Board of Advisors

Ms. Laurie Fitch (Chair of the Board)
Partner, PJT Partners, London
Laurie Fitch is a Partner at PJT Partners, an advisory-led investment bank, where she advises industrial manufacturers, utilities and infrastructure companies on mergers and acquisitions, strategy and corporate finance.   Previously, she was co-head of the Global Industrials Investment Banking practice at Morgan Stanley.  Prior to investment banking, Ms Fitch spent the majority of her career as an equity analyst and portfolio manager at Artisan Partners and TIAA-CREF.  She serves on the Finance and Operations and the Audit subcommittees of the Tate Board of Trustees and holds a BA in Arabic and Middle East Studies from American University and a Master of Arts in Arab Studies, with IBD honors, from Georgetown University ('94). 

Board of Advisors:

Mr. Elias F. Aburdene
President, Rock Creek Corporation, Aburdene & Associates, Inc., and Morgan Capital & Energy Corp., USA
Mr. Aburdene is currently the President of Rock Creek Corporation, an investment company; Aburdene & Associates, Inc., an investment management and administration firm; and Morgan Capital & Energy Corp., an investment holding company. He is also an advisor and director of BT&T Board, a commercial bank headquartered in Washington, DC.

H.E. Dr. Yousef H. Al-Ebraheem
Advisor, Al-Diwan Al-Amiri, Kuwait
Dr. Al-Ebraheem held several Ministerial & Academic Positions in Kuwait. He was the Former Minister of Finance, Minister of Planning and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs from 2001 to  2003, the Former Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education from 1999 to 2001, and the Former Vice Chairman of Al Mal Investment Co. from 1997 to 1999. He was also the Dean of the College of Administrative Sciences, Kuwait University from 1995 to 1999.

Mr. Abdlatif Al-Hamad
Director General & Chairman of the Board, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Kuwait
Mr. Al-Hamad is a member of the Board of many prominent institutions, including the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Advisory Council for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, the IFC Banking Advisory Group, the Higher Council of Education- Kuwait, the International Advisory Board on Foreign Relations, and the International Crisis Group.

Ms. Hamida Abdullah Alireza
Trustee, The Barakat Trust, Saudi Arabia
Ms. Allreza is a trustee at the Barakat Trust, a UK registered charity which provides financial support for the study and research of the material and visual cultures of Islamic societies. This assistance is granted to enable scholars to continue to add to the body of Islamic scholarship while enhancing the possibilities of cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.

Mr. Yusuf Alireza
CEO & Executive Director, Noble Group Limited
Mr. Alireza is CEO & Executive Director of Noble Group Limited, a commodities trading firm ranked number 77 in the Fortune Global 500. He also serves on the global board of directors of Room to Read, an international NGO that promotes literacy and gender equality in education and recently funded the expansion of a pediatric ICU unit in Palestine through the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). Mr. Alireza holds an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. 

H.R.H. Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud
Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia
His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal served as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America from September 13, 2005 until February 2, 2007. Prince Turki was appointed an Advisor in the Royal Court in 1973. From 1977 to 2001, he served as the Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the Kingdom’s main foreign intelligence service. In 2002, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz appointed him Ambassador of to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. His Royal Highness is one of the founders of the King Faisal Foundation and is the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. He is also co-chair of the C100 Group, which has been affiliated with the World Economic Forum since 2003.

Mr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaid
Director General, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), United Arab Emirates
Jamal Al-Suwaidi received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin. He is the Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi and a Professor of Political Science at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain. He taught courses in Political Science Methodology, Political Culture, Comparative Governments, and International Relations at the UAE University and the University of Wisconsin. In 2002, the French government bestowed the French Order of Merit - First Class on Dr. Al-Suwaidi, in honor for his distinguished efforts in strengthening bilateral relations between the UAE and France. In 2006, Dr. Al-Suwaidi was awarded the Young CEO Award by the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute; and the title of Honorable Professor from the International University, Vienna, in 2008.

H.E. Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Saud Al-Thani
Minister of State, Qatar
Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Thani was Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Washington DC in the early 1990s. Upon his return to Doha, he became the Director of the Political Department at the Amiri Diwan, followed by Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Undersecretary of the Amiri Protocol. In 2003 he became the Private Secretary to HH the Emir and in 2005 the Chief of the Amiri Diwan. Sheikh Abdulrahman is a member of the Council of the Ruling Family Affairs, the Arab Thought Forum (Amman), Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board for Georgetown University - Qatar, School of International Affairs in Qatar, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Palestinian Studies (Beirut), President of the Qatari Sport Union for Special Needs Athletes, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the College of Nursing project, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the College of North Atlantic – Qatar, Chairman of Vodafone – Qatar, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Qatar Museums Authority.

