About Joseph Kassab

Joseph Kassab

Joseph T. Kassab.  BSC, MSC, GC November  2013                                                  

jkassab@advocatestoempower.org    (248) 882-1912

or   jkassabict@aol.com

A- History and Education

Born in Telkaif- Nineveh, Northern Iraq in 1952 to a Chaldean Catholic family.  In 1975 earned his undergraduate degree with excellence from College of Science-University of Baghdad. This esteem qualified him for graduate studies program at College of Medicine-University of Baghdad to again become the first on his class and earn in 1979 Master of Science degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology under the auspices of the Royal College of Medicine-UK . Was hired as assistant professor at the same college, but the regime in Iraq demanded that he joins the ruling party, when he refused he was threatened and his position was downgraded. When the threats continued and the intimidations intensified he decided to flee Iraq and join in Rome -Italy his two brothers a pharmacist and an engineer who earlier faced similar challenges to seek asylum.  Later on in 1980 they were  resettled in the U.S as refugees.

In the U.S, Joseph continued his education with determination and persistence to assist the helpless by acquiring Graduate Certificate (GC) in Community Education Leadership from Wayne State University, under the auspices of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington D.C in addition to finishing intensive curriculum in political science at Wayne State University. While doing all of this he worked for 25 years as Bio-medical researcher and instructor at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine.  He is currently the Chief Science Officer of Nano-Engineering and Consulting Co. (www.nano-consultant.com).

B- Advocacy and Commitment to Humanitarian Efforts

Joseph is recognized for his unwavering and passionate commitment, creative advocacy and community organizer and for his international expertise on human and religious affairs and on the plight of the Aramaic speaking Christians of Iraq.  Joseph participated in numerous Chaldean American humanitarian missions to overseas relating to displaced Christians and refugees in Iraq and Global Diaspora to strategize relief efforts and to address their plight to several world leaders, including meetings with Pope John Paul II in November 1992, President of Malta in Valetta in November 1994, UN Secretary General and UNHCR Commissioner in Geneva in March 1996 and 2006, Iraq’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Administrator Paul Bremer in Baghdad in June 2003, President George W. Bush in Washington DC in April 2008, Iraqis Prime Ministers Al-Jafari in Michigan in 2006 and Al-Maliki in Washington DC in October 2009, Kurdistan Regional Government President Barzani and Prime Minster N. Barzani in Kurdistan  and in Washington DC 2006,2009,2011, 2012, and 2013, President of Iraqi Parliament Al-Nujaifi in Michigan 2011, Speaker of the US House Boehner 2011, Vice President Biden 2012, Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu 2012, European Union Parliament Leadership 2013, high ranking Vatican, Jewish Rabies and Muslim clergy, Majority of PACs leaders, Academia and research leaders, and Canada Cabinet Ministers and politicians 2011, 2012, 2013.

During his tenure (from 2005-2012) as Executive Director of the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA) (www.chaldeanfederation.org), Joseph devised and spearheaded the Chaldean American refugee resettlement initiative in 2005: Operation-R4 (Research, Rescue, Relief, Resettlement and Re-empowerment).  This innovative program was designed to advocate for the protection and resettlement of Iraqi refugees, and to provide them with the resources and services necessary to quickly integrate into American society and culture.  Due to Joseph’s intensive advocacy and persistence in pressing authorities to admit and to resettle Iraqi refugees along with the help refugee advocacy NGOs, more than 50,000 Iraqi refugees were admitted through the US Refugee Admission Programs as of to date.

Few weeks after the 2003 war, Joseph traveled across Iraq, to assess the minorities’ situation and to consult with numerous Iraqi political, religious and ethnic leaders, and technocrats.  Also, in 2003, Joseph was instrumental in introducing “the Art of Governance (AOG)” initiative by serving as advisor to the Policy Institute for Religion and State in Washington D.C. The program served to raise awareness among Iraqi nationals and the Diaspora on the benefits of democracy and election procedures; to empower Iraqi citizens; and to encourage Iraqi nationals to become stakeholders in the governmental process.  During the last three National Iraqi Elections, Joseph worked tirelessly to promote this democratic process and to ensure its proper practices in the Diaspora.

In April 2008, Joseph testified to the first briefing of the Congressional Caucus for Middle Eastern Religious Minorities held on Capitol Hill, Joseph was one of the main advocates pushing to create this Caucus .  In March 2008, and three times more in November 2010, October 2011, and September 2012, Joseph traveled to vulnerable Iraq to assess and gather data relating to the social, religious and political needs of the members of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities, and the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Northern Iraq.

