The B8 of Hope Advisory Board

The Advisory Board contributes to the mission and vision of B8 of Hope. It provides guidance and expertise to the Executive Director, while ensuring that B8 of Hope’s efforts have an impact on Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding NGOs and movements. Composed of a diverse set of experts from academia and the peacebuilding sector, its members possess a wide range of relevant expertise which facilitates the transmission of valuable insights and recommendations on a variety of issues concerning peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The Advisory Board’s guidance and expertise ensures that B8 of Hope’s vision and mission reflect the needs of the Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilding ecosystem in the field.

Ahmad Abu-Akel is a cognitive and social neuroscientist and is currently a professor of psychopathology at the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Haifa. Ahmad is a Palestinian, originally from the Wadi Ara region of Israel. His interest and involvement in peace-building began at age 15 when he started volunteer work as a lecturer and coordinator at the Givaat Haviva Center for Peace, Israel. His research contributed to understanding the neurobiological bases of empathy and its potential role in conflict resolution. He is on the advisory board of Empathy for Peace, a Canadian non-profit organization, and has recently
been named interim co-director of the soon to be established The Cambridge Empathy for Peace Research Centre. While he was based in Switzerland as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne and a lecturer of experimental cognitive psychology at the College of Humanities, EPFL, he collaborated with B8 of Hope and Alliance for Middle East on their joint project The Mid East Storytellers.

Fiuna Seylan Ongen, of Japanese, Turkish and Swiss origins, was born and raised in Paris where she earned a Master in Business Management. After 4 years in Tokyo, where she obtained a Master in Social Anthropology, she led a 25 years marketing executive career at Nestlé. In 2008, she joined Coexistences, an NGO in Lausanne hosting Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups to deepen their dialog and experiment intense coexistence over 10 days. As the chair of Coexistences’ board, Fiuna has gained extensive knowledge of the local Israeli and Palestinian peace building field through her multiple travels to the region. She earned a Peace Building diploma and a Gender and Militarization diploma at Swisspeace/Basel University. Representative of Coexistences at the KOFF (the Swiss platform for peace), Fiuna is also the co-chair of the Information Commission at FEDEVACO, a coalition of 48 NGOs leading development programs in the South raising funds at federal, cantonal and municipal levels. Coexistences and B8 of Hope have been partnering since 2018, around the participation of B8 of Hope grantees to Coexistences programs.

Hiba Qasa is the Founding Executive Director of the Principles for Peace Foundation in Geneva, pioneering a set of groundbreaking principles, standards, and metrics aimed at promoting peace. Hiba catalyzed and formed a wide-ranging and inclusive coalition to advance the peace ecosystem bringing together diverse stakeholders from diplomatic, political, security, and development sectors. Under her guidance, a dynamic coalitioncomprising, more than 120 partner organizations, spanning governmental, non-governmental, and private sector entities, has been established and supported an imminent international commission on inclusive peace in the development of new Principles for Peace. In her 17-year tenure at the United Nations, Hiba held leadership roles both at headquarters and in crisis-affected regions. Before her significant contributions at the UN, Hiba commenced her career with Palestinian NGOs, focusing on microfinance and rural development. A visiting fellow at the University of Sydney and the European School for Advanced Studies in International Development and a co-convenor of the IDEAL Society, supported by Harvard University and the University of Sydney, Hiba resides in Switzerland and was born and raised in Nablus.

Jean-Marc Liling, was born in France, grew up in Belgium and Switzerland and immigrated to Israel in 1995. A graduate of Sciences-po Paris with a degree in Public Administration, he also holds a BA in Law from Bar-Ilan University and an LLM in Public Law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Currently working as an analyst at Crescendo Venture Partners in Tel-Aviv, Jean-Marc has over 15 years of experience as an attorney and senior strategic consultant. Former Executive Director of the Center for International Migration and Integration, he also worked at Israel’s Ministry of Justice and at the Prime Minister’s Office before becoming a senior member of the protection team at UNHCR’s Israel office and being an advisor to the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) International Relations team. After his participation in an Encounter trip, an educational organization committed to informed, courageous, and resilient Jewish communal leadership on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jean-Marc became involved in peace-building and served for 6 years on B8 of Hope’s executive board.

John Lyndon, is the Executive Director of a longtime partner of B8 of Hope: Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), the largest network of peacebuilding NGOs in Israel/Palestine. A regular contributor and commentator on events in the Middle East, John brings with him over a decade of experience, leading NGOs concerned with conflict resolution and international development, with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the pivotal role of civil society in lasting resolution. John is Irish and is based in Paris. He has a BA in English Literature and History from University College Dublin and an MA in International Relations from the University of Sheffield, where he won the 2007 Bethan Reeves Prize for his research on the Middle East. A former member of the Under 35 Steering Committee at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, John is also a Visiting Fellow at King’s College London’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies and has delivered guest lectures at the London School of Economics, Sciences Po Lille, and the University of Hull.

Meredith Rothbart, is the founder and CEO of Amal-Tikva, a collaborative initiative where philanthropists, field experts, and organizations come together to support civil society peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians. Born in the US, she immigrated to Jerusalem in 2008. Somehow in-between studying in a religious Zionist feminist seminary and serving in the IDF’s Civil Administration, she participated in a leadership program for young Israelis and Palestinians which inspired her career in peacebuilding. Holding a BA in politics, philosophy and economics from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Community Development from Hebrew University, she brings over a decade of experience in nonprofit management. She serves on several advisory boards and as founding curator for the Jerusalem Global Shapers Hub of the World Economic Forum and has addressed Congress, the White House and the UN Security Council on grassroots peacebuilding efforts. Amal-Tikva and B8 of Hope have been partnering since 2021 around different projects. As of 2023, Amal-Tikva manages our grant-making process.