Vision and People

Fobzu supports the right to education and its role in the creation of a free and flourishing Palestine.

Our Director and Trustees are responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of the charity.

Our Patrons give vital support to our campaign for promoting the rights of Palestinian students and educators.

Contact us for further information.

Palestinian students outdoor seminar

Director and Trustees

Omar Shweiki

Omar Shweiki

Director

Omar was formerly Acting Director of the Kenyon Institute, a British Academy-supported research centre in East Jerusalem, where he also served as Jerusalem Scholar. He has taught History and Politics at Al Quds University, and is completing a doctorate in International Relations at Balliol College, Oxford. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, also from Oxford University. Together with Mandy Turner he co-edited Decolonizing Palestinian Political Economy: De-development and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Dr Donna Baillie

Dr Donna Baillie

Chair

Donna is currently a senior research consultant specialising in the public sector. In her previous role as a documentary filmmaker she produced films about the second intifada which have been broadcast by major networks and featured in high profile film festivals around the world. Following this, she conducted academic research into sociopsychological dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, completing a BA(hons) in Social and Political Sciences (Cambridge University), an MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (Oxford University), and a doctorate in Social Psychology (LSE).  She also built the new Fobzu website.

Mazen Arafat Nomura

Mazen Arafat Nomura

Treasurer

Mazen has worked in various trading, investment, and management roles in the City. He has been actively involved over the years in a number of Arab tech start-up projects, and today continues as a non-executive partner in a leading Arab digital consultancy. Since 2016 Mazen has pursued his interests in researching economic development studies and supporting entrepreneurial endeavours in Palestine and elsewhere. In addition to fulfilling his commitment to the educational advancement of Palestinians on the board of FOBZU, Mazen is also a patron of Medical Aid for Palestinians. He holds a BA in Economics (Rutgers University) and an MPhil in Political Science (Columbia University).

Dr Omar AlShehabi

Dr Omar AlShehabi

Senior Adviser

Omar is Director of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies and Associate Professor in Political Economy at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) in Kuwait. He has previously worked at the IMF, the World Bank, McKinsey, and taught at University College, Oxford. Prior to that he obtained a BA in PPE and an M.Phil and D.Phil. in Economics at Pembroke College, Oxford. He has been a member of the executive board of the Gulf Development Forum since 2011.

Dr Aimee Shalan

Dr Aimee Shalan

Trustee

Aimee is CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians and has previously served as Director at Fobzu. She was formerly Head of Education at CAABU (the Council for Arab-British Understanding) and has written for a variety of publications including the New Statesman, the Guardian, openDemocracy and Jadaliyya. After receiving her doctorate in the Politics of Palestinian Literature from Cambridge University, Aimee taught at City University and at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Policy Member of Al-Shabaka and co-founded Pressure Cooker Arts, a not-for-profit arts and advocacy organisation.

Belinda Coote

Belinda Coote

Trustee

Belinda worked with Oxfam for 18 years in a variety of policy and advocacy and management roles, mainly focused on South Asia and Southern Africa, and which included periods of time living and working in Bangladesh, Nepal and South Africa. In 2002 she became Chief Executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians, a position she held for four years. Since then she has led a number of voluntary sector organisations as Chief Executive. She is currently chair of an Oxford based refugee organisation and working as a freelance consultant. She has authored several publications on international trade.

Dr Marwan Darweish

Dr Marwan Darweish

Trustee

Marwan is Principal Lecturer in Peace Studies at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (CPRS) at Coventry University. His research interests focus on nonviolent resistance, popular protest and conflict transformation. His work has covered the Middle East region and East Africa, with a particular focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has undertaken a variety of peacebuilding projects, working with government and civil society organisations to develop strategies for conflict transformation, peace and justice. Before joining Coventry University, Marwan worked at Responding to Conflict (RTC) as Senior Peace and Conflict Advisor and as director of the Middle East programme. He has published extensively and recently co-authored with Andrew Rigby Popular Protest in Palestine: The Uncertain Future of Unarmed Resistance (Pluto Press, 2015).

