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 a career at Sesame Workshop, producing local adaptations of the iconic Sesame Street children’s educational program, Naila assumed the role of CEO at AFF in 2014, where 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 and Relationships Director
Walid Nagi 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 contributed to several start-ups and not-for-profit organizations in New York as a consultant. 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 the Marketing field and moved in the hierarchy 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 where he 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 the 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 countries 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 the businesses in understanding their vital role in their contributions to the implementation of the SDGs. Amongst the networks that he launched are the UAE, Tunisia, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Romania, Georgia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Walid has also served as a consultant to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) focusing on the 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 currently resides between Cairo and New York.
Heba Abou Shnief, Senior Research and 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 is a City University of New York (CUNY) Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Senior International Fellow; 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 (such as the MENA’s Economic Research Forum [ERF], as well as Canada’s International Development and Research Centre [IDRC], among others), with governments and intergovernmental organizations (such as the United Nations [UN], and the Government of Egypt, among others), with philanthropic and grant-making foundations focused on development (such as the Ford Foundation and Kuwait’s Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development [AFESD]) as well as 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 the delivery of a range of socio-economic 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. She enjoys traveling, volunteering, and spending time in nature.