Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh,
Associate professor of genetics and director of cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine, is founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-president of the Middle East Genetics Association. He won the Raymond Jallow Activism Award from the national Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. He is co-founder and national treasurer of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and has written extensively about the Middle East.

* B.Sc. Jordan University, Amman
* M.Sc. University of Connecticut
* Ph.D. Texas Tech University

Research Interests:
* Cytogenetics
* Cancer genetics
* Mechanisms and impact of chromosome abnormalities

- over 120 scientific papers in areas ranging from Zoology to Genetics.
- Mammals of the Holy Land
- Bats of Egypt
- Sharing the Land of Canaan

Positions held/projects coordinated over the past 4 years:
- Ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association
- Media Coordinator, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in North Carolina, Won the Jallow activism award from ADC national in 1998
- Cofounder and currently national treasurer and media coordinator of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (see
- Cofounder of the and campaigns.
- Organizer and currently treasurer for the Wheels of Justice Tour
- Vice President of the Middle East Crisis Committee
- Founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation
- Coordinator with others for the Oral History Project
- Member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.).

Who is Mazin Qumsiyeh ?

I was born and raised in Beit Sahour, the biblical Shepherds' Field just on the outskirts of Bethlehem. My first hand experiences as a Palestinian Christian and my educational background in universities both in the Middle East and the US helped shape my evolving world views. I was raised under Israeli occupation and my large family still resides in the area.

My memories include vivid recollections of pastoral farm life, urban education, cultural events, and an overall mosaic of people of varied religions and backgrounds. They include a rich International coterie of friends and relatives visiting from Europe, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the US. As for Israelis, my interactions included not only Israeli soldiers and settlers/colonists but also average Israelis from all walks of life and all stripes.

My bachelor degree in Jordan included the close interaction with Palestinian refugee community in Jordan (Jordan has over 2 million Palestinian refugees). I got my Masters degree at the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University and postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee (included Clinical Fellowship). I was extremely lucky that my research and career turns necessitated extensive travels in Jordan, Israel/Palestine, North Africa, East Africa, Europe, and America. The advantage of the scientific work was accompanied with the advantage of meeting people of all walks of life. Thus visiting universities for their scientific collections or to get educated provided quite a different experience than trapping animals near rural isolated communities in the Middle of the Sahara desert or in the African savanna. This allowed me an understanding of societies not available to tourists.
Palestinian liberation movements. My interests continued to evolve as I read more and had a chance to learn from my interactions with the thousands of people I met during my frequent travels. The educational resources available at the Universities I affiliated with allowed me to pursue activism in new directions. This included our abilities to quickly use the internet and web and email as tools for activism.

I was co-founder of a number of organizations and groups: The Triangle Middle East Dialogue, the Carolina Middle East Association, the Holy Land Conservation Foundation, the Middle East Genetics Association, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (, Academics For Justice (, among others.

I published over 120 scientific papers in areas ranging from Zoology to Genetics. My later training was in genetics and I served as Associate Professor of Genetics and director of cytogenetic services both at Duke University and Yale University. I also published two books: Mammals of the Holy Land and Bats of Egypt. This book is the first I write on the Palestine question. However, I have published extensively on these issues including over 100 letters to the editor and over 30 op-ed pieces. I am also interviewed regularly on TV and radio (local, national and international). Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others.

I share this rather complex background so that you the reader understand more about how I came to understand the importance and the centrality of a pluralistic solution to the simmering conflict in the Land of Canaan.


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