In June 2008, Joseph presented details on the plight of Iraqi Christians at the Vienna Forum 2008, and was invited to return to deliver a similar speech at Vienna Forum 2010 in June.  At the 2009 Rimini Meeting in Italy, Joseph participated in a panel to present and to address the plight of Christians in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq. Among the panelists were Mario Mauro, VP of the EU and Stephan De Mistora, UN envoy to Iraq and the Middle East.  More than 850.000 people attend this conference. At the 5th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. in April 2008, Joseph recited an Aramaic prayer on behalf of the Iraqi Christians and persecuted Church immediately following President George W. Bush’s speech to over 3,500 prominent Catholic guests. In May 2011 and again in 2012, Joseph was invited by US Secretary of State Clinton to participate in a major forum on Global Diaspora. In November 2013 made a presentation on the plight of Iraqi Christians before the EU Parliament leadership in Brussels and then traveled to Iraq again to meet Iraqi and Kurdistan leadership to introduce solution to save the Christians in Iraq.

As Executive Director of CFA, Joseph continues to push U.S legislators to introduce in the Senate and the House bills on supporting freedom of religion in countries of origin such as Iraq, protection and recognition of minorities’ rights, preserve human rights, and to reform the much needed U.S Refugee Admission Acts.  Also, Joseph was instrumental in coordinating and introducing several top Iraqi government officials to the members of his community in the Diaspora including Mr. Al-Nujaifi, President of the Iraqi Parliament visit in Jun, 2011 which attracted a significant national attention.

To continue his 30 years community’s commitment to meet the pressing political and humanitarian needs and aspirations of Iraqi religious minorities and refugees, recently Mr. Kassab launched humanitarian nonprofit NGO; the Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment  Institute (ICAE),  www.advocatestoempower.org.

On several occasions, Joseph served as consultant to the offices of Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, U.S Senate Sub-Committee on Immigration and Refugees Resettlement, US House of Representatives, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva-Switzerland, Think Tank Institutions, and additional faith-based and humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). He is recognized by universities’ Pro-Bono Legal Immigration Clinics and Law firms for writing impressive and convincing affidavits to U.S Immigration Courts on the plight of Christians in Iraq and for why Iraqi Christians should not be denied asylum and/or returned to Iraq. Also, Joseph served as Chair of the Chaldeans for US Census for three consecutive decennials since 1990.

Mr. Kassab sums the plight of Iraqi Christians and his work in the following article dated July 7, 2011:

The Extermination of Iraq’s Ancestral People – An interview with …


And/or   http://www.zenit.org/article-33045?l=english

C- Publications and Accolades 

Over the years, Joseph has been asked to appear as a guest on local and national media outlets, including ABC, CBS, WXYZ, NPR, WJBK, WWJ, WDET, WJR, EWTN, CNN, and PBS, among others.  He has appeared in the pages of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, AP, Catholic News Agency, Catholic International Radio, Iraqi Hurr Radio, MEA TV &Radio, and more.  On an international scale, Joseph has been interviewed for reports delivered by Japanese Hokkaido Shimbun Press, Finish TV, ANSA Italian New Agency, BBC, ZENIT, Italian Christiana Radici, Italian Oasis, Italian Quotidiano, Italian Weekly Credere, Major Chaldean Arabic and Turkish TV and news networks. In January 2013 he strategized and planned a successful international conference in Toronto which was attended by more than 600 officials and interested leaders in the plight of Christians of Iraq.

America’s Table, a Thanksgiving Reader published by the American Jewish Committee and New York Times, profiled Joseph in its 2005 edition as one of nine men and women whose distinct backgrounds, struggles and triumphs link him as American. Also, Joseph is the recipient of three humanitarian awards, the 2008 Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce humanitarian award, the Community Education Leadership Program award, and the appreciation award for the Year’s Best Ethnic Group Participation in the U.S Census 1990, 2000, and 2010. In 2006, Joseph was appointed to a three year term as Commissioner of Citizens Corps Council for Emergency Preparedness (CCCEP) in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 2012 Joseph helped organizing a successful fundraising evening of Honor &Remembrance to America’s Fallen Heroes in Iraq.

In addition, during his 30 years of academic and humanitarian work, Joseph published 12 biomedical articles, 30 abstracts, and several articles on Iraqi community affair’s .

D- International Travel for the Purpose of Religious and Ethnic Minority Advocacy, People Empowerment, and Humanitarian Missions:

  • North America: Canada and Mexico (frequently)
  • Central America: Dominican Republic , Costa Rica, Caribbean Islands, and Belize
  • Asia: Iraq and Kurdistan (frequently), Jordan (frequently), Lebanon, Syria, Israel, West Bank, and Turkey (frequently)
  • Africa: Egypt
  • Europe: Switzerland (frequently), England, Scotland, Ireland,  Greece (frequently), Crete, Malta, France, Germany (frequently), Netherland (frequently), Sweden, Austria (frequently), Romania, Czech, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Vatican (frequently), and Italy (frequently)
  • Australia 

*to learn more, google:  Joseph Kassab and Iraqi Refugees and/or Christians