One on One
Hanan Ashrawi
Palestinian politician and peace negotiator known for straight-talking diplomacy.
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2009 12:24 GMT

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Political activism is in Hanan Ashrawi's blood.

Her father, Daoud Mikhail, was a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and few names have represented the Palestinian people as visibly over the years as Ashrawi.

She is known for her straight-talking, tough diplomacy when it comes to negotiating the rights of her people – particularly the women.

Ashrawi was born in Ramallah – then a part of the British Mandate of Palestine – into a family that included a mother who was a devout Christian of Lebanese descent, as well as relatives who are Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Baptist and Muslim.

She was at University in Beirut when the Six Day War broke out in 1967, leaving her stranded in Lebanon, but she continued her studies, eventually earning her PhD in the USA before being allowed to return to Ramallah in 1973.

Ashrawi's political activism began around that time as she fought for human rights and continued to gain more prominence as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated, culminating in her role as spokeswoman for the PLO.

She served as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from 1996 and became minister of higher education for the Palestinian Authority, but resigned in 1998 in protest against political corruption, and the handling of peace talks by the then Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat.

In spite of divisions among various factions, Hanan Ashrawi remains, for many, one of the most prominent and articulate spokespersons for the Palestinian people.

This episode of One on One can be seen from Saturday, September 26, at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0130, 1630; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0300, 1230.

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