People

Staff

Huda Abuarquob

Regional Director

Huda joined ALLMEP as its first on-the-ground regional director in 2014. She has years of experience in conflict resolution, NGO leadership, and social change education and activism, as well as a life-long commitment to building strong people-to-people Israeli-Palestinian relations. She is a well-known speaker on issues related to Middle East politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After studying conflict transformation and peace studies as a Fulbright scholar, she worked as an executive director, a program director, and an NGO consultant to a number of organizations in the U.S., Israel, and Palestine. She is a co-founder of the Center for Transformative Education (CTE) and has taught and trained hundreds of students in Israel and the U.S. She has long been an active leader in grassroots Palestinian initiatives focused on women’s empowerment and people-to-people diplomacy.

Previously, Huda worked as a teacher, trainer, and consultant for the Palestinian Ministry of Education for fifteen years. She earned her M.A. in conflict transformation and peace studies from Eastern Mennonite University and her B.A. in education for social change from Al-Quds Open University in Jerusalem.

Huda is the oldest of twelve children, the daughter of respected Palestinian educators, and an aunt to twenty-two nieces and nephews. Born in Jerusalem, she has traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, lived for six years in the U.S., and now resides in Hebron.

Nick Acosta

Digital Communications Manager

Nick is the Digital Communications Manager for the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), where he oversees digital marketing and outreach activities in support of ALLMEP and its member organizations. Before joining ALLMEP, he worked as a graphic designer and communications professional for the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy. He has also worked on major design contracts for digital marketing agencies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Denver, Colorado. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from St. Norbert College, as well as M.A.s from Yale University in Theology and Georgetown University in Arab/Islamic Studies. He is currently pursuing a professional certificate in Digital Marketing from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Nick is an avid rock climber, fiction novelist, and visual artist.

Wasim Almasri

Regional Program Manager

Wasim is a third-generation Palestinian refugee, born and raised between Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. He studied information technology in Chicago before moving to Gaza to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Wasim worked with civil society and international institutes in Ramallah on projects aimed to develop practices of democracy and transparency for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. He has over 10 years of experience in cross-border and civil society work with a focus on grassroots, alumni, and leadership program development. Before joining the ALLMEP team, Wasim served as the Director of Communications for the OneVoice Movement in Palestine and later as the Deputy Director of the Zimam Foundation, where he remains today as a board member.

Abby Bergren

Development Manager

Abby Bergren is the Development Manager for the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), where she drives fundraising strategy and operations in support of ALLMEP and its member organizations. Before joining ALLMEP, she worked in strategic communications, development, and programs at the Israel Institute. She holds a B.A. in political science from The George Washington University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Middle Eastern and African History, where she specialized in land border crossings, and cross-border cooperation and conflict.

Judith Imholt

Capacity Building Project Manager

Judith has been working with ALLMEP on the capacity building project since January 2021. Her position is being supported by AGIAMONDO e.V, one of nine implementing organizations of the German Civil Peace Service. 

Previously, she worked in different positions at AGIAMONDO e.V. in Cologne, Amman and Jerusalem. In all positions she was involved in organizational development, knowledge management, process optimism and networking. Prior to this she was research assistant and later freelance lecturer in ‘International Politics and Institutions’ as well as ‘Introduction to Social Sciences’ at Cologne Business School. 

Judith holds a BA degree in Politics and Peace Studies from the University of Bradford and an MA in International Cultural Management from Cologne Business School. Her research mostly focused on land rights in southern Africa and migration theory and mitigation in West Africa.

 

John Lyndon

Executive Director

John was ALLMEP’s first European Director, founding its new office in Paris in 2018, before becoming the organization’s Executive Director a year later. He brings with him over a decade of experience leading NGOs concerned with conflict resolution and international development, with a particular focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the pivotal role civil society can play in any lasting resolution.

A regular contributor and commentator on events in the Middle East, his writing has featured in numerous international publications, including The Independent, Newsweek and TIME Magazine, and he is a frequent analyst on the BBC, CNN, France 24 and Sky News.

John received a BA in English Literature and History from University College Dublin, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Sheffield, where he won the 2007 Bethan Reeves Prize for his research on the Middle East. A former member of the Under 35 Steering Committee at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, John is also a Visiting Fellow at King’s College London’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies, and has delivered guest lectures at the London School of Economics, Sciences Po Lille, and the University of Hull.

Doubi Schwartz

Regional Operations Manager

Doubi is a highly qualified and experienced professional in the fields of management, peace and reconciliation, education, and social change within a variety of civil society organizations. Between 2013 and 2016, Doubi was the Israeli Co-CEO of the Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF). He is the founder and editor of OnePlace, an online, Hebrew-language multidisciplinary resource center on the Arab citizens of Israel.

