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.

Wasim Almasri

Regional Program Manager

Wasim was born in Lebanon in 1982 to a Lebanese mother and a Palestinian father. Growing up, Wasim lived in a refugee camp in Damascus for ten years, where he completed his primary education. He then went to high school in Gaza, after which he moved to Chicago to study Computer Science. Wasim worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza between 2006 and 2010. He worked for several international institutes on a number of projects aiming to develop practices of democracy in the West Bank. Wasim joined OneVoice Movement in 2011 as Director of Communications, and served as the Deputy Director of Zimam Foundation between 2015 and 2019. Wasim is married and a father of four. He enjoys music, food and video games.

Abby Bergren

Development Manager

Abby Bergren, Development Manager for the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), drives fundraising strategy and operations in support of ALLMEP’s mission, initiatives, and member organizations.

Abby previously worked as a communication officer and program analyst for the Israel Institute, where she helped universities in the United States and around the world offer courses related to Israel and the Middle East. She holds a B.A. in political science, with a focus on public policy, 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. Her academic research examines the history of land border crossings, and cross-border cooperation and conflict, between Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

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.

Kevin Rachlin

US Director

Kevin brings over a decade of experience in U.S.-focused advocacy and non-profit leadership to ALLMEP. Prior to this, Kevin served as the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs at InterAction, the largest alliance of nongovernmental international organizations. In this role, Kevin led InterAction’s advocacy efforts to the U.S. Government, strengthening the voice and role of civil society in global development and international relief efforts. Kevin also served for nearly 7 years at J Street in multiple roles, including Deputy Director of Government Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff. Kevin has also served as the Director of Government Affairs for the Basic Education Coalition, working with leading NGO organizations to elevate global education within the U.S. Government.

In his personal time, Kevin has served on the board of ALLMEP member Kids4Peace and was an Arlington County Government Commissioner. A native of the great state of Ohio, Kevin received an MS in Global Medical Policy from George Mason University, a dual Bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in Political Science and International Studies, with a focus in Security and Intelligence and has spent time traveling in South Africa and Israel. Kevin lives with his wife, Jennifer, two daughters and adorable dog in Arlington, Virginia.

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.

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

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.

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 Kaate 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.