Thur May 25 at 8PM | Post show discussion featuring Lara Friedman (President, Foundation for Middle
Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Prior to coming to FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, settlements and Jerusalem, and on the role of the U.S. Congress. She frequently briefs Members of Congress, Administration officials, and others in the foreign policy/national security community, and is regularly published in the U.S. and Israeli press. Lara works closely with Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann and his NGO “Terrestrial Jerusalem,” participates in various Track II Israeli-Palestinian efforts, and is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and speaks French, Spanish, Arabic and (rather poor) Italian.
Ghaith Al-Omari is a non-resident fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). Prior to that, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy -- especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel -- and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.
Ned Lazarus is Visiting Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School and an Israel Institute Teaching Fellow. A Conflict Resolution scholar, practitioner and evaluator, Ned has conducted evaluative studies of Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding initiatives on behalf of USAID, USIP and the European Union. Ned has taught Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, Georgetown University, American University, the University of Malta and the University of Massachusetts-Boston; his research has been published in Peace and Change, International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Palestine-Israel Journal, and Israel Studies Review. Ned earned his doctorate from American University's School of International Service in 2011; his dissertation traces the long-term impact of peace education participation among more than 800 Israeli and Palestinian Seeds of Peace participants from adolescence through adulthood. Before entering the academic field, Ned served as Middle East Program Director for Seeds of Peace, based in Jerusalem, from 1996-2004.
Stephen R. Stern works on public programs and projects about cultures and communities in conflict. He frequently spends time engaged in both Israeli and Palestinian communities, for example, traveling on learning trips with the American-Israeli organization Encounter, bringing Jewish participants to the West Bank to experience Palestinian daily life and meet with Palestinian leasers in business, media, nonviolent activism, education and politics. Stern previously served as the Chair of the acclaimed Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival Committee during its tenure at the DCJCC’s Theater J. He was also a member of the Theater J Advisory Council, serving as both co-Vice Chair and co-Treasurer.