A brief biography used from an introduction at one of my Invited Talks Given:
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities. He and his wife returned to Palestine in 2008 starting a number of institutions and projects such as a clinical genetics laboratory that serves cancer and other patients. In 2014, they founded (initial personal donation of $250,000) and run (as full time volunteers) the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at Bethlehem University. Qumsiyeh published over 160 scientific papers, over 30 book chapters, and several books on topics ranging from cultural heritage to human rights to biodiversity conservation to cancer. Currently leading the effort to produce the new National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Palestine. He serves on the board of a number of Palestinian youth and service organizations and oversees many projects related to sustainability of human and natural communities. His many published books include "Bats of Egypt", "Mammals of the Holy Land", "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle" and "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment". He also published hundreds of articles and letters to the editor and has an activism book published electronically. He gave hundreds of talks in 45 countries around the world. He especially believes in youth empowerment towards social and environmental causes. The programs he & his wife created impacted thousands. He also serves on the board of a number of Palestinian youth and service organizations. PIBS-BU has become an oasis for visitors to Palestine from around the world. He was selected in March 2008 to be honored among "the writers who have enriched our pages with their creative writings and enlightened us with their progressive thinking" by Arab World Books For his service, community and non-violent resistance he received many awards including American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) Alex Odeh award, the American Friends Service Committee AFSC Connecticut chapter 2004 award, the 2011 Social Courage Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association at the Joint Conference of PJSA and the Gandhi King Conference in October, 2011 at the Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee and in 2021 the Paul K. Feyerabend Foundation and Takreem awards. For these same actions, Qumsiyeh was harassed and arrested. He and his wife and dozens of other volunteers and staff at PIBS continue to have "Joyful participation in the sorrows of this world" and make a real difference for sustainability of nature and human communities
For an autobiographical article published in Northeast Magazine, see The Cucumber and the Cactus.
My scientific achievements are summarized in my Curriculum Vitae. Below are two relevant segments from my book Sharing the Land of Canaan which tells the readers more about my non-scientific interests (outside of my professional work; and yes it is possible to have interests in life outside of our jobs). More material about me can be found throughout this website. I am a self-syndicated columnist and my articles appeared in outlets ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle to Boston Globe to Al-Ahram; See Articles by Qumsiyeh, Interviews and Miscellaneous, Invited Talks Given, Reports and Testimonials
You may want to read About the webpage and the list that I maintain.
At Wildlife Palestine
Institute for Middle East Understanding
Selected Positions held/projects coordinated:
- Vice President, Hasan Mustafa Cultural Center, Battir (2022-date)
- Board member of Territories for Life https://www.iccaconsortium.org/ (2020-date)
- Board Member, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (2005-date)
- Board member, Peace Action Education Fund http://www.peace-action.org/(2008-2009)
- Board of Trustees, Siraj Center http://www.sirajcenter.org
- Steering Committee Member of the US Campaign to End the Occupation (2005-07)
- Executive Committee Member, Palestinian American Congress
- Advisory Board, Sommerville Divestment Project (2006 - 2015)
- Advisory Board, Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project
- Media Coordinator, Palestinian American Congress, CT Chapter
- Media Coordinator, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in North Carolina, Won the Jallow activism award from ADC national in 1998
- Co-founder and ex-national treasurer and ex-media coordinator of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (2000-04)
- Co-founder of the AcademicsForJustice.org and http://BoycottIsraeliGoods.org campaigns.
- Vice President of the Middle East Crisis Committee http://TheStruggle.org (2003-date)
- Founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation
- Coordinator with others for the Oral History Project http://www.palestineremembered.com/oralhistory/
- Advisor, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA
- Member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.).
