Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian Christian often called the “Arab Gandhi,” was born in 1943 in Jerusalem when it was under the British Mandate. When he was five years old, his father was killed during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War that created Israel and he became a refugee. His mother was a pacifist and argued against revenge. He was given the right to Israeli citizenship in 1967 when East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after the Six-Day War but refused and kept his Jordanian citizenship. Although Awad’s family later moved to the United States, where he gained citizenship, he later returned to his homeland.
In 1983, Awad established the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. The centre sponsored a number of nonviolent actions during the early months of the first intifada. In May 1988, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir ordered Awad arrested and deported. Officials charged that Awad broke Israeli law by inciting "civil uprising." But that didn’t stop him. One year later, Awad founded Nonviolence International, a non-governmental organization with Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Nonviolence International's mission is to promote nonviolent action and seek to reduce the use of violence worldwide. Awad also teaches at American University in Washington, DC; he is an adjunct professor in the School of International Service, where he teaches classes in the theories and methods of nonviolence.