The Relationship Between Peace & Democracy in the Middle East

Mustafa Barghouti
"Peace and Democracy: The Reality of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict"
Tuesday, April 25 2006, 7:00 pm, 1100 Grainger Hall
"Democracy in Palestine: The Role of Civil Society"
Wednesday, April 26 2006, 7:00 pm, Pyle Center
Seminar for students, faculty, and the public
Thursday, April 27 2006, 12:20 pm, Location TBA

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi is a leading human rights activist in the non-violent struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. A medical doctor, he is an outspoken advocate for the development of Palestinian civil society and grassroots democracy and an organizer of international solidarity presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He founded and served for twenty- five years as President of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, leaving that post to run for Palestinian President in 2005. He remains on the Board of Directors. In 2002, Dr. Barghouthi co-founded Al Mubadara (the Palestinian National Initiative) along with Edward Said, Haider Abdel-Shafi and Ibrahim Dakak, and currently serves as its Secretary General. An alternative to both the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fatah party and the fundamentalism of groups like Hamas, Al Mubadara aims to build the institutional framework of Palestinian civil society and promote the principles of internal democracy and good governance. It tries to strengthen ties between Palestinians everywhere, to mobilise mass non-violence and international solidarity as the preferred means of resisting the Israeli Occupation, and to make the Palestinian story visible in the international news media. In 2006, Dr. Barghouthi was elected to the Palestinian Parliament as an independent candidate.


Born in Jerusalem in 1954, Dr. Barghouthi trained as a medical doctor in the former Soviet Union, with postgraduate work in Jerusalem and at Stanford University. Dr. Barghouthi has led the introduction of modern concepts of health care in Palestine. From 1978 till 1988, he worked at Jerusalem’s Maqassed Hospital in neurosurgery, internal medicine, cardiology, and ultimately as Chief Physician of Primary Healthcare Clinics.

In 1979, Dr. Barghouthi co-founded the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), a non-profit NGO of which he was later elected President. PMRS aims to provide Palestinians, particularly vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and those living in isolated areas, with essential healthcare services. PMRS today is one of the largest providers of primary healthcare services throughout the Palestinian Territory, with a staff of 380 health professionals and 38,000 volunteers. It currently works in 495 Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, providing services to 1.3 million Palestinians each year. The PMRS has pioneered the development of healthcare models such as the Community-Based Rehabilitation program, aimed at providing rehabilitation services to disabled persons and facilitating their integration into their communities. The PMRS has also been at the forefront of efforts to target the most vulnerable sectors of Palestinian society, through its Women’s and Child Health services.

At the height of the first Intifada in 1989, Dr. Barghouthi co-founded the Health Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), a health policy think-tank. HDIP also houses the Palestine Monitor, a clearing-house for the 95-member Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). Launched at the beginning of the current Intifada, the Palestine Monitor conveys the viewpoints of Palestinian civil society to the press and international community. Its website acts as one of the key information sources on the conflict, with more than 1.5 million hits per month.