Alsama is run by the team in Lebanon and governed by Boards of Trustees in the UK, US, and Lebanon.
UK Board of Trustees
Elizabeth Robertson is a partner at a leading international law firm headquartered in New York. She is a specialist in international white collar crime and government enforcement matters. She has been committed to pro-bono projects throughout her career, with a focus on women’s empowerment, prisoners’ rights and social mobility. In this context, she has come to understand that access to a decent education is the driver for real change. At her firm, she works on projects assisting international refugees.
Elizabeth also sits on the Board of Prime, a charity committed to improving access to the legal profession through work experience.
I am excited to be part of the Alsama project and the hope that it brings.Elizabeth Robertson
Meike Ziervogel is a German-British novelist with five novels to her name. She is the founder of an award-winning publishing company in the UK and a fluent Arabic speaker. Since 2018 she has lived in Lebanon. From 2018 to 2019 she transformed a failing needle art workshop in the Shatila refugee camp into a sustainable independent business, providing a monthly income to 100 refugee women, and empowered the leadership team of 5 Syrian refugee women to drive the business forward on their own. In January 2020 she set up Alsama Project with Kadria Hussien, a Syrian refugee living in Shatila. Meike is now the CEO of Alsama Project and has shaped it into one of the most innovative and successful NGOs serving Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
I am passionate about empowering refugee teenagers and women - to give them the tools that will help them to develop agency for their lives even in the most challenging circumstances.Meike Ziervogel
Paul Mitchell KC studied Russian, Farsi and Arabic at university, completing his PhD thesis about an early 20th century Iranian revolutionary poet before going to the Bar. He brings experience of private international law to the board of trustees as well as general sensitivity to the legal issues that arise in managing a charity that raises money in the UK to be spent overseas.
I am honoured to be able to contribute to the restorative and hope inspiring work funded by Alsama in Shatila and other camps in Lebanon.Paul Mitchell
For 23 years Richard Verity has served oil and chemicals companies as a management consultant. His first engagement with Syrian Refugees – a pro-bono project to assess how McKinsey might help – was a matter of chance. Or was it? Richard has always been interested in the Middle East. He taught in Turkey, consulted in Saudi and gone on holiday in Oman. And he has attempted to learn Turkish in the distant past and Arabic now. Nevertheless he could not have imagined how profoundly he would be affected by seeing Shatila and the refugee camps in the Bekaa.
I didn't expect to find the experience of teaching Syrian refugee children such a joyous one. So here I am: a board member of Alsama and happy to be so.Richard Verity
Suhir Helal was born in Syria. She lived and studied in Damascus before she came to London in 1998 to obtain an MA in International Relations. She has worked as a translator and written for Arabic newspapers. Over the last five years she has helped UK boroughs to resettle Syrian refugees fleeing the war in their home country. Suhir has always strived to empower and give a voice to the voiceless.
Being on the board of Alsama gives me an opportunity to help my fellow country people in the Middle East.Suhir Helal
Christopher (Doug) Teesdale – 30 years in waste management for organisations ranging from social enterprise to PLCs such as the Kier Group. He brings a broad range of management experience to the board of trustees, including budgeting, human resources, and health & safety. Also a qualified ECB cricket coach, he has lead teams to county finals in U13, U15, and U19 age groups, and national indoor finals at U17. These cricket based skills complement the sports based work of Alsama.
In 2019 on holiday in Lebanon, a brief experience of the pent up energy and incredibly difficult conditions for refugees led me to become involved in supporting the work to create better life opportunities for the refugees served by Alsama.Christopher Teesdale
US Board of Trustees
Marianne Moukhtara counsels clients in the social impact field. She is a former Associate Director at McKinsey & Company, working across MidEast & Pakistan in education, healthcare, and human capital. She earned her Wharton MBA on a merit-based scholarship. Marianne is Lebanese-Danish, and believes that cross-cultural collaboration can change the world for the better. At Alsama, she brings management consulting expertise through her role as Chair of our US Board and through leading various strategic projects.
