Dr. James J. Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Since 1985, Dr. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S. Through voter registration, education and mobilization, AAI has moved Arab Americans into the political mainstream.
For the past three decades, Dr. Zogby has been involved in a full range of Arab American issues. A co-founder and chairman of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the late 1970s, he later co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 1982, he co-founded Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, humanitarian and non-sectarian relief organization which funds health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war, and other social welfare projects in Lebanon. In 1985, Zogby founded AAI.
In 1993, following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in Washington, he was asked by Vice President Al Gore to lead Builders for Peace, a private sector committee to promote U.S. business investment in the West Bank and Gaza. In his capacity as co-president of Builders, Zogby frequently traveled to the Middle East with delegations led by Vice President Gore and late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. In 1994, with former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine, his colleague as co-president of Builders, Zogby led a U.S. delegation to the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in Cairo. Zogby also chaired a forum on the Palestinian economy at the Casablanca Economic Summit in 1994. After 1994, through Builders, Zogby worked with a number of US agencies to promote and support Palestinian economic development, including AID, OPIC, USTDA, and the Departments of State and Commerce.
Dr. Zogby has also been personally active in U.S. politics for many years; in 1984 and 1988 he served as Deputy Campaign manager and Senior Advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. Most recently, in 1995 DNC Chairman Don Fowler appointed Zogby as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee (NDECC), an umbrella organization of Democratic Party leaders of European and Mediterranean descent. In 1999 and 2001 he was reelected to that post. Also in 2001, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 2006 was also named Co-Chair of the DNC’s Resolutions Committee.
A lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues, U.S.-Arab relations, and the history of the Arab American community, Dr. Zogby appears frequently on television and radio. He has appeared as a regular guest on all the major network news programs. After hosting the popular “A Capital View” on the Arab Network of America from 1993-2001. From 2001 until now he hosts the award winning “Viewpoint with James Zogby” on Abu Dhabi Television, LinkTV, Dish Network, and DirecTV.
Since 1992, Dr. Zogby has also written a weekly column on U.S. politics for the major newspapers of the Arab world. The column, “Washington Watch,” is currently published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He has authored a number of books including two publications, “What Ethnic Americans Really Think” and “What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns.”
Dr. Zogby has testified before U.S. House and Senate committees, has been guest speaker on a number of occasions in the Secretary’s Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State, and has addressed the United Nations and other international forums.
Dr. Zogby is also active professionally beyond his involvement with the Arab American community. He currently serves on the national advisory board of the American Civil Liberties Union, The Human Rights Watch Board of Directors for the Middle East and North Africa and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, he is a Senior Advisor for the polling firm Zogby International, where he is responsible for the firm’s groundbreaking polling across the Middle East.
In 1975, Dr. Zogby received his doctorate from Temple University’s Department of Religion, where he studied under the Islamic scholar Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University in 1976, and on several occasions was awarded grants for research and writing by the Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Defense Education Act, and the Mellon Foundation. Dr. Zogby received a Bachelor of Arts from Le Moyne College. In 1995, Le Moyne awarded Zogby an honorary doctoral of laws degree, and in 1997 named him the college’s outstanding alumnus. In 2007 Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts named him its Distinguished Alum.
Dr. Zogby is married to Eileen Patricia McMahon and is the father of five children. Zogby’s mother, Cecilia Ann, was a woman committed to religion, family, education, and service of others.