Naila Farouky, CEO & Executive Director
With over 20 years of experience in project management, media production, and strategic communication, Naila is a Peabody Award-winning executive who has built a career across several continents.
Following several years at Sesame Workshop, where she produced local adaptations of the iconic children’s educational program Sesame Street, Naila assumed the role of CEO at AFF in 2014. Since then, she has helped grow the network in over 10 countries across the region, with a network of members representing the rich ecosystem of philanthropy, non-profit, civil society, and development actors. Naila has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and has contributed to academic research and data on the Arab philanthropy sector.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the American University in Cairo.
Walid Nagi, Network & Relationships Director
Walid is a senior-level executive with a global vision and experience in international relations, diplomacy, and sustainability. Walid has more than 25 years of work experience in the Middle East and the United States. He has worked in the private sector in Egypt, and the United Nations in New York, and has also consulted for several start-ups and not-for-profit organizations in New York. Over the years, he has built himself a solid practice and understanding in the fields of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, governance, marketing, corporate communication, project management, operations, and social development.
Walid started his career in 1993 in marketing and moved up in the company to reach the position of Group Brand Manager in 2000. In 2002, building on his experience, he moved to head Corporate Affairs at Mansour Group and was requested to build the group’s CSR and corporate communication strategies, and he has refocused his career on sustainability ever since. In 2010, Walid moved to the United Nations Global Compact Office in New York in his capacity as a Regional Network Manager. In 2013, he became the Chief of Local Networks, managing the global operations of the office and, as of the end of 2014, he also became the New York Executive for the UN Global Compact Cities Program and a Senior Advisor on partnerships.
Over the years, Walid has built a strong global network for the UN Global Compact and has also managed to put emphasis on inter-country and regional collaboration, especially with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encouraging partnerships. Walid supported the launch of a comprehensive SDG local action plan implementation guide which supports businesses in understanding their vital role in contributing to the implementation of the SDGs. He has launched networks involving the UAE, Tunisia, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Romania, Georgia, the Philippines, Thailand, and more.
Walid has also served as a consultant to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), focusing on its internal governance processes and capacity development programs. He has also supported the organization in finding creative ways to increase financial contributions in countries where the IRC is not present.
Walid is a graduate of the American University in Cairo with a BA in Economics and lives in Cairo and New York.
Heba Abou Shnief, Senior Research & Data Director
Heba is a socioeconomic development professional who specializes in how strategic private philanthropy can best serve public development policy objectives. Since 2014, she has been a Senior International Fellow at the City University of New York (CUNY) Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, an Arab Region Representative for Alliance – a global philanthropy knowledge hub and platform – and the co-author of Family Legacies: Wealth and Philanthropy in the Arab World (2017; AUC Press).
Over nearly 20 years, Heba has worked with and advised a range of organizations, including in academia; the Economic Research Forum (ERF); AUC’s Gerhart Center for Philanthropy, Civic Engagement, and Responsible Business; Canada’s International Development and Research Centre (IDRC); and other. She has worked with governments and intergovernmental organizations – such as the United Nations (UN), and the Government of Egypt – as well as philanthropic and grant-making foundations focused on development (such as the Ford Foundation and Kuwait’s Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development), and also with private family wealth philanthropic offices across the MENA region and North America.
In addition to authoring several peer-reviewed and published academic research pieces throughout her career, Heba has participated in and led the conceptualization, design, organization, management, and impacting delivery of a range of socioeconomic intervention programs and projects across the MENA region that resulted in core developmental outcomes and measurable change.
Heba has lived in Australia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.
Jumana Farouky, Project Manager
Through years of covering and developing stories from all over the globe that focused on development, women’s rights, health, and climate change, she grew committed to exploring issues of social good and finding better ways to make positive impact. Now she is using the skills she honed writing about change to help turn words and ideas into action.
Jumana has a Master’s degree in Print Journalism from Boston University and now lives in the UK.