Jamal Daniel is President and Chairman of Crest Investment Company in Houston Texas. He has over thirty years of experience managing investments in oil and gas, telecommunications, high technology, media, manufacturing and real estate.
In 2012, Mr. Daniel founded Al-Monitor (www.al-monitor.com), an American news website focused on in-depth coverage and fresh perspectives from the Middle East. Al-Monitor’s arrival into the media world has been well-received by leaders in the industry. Less than a year after Al-Monitor’s launch, The Washington Post called Al-Monitor “an invaluable web only publication following the Middle East” and just two months after the launch, the Huffington Post noted that Al-Monitor is “increasingly a daily must-read for insightful commentary on the Middle East.”
Mr. Daniel also founded The Levant Foundation in Houston, Texas, which is a private, non-profit organization committed to the furthering of knowledge about Levantine culture and history in the Middle East, as well as the relationships among the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Operating in an ever-growing and diverse society, The Foundation is committed to cooperating with universities, institutions of fine art and religious and research institutions to sponsor and fund artistic, academic and educational programs.
The Levant Foundation helped launch the Swiss-based Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue (FIIRD) in 1999. FIIRD developed a program with the University of Geneva in Switzerland to pursue scholarly and humanistic goals with the main objective of fostering understanding of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Because the three monotheistic religions all believe that a merciful God calls us to resolve our conflicts and restore harmony among all, these religions constitute an inexhaustible authority for the achievement of true peace in the century now unfolding before us. In 2006, The Levant Foundation established an endowment with the University of Texas Press to publish one to three scholarly books a year related to the contemporary issues of the people of the Levant or related to the three monotheistic religions. One of the two books published in 2009 under the series was “Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade” which received critical acclaim from the New York Times.
In 2011, the Levant Foundation established the Jamal Daniel Fund for the Study of the Levant at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The program supports students and scholars in their studies.
Through Levantine Entertainment, a motion picture finance, development and production company, Mr. Daniel is working to create compelling, socially responsible films with cross-cultural sensibility and an international flare. Levantine will produce American motion pictures while continually looking for opportunities to support and produce films that are focused on the interaction between the Western world and the Orient region of the Middle East and are targeted at Western audiences. Levantine’s first foray in motion pictures as executive producer of the critically acclaimed film, “Amreeka,” brought recognition at Cannes and Sundance film festivals.
Mr. Daniel was born in Tartous, Syria, and moved to Lebanon when he was five years old. After completing his high school education in a Jesuit school in Lebanon, Mr. Daniel and his family moved to Geneva, Switzerland where he attended the University of Geneva. He then obtained his BA in Business from Pepperdine University in 1980. Mr. Daniel later graduated with an MBA from the University of Texas in Austin Business School in 1982.
Mr. Daniel is chairman of the Board of Al-Monitor and an Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees of Balamand University in Beirut, Lebanon and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the capital campaign for the Awty International School in Houston until August 2012. He is a co-founder of the Center for the Global South at American University in Washington DC, and is a member of the International Advisory Board of the American University in Beirut. Mr. Daniel has served on the Board of Directors of Pepperdine University and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. In 2011, Mr. Daniel was honored with the Economic Bridge Builder Award from the American Arab Chamber of Commerce for his commitment to building economic, social and cultural bridges. Although Mr. Daniel is no longer an active Board member of The Levant Foundation, he remains The Foundation’s principal benefactor.
Update: Sep 12, 2013
Dr. Claudine Korall serves as the Levant Foundation’s full time delegate based in Paris, France. She is a semiologist, a cultural analyst and an inter-cultural interpreter. When working with institutions and industrialists, Dr. Korall enables the bridging between diverse thinking patterns and encourages mutual understanding during the interaction between cultures. Author of a doctoral thesis on "Overt and Covert Discourse as a Communication Strategy in the Face of Authority Figures", she has lectured at universities on linguistics, cognitive anthropology, gender studies, Judaic studies, and the semiology of covert discourse. Dr. Korall has recently completed a Post Doctoral fellowship on "The Message, the Messenger and Chosenness in the Hebrew Bible; A Semiological Analysis of the Intercultural Dialogue", at The Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue.
Michelle Upton serves as Vice President of the Levant Foundation and is based in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the Levant Foundation, Ms. Upton lived in Iraq where she served as an advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government. She has also worked in the international practice of a premier strategic consulting and government affairs firm in Washington, DC and served as a press aide to a Member of Congress.
Ms. Upton is a graduate of Cornell University and a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies.