Who We Are
Interfaith Peace-Builders was founded in 2001 and became an independent organization in 2006. We have sent almost 60 educational and solidarity delegations to Israel/Palestine. Interfaith Peace-Builders is not affiliated with any government, political party, or special interest group. We are funded primarily through individual donations.
Board of Directors
Ilise Benshushan Cohen has her PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology focused on Mizrahi Jews and their experiences of war and eviction in Israel, and is a long time scholar-activist on the Middle East, particularly on Israel/Palestine and Mizrahi Jews. She is a Sephardic Jew herself, an Atlanta native, and has lived and worked in Israel with Jews and Palestinians. This is Ilise's second stint on Interfaith Peace-Builders' board and is past board chair of Interfaith Peace Builders. She has has led multiple IFPB delegations to Israel/Palestine meeting with nonviolent and human rights activists. Ilise is also a founder of the Jewish Voice for Peace chapter in Atlanta.
Manal Fakhoury is a Palestinian American, born in Anabta, Palestine; her family immigrated to the US when she was 6 years old. Manal earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California and her MBA from Webster University. She is the founder and president of Fakhoury Leadership International, a consulting, training and coaching company. She and her family travel to Palestine regularly, are IFPB delegates, and have volunteered in several humanitarian efforts. She is Co-Director of CDI (Citizen Diplomacy Initiative), a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage American, Israeli and Palestinian people to acquire a consciousness and understanding of one another as individuals, as members of their communities, as citizens of their countries and as part of the family of nations, through the formation of three-way sister city relationships in an effort to end the occupation. Manal serves on a dozen boards and is very active in her community in Ocala, Florida. She and her husband Riadh have five beautiful children, who are also very active.
Mark W. Harrison serves as the Director of the Peace with Justice Program of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society. His major responsibilities are war and peace and global poverty and hunger. He also administers the agency’s Peace with Justice Grant Program. His lifetime work has given him an understanding of the workings of the U.S. Congress and the United Nations. He has attended numerous ecumenical and nongovernmental organizations gatherings. Mark has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies and a graduate degree in International Studies. He served as a Mission Intern in Botswana for the General Board of Global Ministries.
Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of the website Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective. Prior to Mondoweiss, Adam was Director of the Israel/Palestine Program for the American Friends Service Committee. He is the co-editor (along with Philip Weiss and Lizzy Ratner) of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict (Nation Books). He has a master's degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University. Prior to joining the Board, Adam also also led two Interfaith Peace-Builders delegations to Palestine/Israel.
Katie Huerter is the Middle East Peace Building Associate for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). She currently directs and facilitates AFSC’s Middle East Peace Education Project, providing information forums and building support for a just foreign policy toward Israel-Palestine throughout the U.S. Midwest Region, as well as, directs several national projects, campaigns, and events as part of AFSC’s Israel-Palestine Joint Program. Katie’s first visit to Israel and Palestine was during the Arab Spring in July 2011 on an IFPB delegation. She has since both organized and participated in delegations to the Middle East, most recently in May 2014, when she visited AFSC’s offices and programs in Gaza and the West Bank. As an undergraduate, Katie founded the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Chapter, and currently is a member of SJP’s National Organizing Committee and serves locally on Nebraskans for Peace Palestinian Task Force’s Board. Katie continues to work locally and nationally as a vocal advocate and community organizer for equal rights, justice, and freedom in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hanan Idilbi is a Palestinian-American attorney. Currently living in Washington, DC, Hanan resided in her parents' hometown of Akka (in Palestine/Israel) for five years and spent a year in Egypt at the American University in Cairo where she studied Arabic literature. She is currently a federal employment law attorney and was previously a litigator with a civil rights firm in DC. Hanan served on the coordinating committee of the US Palestine Community Network (USPCN) from 2007-2009 and was a member of the DC Dabkeh Troupe, which promoted Palestinian culture through traditional folkloric dance. She graduated summa cum laude from the American University Washington College of Law where she was a Public Interest/Public Service Scholar, participated in the International Human Rights Law Clinic, and co-chaired the Immigrants' Rights Coalition.
Lorraine LeBlanc is an actress and school volunteer now living in her hometown of New Orleans. Her interest in Middle East peace grew from having Lebanese grandparents who immigrated to Mexico. Her son also has a Jewish grandmother so her involvement is urgently personal in addition to being grounded in an abiding concern for social and political justice. Lorraine traveled to Israel/Palestine with an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation in 2009 and the experience cemented her desire to participate in achieving justice and peace for everyone living in the region. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and Penn State. She has spent over twenty years working in the areas of fundraising and strategic planning for social service and arts-related non- profits.
Guillermo Márquez-Sterling is a pastor in the United Church of Christ and has a Doctorate in Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. For over 15 years, Guillermo has participated in numerous actions for economic justice, making him a firm believer in the power of collaboration and networking. His passion for Palestine began in 2008 when he was part of a pilgrimage to Israel and witnessed the blatant injustice toward the Palestinian people. In the years that followed, Guillermo organized several educational programs to lift awareness and prepare the community for a BDS campaign that climaxed in the summer of 2015 with the denominational pledge to divest funds from the UCC pension. He was part of the IFPB Olive Harvest delegation in 2013 and the Sabeel Conference that followed. He authored Rise of the Spiritual Activist (2012) and enjoys writing op-ed pieces.
