues; he has argued more than 20 Jerusalem-related cases before the Israeli Supreme Court; he has also participated in numerous Track II talks on Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians; he is frequently consulted by governmental bodies in Israel, Palestine and in the international community on matters pertaining to Israeli-Palestinian relations and developments in Jerusalem;  has been conducting ongoing discussions on Jerusalem issues within the Arab world and with Christian faith communities in North America and Europe; participated in numerous Jerusalem-related projects, colloquia and back channel work.



Dr. Mahmoud Hawari, Research Associate, The Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, University of Oxford, UK.

Dr. Hawari is a curator responsible for the Islamic collections, in particular the Arab World and Turkey, at The British Museum in the UK. His primary research interests are Islamic archaeology, art and architecture, including the material culture, such as ceramics, coins and Arabic epigraphy, and the phenomenon of the Umayyad ‘desert palaces’ in the Levant; he has worked extensively on projects in the Middle East and Turkey; current projects include Khirbat Al-Mafjar Archaeological Project (landscape archaeological survey and excavations in the hinterland of Hisham's Palace, Jericho) and an archaeological and architectural study on the Citadel of Jerusalem; previously he was Senior Research Manager for the Zeugma Archaeological Project in Turkey; co-coordinator, co-author of ‘Islamic Art in the Mediterranean’ (Oxford Archaeology), and involved with the Museum With No Frontiers, Vienna/ Madrid.


Dr. Ilan Pappé, Professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter, UK, Director of the University's European Centre for Palestine Studies, and Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies, and political activist.

Dr. Pappé was formerly a senior lecturer in Political Science at the University of Haifa and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa;  a leading member of Hadash Party, he was a candidate in the 1996 and 1999 Knesset elections; his work has been both supported and criticized by other historians; he is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).


Dr. Bernard Sabella, Professor of Sociology at Bethlehem University and Executive Secretary of the Department of Services to Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East Council of Churches.

Dr. Sabella is a member of various Palestinian institutions and co-author of many academic publications; his scientific and research interest focuses on Palestinian society; Publications include Introduction to Sociology (1983), and Christian Emigration-Comparison between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem Areas (1991), A Date with Democracy - Palestinians on Politics, Economy and Society (1996) as well as articles on the issue of emigration of Christian Arabs from the Middle East.

Nathan Stock, Director, Carter Center, Ramallah.

Mr. Stock leads Carter Center efforts to facilitate the reunification of the Palestinian political system, while helping to promote viable peace between Israelis and Palestinians; he joined the Carter Center in 2008 as an Assistant Director in the Conflict Resolution Program; designed and managed programming targeting the Fatah-Hamas conflict, supported Carter Center efforts to assert the sovereignty of a Palestinian state in international fora, and implemented programming to monitor and advance political solutions to the Syrian civil war. Prior to joining the Center, he spent two years implementing a USAID-funded civil society-strengthening program in Afghanistan; worked with a Palestinian NGO to fundraise and design conflict resolution programs targeting the Palestinian community; also taught English in Palestine and China.

Akiva Elder, journalist, columnist and former editorial writer for Haaretz.

Mr. Elder’s most recent book (with Idith Zertal), Lords of the Land, on the Jewish settlements, was on the bestseller list in Israel and has been translated into English, German and Arabic; in 2006, the Financial Times named him among the world’s most influential commentators; he received the annual “Search for Common Ground” award for Middle East journalism and the Peace through Media Award of the  International Council for Press and Broadcasting.

Dr. Asad Ghanem, Professor of Political Science, School of Political Science, University of Haifa.  

Dr. Ghanem is a leading intellectual among the Palestinians in Israel; in 2009, Dr. Ghanem was a visiting researcher at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park; he served as a jury member for Badil’s Third Annual Al-Awda Award (2009), which seeks “to raise the profile of the Palestinian Nakba and the right of all forcibly displaced Palestinians to return to their homes and lands;”   his theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states; he has been the initiator and designer of several policy schemes and empowerment programs for Palestinian-Arabs in Israel; has authored, co-authored and edited numerous articles and books, including, Ethnic Politics in Israel (2009), Palestinian Politics after Arafat: A Failed National Movement (2011), and One State, Two Peoples: Restoring Hope for Palestinian-Israeli Peace (2013, with Dan Bavly). 

Dr. Husam ZomlotFatah Foreign Relations Commission.

Dr. Zomlot is a specialist on Middle East affairs;  he served as a PLO representative to the UK; previous work experience includes positions at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute and the UN Office of the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories; he represented Palestine in various bilateral and multilateral forums and track II negotiations and was/is regularly interviewed by mainstream British and international media;  he co-authored several UN reports, participated in various research projects, conferences, and contributed to publications; he was awarded several research grants, including the British government Chevening Scholarship.  
  Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, General Director, Islamic Waqf, Jerusalem


Participants, St. Olaf College Minnesota, USA.

  Mimi Ansel major in Philosophy and Economics with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.
  Josefine Brekke major in Political Science.
  Kathryn Brunstein major in Mathematics and Education.
  David Carpenter major in History and Psychology with concentrations in Middle Eastern Studies and Neuroscience.
  Mckenzie Hartman-Mattson major in Exercise Science with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.
  Dani Larson major in Social Science.
  Anna Lund major in History, Race and Ethnic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Education.
  Marcus Newton major in Theater with concentrations in Educational Studies, Management Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

Keren Timara Permel major in Political Science with concentrations in Middle Eastern Studies, Latin American Studies and Linguistics.

  Reinah Thom major in Sociology/Anthropology, History with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.
  Amie Tunheim major in Political Science with concentrations in Management Studies, Nordic Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies.
  Bailey Williams major in Sociology/Anthropology with concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.
  Robert McClure Associate Professor, Director,  Social Studies Education, St. Olaf College
  Ruth Neuger Group Leader



Lecture Program









Videos (coming soon)






The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem

Tel: +972-2-6264426 / 6286566 • Fax: +972-2-6282819
P.O.  Box 19545,  Jerusalem
Copyright © PASSIA