Hanan Ashrawi has served as an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Jerusalem District since 1996. Ashrawi is the Founder and Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). In 1973, she established the Department of English at Birzeit University on the West Bank. She served as Chair of that department from 1973 to 1978, and again from 1981 through 1984; and from 1986-1990 she served the university as Dean of the Faculty of Arts. She remained a faculty member at Birzeit University until 1995, publishing numerous poems, short stories, and papers and articles on Palestinian culture, literature. Ashrawi's political activism in Palestine began almost as early as her academic career at Birzeit. In 1974, she founded the Birzeit University Legal Aid Committee/Human Rights Action Project. In 1988, during the Intifada she joined the Intifada Political Committee, serving as well on its Diplomatic Committee until 1993. From 1991 through 1993 she served as the Official Spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Process and a member of the Leadership/Guidance Committee and Executive Committee of the Delegation. Ashrawi headed the Preparatory Committee of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights in Jerusalem, and was the Founder and Commissioner General of that committee until 1995. From 1996 through 1998 she served as Minister of Higher Education and Research. Ashrawi is a member of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo and of numerous international advisory boards including the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Bank Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA), and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). In addition to the publications on Ashrawi's most recent writings include From Intifada to Independence and her autobiography, This Side of Peace: A Personal Account.