Richard Moss co-led an ongoing Arab/Jewish Dialogue Group in Monterey, California for 5 years. He established and led a grassroots organization for 6 years as they provided alternative information regarding the portrayal of the conflict in the Middle East. He is a Jewish-American who has traveled to Israel/Palestine four times over eight years with IFPB. He served in the US Army from 1967 to 1969 as a medic with one year in Vietnam. He has worked as a registered nurse in critical care units. Also, for 13 years he worked with the National Coalition Building Institute in local high schools to increase diversity awareness and understanding. This work included training agency and community leaders. He sat on the board of a nonprofit organization that provides violence reduction work in local middle schools. He holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of California.
Lisa Nessan is a Jewish American from the San Francisco Bay Area. Lisa first visited Israel when she was 16 and later studied there in 1997-98. From 2002 to 2005 she lived and worked in the West Bank documenting and supporting grassroots nonviolent resistance against the occupation. Lisa has conducted nonviolence trainings for international volunteers working with the International Solidarity Movement and coordinated with Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations in Israel and the West Bank to facilitate support for Palestinian communities faced with Israeli military and settler violence. She has been leading delegations to the region for IFPB and Global Exchange since 2001.
Reverend Joi Orr first came to Interfaith Peace-Builders as a delegate on our 2012 African Heritage delegation. Joi is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and Howard University School of Divinity where she served as the Student Government Association President and Co-Chair/Founder of Seminarians for Justice. Joi is a consultant for faith based nonprofits, who crafts outreach materials for faith communities in a way that is creative and effective. She is a skilled writer, speaker, trainer, and strategist who has successfully managed c3 educational campaigns, organized clergy conferences, and advocacy events.
Mary Poor is an analyst and editor for the Center for Social Innovation (C4), an organization that conducts research, evaluation, training, and technical assistance to improve the lives of marginalized and vulnerable populations. She supports programs that focus on complex public health problems, including homelessness, trauma, and mental illness. Prior to C4, Mary completed a master’s degree in international development, with an emphasis on development in conflict-affected areas and the Middle East. Earlier in her career, she worked as a grant writer for cultural and environmental nonprofit organizations and later taught English literature and writing at several Boston area universities. She holds a M.A. in English and American literature from Boston College, and a M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.
Sarah Scruggs is Head Organizer at Manna, a DC-based nonprofit affordable homeownership corporation. Her organizing and nonprofit experience grew out of extensive work on Palestinian-Israeli issues. Sarah has both lived and worked in Palestine/Israel, conducting human rights reporting and civilian accompaniment with Christian Peacemaker Teams and as Communications Officer for a Palestinian youth empowerment project. A 2009 graduate of American University's International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, Sarah has a chapter in the recently published book Nonviolent Resistance in the Second Intifada: Activism and Advocacy. Prior to her graduate studies, Sarah worked as a fundraiser for Save the Children, organizing delegations to various Save the Children field programs and coordinating fundraising leadership councils throughout the United States. She also worked for the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights (AAPER).
Cathy Sultan lived in Beirut, Lebanon with her Lebanese husband and two children from 1969 to 1983. In March 2002, Cathy traveled to Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time to interview Palestinian refugees, scholars, Israeli soldiers, teenagers, teachers, businessmen and peace activists. Those interviews compose the material for her first book: Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with Both Sides. A third and up-to-date version of this book was just published in March 2015. Cathy has also penned two books on Lebanon: A Beirut Heart: One Woman’s War and Tragedy in South Lebanon: The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006. Her newest work, The Syrian, a political thriller, was released in October 2014. Prior to joining IFPB, she sat on the Executive Board of the National Peace Foundation where she coordinated programs designed to educate members about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cathy led IFPB delegations in 2008, 2009 and 2010, 2016 and traveled to Gaza in November 2012 with an IFPB delegation.
Mike Daly is Managing Director at IFPB. He has worked with the organization since 2004. Before coming to IFPB, he studied in Damascus as a Fulbright Scholar, worked as a public relations consultant with the United Nations Development Programme in Ramallah, and completed a year of intensive Arabic at the American University in Cairo. Mike has co-led five IFPB delegations, presented at numerous conferences and workshops and taken on leadership roles in national, regional and local organizing initiatives and coalitions.
Jacob Pace is Communications Director at IFPB, and staffs the San Francisco office. Jake joined the organization in 2007 after first traveling to the region with an IFPB delegation in 2003. He previously worked with Partners for Peace, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, California. He spent more than a year in Israel/Palestine between 2003 and 2005 working with the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem in Bethlehem and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip. His work experience has focused particularly on media advocacy and grassroots organizing.
Emily Siegel is Program Director at IFPB. Emily holds a Master's Degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the School of International Service at American University and a BA in International Relations, with minors in Sociology and Jewish Studies, from the University of Delaware. Her undergraduate studies included time abroad at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, exploring Israeli society, politics, and Bedouin rights. The focus of Emily’s Masters’ Degree was on the intersection of justice and peace-building through education, including extensive research on identity formation in the Israeli school system and how peace education methods create social change. Emily has previously worked for Seeds of Peace, Partners for Peace, AMIDEAST, the US Institute of Peace, and as Assistant Director of Unity Programs at Abraham’s Vision. She is a trained facilitator and has co-facilitated dialogues focusing on US-Islam relations and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.