Staff, Board and Advisors

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The Middle East Children's Alliance Staff

Barbara Lubin, Founder and Executive Director, is a life-long peace, justice and disability rights activist. She has led nearly twenty delegations of North Americans to Palestine/Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. She has lectured on the issue of Middle East politics and the plight of the children in the region to dozens of schools, universities, conferences, religious institutions and community groups and she is a frequent speaker at anti-war rallies. Barbara is also the former President of the Berkeley Board of Education. She has four grown children and seven grandchildren.

Ziad Abbas, Program Manager for Cross-Cultural Programs, is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank. He is the cofounder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh. Ziad is also a fimlmaker, journalist and educator who has worked with Palestinian and international media and has participated in the production of several documentary films. He was the co- producer and production manager of Promises, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002. He completed his Master of Arts in Social Justice and International Relations from the World Learning School for International Training Graduate Institute.

Deborah Agre, Development Director, worked as a volunteer direct mail fundraising consultant to MECA from 1991 until she joined the staff in June 2003. She is responsible for direct mail, major donor and foundation fundraising as well as the newsletter and other communications. She has worked in fundraising and communications positions at The Breast Cancer Fund, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Women's Health Rights Coalition. She was a Senior Consultant at Mal Warwick & Associates, a direct mail fundraising agency working for progressive causes and candidates. Deborah has two school-age sons and she is involved in efforts to build political and financial support for the Berkeley Public Schools.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women's rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. She was born in Khan Younis, Gaza and has dedicated herself to developing community based programs that aim to improve health quality and link health services with cultural and recreation services all over the Gaza Strip. Dr. El-Farra is also the Health Chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip and a member of the Union of Health Work Committees. Dr. El-Farra has a son and two daughters.

Dr. Said Ghabayen, Water Expert and Technical Supervisor, has more than 10 years of experience in water-related development projects. He has worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Palestinian Water Authority, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Said received his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering from Utah State University in 2004, M.S. from IHE Delft in the Netherlands in 1998, and B.S degree in Civil Engineering from IIT, Delhi, India.

Penny Rosenwasser, Ph.D., Special Events Coordinator, just published (2013) Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears. In 1992 she published a book of interviews, Voices from a 'Promised Land': Palestinians and Israeli Peace Activists Speak Their Hearts. Penny has produced over one hundred educational and cultural events for MECA, and has organized and led four women's peace delegations to Palestine/Israel. She produced and hosted many radio programs on these issues and has toured the country with her slide shows, "The Face of Occupation” and “Women Waging Peace.” Penny is also active with Jewish Voice for Peace; her dissertation was on the psychological effects of Jewish oppression on Jews.

Josie Shields-Stromsness, Program Director, lived and worked in Palestine for six months before joining the staff of the Middle East Children's Alliance. She volunteered with the Palestinian Environmental NGO Network (now the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign) in Jerusalem and the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Josie now lives in Palestine and regularly visits MECA partners and projects. She also co-leads MECA delegations to Palestine/Israel. Josie is married and has a son. 

MECA would like to give a special thank you to Howard Levine, Jos Sances, and Nancy Ippolito for their ongoing support of our work.