Mustafa Al Barghouthi
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi (MD, MSc.) is an active participant in the building of a democratic Palestinian civil society and is one of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian struggle.
He is the Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, or Mubadara, a recently established democratic opposition movement in the realm of Palestinian domestic politics, co-founded along with Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Mr. Ibrahim Dakak and Dr. Edward Said.
The Palestinian National Initiative is a movement that came as a response to popular demands from men and women calling for increased participation by Palestinian citizens in the process of nation building and for the opportunity to participate in the just struggle for the realization of an independent, viable, democratic and prosperous state which guarantees security, justice, equality before the law, and a dignified existence for its citizens. The initiative also calls for an unequivocal end to the Israeli occupation, removal of illegal Israeli settlements and a just solution to the right of Palestinian refugees. Additionally it calls for immediate international protection to allow democratic elections at all levels of the political system, and reform of political, administrative, and other institutional structures in order to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.
Dr. Barghouthi was one of the delegates involved in the Madrid Peace negotiations initiated in 1991, and a member of the Steering Committee of the technical committee that prepared the establishment of various Palestinian ministries. He has been recognized as the most active grassroots leader in Palestine and remains a leading figure in Palestinian civil society, working extensively in the field of Democratization. He has successfully contributed to the implementation of various laws in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
As a medical doctor trained in the former Soviet Union, with post-graduate training in Jerusalem, and a MSc. in business administration and management from Stanford University in the US, Dr. Barghouthi was a key actor in the in the introduction of modern concepts and models of health care in Palestine. He has lectured at universities such as Harvard, John Hopkins, Stanford and think thanks such as Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Chatham House, the Brookings Institute and the Sydney Institute. In 1979 Dr. Barghouthi and a number of like-minded doctors and health professionals established the Union Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) of which he is president. UPMRC today is one of the largest and the leading Palestinian non-governmental organizations providing health and community services to more than 1 million people (1/3 of total population) yearly, throughout 435 Palestinian communities.
Aside from this, Dr. Barghouthi is also a founder and director of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), in Ramallah. HDIP is a policy think-tank and a leader in the field of health and public policy research. In addition to its other functions, HDIP houses the Palestine Monitor, an information clearinghouse on behalf of the Palestinian NGO Network, a cluster of 93 Palestinian NGOs. The Palestine Monitor was launched at the beginning of the current intifada (uprising) in order to convey unified responses from Palestinian civil society about local developments and to provide objective and accurate information to the press and international community. Its website is now one of the most popular Palestinian websites worldwide (more than 1.5 million hits per month). Along with 700 local and international organizations, Dr. Barghouthi is also one of the founders of the GIPP (Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People) a program that aims to protect the Palestinian people through the presence of international civilians by deterring Israeli army and settler aggression.
Dr. Barghouthi has written extensively on civil society, democracy issues and the political situation in Palestine, as well as co-authoring books and research on health development. As a board member of many institutions in Palestine, he is well known to the local population, and through his high profile on the international scene, being frequently interviewed on CNN, BBC, ABC and other international news agencies and by Arabic Satellite stations, he is becoming increasingly familiar to international audience.