Abraham Path Fellows

API fellows have demonstrated a commitment to API’s vision of a Middle East known as a global destination for world class walking trails, hospitality, and a place of transformative connections. 

Fellows
Welcome to the Inaugural Class of API Senior Fellows!

Fellows undertake projects that aim to further API’s mission of empowering vibrant growth in the region through scouting trails, catalyzing local organizations to manage and sustain them, and telling the stories of the extraordinary people and places along the Path.

2024 Senior Fellows

Leon McCarron

Leon McCarron
The Ibn Battuta Senior Fellowship

Leon McCarron is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and trail designer from Northern Ireland. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a fellow of the Abraham Path Initiative, the Philadelphia Geographical Society’s Explorer of the Year for 2022, and is known for long-distance expeditions and immersive…

Leon McCarron is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and trail designer from Northern Ireland. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a fellow of the Abraham Path Initiative, the Philadelphia Geographical Society’s Explorer of the Year for 2022, and is known for long-distance expeditions and immersive multimedia storytelling. He has walked across China, crossed the Empty Quarter desert on foot, kayaked along Iran’s longest river, and ridden on horseback across Argentine Patagonia. His most recent journey took him along the full length of the river Tigris. In the past decade he has traveled over 30,000 miles by human power, and is currently based between Iraq and Ireland.

Leon is the author of three books. His most recent, Wounded Tigris: A River Journey Through the Cradle of Civilisation (Corsair, 2023) was a Sunday Times Book of the Week, New Statesman Book of the Year, and is shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year Award. He has bylines in Smithsonian, National Geographic, New Scientist, Noema, and Geo. Previous books have been shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Book Festival award, and his journalism has won the gold medal in environmental reporting from the American Society of Travel Writers. His TV shows have aired on National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and theBBC, and he has lectured all over the world to schools, businesses, and societies. Leon has 10+ years of experience in trail design and development, with a particular focus on the Middle East, Central Asia and China. He is the co-founder of the Zagros Mountain Trail in Iraq. For more information on Leon McCarron, please visit: https://www.leonmccarron.com/

Website
David Landis

David Landis
The Ibn Jubayr Senior Fellowship

David Landis is the visionary founder behind V2V Trails, which crafts trail experiences as a platform for narrative tourism, cultural exchange and economic development. He has pioneered an innovative methodology for designing community-driven trails by creating, curating, and mapping adventures on foot and bicycle,…

David Landis is the visionary founder behind V2V Trails, which crafts trail experiences as a platform for narrative tourism, cultural exchange and economic development. He has pioneered an innovative methodology for designing community-driven trails by creating, curating, and mapping adventures on foot and bicycle, leading to world-class hiking and cycling routes. These initiatives are paired with Village to Village Press, which publishes guidebooks on pilgrimage walking journeys along the Camino de Santiago, in Europe, and the Middle East.

Driven by a belief that physical journeys connect complex narratives to transcend boundaries and foster understanding, David has spent years cultivating relationships with communities across continents, from remote villages to urban neighborhoods. His trail projects link diverse geographies and populations, reflecting a profound respect for the significance of local voices and cultural heritage, and preserving them for future generations. 

David’s trail development experience in the Middle East spans 15 years, including co-founding the Jesus Trail, serving as the Regional Director of the Abraham Path Initiative, and supporting numerous trail projects through high-level strategic consulting and leadership in Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraqi Kurdistan. Today he lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he has created similar experiences through gravel bikepacking routes, including the TransVirginia Bike Route, Grayson Gravel Traverse, and Blue Ridge Hills & Hollows.

David’s work not only celebrates the unique identities of communities worldwide but also emphasizes our shared humanity. Through his leadership, David inspires a new generation of travelers, storytellers, and cultural ambassadors to weave the threads of connection that unite us all. His work has been featured in media such as ABC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Backpacker Magazine and National Geographic. For more information on David Landis and current projects, visit: https://davidlandis.org

Website

Previous Fellows

Stephanie Saldaña

Stephanie Saldaña

Stephanie Saldaña wrote a feasibility paper on the concept of the Abraham Path while completing her MA at the Harvard Divinity School even before the seminal walk from Urfa to Hebron in 2006. The Texas native now lives outside Jerusalem with her husband and three children. A consummate researcher and storyteller, and…

Stephanie Saldaña wrote a feasibility paper on the concept of the Abraham Path while completing her MA at the Harvard Divinity School even before the seminal walk from Urfa to Hebron in 2006. The Texas native now lives outside Jerusalem with her husband and three children. A consummate researcher and storyteller, and educator, Stephanie focuses on preserving intangible cultural heritage that is imperiled by war, oppression, natural disasters, and climate change. She listens to refugees and internally displaced people from Iraq, Syria, and Palestine, becoming a vehicle for the transmission of folk music, poetry, recipes, embroidery, and memory.

