Nora Lester Murad is an adjunct professor of Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University in the USA. She is also a writer and activist living in Palestine and her work currently focuses on promoting racial justice among communities in Palestine. She was the founding executive director of the Dalia Association, a Palestinian community foundation.
Dr. Murad moved to Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem in 2004 from the United States and has since worked with Palestinian non-governmental organizations, international NGOs, and UN agencies doing participatory research, strategic planning, community development, organizational change, donor communications, organizational capacity assessments, impact evaluations, fundraising, and other projects.
Before moving to Palestine, Dr. Murad was an assistant professor of cross-cultural understanding at Bentley College in Massachusetts, and she had a thriving consulting practice doing anti-racism, intercultural and organizational change work with community groups, hospitals, grant-makers, government agencies and corporations. She also worked as a corporate cultural competence strategist for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and a diversity curriculum designer for J. Howard & Associates. During the first Intifada (Palestinian uprising), she was coordinator of the Cambridge-Ramallah/El-Bireh Sister City Campaign.
Dr. Murad has spoken at numerous conferences, most recently at the annual conference of the Community Foundation Network in the UK, and at the Hiroshima University Partnership for Peace-building and Social Capacity conference on indigenous peace-building initiatives. Her research interests include dependence on international aid, participatory processes, and patriarchy. She had a fellowship from the Palestinian American Research Center (2005-2006) and was adjunct research fellow at the Middle East Center, Northeastern University (2004-2005).
Dr. Murad has a PhD from Fielding Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, focused on social change and structural inequality; a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, with an emphasis on conflict management and training; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the University of California in Los Angeles during which she studied at the American University in Cairo (1983-4) and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1984-5).
Dalia Association is the first Palestinian community foundation. It links people who have money, expertise, ideas and other resources with Palestinian community activists who need those resources to serve and mobilize their communities. It facilitates community-based grantmaking and provides other forms of support for sustainable civil society initiatives. Dalia Association involves people of all backgrounds in working together to build new traditions of philanthropy and volunteerism, thus strengthening the social fabric and increasing trust in community institutions. In the long-term, Dalia Association aims to reduce Palestinian civil society’s dependence on international aid.