Lebanese American University

New York Academic Center

The Future Female Professionals of Palestine

Oct 1, 2019

Join us for a panel and discussion of the impact of higher education on Palestinian young women, followed by a reception.


Join the Arab Institute for Women at LAU and the Leonard Education Organization to discuss the future of Palestine through an educational lens. Through a student panel discussion, learn about the firsthand experiences of Palestinian young women who have come to the US for a university experience. Featuring a keynote presentation from Ambassador Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, we will explore how access to higher education has empowered these young women to become leaders in their communities. The evening will feature independent speakers, as well as a panel of students, moderated by Dr. Lina Abirafeh. Following the panel, there will be a reception featuring Palestinian musicians. 


Amb. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser has been the Deputy Permanent Observer from January 2013 to the present. She received the rank of Ambassador shortly thereafter in May 2013. Prior to that, she served as First Counselor at the Mission as of April 2006. She has served the State of Palestine in a variety of diplomatic roles, with a career spanning several decades. Ambassador Abdelhady-Nasser represents the State of Palestine at the Security Council and at the General Assembly and its Main Committees, particularly the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (4th Committee), with specific focus on the issue of UNRWA and the Palestine refugees, a portfolio she has followed for many years. She is a speech-writer for the Mission and is responsible for the drafting and negotiation of Palestine’s annual package of General Assembly resolutions. She often represents Palestine at meetings of the Arab Group, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Group of 77 and China, and the Asia-Pacific Group. 


Among other responsibilities and initiatives during her tenure at the Mission, she was a member of Palestine’s legal team to the International Court of Justice on the case of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (December 2003 – July 2004). Ambassador Abdelhady-Nasser holds a Masters Degree in Educational Administration (2000) from Rutgers University and Bachelors Degree in Political Science/International Relations from New York University (1992). She is fluent in English and Arabic and conversational in Spanish. She is married and the mother of two sons.


Deya’ Leonard Dresner is the founder and CEO of the Leonard Education Organization. In the Leonard family, Deya’ whose mother is from Nazareth and father from Tennessee is the second generation to focus on the education of Palestinian’s younger generation. Her father, Dr. Graham Leonard, (PhD Harvard University) was an educator in the diplomatic field. This provided Deya’ with a cross cultural understanding of the challenges LE•O scholars face. And, she knows the obstacles students must navigate to be well positioned and receive the full benefits of their educational opportunities. Deya’ spent her childhood in Lebanon, her primary education was in England. She came to the United States as a freshman at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, where she studied linguistics and education.


Student Panelists

Marah Abdin, University of Rochester

Iman AbuAitah, Eastern Michigan University

Sadil Eidda, Drexel University

Haya Mohanna, Gettysburg College


Featured Musicians

Mustafa Yassin

Rulan Yassin



Dr. Lina Abirafeh, Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University. Her background is in gender-based violence prevention and response in development and humanitarian contexts. In 2018 and 2019, Lina was listed as one of the Gender Equality Top 100: The Most Influential People in Global Policy.







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