Samer Libdeh, or Abu Libdeh, (born 1974), is a British London-based communications strategist, researcher and policy analyst. In February 2013, he was selected to be part of the Carter Center mission to monitor Egyptian parliamentary elections in April. In 2013 he worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, before moving on to Albany Associates as consultant. He covered issues related to democracy in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli peace process and US foreign policy. His articles and papers have appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post, Jordan Times and Daily Star.
Libdeh received his MA from Bradford University, his diploma from Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, and his BA from Jordan University. He also holds a Policy Analysis certificate from State University of New York.
In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship from the US State Department, and the American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship, where he served as a Visiting Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Legislative Fellow with US Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY). He then became a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Center for Liberty in the Middle East.
Name and ancestry
In Arabic, 'Abu Libdeh' means the "Father of Mane", and in colloquial Egyptian it means the "Father of Kippah". One DNA study by University College London found that "part, or perhaps the majority" of Muslim Palestinians descend from "local inhabitants, mainly of Christians and Jews descent, who converted after the Islamic conquest. A personal study for Libdeh conducted by Genebase in Canada confirmed the family's genetic connection to German, American or British Evangelicals emigrated to Palestine during the 18th century. The study illustrated genealogical connections to families of Hurst, Scmidt, Tarr, Milne and Clan Montgomery. Further, the family carries Y-chromosomal Aaron, being direct descendants from prophets Moses and Aaron or the family of Mary (Mother of Jesus) as referred to in Al Imran in Quran.
Second track peace process
He began his career in 1998 as a reporter for Alaswaq Business Daily in Jordan. He moved up the ranks to become the foreign desk editor in 2001. He covered the second Palestinian Intifada, the war in Iraq as well as domestic issues in Jordan. Samer became involved in the second track peace process in 1999 through the creation of Interaction Forum, an NGO dedicated to promoting understanding between Israeli, Arab and Palestinian peace activists. The Forum hosted a number of seminars and conferences for Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis in Jordan, with the sponsorship of the EU and the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It was the first NGO to invite the prominent peace studies professor Johan Galtung to speak before peace activists in year 2000.
His activism led to his membership in the International Alliance for Arab-Israeli Peace, (Copenhagen Declaration), which advocated for the normalisation of relations between Arabs and Israelis. He participated in a number of meetings with senior Israeli politicians and activists from the Likud, Labor, and Kadima parties – advocating for a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Libdeh has been published in Middle Eastern and international publications and journals, including the Yale Politic Journal, The Guardian, Jerusalem Post, Alaswaq Business Daily, Overseas Journal, the Daily Star, and Jordan Times. In 2005, he was among the first journalists to interview Egyptian dissident Ayman Nour who was held under house arrest in Cairo. He appeared on a number of US and Middle East news programmes and was quoted in many, including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Jerusalem Post and The Guardian. His op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, entitled "The Hashemite Kingdom of Apartheid", has triggered a massive negative reaction from the Jordanian government-run media. Libdeh received support from a major human rights organisation.
- "Intelligence Services Need New Ethnic Approaches". Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (JREP). 2015
- "Are ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood Interconnected?". Albany Associates. 2014
- "On ISIS, Iraq, and the Arab Middle Eastern Media". Albany Associates. 2014
- "Facing ISIS threat at home should be a priority for the Jordanian Kingdom". Albany Associates. 2014
- "How ISIS Provides Hope for the Desperate". Albany Associates. 2014
- "Analysis: Syrians, Christians and Russia". Henry Jackson Society.2012
- "On Both Sides Now". Henry Jackson Society.2012
- “Will the Hashemite Monarchy Survive the Arab Spring?”. Henry Jackson Society. 2012
- "The Christian Dilemma in Syria". International Business Times. 2012
- "What will the Muslim Brotherhood's election mean for Egypt's women and minorities?". Daily Telegraph. 2012
- "Is Jordan heading for chaos?". The Guardian. 2012
- "Arab Christians Must Fight for Recognition in New Regimes". The Guardian. 2012
- "Jordan Municipal Elections – Middle East Memo". Center for Liberty in the Middle East. 2007
- "Jordan's Crossing: Overcoming Roadblocks to True Democracy". Yale Politic Journal. Fall Edition – 2006.
- "Jordan and Palestine". Jerusalem Post. 2006
- "Jordan Looks Inward: The Hashemite Kingdom in the wake of Zarqawi and Hamas-Israeli clash". The Washington Institute. 2006
- "Terror Attacks Highlight Case for Reform in Jordan". The Washington Institute. 2005
- "Previewing Jordan's National Agenda: Strategies for Reform". The Washington Institute. 2005.
- Bio (Online Activism Institute)
- Roles Fulbrighters Play, US State Department.
- [(Nebel et al., Y chromosome haplotypes of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs reveal geographic substructure and substantial overlap with haplotypes of Jews. Human Genetics Vol. 107, No. 6, (December 2000), pp. 630–641)
- Egyptian Street Demands Constitutional Amendments.
- Effects of the Amman bombing on US-Jordanian relations. Lioneel Beehner. Council on Foreign Relations. 2005,
- Normalization with Israel? Not Here., Rachelle Kliger. Jerusalem Post. 2010.
- "Disbelief turns to quiet satisfaction", Brian Whitaker. The Guardian. 2003.
- "The Hashemite Kingdom of Apartheid?" Jerusalem Post. 2010
- Board member causes scandal in Arab press. Cyber Dissidents.org