Hanan Ashrawi is the Diana Tamari Sabbagh Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at the Baker Institute. A noted Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar, Ashrawi served as the official spokeswoman for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process during the Madrid peace conference in 1991. In 1996, Ashrawi was appointed the Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research, but she resigned the post in 1998 in protest of the political mishandlings of peace talks during that period.
In 2006, Ashrawi was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the "Third Way" bloc ticket. She founded and serves on the executive committees of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) and the National Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN). She also founded and is commissioner of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR). Ashrawi serves on the advisory board of several organizations, including the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Human Rights Council. She is the recipient of the 2005 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation, the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize and the 2002 Olof Palme Prize. Ashrawi is also the author of many books, articles, poems and short stories on Palestinian politics, culture and literature. Her book "This Side of Peace" (Simon & Schuster, 1995) earned worldwide recognition.
Ashrawi received her bachelor"s and master"s degrees from American University of Beirut and her doctorate in medieval and comparative literature from the University of Virginia. She has also received honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Arab world.