Azmi Bishara is the General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and a member of its Executive Board. A prominent researcher and writer, Bishara has published numerous books and academic papers in political thought, social theory, and philosophy, in addition to several literary works. He was Professor of Philosophy and History of Political Thought at Birzeit University, from 1986 to 1996. He also co-founded Muwatin, the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, and Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research. Bishara was the principal founder of the National Democratic Assembly (Balad), a Palestinian-Arab party inside the Green Line, which supports democratic values irrespective of religious, ethnic or national identity. For four consecutive session, from 1996-2007, he represented his party as an elected member of parliament. In 2007, Bishara was persecuted for his political positions at the hands of the Israeli authorities, and currently resides in Qatar. He is the recipient of the Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2002 and the Global Exchange Human Rights Award in 2003.
Having graduated from the American University of Beirut, Dr. Kanaan was admitted to Trinity College as a research student and received a Cambridge University PhD in Economic Science. He brings a rich and varied experience to this position, including the international civil service and the Jordanian cabinet. Dr. Kanaan served the Government of Jordan as Deputy Prime-Minister for Development (1998-1999), Minister of Planning (1986-1989), and Minister for Occupied Territories Affairs (1985). Also in Jordan he served as the Director General of the Industrial Development Bank (1989-1994). Prior to this he participated in designing development policies and programs for the Ministry of Planning in Iraq and was the State Secretariat of Planning in Morocco. In 1973, he joined the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development at its creation as Director of Programs, where he led the team which prepared a Ten Year Program (1976-1985) for Agricultural Development in Sudan and set-up the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development. Dr. Kanaan has also held a number of positions within the United Nations in New York, Beirut, and Geneva where he served as Chief of Finance and Development at UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) from 1978 to 1982. In later years he was elected by the UN ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council for voluntary service as a member of the UN Committee for Development Planning (Policy) from 1996 to 2000 and as a member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration and Public Economics, from 2005 to 2008. He contributed to the UNDP Arab Human Development Reports of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008. Dr. Kanaan is also a volunteer in a number of civil society organizations, including membership of the Boards of Trustees and Management of the Arab Anti-Corruption Organization, and of the Institute of Palestine Studies. At the ERF (Economic Research Forum (for the Arab Countries, Turkey and Iran in Cairo) the Assembly of Fellows elected Dr. Kanaan for Membership of the Board of Trustees for two consecutive terms (10 years), and he continues to be a Senior Research Fellow of the ERF. His recent publications include: “The Three Spheres of the Productive State” (Arabic) in ACRPS’ Umran (Volume 1, 1st Edition); “Financing Higher Education in Jordan,” in Higher Education Financing in Arab Countries, Ed. by Ahmed Galal and Taher Kanaan (ERF: Cairo, 2010 and Arabic Edition published by ACRPS, Doha-Beirut, 2012); “Jordan: Propellers of Autocracy,” co-written by Joseph Masaad, in Democracy in the Arab World, Ed. By Ibrahim Elbadawi and Samir Makdisi (Routledge: London, 2011 and re-published in Arabic by the Center for Arab Unity Studies: Beirut, 2011); “The Disconnect between Education, Job Growth, and Employment in Jordan,” in Generation in Waiting, the Unfulfilled Promise of Young People In the Middle East, Ed. by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef (Brookings Institution: Washington, DC, 2009; a revised and updated Arabic version published by ACRPS).