Sharaka: Building peace in times of war, Middle Eastern delegation to speak at URI on April 1

KINGSTON, R.I. — March 28, 2024 — Members of Sharaka (’Partnership’ in Arabic), a non-governmental organization working to shape a new Middle East, built on dialogue, understanding, cooperation and friendship, will speak at the University of Rhode Island on Monday, April 1, at 5 p.m.

The panel discussion will be held in the Hardge Forum in the Multicultural Student Service Center, 74 Lower College Road.

The program, sponsored by URI Hillel, the URI Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity, and the Department of Political Science, is free and open to the public. Registration is requested as space is limited.

Established in 2020 by people from Israel, The United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain after the signing of The Abraham Accords, Sharaka is dedicated to promoting people-to-people diplomacy in the Middle East through education and engagement. Sharaka’s critical work has intensified since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza, creating a space for dialogue and understanding between Israelis and Arabs; Jews and Muslims.

The dynamic delegation will address current tensions and the Hamas-Israel war and how the Abraham Accords and peace fit into the equation. Offering nuanced perspectives straight from the region, Sharaka aims to inform, reduce polarization, and encourage dialogue and a positive and constructive way forward.

The members of the delegation coming to URI are:

Dan Feferman

Dan Feferman – Israel: Sharaka’s executive director, author, speaker, researcher, and geopolitical expert. Feferman is a researcher, podcaster and speaker on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world. A regular commentator on international media, he was an advisor and analyst in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, was a fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and has worked with the top public relations, advisory, and research firms in Israel. 

Fatema Al Harbi

Fatema Al Harbi – Bahrain: Sharaka’s Gulf Affairs director, author, and peace ambassador. Author of five works of fiction, she uses love stories to discuss women’s issues in Bahrain. She is a peace advocate and an athletics champion and was the first Bahraini youth to publicly visit Israel. She is working toward a Ph.D. in leadership and management. 

Youssef Elazhari

Youssef Elazhari – Morocco: Sharaka Morocco affairs director, marketing specialist, and civil society activist. With a background in marketing, Youssef is passionate about tech, education, and peacebuilding, especially after visiting Israel in 2022. He is a founder of “Fihira” a non-profit that helps girls remain in school across Africa. He is also a member of the Global Shapers program of the World Economic Forum.

Loay Ahmed Al Shareef

Loay Ahmed Al Shareef – United Arab Emirates-Saudi Arabia: Social media influencer, peace advocate, linguistics expert. Peace activist, public relations expert, Alshareef is a popular social media influencer, peace activist and linguist based in Abu Dhabi. Loay uses his knowledge of semitic and other languages, and his in-depth knowledge of Jewish and Muslim religious texts to bring people together across divides. Loay aims to use his knowledge in Judeo-Arabic heritage to build better relations between Arabs and the Jewish people.

Ahmed Khuzaie

Ahmed Khuzaie Bahrain: Sharaka director of Political Affairs, political consultant, and author. Khuazaie is a Bahraini political consultant, and founder of the U.S. Council on Gulf Affairs. He is the author of “Kingdom of Bahrain: Political Review,” and other works on Gulf politics, political campaigns and management.

Maryam Younnes

Maryam Younnes – Lebanon-Israel: Advocate for Lebanese/Israeli coexistence and for Christian minorities in the Middle East/North Africa region. Maryam Younnes, is a Christian Lebanese – Israeli activist and advocate for minorities in the Middle East. In 2000, at the age of 5, her family fled Lebanon and went to Israel. Since then, she and her family have assimilated into the local Israeli community while still preserving their strong Lebanese roots in their family life. She works to raise awareness for Christian minorities in the Middle East, to promote Israel-Lebanon relations, and to speak up for Israel as a member of a proud Israeli minority, using her social media platforms.