Doubi has served as the Arab Citizens of Israel Desk Director at ECF – Economic Cooperation Foundation, in charge of policy planning, project and strategic processes management, coalition building and track II activities. Prior to that, Doubi was the Senior Educational Director at Melitz, an informal leading organization, focused on values, identity, inter-societal relations and democratic education within the Israeli educational system

Doubi holds an MA in international relations from Hebrew University, Jerusalem and a BA in political science and sociology from Tel Aviv University. Doubi is a trained facilitator and holds a civic education teaching diploma. Born in Israel, Doubi lives with his family in Hod Hasharon.

Board of Directors

Avi Meyerstein

Founder and President

Avi Meyerstein is the founder and president of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). He has spent nearly the last 20 years working as a social and business entrepreneur, non-profit leader, and Washington, DC attorney.

In 2003, Avi led dozens of NGOs to join forces in a single umbrella coalition, creating ALLMEP. He led a team of volunteer attorneys to develop proposals and advocacy strategies to significantly expand resources and scale up Israeli-Palestinian people-to-people activities. So far, these efforts have resulted in over $110 million in US and international funding. He also first proposed and launched the initiative to take the next leap in growth by creating an international fund to dramatically invest in grassroots P2P efforts.

Avi has led ALLMEP through several stages of growth and organizational development, including spearheading its early communications, development, and public policy strategies and hiring and working with its professional leadership. He continues to lead ALLMEP’s board as its president.

He lives outside Washington, DC with his wife, Dana, and three daughters.

Father Josh Thomas

Chair

Father Josh Thomas joins us at the Alliance as an ordained Episcopal priest, dialogue facilitator, and the Executive Director of one of our member organizations, Kids4Peace. As many of our members know, one of the best ways to transform conflict is through youth. Father Thomas recognizes this and has engaged with that understanding for nearly two decades.

In 2002, he coordinated and led a US State Department Youth Leadership Program for a multi-ethnic group of high school students from Bosnia-Herzegovina. His work in both the public and private sectors, and experience with multi-ethnic youth groups allows him to see the importance of working cross-border, as many of ALLMEP’s member organizations do.

Anne Kaplan Spar

Secretary

Anne Kaplan Spar graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Philosophy in 1986 and in 1991 completed her MBA at New York University. After a career in marketing, Anne moved into the philanthropic world, most recently working as COO for The Social Investment Consultancy.

She currently serves on the President’s Advisory Council at Vassar. Anne has served as a trustee of a number of organizations including The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York, The British Friends of Hebrew University and One Voice Europe. Anne devotes most of her time to her three children: Ben, Daniel and Lily. Anne, her husband Elon, and their children live in Beverly Hills, California.

Max Shulman

Treasurer

Max “Bud” Shulman is a retired litigation partner at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP where he had a broad practice that included representing clients in major securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage and M&A litigation. Bud was recognized as a leader in securities litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He was also named in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in commercial litigation.

Currently, Mr. Shulman serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the School of American Ballet and on the Board of Trustees of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation.

He received an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University in 1967 and a J.D. cum laude from Culumbia Law School in 1970, where he was both a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a James Kent Scholar. After graduation, Mr. Shulman clerked for two years for Hon. Charles M. Metzner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Giorgio Gomel

President, ALLMEP Europe

Giorgio Gomel, Italian economist, has been the Head of research and international economics at the Bank of Italy. Among the cofounders of JCall, an association of European Jews committed to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states, he is the President of Alliance for Middle East Peace Europe. He is the European representative in the Coordinating Committee of J-Link, an international Jewish progressive network Besides professional publications, he has written extensively in Italian and international publications on Israel and Jewish affairs.

Deanna Armbruster

Deanna Armbruster is the Executive Director of Valley Bar Mediation Center in Los Angeles. VBMC is committed to educating the public about the benefits of mediation, and building community through mediation and peace building. Her work enhances understanding among diverse groups to manage problems and work toward lasting solutions.

Prior to joining VBMC, Ms. Armbruster served as the Executive Director of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, and the U.S. Director of the Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam World Peace College supporting the work of the “Oasis of Peace” community in Israel. Her work with the only community in Israel where Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians live, work and educate their children together focused on raising awareness, bridging differences and improving relations in Israel-Palestine through people-to-people, grassroots initiatives.

Maysa Baransi

Michal Caspi

Michal is Director General of the Olivestone Trust, where she has served for over a decade. In her work, Michal also serves as a philanthropic consultant to international donors for activities in Israel and Europe.

Michal is involved in several social initiatives. Among others, she has been involved in the establishment of the Israeli branch of Planet Finance, serves as a member of the Board of the Association for Education, Culture & Sports in Nir Tzvi and is a member of the General Assembly and Audit Committee of Etz Harimon Foundation.

