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. Katzir was also appointed as Commissioner for Middle Eastern American Affairs for the State of Maryland. He 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, moderating Q&A for the JxJ Washington Jewish Film Festival, and working on the DX Film Festival.