Dr Alaa Owaineh

Dr Alaa Owaineh

Trustee

Alaa has been a trustee at Fobzu since 2014, and has been involved in supporting the Fobzu-Ahdaf scholarship programme and assisting with the organisation’s strategy and development, as well as the recruitment of new staff and trustees. Alaa has 14 years of experience in social and market research and analysis in both the corporate and charitable sectors, working with organisations such as BBC Media Action. He holds a PhD in Environmental Strategy from the University of Surrey, an MSc in Business Strategy and the Environment from Birkbeck, University of London, and a BSc in Computer Science from Birzeit University in Palestine, where he studied between 2000 and 2004.

Dr Mezna Qato

Dr Mezna Qato

Trustee

Mezna is a social historian at King’s College, Cambridge, and a Spencer Fellow at the National Academy of Education.  She is currently writing a book on the history of education for Palestinians. She is a founding member of the steering committee of Librarians and Archivists for Palestine, and a coordinator of RIMAAL – the consortium on Middle East and Latin American scholarship. Mezna was the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Fellow at the Centre for Palestine Studies at Columbia University in New York and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture in Amman, Jordan.

Dr Juliette Harkin

Dr Juliette Harkin

Trustee

Juliette currently teaches politics and international relations at the University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University. She is an alumna of Birzeit University (1997) and has studied, lived and worked in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as other parts of the Arab world. She is an established media practitioner having worked in international media and development, holding senior positions at the BBC World Service and The Economist/Economist Intelligence Unit.  Juliette has experience at director level and in advisory roles for major international non-governmental organisations including BBC Media Action and Internews Europe. Juliette’s current academic research focuses on the concept of dignity in the context of social and political change.

Dr Mazen Masri

Dr Mazen Masri

Trustee

Mazen is a Senior Lecturer in law at The City Law School, City University of London. Mazen’s areas of teaching and research are constitutional law and public international law with special interest in comparative constitutionalism, constitutional theory, human rights law and equality. Mazen received his PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto. Among other institutional affiliations, Mazen is a Policy Member of Al-Shabaka – the Palestinian Policy Network; Member of the Advisory Committee, Israel Studies Programme, Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa; and a member of the Legal Support Network at Badil – Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights in Bethlehem.

Our Patrons

Sir Michael Atiyah FRS
Professor (Honorary), Department of Maths, University of Edinburgh
Professor Michael Atiyah is a British mathematician who grew up in Sudan and Egypt. He has held professorships at Princeton and Oxford universities, and became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge University. He has received several awards for his outstanding contribution to mathematics.

William Dalrymple
Writer and Historian
William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society. He is also the founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival. In 2006, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa from the University of St Andrews “for his services to literature and international relations, to broadcasting and understanding.”

Prof Khalil Hindi
Engineer
Professor Khalil Hindi was President of Birzeit University between 2010 and 2015. He is currently Professor of Management Science at the American University of Beirut. He was previously a professor at Brunel University for the Department of Systems Engineering. He also occasionally writes on Arab and Palestinian affairs.

Prof David McLellan
Political Scientist
Professor David McLellan is a leading scholar of political theory.  He is currently a visiting Professor of Political Theory at Goldsmith’s College, and previously occupied a similar position at the University of Kent, for the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Rev Duncan Macpherson
Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Reverend Duncan Macpherson was Trustee and Chair of Fobzu from 1984 to 2004. From 1967 to 2000 he taught in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St Mary’s College, (now St Mary’s University, Twickenham) where he became a visiting Senior Research Fellow in 2011. A Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Westminster, he regularly leads pilgrimages to the Holy Land and is active in charities relating to Palestine.

Prof Steven Rose
Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Science, the Open University
Professor Steven Rose is a specialist in Biology and Neurobiology and started his professorship at the Open University. In 2002, he was awarded the Biochemical Society medal for excellence in public communication of science. He is one of the founding members of the British Committee for Universities of Palestine.

The Rt Hon Lord David Steel of Aikwood KT KTBE DL
Former Leader of the Liberal Party
David Steel, former leader of the Liberal Party, is now the Liberal Democrat‘s spokesman for foreign affairs in the House of Lords. He speaks regularly on democracy and human rights in developing countries.

Juliet Stevenson
Actress
Juliet Stevenson is widely known and respected for her extensive work on stage. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and started her stage career in the early 1980’s with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She won the Best Actress Dagger at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards.

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