Participants (updated)

brooklyn bridges- to bethlehem & back Advisory Board:

  • Eva Haller
  • Kathy Eldon
  • AbdelFattah Abu Srour
  • Maher Abdelqader
  • Patrick Coy
  • B. E. Noel
  • Jaimie Mayer Phinney

breaking walls Advisory Board:

  • Arthur Allen
  • Della Doherty
  • Roni Ferretti
  • Marnie Lawler McDonough
  • Sylvester McCoy
  • Anne Stockton

breaking walls Creative Partners:

  • Matthew DiFrancesco
  • Leese Katsnelson
  • Arwa Massarwa
  • A. D. Nizich
  • Shawn Waite

breaking walls Associate Directors:

  • Rebecca Hochman Masback Associate Director in Brooklyn
  • Samira Abu Srour Associate Director in Bethlehem

As Fran looked to form the breaking walls team her choice was a simple: Samira Abu Srour and Rebecca Masback.

In Samira’s words, “Despite of all the background differences (culture, religion) that we have, we have the power to achieve the best for our work.” In addition to having already worked as a successful team, their combined passion, administrative experiences and problem solving abilities with brooklyn bridges- to bethlehem & back, affords a variety of skill sets for breaking walls success:

+ Samira, through her work in the Palestinian Education system, brings access to young Palestinian writers which will, in turn, lead to a wider audience of young Arabic writers.

+ Rebecca, through her work at Brooklyn’s “Life Lines” Community Arts Project, brings expertise in editing and access to a wide-range of middle school student writers.

+ As a renowned arts educator Fran contributes her ability to see and bring out the best in everyone she encounters as well as a successful history of program building and curriculum development. Her vision to guide youth to discover their voice and then introduce their voice to a published platform is long-term and ongoing.

Again, in Samira’s words, “We are three women with unusual mutual understanding. We have many things in common, believe in the same values and rights, we believe that everyone can create a change and that the healthy change always comes from the bottom not the top, and these young people are the secret of the future success.”


SAMIRA ABU-SROUR – Samira holds a BA degree in English from Bethlehem University and teaches English in the Palestinian school system. Her ability to bring out the best in her students makes her a much-valued dedicated collaborator.


“I love this project to the extent that I want it to get a Noble prize for being a good model of how anyone can make human being able to work together for the interest and the benefits for the entire world. In the previous century they talked about globalization and how the world is becoming a small village. This time we want breaking walls not to connect youth only through technology, but with human ties (bonds) and with shared interests and dreams.”


REBECCA MASBACK – Rebecca is an educator from New York City. She currently coordinates academic and arts enrichment programs for the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She holds a M.A. in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan
University. Whenever possible, Rebecca enjoys traveling, teaching theater and practicing Spanish.

“I am dedicated to breaking walls because I believe in the power of art and writing to bring people together and the greatness that can be achieved when teens from diverse parts of the world unite.”


And our newest partners . . .


ARWA MASSARWA — Arwa is a Palestinian filmmaker living and working in Berlin. He working as our breaking walls Berlin Project Manager. And is dedicated to the breaking walls project because he believes it, “Will be like welcoming family!”

Please visit his website: and CLICK on Projekte



TALENE MONAHAN – Talene hails from Belmont, MA and is currently entering her senior year at Dartmouth College, where she is pursuing a degree in Theater and Women and Gender Studies. She hopes to work in acting and theater education after graduation.
“I am so excited to be joining the breaking walls team this summer. I believe in theater as an agent of personal understanding and social change, therefore I couldn’t have chosen a better internship opportunity.”


JAMES STEWART — James was born in New York City, and has lived in and around the city throughout his life. Presently, he is a student at New York University, and is studying both English and Business. The main focus of his academic career is centered upon writing and literature. Outside of school he focuses on work for non-profit organizations and works towards helping others, through volunteer work and other jobs. He is a consistent contributor to his school community and has an active role in many different aspects of life in New York.

“Working with breaking walls has been, and continues to be, a wonderful experience for me. Knowing that the time and effort that I put into re-envisioning the website will mean so much to those who access it, and those whose work will be exhibited, I am given a great feeling of accomplishment every step of the way.”

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