BENJAMIN ORBACH is a talented leader, writer, and speaker with expertise in developing and managing innovative and impactful partnerships. He is the founder and director of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors, a citizen diplomacy initiative that is increasing the number of Americans who volunteer in the Muslim World. Orbach is the author of Live from Jordan (Amacom Books, 2007), a post 9/11 travelogue read by thousands of Americans seeking to better understand America’s interests in the Arab World. Orbachhas worked on, studied, and lived America’s relationship with the people of the Middle East and Muslim World for the last decade and a half. An expert from both the policy and “people” perspective, he has worked as a government official, writer, development worker, and teacher.
Since 2011, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors has sent 75 people to volunteer in areas of human development in nine different Muslim World countries. These unofficial ambassadors have published 100s of blog posts, delivered more than 100 community presentations around the United States, and have raised the awareness of tens of thousands of Americans to the possibilities of building people-to-people partnerships between America and the Muslim World. Prior to joining Creative Learning, Orbach was Creative Associates International’s Resident Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza, where he developed and managed a small grant program of more than 100 projects that developed community leadership in Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps. From 2004 - 2007, Orbach was the Deputy Regional Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. He received superior achievement and meritorious achievement awards for designing and managing democratic reform projects in the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining the State Department, Orbach was a research fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Orbach has a Masters degree in Middle East Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) and a BA in History from the University of Michigan. At SAIS, he was a David Boren Fellow, CASA Fellow, and the David Kagan Fellow.
A speaker of Arabic and Hebrew, Orbach has lived in Jerusalem, Amman, and Cairo, and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Orbach previously taught special education social studies in Washington D.C. and volunteered with AmeriCorps in Colorado and Texas. He is a proud Pittsburgh native and lives in Washington DC with his wife and two children. He can be reached at BenjaminO@creativelearning.org.