Mr. Peter Baumbusch
Partner, Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, UAE/USA
Peter L. Baumbusch recently retired from being a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He had joined the firm in 1972. Mr. Baumbusch concentrated his practice in foreign investment in the United States, international taxation, general corporate taxation, executive compensation, and mergers, acquisitions, and restructurings. He provided legal and tax advice relating to the acquisition of more than $10 billion in United States companies and real estate investments; he obtained successful results in numerous Internal Revenue Service rulings, audits and court cases; and he advised foreign governments with respect to the United States tax system. He provided advice with respect to numerous multi-jurisdictional option and compensation programs for major international companies.

Mr. Ibrahim Dabdoub
Chief Executive Officer, National Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait
Ibrahim Dabdoub has been at the helm of National Bank of Kuwait as Chief Executive Officer since 1983. He first joined NBK in 1961 and saw his career progress from Head of Credit in 1969 to Deputy Chief Executive Officer before assuming the CEO position in 1983. Mr. Dabdoub studied at the Collège des Frères in Bethlehem, the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and at Stanford University, California, USA. He is a board member of the International Institute of Finance (IIF), Washington DC; the Arab Thought Forum, Jordan; Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon; Member of the Advisory Council of Carnegie Middle East Centre, Washington DC; Board of Trustees of Kuwait Maastricht Business School, Kuwait as well as Executive Committee Member of the Arab Business Council, the World Economic Forum (WEF), Geneva. Mr. Dabdoub is a chairman of many of NBK’s international subsidiaries including National Bank of Kuwait Investment Management, London; National Bank of Kuwait (Suisse) SA, Geneva and National Bank of Kuwait (Lebanon) SAL, Beirut.; as well as Vice Chairman of National Bank of Kuwait (International) PLC, London and Board Member of Jordan Mobile Telephone Services Company (Fastlink, Jordan). In October 1995, Mr. Dabdoub was awarded the Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA) of ‘Banker of the Year’. In December 1997, he was also elected the “Arab Banker of the Year” by the Union of Arab Banks. In June 2005, he won an Award for Outstanding Contribution to Development of Financial Services in the Middle East by Euromoney.

Mr. Abul Huda Farouki 
Chairman, Financial Instrument & Investment Corporation; Chief Executive Officer, ANHAM, LLC, USA
Mr. Farouki is Chairman of FIIC, an International firm that controls Finance, Construction and Shipping companies that are active in Europe, Middle East/North Africa, and East Asia. For 30 years, Mr. Farouki has managed, developed and structured major private and public construction, trade, finance and shipping ventures. In addition, Mr. Farouki is the Chief Executive Officer of ANHAM, LLC, an international government contracting company active in the Middle East and Asia. Mr. Farouki was educated in England and the United States and received Bachelors of Engineering and Masters of Engineering Administration Degrees. Mr. Farouki is the recipient of the President of the United States "E" Award for Excellence in Exporting; the Outstanding Achievement in International Trade award from the Washington International Trade Association; and the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Washington Business Journal/Peat Marwick. 

Mr. David Jackson
President, Northridge Capital, Inc
David W. Jackson is the President of Northridge Capital, Inc., a Washington, DC-based independent real estate asset management firm. Prior to the creation of Northridge, Mr. Jackson was closely involved as an advisor to several of the investors whose assets are currently managed by Northridge. Mr. Jackson previously practiced law with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he focused on international investment and financing transactions. Mr. Jackson was the Chair of the Board of Advisors at the Center for Contemporary Arab studies from 2012 to 2015. He completed an MA in Arab Studies in 1983, as well as a JD in 1987, at Georgetown University.

Ms. Suad Juffali
Founder and Director, Help Center & Founder, Women’s Welfare Society & Al-Faisaliyah Women’s Society, Saudi Arabia
Mrs. Juffali, who is of Palestinian and German descent, is the widow of the late Sheikh Ahmed Juffali, an extremely important business tycoon in the region. Mrs. Juffali received an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from AUC in 2007. She established the first woman’s welfare society in Jeddah in 1958, and continued throughout her life supporting children and women in the Arab world through education and charitable works. In 1985, she founded the Help Center, dedicated to helping mentally handicapped children and their families. In addition to CCAS, Mrs. Juffali is on the Board of numerous educational institutions, including AUC and LAU. Since 1994, she has also been the Managing Director of the Ahmed Juffali Benevolent Foundation. Mrs. Juffali has received numerous awards and certificates of appreciation for her charitable works and dedication to the support of education and the welfare of women and children.