As an Abraham Path Fellow, Stephanie undertook years of cultural heritage research with Iraqi Christians and Yazidis in Erbil and Mosul, Iraq. That research is being compiled into her third book, Anwar’s Clementine: What Refugees Can Teach Us About Hope, Compassion, and Our Common Humanity. Her stories are also published at Mosaic Stories.

Stephanie was a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus and is a Journalist Fellow with the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at UCLA. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times.

Website
Emily Garthwaite

Emily Garthwaite

Emily Garthwaite is an award-winning photojournalist, a Forbes 30 Under 30, and Leica Ambassador focusing on humanitarian and environmental issues. She has walked over 500 kilometers through Iraq, documenting positive stories of resilience and women’s empowerment. She co-directed The 40th Day, a documentary covering…

Emily Garthwaite is an award-winning photojournalist, a Forbes 30 Under 30, and Leica Ambassador focusing on humanitarian and environmental issues. She has walked over 500 kilometers through Iraq, documenting positive stories of resilience and women’s empowerment. She co-directed The 40th Day, a documentary covering Arba’een, the world’s largest annual pilgrimage that takes place in central Iraq. Emily has walked and photographed the Arba’een twice. She has also documented the refugee crisis and land mine clearance efforts in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Emily has a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of Westminster and is founder of WomenTranslate. She is a Member of the Frontline Freelance Register and former Fellow of Abraham Path Initiative. Emily was selected as the 2023 International Nominee for the Goldziher Prize for Journalists. Kintzing Agency represents her. Emily lives in Iraq and the UK.

Website
Daniel Maissan

Daniel Maissan

Daniel Maissan has been a freelance photographer for over 15 years. His fascination for people, the inequality in the world, and the strong belief that people are in essence all the same, made him change careers in his late twenties. Having been a bartender and an avid globetrotter, Daniel then started working for…

Daniel Maissan has been a freelance photographer for over 15 years. His fascination for people, the inequality in the world, and the strong belief that people are in essence all the same, made him change careers in his late twenties. Having been a bartender and an avid globetrotter, Daniel then started working for magazines and businesses as a freelance photographer.

Daniel finally ended up capturing the work of NGO’s and foundations, while creating personal projects in which he captures the dynamics of every-day life in different countries, cultures, and communities. What started out as a change of careers has developed more and more into a lifestyle in which he travels the world studying, framing and documenting his own outlook on the world around him. Daniel often shares his work on Instagram.

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Lisa Dupuy

Lisa Dupuy

Lisa Dupuy is a freelance journalist, editor and researcher, and made her way to journalism via conflict studies. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in Maastricht and graduated from King’s College London with an MA in Nonproliferation and International Security. Lisa is interested in…

Lisa Dupuy is a freelance journalist, editor and researcher, and made her way to journalism via conflict studies. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in Maastricht and graduated from King’s College London with an MA in Nonproliferation and International Security.

Lisa is interested in conflict and the ways in which it shapes history and politics, marks our landscapes and (un)ties us to geography, and becomes entrenched in our thinking about the world and in the human psyche. She has written and/or produced stories on resource wars, conservation, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the worldwide arms trade. Lisa spends a lot of time in the newsroom of the Dutch national newspaper NRC. You can also find her on Twitter.

Website
Alison Tanık

Alison Tanık

Alison Tanık is a poet, playwright and performer who lives in the English Midlands. She returned to the town of her birth, Derby, after spending many years working and living in North Africa and the Middle East, including 7 years in a Kurdish village, Yuvacalı, in southeast Turkey. While living in Yuvacalı, Alison…

Alison Tanık is a poet, playwright and performer who lives in the English Midlands. She returned to the town of her birth, Derby, after spending many years working and living in North Africa and the Middle East, including 7 years in a Kurdish village, Yuvacalı, in southeast Turkey. While living in Yuvacalı, Alison became involved with the Abraham Path Initative, helping to introduce hundreds of visitors to the hospitality of the region, before leaving to return to the UK with her two children in 2012.

Since returning to the UK, Alison has developed her interest in writing while working in education and raising her children. She is currently studying at Manchester Metropolitan University for an MA in creative writing. Alison performs her work widely at venues across the UK and is an Associate Poet for the Derby Poetry Festival 2023.

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Ömer Tanık

Ömer Tanık

Ömer Tanık is a Kurdish Turk who has lived in Turkey and the UK, and currently resides in Şanlıurfa, in southeast Turkey, where he owns and runs a guest house. He has worked in tourism and sustainable development for many years, being one of the founding members of the Turkey Culture Routes Society . He has been…

Ömer Tanık is a Kurdish Turk who has lived in Turkey and the UK, and currently resides in Şanlıurfa, in southeast Turkey, where he owns and runs a guest house. He has worked in tourism and sustainable development for many years, being one of the founding members of the Turkey Culture Routes Society. He has been involved with the Abraham Path Initiative since 2010, bringing visitors from all over the world to walk in southeast Turkey.

Website