Ashrawi was a member of the Intifada Political Committee in 198893 and in 199595 was the founder and commissioner general of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights in Jerusalem. Since 1996, she has served as an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (in the Jerusalem District). In August 1998 she founded the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy.
Ashrawi is the author of This Side of Peace, a personal account of her life and work, and of poems and short stories, as well as papers and articles on Palestinian culture, literature and politics. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D. in medieval and comparative literature from the University of Virginia. She established and chaired the English Department at Bir Zeit and was dean of the faculty of arts. She also founded and headed the Bir Zeit University Legal Aid Committee and the Human Rights Action Project to protect students harassed, jailed and abused by the occupying power. In 199698 she was minister of higher education and research.
Ashrawi is a member of several boards of trustees, including the Carter Center in Atlanta, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights and the Jerusalem Center for Women. She has received honorary degrees from the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary (Virginia), Smith College and Earlham College.
Ashrawis talk was organized by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and is co-sponsored by the Center for the Education of Women; Center for Russian and East European Studies; departments of history, Near Eastern studies and political science; International Institute; Institute for Research on Women and Gender; Office of the Provost; Program in Comparative Literature; Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; and the Womens Studies Program.
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