Mr. Samer Khoury
Executive Vice President, Operations, Consolidated Contractors International Co., Greece
Samer Khoury is the Executive Vice President of Operations of the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) Group, one of the region's largest international construction companies, operating throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS, Europe, and the United States. Mr. Khoury’s responsibilities include oversight of the marketing and management operations of the Group's worldwide business interests. CCC has played an important role in Palestinian infrastructure development. Its key areas of investment include the construction of the Gaza power plant, exploration for offshore natural gas reserves in Gaza (a joint venture with multinational British Gas), various housing development initiatives in Gaza, and hospitality and tourism sector investments in Bethlehem. Mr. Khoury serves on the Board of Directors of the Palestine Investment Fund. 

Mr. Nemir Kirdar
President and CEO, Investcorp, USA/UK
Nemir Kirdar is the founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of the global investment group, Investcorp, which operates out of New York, London and Bahrain. Mr. Kirdar began his banking career in New York in 1969. Following two years of credit training, he covered South East Asia and Japan for Allied Bank International. In 1974 he joined The Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, as Vice President. Between 1976 and 1981 he served in the Arabian Gulf and was responsible for overseeing and directing Chase's banking network in the region. He founded Investcorp in 1982. Investcorp specializes in offering multi-product alternative investments on both sides of the Atlantic. These include private equity, hedge funds, real estate, technology investments and Gulf growth capital. Mr. Kirdar has been awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Georgetown University, Washington DC; an honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of the Pacific, California; and an honorary Doctorate in Economics from Richmond, the American International University in London.

Mr. John M. (Jack) Moore
Director, Aramco Services Company, USA
Mr. Moore has had a long career in the fields of energy and petroleum that includes both private sector and government experience. He is currently the Director of Aramco Services Company’s Washington DC office, where he oversees governmental and public affairs activities. He has worked for the company for more than 16 years, first as Government Relations Advisor, and later, as Business Manager prior to being named Director in 2008. Mr. Moore came to Aramco Services Company from Transworld Oil Limited in Bermuda. During his seven years with Transworld Oil he worked as an oil market analyst in support of the company’s oil market trading activities. He began his career in energy with the Office on International Affairs at the US Department of Energy where he was an international political and economic analyst specializing in international petroleum markets and energy producing countries. Mr. Moore was educated at Oregon State University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

H.E. Hunaina Al-Mughairy 
Ambassador Sultanate of Oman to the United States
In December 2005, Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Al-Mughairy was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sultanate of Oman to the United States. She previously served as the representative of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion & Export Development (OCIPED) in New York City, Director General of Investment Promotion at OCIPED, advisor to the Under-Secretary for Industry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Director of Industrial Planning and Research at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and as a member of the Planning Committee for Major Gas Projects in the Sultanate of Oman. Ambassador Al-Mughairy obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Economics from High Polytechnic Institute in Cairo and a Master’s Degree in Economics from New York University.

Mr. George Salem
Law Offices of George R. Salem PLLC & Strategic Advisor, DLA Piper US LLP, USA
George Salem founded the Law Offices of George R. Salem PLLC. He was formerly a partner in the Washington, DC office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, where he chaired the firm's Middle East and US Department of Labor practices and serves as Strategic Advisor to the international law firm of DLA Piper. He served as solicitor of the US Department of Labor during the second Reagan administration as well as played key roles in the Bush-Quayle and Bush-Cheney campaigns. He co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and currently serves as its Chairman. He was selected to serve on the Official US Observer Delegation to the January 9, 2005 Palestinian Presidential Elections.

Ms. Betty Sams
Former President of the American Committee for Tyre, USA
Betty Sams is a Lebanese-American who has long been actively involved in US-Arab relations. Mrs. Sams is on the National Advisory Board of the Arab American National Museum, the Visiting Committee of the Smith College Museum of Art, a member of American Task force for Lebanon and The Leadership Council of Churches for Middle East Peace. She is a past president of the American Committee for Tyre and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Washington National Opera and the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute. A Michigan native, Betty Sams earned a BA degree in Government from Smith College, and also studied at American University of Beirut. She is the wife of James F. Sams who served on the CCAS Board from the Fall of 2000 until his death in December 2005.

