Tzipi Livni was first elected to Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, in 1999 and has since held numerous ministerial positions including: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Prime minister (the first woman to hold this position since Golda Meir), Minister of Justice, Minister of Regional Cooperation, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing and Construction, Minister of Agriculture, Leader of the opposition, Leader of Center Party Kadima (the biggest party in the parliament) and leader of Hatnua Party.

In addition, Ms. Livni was the chief negotiator in the last two rounds of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and is the most prominent Israeli leader promoting peace based on the vision of two states for two peoples as a means of keeping the values of Israel as a Jewish-Democratic state. She has also served as a member of the Israeli National Security Cabinet and the Senior Security Cabinet during the Second Lebanon War against Hezbollah and initiated Security Council resolutions that enabled the war to come to an end. She was a member of the Security Cabinet during military operations against Hamas in Gaza, and was a member of the Security “Trio” that decided to attack the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.

Prior to her political career, Ms. Livni served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), where she graduated from officer course with distinction, obtaining the rank of First Lieutenant and serving as platoon commander in Officers School. She also served in the Mossad, including an operational course and a one-year mission in Paris. After graduating from Bar Ilan Law School, Ms. Livni practiced law in her law firm, specializing in commercial, constitutional, and real-estate law. She then served as director general of the government-owned Companies Authority, one of only a few women at that time to have held this high governmental position. In this capacity, she advanced changes in Israel’s economy through opening up markets for competition and privatizing government-owned enterprises.

Ms. Livni is currently a board member of International Crisis Group (ICG), a member of The Aspen Ministers Forum and a member of the international group of leaders who wrote the Declaration of Principles for Freedom Prosperity and Peace - an Atlantic council bipartisan initiative for democracy. 

She is known for her integrity in politics and was granted the Quality of Governance Award for her unique contribution to reinforcing the rule of law and protecting the principles of democracy, as well as for her contribution to the quality of immigrant absorption in Israel. In 2007, Ms. Livni was recognized by Time magazine as one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Ms. Livni is married to Naftali and is a mother of two sons.

Dr. Saeb Erakat is currently the Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department. His objective is to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through diplomatic offices with a two-state negotiated solution based on the 1967 borders. He has been extensively involved in all negotiations with Israel, including those conducted at Camp David (2000) and in Taba (2001).

Previously, Dr. Erakat was appointed the Head of the Central Elections Commission and served as the Minister of Local Government for the Palestinian National Authority from 1994 to 2003. In 1991, he was the Vice-Chair of the Madrid Peace Delegation and was later the Vice-Chair at the Washington negotiations of 1992. In 1994, Dr. Erakat was appointed the Chairman of the Palestinian Negotiating Delegation for Elections and has since been Head of the Palestinian Side of the Steering and Monitoring Committee.

Dr. Erakat is a professor of political science at An-Najah University in Nablus. He served on the editorial board of Al-Quds newspaper, the Palestinian daily with the highest circulation. He also served as the Secretary General of the Arab Studies Society.

Dr. Erakat holds a Ph.D. in Peace Studies (Bradford University), and a B.A. and M.A. in International Relations (University of San Francisco). He is the author of fourteen books and numerous research papers on foreign policy, oil, conflict resolution and negotiations. His latest book is Arafat’s Siege and Middle East Politics (2019).