Emirates FoundationClare Woodcraft-Scott
Chairperson of the Board
Sawiris Foundation for Social DevelopmentNoura Selim
Treasurer of the Board
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi FoundationDr. Natasha Ridge
American University of BeirutDr. Imad Baalbaki
Secretary of the Board
Makhzoumi FoundationSallama Namani
Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF)Samar Haidar
Vice-Chair of the Board
King Hussein Foundation - Information and Research CenterDr. Aida Essaid
A.M. Qattan FoundationZiad Khalaf
John D. Gerhart Center at American University in CairoDr. Ali Awni
Clare Woodcraft-Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Foundation, the national foundation of the UAE, and is responsible for driving its vision of supporting youth development in the country. The Foundation aims to deliver a positive and permanent impact on the lives of young people through the model of venture philanthropy which calls for a shift from short-term grant making to long-term, measureable and financially viable social investment.
Ms. Woodcraft-Scott brings over 20 years of experience working in the field of sustainable development in the Middle East and Africa as a development practitioner, a journalist and a corporate executive specializing in sustainability, social investment and reputation management. She was recently named number 6 on the UAE Brits List 2014 by Arabian Business Magazine and recognized with a special award as one of five ‘Most Inspiring Brits 2014’.
Prior to joining Emirates Foundation, Ms. Woodcraft-Scott was Deputy Director of Shell Foundation, working on building social enterprises to help address global development challenges. In this role she worked to build the LEAD Africa Fellowship Program that focused on building leadership skills across the continent and also contributed to the Foundation’s ten year assessment report Enterprise Solutions to Scale.
Earlier, Ms. Woodcraft-Scott worked as the Regional Director of Communications for Royal Dutch Shell in the Middle East and North Africa managing the oil major’s social investment portfolio in the region and addressing issues related to sustainability. She previously headed Visa International’s public affairs arm in emerging markets (Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) that saw her working closely with governments and financial sectors in Africa and the Middle East looking at the role of electronic payments in economic development.
Ms.Woodcraft-Scott also worked in Palestine as a consultant for various development agencies and contributed to several literary studies on the issue of development in a non-sovereign nation. She served as the Finance Editor of Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), an oil and gas journal, where she wrote about regional capital markets, the banking sector, project finance and other aspects of regional economic development.
Ms. Woodcraft-Scott is a fluent Arabic speaker holding a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and French from Salford University in the UK and a master’s degree in Development from the London School of Economics.
Noura Selim is the Executive Director of the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development. Prior to assuming her role at the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Ms. Selim worked at McKinsey & Company in New York, Dubai, and Cairo. At McKinsey, she served public and private sector clients, particularly on health care and education topics. Her healthcare work spans the pharmaceutical and public providers in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, while her education work spans K-12 and technical and vocational training and education in the Middle East. Ms. Selim has also been involved in leading the implementation of a large scale transformation in technical education and training, focused on improving performance and employment outcomes, as well as leading a health care reform program aimed at increasing access and quality of care.
Ms. Selim holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Magna cum laude.
Ms. Selim currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association and Treasurer of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF,) representing the Sawiris Foundation on the AFF Board of Directors.
Natasha Ridge is currently the Executive Director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. Prior to this, she was the Acting Director of Research at the Dubai School of Government. Natasha has a number of publications, including a book entitled Education and the Reverse Gender Divide in the Gulf States: Embracing the Global, Ignoring the Local. Her additional publications include chapters in the World Education Yearbook and in publications of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and UNESCO as well as working papers for the Dubai School of Government and the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.
Natasha holds a doctorate of education in international education policy from Columbia University and a master's in international and community development from Deakin University, Australia. She is also a founding board member and former president of the Gulf Comparative Education Society. Her latest research focuses on the role and impact of Arab father involvement, philanthropy and education, and access and equity in the Gulf education sector.
Dr. Imad Baalbaki is the Associate Vice President for Development at the American University of Beirut (AUB), and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing at AUB’s Olayan School of Business.
Dr. Baalbaki has taught and published in the fields of Marketing and Research Methods in the US, Lebanon, and the Gulf. He is co-author of the Arab World Editions of two leading marketing textbooks: Marketing Management (Kotler et al., Pearson 2012), and Marketing Research (Malhotra et al., Pearson 2013). The original editions of these books are global best sellers in their respective fields.
Dr. Baalbaki has contributed to the development of academic programs at universities in the region, and has been consulted on higher-education development matters. He is a trustee of the Arab Open University, a trustee of Makassed Association, and serves as the Secretary of the Board of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF).
The Office of Development at AUB is responsible for the fundraising efforts of the University. The University has two development offices, one in New York and one in Beirut. The New York office area of responsibility extends over North America, while the Beirut office covers the rest of the world. Dr. Baalbaki heads the Beirut development office.
Sallama Namani is a graduate of the American University of Beirut (AUB) holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences, Diploma in Agricultural Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Entomology. She started work as a research assistant and instructor at AUB, then established her own business in the field of ornamentals and landscape design. In 1990 she was in charge of the local and foreign affairs department at Makassed Association then in 1997, was among the founding members of Makhzoumi Foundation (MF) where she worked in the fields of the Environment, Awareness, Fundraising and is currently the Development Program Manager. She represents MF locally and abroad and has worked on its membership at the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD); Founding of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF); The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and other networks. She is also a Founding member of the Lebanese NGO Better Together that aims at spreading positive thinking.
Samar joined AHRF in 2007 as Executive Assistant and became Program Officer in 2008, and then Grants Program Manager in 2012. She became the Fund's Executive Director in 2014. She came to AHRF from the Arab Resource Collective (ARC) where she was the children’s rights regional Program Coordinator since 2005. Prior to that, Samar served as a medical and social worker with Dar el-Amal (House of Hope), where she worked on the Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Project in women’s prisons in Lebanon, between 1999 and 2004. In 2003, Samar also managed a community-based centre, operated by Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire (SIDC), devoted to at-risk youth in Lebanon. She also served as the Projects Manager for the Penal Reform International (PRI) MENA’s office based in Amman, Jordan. Samar has conducted training in human rights related issues on the local and regional level and is currently completing a Masters Degree in children’s rights at the Lebanese University, faculty of Law and Political and Administrative Sciences
Dr. Aida Essaid serves as the Executive Director of the Information and Research Center at the King Hussein Foundation in Jordan.
After thirteen years in the private sector in the US and Palestine as a project and consultant engineer, and then in academia at Birzeit University, Ziad Khalaf’s growing interest in socio-economic development led to a post-graduate diploma in development management and subsequently to a career in development work in Palestine that extends to the present. He directed the Human Resources Development Programme at the Welfare Association for four years, and in 1998 led the launching of the A. M. Qattan Foundation in Palestine which has since become one of the major organizations working in education, culture and the arts in Palestine and the region. Throughout his work with the latter, he was instrumental in developing the Foundation’s three core programmes, the establishment of a number of strategic partnerships between the Foundation and leading developmental institutions in Europe and the US, and launching innovative projects including the Gaza Music School, the Performing Arts Network Program, and Selat: Links through the Arts.
Ziad Khalaf co-founded and has been active in a number of local and regional institutions including the Technical Development Corporation; Ramallah Municipal Council; Al-Haq Society; The Arab Foundations Forum, and Future Pioneers School.