Michal holds a professional certificate in management of non-profit organizations from the Israeli Center for Management and a professional certificate from the Israeli College of Management for NPO directors and board members.

Jean-Daniel Cohen

Joanna Goodwin Friedman

As president of both the Goodwin Foundation and the Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, Joanna’s philanthropic focus is on supporting a democratic and secure Israel living side by side with a Palestinian state. The foundations she leads have supported many shared society and cross border organizations since their founding. She is particularly interested in empowering youth and women to become effective leaders, especially as peace builders, negotiators, and sustainers.

She is a member of J Street’s Board of Directors and J Street’s Women’s Leadership Forum Steering Committee. In 2015, Joanna, in partnership with her father, Richard C. Goodwin, received J Street’s highest honor, the Tzedek v’Shalom award for their lifetime commitment to peace. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Danny Hakim

Danny Hakim, a two-time world Karate silver medalist and philanthropist, is both the Founder and Chairman of Budo for Peace- an Israeli NGO member of ALLMEP.  He founded the organization in 2004 as the translation of his vision to create a society in which socially constructed rivals can conquer their cultural, social, and political differences through the universal language of sport. In 2018 Budo for Peace was awarded 2018 Regional NGO of the Year by the Prince of Monaco’s organization Peace and Sport.

Danny has represented Australia, Israel and Japan in several international Karate competitions and is was inducted in the Maccabi Australia Sports Hall of Fame.

Danny’s belief in social change is evident not only in his passion for martial arts but also his interest in and talent for film-making. His international award-winning documentary, Shadya, was endorsed by the PBS network for their educational women’s empowerment series. In addition, several of his works on the subject of martial arts and social reform have been published including “Budo’s Potential for Peace: Breaking down barriers in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict.” Bennett, A. (2005). Budo Perspectives (Vol. 1). Kendo World Publications.

Danny holds a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Yuval Lion

Yuval is a filmmaker, and a budding philanthropist and values-aligned investor who lives in New York City. 

Yuval had a 15-year career as an international news producer, working for the AP, NBC News, and PBS, mostly covering the Middle East. Highlights of his reporting include the Rabin assassination, the 1996 and 1999 Israeli elections, the 2000 Camp David Peace Talks, the 2nd Intifada, and the war in Iraq. He was twice nominated for a News Emmy. 

In 2010, Yuval co-founded MYLKmedia, a production company located in NYC that produces award-winning advocacy films for nonprofits, foundations, and causes, as well as family legacy and tribute films. Yuval has made films for a number of pro-Middle East peace organizations, such as, J Street, ALLMEP, OneVoice, and the NIF. In 2017, MYLKmedia won a DoGooder video award for a film about Hand in Hand, the bi-lingual network of schools in Israel. 

Yuval, who was born and raised in London to Israeli parents, is philanthropically involved with several organizations that promote Middle East peace and democracy building in Israel. He is the Co-Chair of the J Street NYC chapter and a member of J Street’s Finance Committee. He sits on the steering committee of DemocraTV and is a founding member of the Liberal Democratic Action Network, a new initiative to help build the political infrastructure of Israel’s liberal democratic camp. Yuval is also in the process of constructing an investment portfolio that is aligned with his values, including a focus around climate change, sustainable agriculture and gender equity.

Yuval served voluntarily in the IDF as an artilleryman and holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University. He is also a long-suffering supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC. 

Barak Loozon

Barak is an Israeli activist, educator and innovator.

Barak serves as the Executive Director of the Israel Office at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. He has devoted his career to strengthening Israel’s democracy and creating equal opportunity for all as well as to reshaping the Israel-Diaspora relationships.

As the rifts in Israel’s society went beyond religion and politics, Barak utilized his skills, talents and expertise in strategic planning and impact driven program development adapting his philanthropic strategy to partnering with NGOs, government ministries and various philanthropists in building and supporting shared society frameworks and in advancing the politics of “common good”. He is a founding member of the “Living Together Center” and on the board of numerous organizations aiming at promoting common good in Israel. Barak is a graduate of the Negotiation Strategies Institute (NSI) executive program, aimed at promoting communication across disputing governments and other groups affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recently joined his fellow graduates in building a research-driven model for conflict resolution: “Bridging Insights”.

Barak holds a BA in criminology and political science from Bar-Ilan University, a MA in Administration and Education Policy from Tel Aviv University and MPA in Government Studies from Harvard University as a Wexner Israel Fellow. Barak lives in Kibbutz Einat, where he and Keren are raising their five boys.

