Board Members

Joseph Montville, Chair

Originator of “track two” diplomacy used by the USA State Department

Joseph V. Montville is the originator of “Track Two,” nonofficial diplomacy. He is Director of the Program on ‘Healing Historical Memory,’ School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, at George Mason University. He is also a Senior Associate and Chair of the Goldziher Prize Committee in the Center for the Study of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Relations at Merrimack College. Montville founded the Preventive Diplomacy Program at Washington, D.C.’s Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1994 and directed it until 2003. Before that he spent 23 years as a diplomat with posts in the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked in the State Department’s Bureaus of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Intelligence and Research, where he was chief of the Near East Division and director of the Office of Global Issues.


Mubarak Awad

First Palestinian Leader of Non-Violent Action

Dr. Mubarak Awad is a Palestinian-American psychologist and an advocate of nonviolent resistance. He has been named by Newsweek, and other publications as “The Palestinian Gandhi.” Awad is an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at the School of International Service, American University. He is the Founder and national President of the Youth Advocate Program, which provides alternative foster care and counseling to “at risk” youth and their families. He is also the Founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, and was deported by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1988 after being jailed for organizing activities involving nonviolent civil disobedience. Dr. Awad has since formed Nonviolence International, which works with various movements and organizations across the globe.


Kathleen Peratis

Co-Chair Middle East North Africa Advisory Committee and board member emerita at Human Rights Watch

Kathleen Peratis is co-chair of the Middle East North Africa division of Human Rights Watch; an emerita member of HRW’s board of directors; founding chair of HRW’s Women’s Rights division; and helped to create and implement HRW’s policy on officially tolerated violence against women and reproductive freedom under international human rights law. She is also one of the founders of J Street and a member of the board of directors of The Jewish Daily Forward. Ms. Peratis was on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union for many years and was its president from 1988 to 1993. She joined the board of the New Israel Fund in 1993 and was its Vice President in North America until 1999.


Maya Berry

Executive Director of the Arab American Institute

Maya Berry is Executive Director of the Arab American Institute, steering the Institute’s policy agenda. In 1996 she established AAI’s first Government Relations department, which she led for 5 years before becoming Legislative Director for House Minority Whip David Bonior, where she developed policies on international relations, human rights, trade, and immigration. Berry started her career in public service working for ACCESS, the nation’s oldest and largest Arab American human services non-profit. Berry is also the founder of MidAmr Group, a private consulting firm dedicated to enhancing US-Arab economic, political, and cultural cooperation.

Steve Apkon & Marcina Hale

Film Makers

Stephen Apkon (Director and Producer) is a filmmaker and social entrepreneur. He is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit film and education center located in Pleasantville, NY. Opened in 2001, the JBFC has become one of the premier film institutions in the United States, with a Board of Directors that includes Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Jonathan Demme among others. Disturbing the Peace is his directorial debut.


Nizar Farsakh

Middle East Expert, Farsakh Training & Consulting, LLC

Nizar Farsakh is a trainer, private consultant, and public speaker who focuses his work around leadership, negotiation and advocacy. He used to work at the Project On Middle East Democracy in Washington D.C. where he focused on building the advocacy capacity of Arab civil society. Before that he served as the General Director of the PLO Delegation in Washington DC for two years. Between 2003 and 2008 Farsakh served as an adviser to senior Palestinian leaders including President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and various ministries. He is currently involved in several non-violence initiatives in Palestine and the U.S.


Don Raphael

Chief Executive Officer and Director at Italfoods

As a member of J Street’s San Francisco Bay Area Executive chapter, Don Raphael has been actively involved in political advocacy in the U.S. for a pro-peace and two-state solution.  In addition, in 2016, he became a member of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue group in San Francisco, and this work, along with numerous other endeavors in community events and activism, has fueled his desire to gain greater involvement in communal dialogue, and to work more diligently toward the advocacy for peace in this conflict.


Annie Berdy

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Annie built a successful commercial real estate company and now applies her resources to nurturing the ecosystem of Palestinian and Israeli activists transforming the current inequities and injustice through nonviolent initiatives.  Annie’s vision includes a world where conflict is perceived as an opportunity to nurture relationships and cultivate community. Annie holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from New York University. She is on the Board of Friends of Taghyeer Movement, Inside the Middle East at the Eisenhower Institute, the Biomimicry Institute, and co-facilitates the Middle East Peace Funding Circle of the Threshold Foundation.