Khaled Abu Awwad
Khaled Abu Awwad is among the foremost figures in the Palestinian community working toward peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. He has been a part of the founding of three groundbreaking organizations, has been awarded various international prizes for his projects including the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the promotion of nonviolence and tolerance in 2011, and was named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.
Khaled’s family has been greatly affected by the conflict, which has shaped his beliefs and actions. His mother and his brother Ali were jailed during the First Intifada for extended periods, and Khaled himself spent a total of 18 months in confinement. In 2000, his brother Youssuf was killed by Israeli soldiers, two years later another brother, Said, died ten days after being wounded, and his son Muayyad was seriously wounded and left handicapped. In 2009 his son Muhanad was arrested and jailed for several years. Muhanad was jailed again at the end of 2015 and was released in July 2017.
With everything that he has faced, Khaled remains dedicated to nonviolence and communication: “To anyone who says that it is only by war or by force or by eradicating the other side that rights can be won or dreams achieved, I say, ‘That is not so.’ For one side cannot eradicate the other. We cannot kill their dreams and they are unable to kill ours. We must divide this place among us all and live in peace or all of us will live in hell.”
Khaled presently serves as the Palestinian co-director of Roots/Shorashim/Judur, the Palestinian-Israeli grassroots initiative for understanding, nonviolence and transformation.