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Hanan Ashrawi
Ramallah, Palestine
(1946-    )
Hanan Ashrawi - Professor, Bir Zeit University. Palestinian diplomat and negotiator, chosen in 1991 to represent (PLO) in the Middle East peace talks convened in Madrid.
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Hanan Ashrawi

Professor , Bir Zeit University.

The Palestinian diplomat and negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, b. 1946, a university professor and mother of two young daughters , she was chosen in 1991 to represent the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the Middle East peace talks convened in Madrid in October. Her masterly use of spoken English and her cool, pragmatic, Western-style negotiating skills won the admiration even of her Israeli adversaries in the talks that led in December 1993 to an agreement for the phased withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Who is Hanan Ashrawi?

Ashrawi was born in Ramallah, Palestine, the youngest of five daughters of a Palestinian physician and political leader. A Christian, she studied in Christian schools and at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, before earning a doctorate at the University of Virginia in the United States. She and her husband, a professional photographer and musician, chose to live in the Occupied West Bank, where she became a professor of medieval and comparative literature at Bir Zeit University.

In the ferment of the Palestinian liberation movement, Ashrawi joined the PLO Fatah faction, which, together with her eloquence and lucidity, recommended her to all sides in the Middle East negotiations. She attended the peace talks throughout the opening session in Madrid until their successful conclusion in December 1993, when she resigned to head the PLO's mission in Washington, D.C. As the Israeli withdrawals began, she returned to her teaching responsibilities in Bir Zeit, where she headed the Palestinian Independent Commission on Civil Rights, concerned among other things with preventing reprisals against Palestinians who had cooperated with the Israelis during the occupation. In January 1996 she was elected to a seat on the Palestinian Council, representing East Jerusalem.

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Hanan Ashrawi