Staff

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Executive Director

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon is the executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace and an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). Cannon formerly served as the senior director of Advocacy and Outreach for World Vision U.S. on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC; as consultant to the Middle East for child advocacy issues for Compassion International in Jerusalem; as the executive pastor of Hillside Covenant Church located in Walnut Creek, California; and as director of development and transformation for extension ministries at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois.

Cannon holds an MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary, an MBA from North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management, and an MA in bioethics from Trinity International University. She received her first doctorate in American History with a minor in Middle Eastern studies at the University of California (Davis) focusing on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine and her second doctorate in Ministry in Spiritual Formation from Northern Theological Seminary. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today, Leadership Magazine, The Christian Post, Jerusalem Post, EU Parliament Magazine, Huffington Post, and other international media outlets.
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Kyle Cristofalo
Director of Advocacy and Government Relations

Kyle holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Messiah College, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Kyle was first introduced to Middle East advocacy work during a semester abroad in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from college, Kyle spent 10 months serving with the Mennonite Central Committee in Bethlehem, Palestine, where he was seconded to work with Bethlehem Bible College. Most recently, Kyle served as the Program Assistant for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on Legislation where he helped coordinate lobbying work on Middle East policy and trained grassroots advocates on how to lobby their Congressional representatives.

Nicole Morgan
Operations Manager

Nicole earned her Masters in Theological Studies with an emphasis in Public Policy from Palmer Seminary of Eastern University in Saint Davids, PA.  Before joining CMEP, Nicole worked with an educational non-profit near Chicago and as a high school teacher near Atlanta. Nicole believes deeply that the way we love our neighbors says a lot about our love for God. She lives near Atlanta, GA.

Katie McRoberts
Director of Communications

Katie is the Director of Communications. She currently lives in Berlin and works remotely. She has a B.A. in International Affairs in the Middle East from James Madison University and an M.A. in Comparative Religion – Islam from the University of Washington. Previously, she worked at Bellevue Presbyterian Church as their Editor-in-Chief on the Communications Team.

Elli Atchison
Donor Ambassador

Elli Atchison’s love for Jesus initially brought her to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage in 2012. But it is her love for all of God’s people that has continued to send her back every year since. The friendships she has made with Israelis and Palestinians over the years inspire her to work as an advocate for just peace.

As an educator and a mother, Elli is motivated to help improve the lives of children living in the region. She has volunteered with World Vision, sponsored projects for children in Palestine, and currently helps lead an interfaith ministry for peace with justice in her community. She is proud to serve along side the staff of CMEP, volunteering as the Ambassador of Donor Engagement and a Regional Coordinator. Elli and her husband primarily live in Orlando, where they stay busy homeschooling their three children, traveling, and volunteering in their community.
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Alison Glick
Director of Development

Alison lived and worked for six years in the Middle East, including three years in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and three years in Yarmouk Camp near Damascus, Syria. In Palestine she taught at the Quaker-run Friends Schools in Ramallah and worked as a human rights researcher for an NGO in Gaza City during the first Palestinian intifada. 

Alison recently served as Assistant Director of Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Studies and as international program officer for a whistleblower support and advocacy organization, where she helped build an international network of anti-corruption and transparency advocates. Her development experience includes serving on and working with Boards of Directors, managing grants and donor relations, and planning crowdfunding initiatives. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Middle East history, and has been working for justice, equality and dignity for all in Israel/Palestine for many years. 
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Sara Burback
Director of Outreach

Sara Burback served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan as an English teacher. Her experience there led her to the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies, where she earned her MA in International Human Rights and served as an intern in World Vision's Advocacy office, where she focused on addressing advocacy work within the faith-based community regarding Israel and Palestine. She recently worked as a Program Coordinator at the United States Energy Association in Washington, DC, creating workshops and exchanges addressing capacity-building and energy access needs in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She's served as a volunteer with CMEP for the And Still We Rise Summit, is a regular contributor to the online periodical Shared Justice, and participates annually in Bethlehem's Right to Movement marathon in defense of the basic human right to movement.

Maya Ungar
Bulletin Coordinator

Maya was previously a 2018 summer Research and Government Affairs Intern in the D.C. office, and is now serving as our Bulletin Coordinator. She is studying International Studies, Political Science and French at the University of Arkansas. In a previous trip to Israel and Jordan she was first exposed to Middle East culture and became fascinated with it. This has prompted her passion for studying and working for peace in the region. This year, Maya will be entering her junior year, trying out tons of new vegetarian recipes, and spending a semester studying abroad in Thailand. 

