Model Role Details

Hilary Rantisi

Hilary Rantisi

Sector : Public Figures , Public Figures

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : United States
  • Gender : Female
  • Born in : 1972
  • Age : 44
  • Curriculum vitae :

Information

Palestinian-American Hilary Rantisi is Director of the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is also a frequent speaker on Palestinian issues and is active in promoting Palestinian art and culture.

Rantisi was born in 1972 in East Jerusalem, but grew up in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Growing up under occupation our life has always been politicized," she explains. "My father was a refugee from Lydda, and this is part of my identity as well. In 1976, he was elected deputy mayor of Ramallah. As all Palestinians living under occupation, our family experienced the daily restrictions and violence of the occupation. Curfews, imprisonment, shootings, home demolitions and land confiscation are all realities we have experienced intimately. Growing up the way I did and knowing how unjust it was it was hard to remain silent."

Upon earning her BA from Aurora University and Masters from the University of Chicago, Rantisi went to work for the Palestinian Christian Theology organization Sabeel from 1997 until 2001. There she organized conferences, created programs about the occupation for pilgrims and tourists, and developed a photo exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the Nakba, which was displayed worldwide. With Naim Ateek, Rantisi co-edited the 1999 book Our Story: The Palestinians.

Following her time with Sabeel, Rantisi moved to the United States and began working at the Middle East Initiative, where she has been Director since 2004. "We do executive training programs and public events focused on the larger Middle East," Rantisi says.

Outside of her job, Rantisi has done several speaking tours throughout the U.S. organized by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. She also helped establish Tawassul, an NGO that promotes Palestinian art and culture in the Boston area through exhibits, performances and film festivals.

Rantisi's family maintains an apartment in Ramallah. "As I arrive in Ramallah, in some ways I feel I have never left. On another level many things have changed," she says. "The growth of the settlements and the wall are solidifying the occupation even more. But people are resilient. I'm continually in awe of what is being created by artists, musicians and filmmakers. To me it's amazing that in the midst of everything they continue to create and live and love life. I always come back wanting to share that. It's so absent from the image that Americans have of Palestinians."



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