Tantur Faculty and Staff
The faculty and administrative staff of Tantur are a dedicated group of individuals from different national, religious and professional backgrounds. Together, they work with our facilities and groundskeeping team who make the work of our institute possible.
Rev. Russell McDougall, C.S.C., also known as "Fr. Russ," has been an ordained priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross since 1991. He has been the rector of Tantur since July of 2014. He holds a masters of divinity from the University of Notre Dame and a licentiate of sacred theology from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. A native of northwest Indiana, he has more than 13 year's ministry experience with the Holy Cross in Kenya and Uganda. Since his arrival in Jerusalem, Fr. Russ has been involved in a wide range of social and religious interests both related and complimentary to his work as rector.
Daniel leads the strategic and managerial aspects for the University of Notre Dame's operations at Tantur, and assists in the implementation of the academic vision and strategy expressed through the Tantur Ecumenical Institute and the Jerusalem Global Gateway. Prior to joining the University of Notre Dame at Tantur, Daniel served more than a decade in the financial services and consulting industry, advising top executives of large corporations, financial institutions, regulators and ministries. He led the execution of high profile engagements across the globe, covering a wide range of topics, including enterprise-wide strategy, financial planning, risk and regulation, and restructuring. Daniel holds a B.Sc. and Diploma (M.Sc.) in business administration from the University of Münster, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He speaks fluent Arabic, English, Hebrew and German.
Fr. Brian Daley, S.J. Senior Ecumenical Fellow
Fr. Brian Daley, S.J., the Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, recipient of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize for Theology, has been appointed to the newly created position of Senior Ecumenical Fellow of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. A historical theologian who has authored numerous works, Fr. Daley has been president of the North American Patristic Society, an editor of the scholarly journal Traditio, and also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Christian Studies. Fr. Daley has been a member of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Consultation in North America since the early 1980s and is at present its Executive Secretary. As Senior Ecumenical Fellow, Fr. Brian will work to develop pre- and post-doctoral fellowship programs for junior and senior scholars, and help to determine the direction of ecumenical theological studies and programs at Tantur.
Dr. Hannah Hemphill, Jerusalem Global Gateway Academic Director
Hannah Hemphill was appointed Academic Director of Notre Dame’s Jerusalem Global Gateway, housed at Tantur, in September 2018. In her role, she provides academic oversight for future research programs, enhances Notre Dame’s scholarly and research visibility within the region, develops and deepens collaborations with universities in the Holy Land, and creates pathways for Notre Dame faculty, post-docs, and graduate students to extend the global reach of their research and scholarship. She also supervises Notre Dame's undergraduate academic programs in Jerusalem. Hannah and her husband served as co-directors of Notre Dame’s undergraduate programs in Jerusalem from 2011 to 2014. From 2010 to 2011, she held an internship at Tantur for Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, researching the Institute’s history, implementing Notre Dame’s undergraduate pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and assisting with Tantur and Notre Dame program development. Hannah holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Notre Dame, and master’s degrees from St. Andrews, Notre Dame, and Oxford. Her husband Brian is also deeply involved in both the academic life of the University of Notre Dame and the Tantur Ecumenical Institute; together they have two young children, Lucy and Agnes.
Mark Mina, Director of Operations and Facility Management
Involved in Jerusalem's Catholic, Coptic and Orthodox communities, Mark Mina is a practical example of ecumenical Christianity in the Holy Land. As Director of Operations and Facility Management, Mark is responsible for day-to-day facilities management, oversees administration of facilities staff, Human Resources, IT, Landscaping and assists the Executive Director with the many challenges that come with administration and upkeep of our large institution, its buildings and property. Mark has BA in Finance, MA Degree in Organizational Counseling and MA in International Cooperation and Development; he brings over a decade of nonprofit financial and administrative management experience to the University of Notre Dame at Tantur. He is married with three children, and is active in many Palestinian Christian civic organizations.
Jiries Asfour, Director of Finance
Jiries Asfour has a BA in Accounting and a CPA degree. He started working at the University of Notre Dame at Tantur in 2016; he is responsible for all financial matters. He has eight years of auditing experience. He is a resident of Jerusalem, and was married in the summer of 2016.
Frederic Masson, Program Director
Frederic Masson is the Program Director, responsible for the oversight of all Tantur and visiting programs. Frederic is from the Alpine Mountains of France. He has lived for 15 years in the Middle East, spending his time between Syria and Jerusalem. Frederic is a member of the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Jerusalem, and has completed his theological studies with the intention of becoming ordained clergy. He brings to his position experience with ecumenism, sustainable tourism and Interreligious dialogue. He is married to Stephanie Saldana, a poet, university lecturer, and author of The Bread of Angels. Together they live at Tantur with their three children.
Sarah Heiman, Student Life Program Director
Sarah Heiman began as the Student Life Program Director at the Jerusalem Global Gateway in July 2019. Working collaboratively with the rest of the team at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Sarah is primarily responsible for the pastoral and formative care of our study abroad students while they live and study in Jerusalem. In this role she also assumes responsibility for the health and safety of our student cohort while in Jerusalem, overseeing mental health support, community standards, and the residential experience of our students. Previously, Sarah worked for the University of Notre Dame as Rector of Lyons Hall for five years. Prior to her work at Notre Dame Sarah concentrated on ministry to and with young adults at Mercy Center, a retreat center sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, and Sacred Heart University. Sarah holds both a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and a master of divinity degree from Yale University.
Sandy Dides, Reservation & Events Manager
A native of Jerusalem, Sandy joined us in September 2014, initially as the executive administrative for the rector as well as the reservations manager for Tantur programs, guests and hosted events. Sandy is the first point of contact for registering & corresponding with CEP programs participants. Sandy speaks Arabic, English and French with fluency along with basic Hebrew, and has worked in both hotel management and non-governmental organizations. Sandy lives in Jerusalem with her family, and enjoys spending time with her friends and acquaintances.
Issa Daboub, Front Desk Manager
Issa Daboub has been with the University of Notre Dame at Tantur since 1986, having been the lead front desk staff member, then he assumed the House Manager responsibilities for 6 years after which he was assigned as the Front Desk Manager. Issa holds an MA in Education and Human Development from Boston College in the United States, lives in Bethlehem, and is married to his wife Olina, with two children.
Issa Babish, Head Chef
Issa Babish brings 25 years of experience in culinary arts to the University of Notre Dame at Tantur's kitchen, being responsible for the overall management of the menu, meal preparation and kitchen staff. Issa "Abu George" has a Diploma in Hotel Management and participated in regional culinary exhibitions and he’s also responsible for the annual Greek Orthodox Christmas banquet at Nativity Church. He teaches culinary arts at St. Joseph School in Bethlehem. A Bethlehem native, he is married with four children.
Allison Wattenbarger, Student Life Program Coordinator
A native of Philadelphia, Allison completed her B.A. in English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.Div. at Duke University. Prior to her move to Jerusalem, she worked in churches, nonprofits, and parachurch organizations, providing inter-cultural and cross-cultural training and support for expats, volunteers, refugees, and laypeople.
The Tantur Family