JCA 2017 Keynote Speaker

Sami Awad


Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust. He was born in 1971 in the US. His parents are both Palestinians; Sami’s father, Bishara Awad, became a refugee at age nine after his father was killed in the 1948 war, and the family was forced out of their home in what is now West Jerusalem.

Sami's father is the founder of the Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, and Sami's mother Salwa is from the Gaza Strip. At a young age, Sami was influenced by the teachings of his uncle Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian activist who promoted nonviolent resistance to the occupation during the first Intifadah (popular uprising), and he was arrested and deported for his peaceful/nonviolent activities by the Israeli government.

Through working with Mubarak, Sami was introduced to great leaders and visionaries of the global nonviolence movement; from Jesus to Gandhi, to King. Sami Awad holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the American University in Washington D.C. and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas.