Summit 2020 | Speakers
Jeremy Ben-Ami is the President of J Street, bringing to the organization deep experience in American politics, a strong belief in the power of diplomacy and a passionate commitment to the state of Israel. In this role, he has been at the center of the evolving debate around Israel and US foreign policy in Washington and in the American Jewish community.
As a leading national commentator on US foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ben-Ami has been profiled in The New York Times, Washington Post and CQ. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Politico, The Guardian and many other outlets. Ben-Ami appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC and the Colbert Report, and has headlined lectures, debates and public discussions in communities across the United States.
Ben-Ami was one of the leading advocates in the successful campaign to secure congressional approval for the Iran nuclear agreement. He consults regularly with leading policymakers, officials and experts on foreign policy, national security and the US-Israel relationship. A veteran political staffer, he served in the White House in the mid-1990s as an adviser to President Bill Clinton. He has worked on seven Presidential and numerous state and local campaigns, serving as Howard Dean’s National Policy Director in 2004 and co-managing a New York City mayoral campaign in 2001.
Ben-Ami received a law degree from New York University and is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Relations at Princeton University. He lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with his wife and their two children.
As Head of Office for Catholic Relief Services in Gaza, Bassam Nasser leads a team in Gaza City focused on providing assistance for the most vulnerable populations throughout the country. He also works closely with local partners and helps them bring vital programs to people in the community.
Bassam has more than 15 years of experience in humanitarian aid, having worked with USAID partner organizations and the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution before joining CRS in 2010.
Bassam is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English.
Mrs. Khijoyan has been the chairperson of the Armenian Church University Students Association as well as an executive committee member of the World Student Christian Federation representing the Middle East region. She has served on the Lebanese ecumenical committee and the Middle East ecumenical committee for several years. She holds a Research Masters in Humanities from Saint Joseph University of Beirut, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Religion and Global Governance from the University of Geneva, a teaching diploma in English language and literature from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
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.
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.
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.