Michelle Guzman
Research Coordinator

Michelle served as a 2018 summer Research Intern at the CMEP D.C. office and is now serving as a Research Coordinator. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science. In 2017, Michelle travelled to Jordan, Israel and Palestine to develop a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her studies and experiences have made her very passionate about working towards peace in the region.   

Ambassador Warren Clark Fellows


Andrew Wickersham
Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow

Andrew Wickersham serves as a CMEP Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow. He previously served as the Government Relations Intern during the fall of 2017 after recently completing his MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago. As a history student with interests in nationalism, identity, and minority rights, Andrew has been interested in the Middle East politics for many years. His stay in the West Bank with host families during the fall of 2014 prompted him to become engaged on the issues surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. His passion for politics led him to look for ways to advocate for a just and peaceful resolution to Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in Washington, D.C after graduating.     

Jennifer Atala
Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow
Jennifer Atala, a Palestinian American, has a consulting business where she advises entrepreneurs, private businesses, and associations in business development, B2B marketing, and strategy. Most recently, she led private sector competitiveness for the private sector and USAID in Palestine. 
 
Prior, Ms. Atala led software development and data analytics projects in the private sector in the U.S., managed a job creation and stabilization program for USAID in Afghanistan, led microfinance impact initiatives in Egypt, and worked with the financial institutions group at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC. 
 
She graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with an M.A. in International Economics and Development and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago.  Based between Ramallah and Haifa, she is also an active yoga teacher and Truman National Security Project Fellow. 
 
Her work at Atala Consulting has been highlighted in Haaretz for forging business partnerships between Palestinians and Israelis. She has also been mentioned in The Jerusalem Post for her Yoga teachings and has written an op-ed titled "A Fifth Question: Seder Reflections from a Palestinian-American Christian."

 

 

www.atala.me

Volunteers


Jessica Hill
Volunteer

Jessica Hill holds a B.A in History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She was first introduced to the Holy Land by participating in an archaeological excavation in the region during 2014. Her specific areas of interest are women’s advocacy, and peace building through faith based initiatives. As a religious Jew, she is also particularly interested in working Jewish millennials to explore their relationship with the Holy Land and educate about the realities on the ground. Jessica is currently a regional coordinator with CMEP and served CMEP as an intern Spring 2017.

Bailey Reed
Communications Volunteer

Bailey Reed holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Kansas, and an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Manchester. During her master’s program, Bailey spent time researching with local non-profits and think-tanks in various conflict-affected regions, and was introduced to human rights work as an intern for the United Nations in Minsk in 2016. Her specific areas of interest include peace-building through religious dialogue, education as a human right, and she spent time volunteering with refugees from the middle-east region in Greece during the summer of 2017. Bailey is currently based in Boulder, Colorado, and will continue advocating for human rights as an Ecumenical Accompanier in the fall of 2019. 

Celia Riley
Volunteer

Celia is a volunteer with the CMEP Communication team. She has a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration, moving to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to work as a Research Analyst on Capitol Hill. After returning from a 2011, dual-narrative trip to the Holy Land, Celia searched for ways to become involved with advocacy. For three years, she led teams from National Community Church to Bethlehem to learn from organizations and local peacemakers that pursue justice and reconciliation. Upon return, she connected team members to CMEP’s advocacy work and approach to holistic policy.

Interns


Isaac Brown
Intern

Isaac is currently a 2018 research and government affairs intern in the D.C. office, and is a Conflict Analysis and Resolution major with a focus on critical terrorism studies. While attending university Isaac is also debate coach of a highly successful debate team ranking either first or second in the National Debate Tournament (NDT) points championship for the past five years. Isaac before coaching was a highly successful national debater in the varsity division whose method of argumentation spanned from post-modernism to political theory. Because of this he affirms that his experience in the world of policy debate played a significant role in his interest in not only policy making but philosophy as well. It is this dualism that Isaac sees as his primary selling point, the ability to both critique and reflect, he believes is a necessary precondition for success in the rapid world of politics.

Marissa Deweerd
Intern

Marissa DeWeerd is a 2018 Middle East Partnership Intern who just received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Religious Studies from Mount Allison University. She spent part of 2016 living in Amman, Jordan, actively learning about the area's language, culture and politics. Since then, she has been involved in various programs within her community, and is ecstatic to begin working again in the region that so captivates her. She is currently working out of Amman, where she enjoys Knafeh and continuing to practice her Arabic.