Franz Afraim Katzir
Sephardic Heritage International (SHIN) - DC
Franz Afraim Katzir is the founding director of SEPHARDIC HERITAGE INTERNATIONAL (SHIN) DC, a cultural diplomacy organization that builds intercultural bridges while raising awareness of Sephardic and other underrepresented Jewish heritages, including engagement of Congress, the diplomatic community and diverse communities. Along with other SHIN-DC board members, Katzir was honoured with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for "commitment to developing and building essential intercultural bridges and understanding as an esteemed board member of Sephardic Heritage International DC”. He was also appointed as Commissioner for Middle Eastern American Affairs for the State of Maryland.
Katzir has a Master’s in Linguistics / Brain and Cognitive Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow, and has studied Jewish law and philosophy in the U.S. and Israel. He has also worked on the Hill on issues involving the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs, including the Middle East. Additionally, Katzir has published on foreign and Jewish affairs, as well as Sephardic Jewish culture, and has given related talks and interviews on the Hill, C-SPAN, and The Axis on Syrian channel Orient News, among others. He enjoys being involved with cultural and arts festivals in the District, which has included serving on the Turkish Festival Committee, speaking about Syrian Jewish history and culture at Syria Fest, and moderating Q&A for the JxJ Washington Jewish Film Festival, which co-presents Sephardic themed films with SHIN-DC. As a recognized foodie, one of his most memorable experiences was preparing a Sephardic style Shabbat dinner for the band A-WA. Katzir loves music, especially pizmonim (traditional Sephardic songs and melodies), Ladino pieces, and the Golden Age of Arabic song (1920s-1950s).