Jordan Elgrably is an award-winning social entrepreneur, producer, writer, editor & the founding director of The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, in Los Angeles.
A curator of public programs, Jordan is of Moroccan and French heritage. He has been passionately committed to strengthening Arab/Muslim/Christian and Jewish relations for many years. In addition to The Markaz, which he co-founded in 2001 as the Levantine Cultural Center, he cofounded the New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers International in 1996 and Open Tent Middle East Coalition in 1999. He was a producer for the Dalai Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music in 1999, 2002 and 2005. As well, he has launched several original initiatives, among them Arabs, Blacks & Jews: The Art of Resistance; Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief; Beirut-Los Angeles.org; CelebratePalestine.org; New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema, with funding from the Golden Globes/Hollywood Foreign Press Association; and Freedom Theatre West.
Jordan attended the American University of Paris (formerly ACP) and was based for a number of years in Paris and Madrid, where he worked as a journalist and associate producer for TF1. His essays, articles and stories have appeared in many anthologies and periodicals. He is a member of PEN Center, the international advocacy organization for writers and journalists, the Los Angeles Press Club, and the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association. In 2008, the L.A. Weekly featured Jordan Elgrably in its People of the Year issue and he received the Local Hero Award from the Foundation for World Arts and Culture; in 2011 and 2014, he was an Annenberg Alchemy Fellow; in 2013 and 2015 he was nominated for the James Irvine Leadership Award. In 2014 he received an American Express Award and in 2015, the Rachel Corrie Conscience and Courage Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He is a 2016 Ariane de Rothschild Foundation Fellow. Jordan lives near Los Angeles with his wife and son.
Jordan has also pursued his lifelong interest in the law and justice, working as a legal editor for the Chase Law Group, where he founded the biweekly Criminal Defense Weekly, handled media communications for the firm and organized the public forum, "Racial Profiling After 9/11." He subsequently went over to the Los Angeles Daily Journal, where as legal editor he edited attorneys and judges' contributions to the practitioner and op-ed pages.
Over the years, Jordan has been a frequent radio guest on such stations as KPCC, KPFK, KCRW, KXLU and KABC, speaking about his Middle East activism on behalf of Arab-Jewish reconciliation and inter-ethnic tolerance. He has also appeared on the BBC, Voice of America and a number of TV news programs. He has lectured or participated in panel discussions at Occidental College, the Euphrates Institute, Rutgers University ("Writers and Attorneys on Civil Rights Post 9/11"), Baylor University, UCLA, Brandeis-Bardin Insitute, and at many community organizations, synagogues, churches and mosques. In addition to his legal, literary and journalistic activities, Jordan continues to produce public programs, including concerts, readings, salons and seminars.
In 2005, Jordan created a new comedy show, the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, which continues to perform locally and nationally; it is now the longest-running Middle Eastern stand-up comedy show in the U.S. In 2006 with Rachel Campbell he launched the web site BeirutLosAngeles.org in an effort to help victims of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. In 2007 Gaza Surf Relief launched under his aegis through the Levantine Cultural Center. In 2010, he created the first biannual East-West Awards to acknowledge bridgebuilders and leaders for peace. In 2012, he founded Freedom Theatre West, in honor of the late Juliano Mer-Khamis' original Freedom Theatre in Jenin (the first Los Angeles theatre company devoted to the Middle East subject).
In 2013 he helmed the launch of a new annual program and site, celebratepalestine.org, created for a new week-long festival, A Celebration of Palestinian Culture.