Dr. Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi is the Founder and Executive Committee Chair of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Founder and board member of the National Coalition for Accountability and Integrity, AMAN, Dr. Ashrawi is also founder and Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and served as its first Commissioner General. As head of the previous PLC's Special Committee on Reform and Coordinator of the Steering Committee of the National Reform Committee, Dr. Ashrawi was actively engaged in the planning and implementation of programs and systems of reform, accountability, and the rule of law. From 1996-1998 she served as the Minister of Higher Education and Research. Dr. Ashrawi was also a member of the Political and Diplomatic Committees during the Intifada and the negotiations. In 1991, she was named Official Spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Process and a member of the Leadership Committee.
Dr. Ashrawi holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. From 1973-95, Dr. Ashrawi was a faculty member of Birzeit University, held the positions of Dean, Faculty of Arts; Founder and Chairperson, Department of English; and Founder and Head of Birzeit University Legal Aid Committee/ Human Rights Documentation Project. She is also the author of many books, articles, poems, and short stories on Palestinian politics, culture, and literature. Her book, This Side of Peace (Simon & Schuster, 1995), gained world recognition. She has been acclaimed for her work both in peace-making, reform, and good governance, as well as in international political engagement. Dr. Ashrawi has received many honorary degrees from global universities and numerous awards, among which are the 'Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation' in 2005 and the 'Sydney Peace Prize' in 2003.