Ruth Jarmul

Ruth Jarmul has served as a member of the Management Committee and Board of ALLMEP since 2015.  She joined the board with the conviction that supporting people-to-people work is the key to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Long involved with the Jewish community, she has served as an officer as well as member of the executive committee and board of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City and a board member of Brown University Hillel.  She also serves on the board of the Hyde Leadership Charter School, the largest independent charter school in New York City.  Before she retired, she was vice president of administration of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a principal of Quantum Media, co-head of the media practice of the Mitchell Madison Group, media advertising manager of the Wall Street Journal and director of planning of Dow Jones.  She received her BA from Yale College and MBA from Harvard Business School.

She lives in New York City with her husband, Irvin Rosenthal. They have three daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.

Charles Kremer

Charles Kremer grew up in the UK, where he became a Chartered Accountant, and moved to the US in 1977 with his Israeli born wife Naomie. He is the President and founder, since 1984, of Access Leasing Corporation, a company that acquires various types of leased transportation, energy and industrial equipment. He has had a variety of other business interests and, in addition to being on the board of J Street since 2012, has served on a number of university and other non-profit boards.

Rafiq Masri

Rafiq Masri joins us as an accomplished entrepreneur and technologist. He is the founder and CEO of Network Management, Inc., Chairman of PALECO, and is on the board of numerous organizations. His interest in our work, alignment with our mission, and unique problem-solving abilities make him a wonderful addition to our Board. He believes in the power of young people and places heavy importance on empowering local Palestinian free enterprise.

Furthermore, he recognizes and appreciates the need to engage with Palestinians living outside the region, encourages them to be involved with the promotion of innovation, entrepreneurship, and peacebuilding in the sustainable business sector. Additionally, Mr. Masri is working on advancing the growth of Palestinian film ecosystem and the preservation of historic Palestinian manuscripts, art and photography.

Greg Rack

Greg is a chartered surveyor by profession and has had a 35 year career in the UK real estate industry.

Throughout his life, he has been involved in helping a great number of charities in both the UK and Israel. In the last ten years, Greg has devoted much of his time and efforts to non-profits, including several ALLMEP members, whose aim is to help end the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Nivine Sandouka

Nivine Sandouka, is an activist aspiring to achieve social justice, peace and gender equity. She is an expert in the field of program development, management, peace building and gender issues. Currently, she works with the German Association for Development Cooperation – AGEH. She also runs a grassroots based initiative called ‘Judi- from me to you’ that aims to connect women together, and volunteers in several civil society organizations. To pursue her passion she is the Executive Director of a newly established NGO called ‘Our Rights’ in Jerusalem, focusing on civic and political rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially women. She was identified by the USA state department in 2014 as a young leader and participated in the prestigious ‘International Visitor Leadership Program’ on the theme of conflict resolution, and right now serves as an alumni leader. Throughout her career, she developed several programs that aim to women’s empowerment and community development with international organizations such as Oxfam, and CARE International. She was also the Co Director of IPCRI – Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives. In addition, she currently sits as a board member  for ‘The Jerusalem Center for Women’ and is a member representing the civil society of the International Reference Group for the ‘World Council of Churches’. She participated in several conferences tackling the issue of women’s rights in Palestine, and attended two institutes on Feminist Transformative Leadership. Nivine has an MA in democracy and Human Rights from Birzeit University and attended several courses on peace building, gender, program management, accountability and advocacy. She was also invited as a speaker on several occasions including J Street annual conference (2017 & 2018), Accord 1325 Conference in the German Federal Foreign Office, amongst others.

Mark Zivin

Mark Zivin is a partner in the Chicago CPA and consulting firm of Morrison & Morrison, Ltd. He has been actively involved in the Jewish community for the past 30 years beginning in the 1990s serving on the board of his synagogue, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL. In 2002, Mark joined the board of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF), the national governing body of the Reconstructionist movement and served as its Treasurer from 2005-9. During that time, he also chaired the Capital Campaign for the first Reconstructionist summer camp, the award-winning Camp Havaya (formerly known as Camp JRF).

Mark has been involved with the leadership of J Street since its inception, serving on its Advisory Board and Finance Committee since 2008. He was integral in developing the Chicago chapter of J Street and served as the chair of its Executive Committee from 2008-2016. Mark was Midwest Regional Chair of the Finance Committee from 2014-16. In 2018, he will be the recipient of the Brit Tzedek v’Shalom award from the J Street Chicago chapter.

Mark is also active on the political side of J Street, having travelled to Israel with a J Street Congressional delegation in 2013 and on a special mission to Israel during the last Gaza War in 2014. He works diligently at maintaining relationships with Members of Congress and Senators and often leads delegations to the Hill during advocacy days.

Mark received an A.B. in Religion from Trinity College, Hartford in 1973 and an M.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School in 1975, where he was an Institute of Professional Accounting Fellow and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business school honorary society. He earned his CPA certificate in 1975. He has served on various committees of the American Institute of CPAs and the Illinois CPA Society.