Mr. Ghiath Sukhtian
Vice Chairman, Munir Sukhtian Group Co., Ltd. and Chairman & CEO, Munir Sukhtian International, Jordan
Ghiath M. Sukhtian is an entrepreneur who has been working in the MENA region's telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and agricultural sectors for the past 40 years, after completing his studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon & University of Houston, Texas in Economics. Launching from the platform of the Munir Sukhtian Group of Companies where he is Vice Chairman, he has led the formation and continues to oversee the management of Munir Sukhtian International as Chairman & CEO and has expanded his portfolio of wholly owned and joint venture companies. Mr. Sukhtian is also involved in many other commercial ventures in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and the United Kingdom. He serves as the Chairman of the Board at Sunbeach Communications Inc. and as a Director of Astra Industrial Group, Paltel Corporation (formerly Palestine Telecommunications Co. Ltd.) and Alvogen, Inc.

Mr. Peter Tanous
President and CEO, Lepercq Lynx Investment Advisory, LLC, USA
Mr. Tanous is President and a director of Lynx Investment Advisory, LLC of Washington DC, a SEC registered investment advisory firm. In prior years, Mr. Tanous was First Vice President and International Regional Director with Smith Barney and a member of the executive committee of Smith Barney International, Inc. He served for ten years as executive vice president and a director of Bank Audi (USA) in New York, and was earlier chairman of Petra Capital Corporation in New York. A graduate of Georgetown University, Peter Tanous has served as a member of the Board of Advisors of Georgetown's College of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Georgetown University Library Board and a member of the university’s Investment Committee. A long time resident of New York City prior to moving to Washington DC, Mr. Tanous served as a trustee of the Browning School, a private school in Manhattan. Tanous attended high school at The American School of Paris, France, where his parents resided for a number of years. He is fluent in French.

Ambassador Patrick N. Theros
President and Executive Director, US-Qatar Business Council, USA
Ambassador Theros graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963 and has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, DC, and the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua. In March 2000 Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros assumed office as the President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council after a 35-year career in the United States Foreign Service. Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963 and served in a variety of positions including Political Advisor to the commander in Chief Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political officer in Amman; Charge d'affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic and Commercial Counselor in Damascus. Immediately before his appointment to Qatar in 1995, Ambassador Theros served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all US Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. He speaks Spanish, Arabic, and Greek fluently.

Mr. Bayly Philip Winder
Chief Executive Officer, Polygon Investment Management, USA
Mr. Winder is Founder and CEO of Polygon Investment Management. After graduating from Haverford College, he attended Georgetown University where he received a MS in Foreign Service in 1977. He then served as an economist in the Foreign Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for six years, focusing on the Middle East and central banks in the region, before moving onto Brown Brothers Harriman as a financial analyst. Following several years running a consulting joint venture in Saudi Arabia, Winder accepted a position with National Commercial Bank where he helped design and launch one of the first investment management businesses in the Middle East. In 1987 he joined Bankers Trust Investment Management in London, as Head of Institutional Business Development. In 1994 Winder returned to London with Credit Suisse Asset Management as Head of Global Sales and Marketing with a worldwide sales team reporting to him. In 2002 Winder founded Polygon Investment Management, a private client oriented fund management firm where he developed a diversified, global asset allocation driven process focusing on world markets. Since its founding, Polygon has grown more than tenfold, and has achieved average annualized returns significantly above global equity markets with consistently lower risk. In addition to speaking French and conversational Arabic, Winder has written and spoken extensively about fund management and asset allocation for, among others: Institutional Investor Magazine, the Middle East Economic Digest, Bloomberg TV, and Pensions World. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, of Renaissance Institute, Le Cercle, the International Board of Advisors to the President of Haverford College, and a founder and former board member of Zawya.com. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World (Marquis).

Dr. Rochdi Younsi
Executive Director, International Government Relations, Exxon Mobil Corporation, USA
Rochdi Younsi is Director of Middle East and North Africa, International Government Relations, for Exxon Mobil Corporation in Washington, DC. In this capacity he provides in-house political risk assessment to various business departments of the company and contributes to designing the company’s investment and government relations strategy in the Middle East and North Africa region. He also oversees ExxonMobil’s relationships with various diplomatic missions and business councils in Washington. Prior to joining ExxonMobil, Mr. Younsi worked for Eurasia Group, a global political risk-consulting firm, where he served at the Director of the Middle East and Africa Practice. He provided short term and long-terms political and economic risk analysis for financial, corporate and government clients in North America, Europe and Asia. He also contributed to business development efforts globally.