Board of Trustees

Our Board is currently composed of nine members. Nominated by a trustee committee and appointed by the full board, trustees may serve up to two six-year terms

Political Studies: Charles Weiss

Charles Weiss spent most of his life as a journalist covering developments in the Middle East. Between 1953 and 1974, he worked for the Jerusalem Post, and was a stringer for the Associated Press, United Press and Reuters wire services, eventually signing on with the US broadcasting arm, Voice of America

His assignments included the wars Israel fought, from the Sinai campaign in 1956, the Six Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur war in 1973, and the first Gulf War in 1991. He covered the era of fedayeen attacks on the Jewish state; Israel’s turbulent politics surrounding the future of the territories occupied during the Six Day War; the earthshaking visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel in 1977, and the Palestinians’ first truly nationalist uprising, the First Intifada

As regional correspondent for VOA, he reported on the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, pivotal presidential elections in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey; and, from Iran, on the unrest that led to the overthrow of the Shah, from September 1978 to the referendum establishing an Islamic republic the following April


Faiz sara

Political Activism: Faiz SaraFaiz Sara is a well-known Syrian writer. He was born in 1950 in Giroud, the countryside of Damascus, and studied Political Science at the University of Damascus. Beginning his career as a journalist in 1973, Sara is a co-founder of numerous media outlets, including Independent Media Group (IMG), and has been published in many newspapers, with op-ed columns in Asharq Al Awsat, Al- Hayat London, Alwatan, and As-Safir in Beirut

As an independent figure, Sara joined the Syrian political movement around 2000. He was a founding member and leading figure of Committees for the Revival of Civil Society, which played an important role in the political and cultural movement in Syria. Additionally, Sara is a founding member of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, and the Syrian Democratic Forum

Sara was imprisoned for two years in the late 1970s due to his activities and relations with leftist groups. He was also arrested for two and a half years in 2008 for his affiliation with the National Council of Damascus Declaration, and in 2011 following the Syrian Revolution. His political activities as well as media coverage are among the reasons cited for his incarceration. Sara joined the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and was elected as a member of the Political Committee



Strategic StudiesHarriet Mouchly Weiss

Harriet Weiss specializes in combining the efforts of the corporate world, governments, and international organizations. She has helped to develop the toy industry’s Code of Business Practices and their social compliance monitoring system, known as the ICTI CARE Process, which is recognized by governments, NGOs and major retailers as a standard for all industries. She is a founder of Strategy XXI activists on such issues as obesity, marketing to children, vaccine distribution, micro-nutrients and healthy lifestyles. She has advised the World Health Organization on communications aspects of its campaigns to counter childhood obesity and promote a healthy environment for children

Weiss is a member of Friends of the United Nations, and is experienced in crisis management. She has established herself as a key adviser to political leaders and CEO members of Fortune 500 companies. Weiss has been working with China for the last 15 years, as an adviser to multi-national companies. A recent initiative is her creation of Reputation Risk Map, a global dashboard that provides near real-time insight on potential trouble spots for CEO’s, corporate boards and others

Weiss is also an active board member for The Abraham Fund, The Acumen Fund, Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery and UN Office for Partnerships


Social Studies and the Arabic Family:  Haifa Bitar

Haifa Bitar is one of the most important writers and novelists in the Arab world.
Bitar is the second most popular author in the Arabic language. She is a regular contributor of literary reviews to numerous Arabic-language newspapers and often appears as a guest on Arabic cultural television programs.
Active in the field of women’s rights, she manages many of the seminars in several Arab countries. Bitar is a practicing ophthalmologist at the National Hospital in Latakia. Among her awards are the Abu Al-Qasem Al-Shabi Prize, awarded in 2003 for her book, “The Whore”


Political Research:  Abdalla Turkmani

Abdalla Turkmani is a Syrian writer and researcher, who holds a PhD in Political Science. He filled the position of Senior Research fellow at the Orient Center for Studies in the United Arab Emirates. During the Tunisian Revolution, Turkmani contributed to many Arab newspapers, and has publicly supported peaceful demonstrations. Currently, Turkmani is a researcher at the Harriman Center for Political Studies



Mohanad Alhassani

Human Rights Law: Muhannad Al-Hassani

Muhannad Al-Hassani is a well-known human rights lawyer and activist who has resettled in the United States. Al-Hassani was wrongfully imprisoned from 2009- 2011, following the beginning of the Syrian revolution. As President of the Syrian Human Rights Organization, he defends political prisoners in his country and exposes abuses in the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), a special tribunal that handles sensitive cases, and which is not bound by a code of procedure

In recognition of these efforts, Al-Hassani received the Martin Ennals Award, a prestigious international honor for human rights defenders, which praises activists for their exceptional courage and innovation. He came to the United States in 2012, and despite his decision to become involved in business here, Al-Hassani continues to draw attention to the suffering of Syrian people throughout the ongoing civil war


Munzer Al-Masri

Munzer Al-Masri is a Syrian poet. Born in Latakia in 1949, he has participated in many seminars, press conferences, and interviews that pertain to how his country has changed





bassam AlawilMental Health: Bassam Aouil

Bassam Aouil holds a Ph.D In Psychology, and is a clinical psychologist and sexologist. Aouil is a Professor at the Institute Of Psychology at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He is acting president of the Polish Therapeutic Society in Poland, and is the author and editor of twelve books and hundreds of scientific articles




CEO & Founder: Issam Khoury 

Issam Khoury is a journalist and political activist from Syria with more than fifteen years of experience. Some of the many topics Khoury focuses on includes governance, Islamist terrorist groups,rights of citizenship, culture and arts, and news media in the Middle East and North Africa. His work has explicitly exposed truths surrounding human rights violations and government crackdowns, which has often resulted in direct confrontation with those who oppose freedom of the press in the Middle East.

Despite the fact that his travel was restricted multiple times while in Syria, Khoury continued to raise awareness to the ongoing uprisings in the MENA region. He has written two novels, more than 500 reports, and is an expert on political and social trends. Khoury is among the first investigative journalists to report on the Syrian revolution while in the country. Most recently, he was an International Journalist fellow at the CUNY J-school in New York City. Currently, he serves as Senior Advisor at Strategy XXI Partners,within their Middle East and North Africa division