(Segment from my book:) Acknowledgements
To write a book of this nature is really not a project that is done in isolation. As a Palestinian American I was first and foremost influenced by my upbringing under Israeli occupation, in my undergraduate studies at Jordan University, among Palestinian refugees in Jordan, and in my 24 years in the United States. I am grateful to those people who have touched my life, whether their intent towards me or others was positive or negative. Thus, I am grateful to the Israeli soldier who threw a tear gas bomb into my class, as I am grateful to the Israeli university employee who kindly apologized to me, a young and naive Palestinian student, for her country's actions. I am also grateful to the journalists and editors we tried to educate with varying degrees of success. These experiences, good and bad, helped shape my life. I feel privileged to have been alive at this moment in world history and I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow from interactions with so many people of so many varied persuasions, ethnicity, and religions. I am thus grateful to all those whose paths have crossed mine. More specifically, in the last three years, as the idea for this book crystallized and evolved, I received significant help and encouragement from many people - to name a few key ones: Roman Bystrianyk, Justine McCabe, Salman Abu Sitta, David Kirsh, Bob Hartman, John Hartman, Jess Ghannam, Stanley Heller, and members of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition and the Middle East Crisis Committee. I am also grateful to Pluto Press and in particular Julie Stoll and Roger van Zwanenberg for their efforts. My wife, Jessie, and son, Dany, have given me significant positive influence, work, and encouragement. To those and many others, I am deeply grateful. I take responsibility for any mistakes, whether of omission or commission. Finally, I am grateful to you the reader for reading this book with an open mind. I would consider it a success if it makes some readers want to find out more, and would consider it an even greater success if the book prompts some to work harder for peace in the troubled land of Canaan.
Esse cuam videri
From the section "About the Author"
I was born and raised in Beit Sahour, the biblical Shepherds' Field just on the outskirts of Bethlehem. My first hand experiences as a Palestinian Christian and my educational background in universities both in the Middle East and the US helped shape my evolving world views. I was raised under Israeli occupation and my large family still resides in the area.
My memories include vivid recollections of pastoral farm life, urban education, cultural events, and an overall mosaic of people of varied religions and backgrounds. They include a rich International coterie of friends and relatives visiting from Europe, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the US. As for Israelis, my interactions included not only Israeli soldiers and settlers/colonists but also average Israelis from all walks of life and all stripes.
My bachelor degree in Jordan included the close interaction with Palestinian refugee community in Jordan (Jordan has over 2 million Palestinian refugees). I got my Masters degree at the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University and postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee (included Clinical Fellowship). I was extremely lucky that my research and career turns necessitated extensive travels in Jordan, Israel/Palestine, North Africa, East Africa, Europe, and America. The advantage of the scientific work was accompanied with the advantage of meeting people of all walks of life. Thus visiting universities for their scientific collections or to get educated provided quite a different experience than trapping animals near rural isolated communities in the Middle of the Sahara desert or in the African savanna. This allowed me an understanding of societies not available to tourists.
I became active more directly in social and political causes about 15 years ago but never belonged to one of the many Palestinian liberation movements. My interests continued to evolve as I read more and had a chance to learn from my interactions with the thousands of people I met during my frequent travels. The educational resources available at the Universities I affiliated with allowed me to pursue activism in new directions. This included our abilities to quickly use the internet and web and email as tools for activism.
I was co-founder of a number of organizations and groups: The Triangle Middle East Dialogue, the Carolina Middle East Association, the Holy Land Conservation Foundation, the Middle East Genetics Association, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Academics For Justice, among others.
I published over 120 scientific papers in areas ranging from Zoology to Genetics. My later training was in genetics and I served as Associate Professor of Genetics and director of cytogenetic services both at Duke University and Yale University. I also published two books: Mammals of the Holy Land and Bats of Egypt. This book is the first I write on the Palestine question. However, I have published extensively on these issues including over 100 letters to the editor and over 30 op-ed pieces. I am also interviewed regularly on TV and radio (local, national and international). Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others.
I share this rather complex background so that you the reader understand more about how I came to understand the importance and the centrality of a pluralistic solution to the simmering conflict in the Land of Canaan.
ENVISIONING A BETTER FUTURE: ACTIVIST MAZIN QUMSIYEH INTERVIEWED By Ida Audeh, The Electronic Intifada, 11 May 2009 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10518.shtml
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