Maen Rashid Areikat was born October 12, 1960 in Jericho in the West Bank, Palestine. Prior to his appointment to Washington, Mr. Areikat was bestowed the rank of Ambassador by Chairman of the PLO and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Maen Areikat served for 11 years at the Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) of the PLO in Ramallah, most recently as its Deputy Head and Coordinator-General (2008-2009). Areikat first joined NAD in 1998, when it was headed by current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and served as its Director-General until March 2008. In addition to overseeing NAD’s day-to-day operations, Mr. Areikat was responsible for overseeing the work of the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), which provided legal, policy, communication and technical support to Palestinian Negotiating Teams and to the Palestinian Leadership. Prior to his service at NAD, Chief Representative Areikat spent six years at Orient House (1993-1998), the headquarters of the PLO in Jerusalem and of the Palestinian Negotiating Team to the Madrid peace talks.
While at Orient House, he served as spokesperson for the late Mr. Faisal Husseini, former PLO Executive Committee member in charge of Jerusalem Affairs, and later as Desk Officer for the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa in Orient House’s International Relations Department. Chief Representative Areikat previously took part in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations at Beit Hanoun/Erez in Gaza and Taba in Egypt in 1996, in Jerusalem in 1997 and was an official member of the Palestinian delegation at the Wye River negotiations in 1998. During the course of his career, Ambassador Areikat has traveled extensively throughout the region and abroad, including numerous official visits to Washington, DC and several European capitals, and has participated in various conferences and symposiums on the Middle East peace process and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Ambassador Areikat earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arizona State University (ASU) in 1983 and his MBA in management from Western International University in 1987. He received his diplomatic training at the Ministry of External Affairs in Ottawa, Canada in 1993 and 1994, and completed a training course in good governance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2001. Ambassador Areikat is joined in Washington by his wife Jumana and their three boys, Rashid (16 years), Saif (14 years) and Amr (11 years).