CCAS welcomes appointment of two members to Board of Advisors


The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies is excited to welcome Mr. Yusuf Alireza and Mr. Amr Diab to its Board of Advisors. Mr. Alireza and Mr. Diab are young luminaries in the worlds of business and finance, and bring a wealth of professional expertise in their fields, combined with a profound understanding of Arab affairs.

Ms. Laurie Fitch, Chair of the CCAS Board, was pleased to announce the addition of such accomplished and leading professionals: “Both have deep connections to the region and a demonstrated commitment to the educational mission of the CCAS. I have no doubt they will have a significant impact on the Center in the coming years.”

Prof. Osama Abi-Mershed, Director of CCAS, described Mr. Alireza and Mr. Diab as outstanding additions to the Board: “As always, I am deeply grateful to all our distinguished Advisors for their many commitments to the academic and programmatic development of the Center, and today, our Board is greatly strengthened by the addition of Messrs. Alireza and Diab. Both have been great supporters of Arab studies and each will elevate the vision and activities of the Center.”

We thank Messrs. Alireza and Diab for their interest in the CCAS and look forward to collaborating with them for many years to come.


Mr. Yusuf Alireza spent 20 years with Goldman Sachs in New York, London, and Hong Kong. He was the first Arab partner in the 130-year history of the firm, and the only Arab—and at the time, the youngest—member of the global management committee. His last role at Goldman Sachs was as partner and co-president of non-Japan Asia.

Mr. Alireza was most recently CEO for Noble Group, a Hong-Kong listed supply chain manager of commodities, which he helped guide to an asset-light, merchant-focused model through very difficult market conditions. He was instrumental in securing through re-financing a stable base for the firm to develop, and played a pivotal role in the successful sale of Noble Agri to a group of investors led by COFCO. Closer to home, Mr. Alireza is the third “Hoya” alum to join the CCAS board, holding both BSFS and MAAS degrees from Georgetown University.

He is also on the board of “Room to Read,” an organization that advocates and provides literacy and girls’ education programs with a $50 million annual budget. In December 2016, Mr. Alireza competed in the Ironman Championship in Bahrain, and he will soon be relocating from Hong Kong to Dubai.


Mr. Amr Diab is Managing Partner at Cailon Capital, a private investment firm based in London, and Advisory Director at Morgan Stanley International. He is also Board Director of Apex International, an E&P company focused on Egypt. Mr. Diab was previously Managing Director and Co-Head of Investment Banking for the Middle East and North Africa at Morgan Stanley based in Cairo and Dubai. During his tenure, he was part of the president’s office working on strategic transactions for Morgan Stanley. He moved to London with Morgan Stanley Investment Banking before leaving in 2000 and becoming a founding partner in Bessent Capital, Walter Capital, and Cheiron Capital. He re-joined Morgan Stanley in 2007.

Throughout his career, Mr. Diab has been involved in several major transactions in the US, Europe, and Middle East, specifically in Egypt. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and received his BA in Economics from the American University in Cairo (AUC) and his MBA from Columbia University and the London Business School.

Mr. Diab, a dual national of Egypt and Germany, lives between Berlin and Cairo.  Together with his wife, he is an avid art collector and real estate investor.