Kimberley Slawek studied Engineering at Lafayette College and later completed an MBA at Wharton Business School. Over almost 20 years at a leading Credit Rating agency and more than 10 years as a Board Director and CFO at Lily’s Kitchen, Kimberley has built skills in investment and financial strategy that are indispensable to her role as Treasurer on the US Board of Alsama.
Fred Perry is the Senior Director of International Advancement at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business with extensive experience of international travel and a love for different cultures. Having lived in eight countries, Fred is a third culture professional who has spent the majority of his life living abroad or working in an international field. His experience teaching Athletics and Physical Education in Lebanon and Syria combined with his work as Director of Development for an Indiana-based NGO gives him critical insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by Alsama.
In particular, Fred brings his knowledge of building donor relationships and growing an international donor base from his work at the Kelley School of Business. Fred is the Secretary for the US Board.
Lebanese Board of Trustees
Stephen Hall studied Arabic and Maths at the University of Cambridge before completing a Masters in Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. A Partner at McKinsey based in Dubai, Stephen has wide experience consulting public sector clients and has specific expertise in education and in the Middle East. His clients include governments, foundations, and international education institutions and his work has covered topics from early childhood education to the future of universities. Stephen also coordinates McKinsey’s social impact work in the Middle East, and has particular experience in advising programs that target refugees.
He is a Board Member of CodeBrave – a Lebanon-based non-profit that develops coding skills amongst disadvantaged children – and Alsama is fortunate to have him on our Lebanese Board.
Sandy Boutros is a Lebanese Activist and inspiring Yoga teacher who is the Founder and Director of Koun NGO. Koun is a non-profit that provides Yoga instruction to marginalised communities throughout Lebanon, and partners with Alsama to train our Yoga instructors and students. Sandy is a graduate from Bihar School of Yoga, the world’s first Yoga University, and is deeply passionate about the power of Yoga to enhance self-awareness, emotional intelligence and mental health. Sandy is a member of our Lebanese board.
General Sami el Hoyek has over 30 years of experience in the Lebanese Armed Forces and is highly skilled in complex problem solving, organisational government, and strategic communication. Having developed military experience in special forces, intelligence and counter-terrorism, General el Hoyek relocated to the UK to join the Lebanese Embassy before returning to Lebanon to lead the Beirut Forward Emergency Room for the Lebanese army. In this role, General el Hoyek oversaw the military relief efforts following the Beirut port explosion in 2020. He is now Director General at a private security firm in Beirut and brings his unique experience to Alsama’s Lebanese Board.
Joumana Ibrahim is an award-winning Designer and Art Director with over 15 years of experience working with international clients on publications, branding and information design. Joumana has worked as the Senior Art Director at Leo Burnett, where she won multiple National and International awards and has been an Education Advisor to the MENA Design Research Centre. A graduate herself of LAU, the London College of Communications and Savannah College of Art and Design, Joumana now teaches Design at LAU and at Universities across Lebanon. She has also conducted workshops on data visualisation and design thinking for civil society actors, and has been a core part of Beirut Design Week since its inception in 2011.
To Alsama’s Lebanese Board, Joumana brings her creativity, problem solving and international experience.
Nadim Noujaim is a Partner at EY-Parthenon based in the United Arab Emirates who leads the Government and Public Sector business in the MENA region and is Country lead for Saudi Arabia and the Levant. Originally trained as an Engineer, Nadim started his career at Accenture before spending over 10 years working at Strategy&, of which he was latterly a Partner. Nadim’s expertise is concentrated in Public strategy, Government restructuring, institutional frameworks and operating models. He brings his institutional experience and problem solving capabilities to Alsama’s Lebanese Board.
Alsama Project UK
Alsama Project is registered in the United Kingdom as a not-for-profit company registration No 12433605. It is also registered as a charity, charity registration No 1191810 .
Alsama Project Lebanon
In Lebanon Alsama Project is registered as a non-governmental, charitable organisation with the Ministry of Interior, registration no: 372/2021 .
Alsama Project US
In the US, Alsama Project is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organisation, registration no: 87–1842640.