Board of Directors
Political Studies: Charles Weiss
Charles Weiss spent most of his adult 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
Political Studies: Faiz Sara
Faiz Sara is a well-known Syrian writer. He was born in Giroud, the countryside of Damascus, in 1950. He studied Political Science at the University of Damascus.
Sarah began his career as a journalist in 1973, is a co-founder of numerous media outlets and has been published in many newspapers. He has an op-ed column in Asharq Al Awsat, Al- Hayat London, Alwatan, and As-Safir in Beirut
As an independent figure, Sarah joined the Syrian political movement around 2000. He was a founding member and leading figure of Committees for the Revival of Civil Society 2001-2008, which played an important role in the political and cultural movement in Syria.
He was also a founding member of Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change in 2005, National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in 2011, and later on, the Syrian Democratic Forum in 2012.
He attended a large number of conferences and cultural political symposiums pertaining to civil society and human rights during the past two decades
Sarah was imprisoned for two years in the late 1970s due to his activities and relation 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. During the beginning of the Syrian Revolution in 2011, he was detained for a month for his political activities as well as media coverage
Mr Sarah joined the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and was elected a member of the Political Committee. He is also the founder of Independent Media Group (IMG)
Harriet Weiss is a president 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 specializes in combining the efforts of the corporate world, government, international organizations and 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
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 Strategies XXI
Weiss is 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 Studies: 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. He has contributed to many Arab newspapers,and helped rally support for the Tunisian Revolution. Turkmani is now working as a researcher at the Harriman Center for Political Studies
CEO & Founder of ETCC: Issam Khoury
Issam Khoury is a journalist and political activist from Syria with more than 15 years of experience. He has conducted research on politics, governance, Islamic groups, human rights, culture and arts for major news media in the Middle East and North Africa. His writing has focused on freedoms and exposing the truth, which has often resulted into face-to-face confrontation with those opposing freedom of expression and the press in the Middle East
He is an author of two novels, has written more than 500 reports, and is an expert on political and social trends and personalities
Khoury is the first investigative journalist to report on the revolution while still in Syria. He has been arrested, his novels banned and his travel restricted. Most recently, he was an International Journalist fellow at the CUNY J-school in New York City. He has trained journalists across the Arab world, and is currently Senior Advisor at Strategy XXI Partners
Human Rights Law: Muhannad Al-Hassani
Muhannad Al-Hassani is a human rights lawyer and activist who was wrongfully imprisoned in 2009. He is president of the Syrian Human Rights Organization. Al- Hassani’s work focuses on defending Syrian political prisoners and exposing abuses in the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), a special tribunal that handles politically sensitive cases and which is not bound by a code of procedure. In recognition of these efforts, Al-Hassani was awarded the 2010 Martin Ennals Award, a prestigious international award for human rights defenders that praises activists of exceptional courage and innovation
Art and poetry studies: Munzer Al-Masri
Munzer Al-Masri is a Syrian poet was born in Latakia in 1949.
He has written 12 poems and participated in many seminars and press conferences and interviews
Mental Health: Bassam Aouil
Bassam Aouil holds a Ph.D In Psychology, is a clinical psychologist and sexologist. Aouil is a Professor at the Institute Of Psychology at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He is President of the Polish therapeutic Society in Poland, and is the author and editor of 12 books and over 100 scientific articles