Alif Institute - Atlanta Georgia

Mr. Nayef Abuaisheh
Emeritus Board Member
Nayef Abuaisheh immigrated to the United States from Palestine in 1979.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1985 from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. While in college, he founded the International Student Society and was its first president. Mr. Abuaisheh has a diverse entrepreneurial career with experience in real estate, restaurant management, the shipping industry, and most recently with alternative energy. He is president of Safad Enterprises, Inc., a company that established the first BP gas station in Georgia to supply E-85 Fuel to flex fuel vehicles.  And while working with the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA), he was awarded a grant to install dispensers to sell E-85 fuel. Mr. Abuaisheh has served on the board of Alif Institute since 2004, serving as its president from 2010 to 2012.
Dr. Imad El-Kebbi
Emeritus Board Member
Dr. Imad El-Kebbi attended the American University of Beirut where he received both his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology-Chemistry with High Distinction and his MD with Distinction.  Shortly thereafter, Dr. El-Kebbi arrived in the United States for his post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at Baylor University, followed by a clinical fellowship, and later a research fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Emory University.   He has spent many years consulting with such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Heath Organization.  Currently, Dr. El-Kebbi is a staff physician with Piedmont Medical Care in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. El-Kebbi, on the board of Alif Institute since 2008, served as president in 2012 and 2013.
Dr. A. Nazih Elchahal
Emeritus Board Member
 
Mr. Hassan ElKhalil
Emeritus Board Member
Attorney At Law Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Mr. Elkhalil currently lives with his wife and two sons in Marietta, Georgia. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He then went on to receive his J.D. from John Marshall Law School, and an LL.M. in Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri – Columbia Law School. Additionally, Mr. Elkhalil is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Fluent in Arabic, Mr. Elkhalil is extremely active in his community and participates in a variety of community, cultural, and civil rights organizations.
Mr. Omar Fouad
Emeritus Board Member
Omar Fouad was born in the United States to an American mother and an Iraqi father.  Growing up in the Midwest, Omar chose to pursue his education at Purdue University to study electrical engineering.  Active in many campus activities, he served as president of the Organization of Arab Students.  Upon graduation he moved to Cincinnati to start his career as a sales engineer selling factory automation products to mainly manufacturing clients.  Working for the Cognex Corporation, his career took him to Nashville for one year and then to Atlanta in December 2009.  Omar is currently attending Goizueta Business School's evening MBA program at Emory University.  He has been active at Alif through volunteering for the Arab Festival committee along with co-chairing and serving as the mc for the 2012 Annual Gala.
Mr. Haitham Haddad
Emeritus Board Member
Haitham Haddad attended the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, where he received a Bachelor Degree in Architecture with the Penrose Award of Excellence.  An award winning architect, graphic designer, and illustrator with over 30 years of national and international experience in these fields, he is currently a partner in an international architecture firm with offices in Atlanta, USA, and Doha, Qatar.  An accomplished musician and composer, Mr. Haddad taught architectural design and watercolor painting at his alma mater for 4 years, volunteered as an envoy with the Atlanta Committee for the Centennial Olympic Games, and served on the Board of the Alliance Française d'Atlanta from 1992 to 2006.  Mr. Haddad is also one of the founders of Alif Institute where he served as President from 2006 to 2008, and is currently serving as a Board Member.
Dr. Rima Houssami
Emeritus Board Member
Rima Houssami is a scientist by training and a community volunteer by personal choice.  She received her M.D. degree from Damascus University, Damascus, Syria, and her Ph.D. degree in Experimental Pathology from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. She chose to delay her career in medical research and dedicate herself for her family and to her community. Her interest in her Arab heritage led to her involvement with several local and national, non-profit, Arab American organizations. Her volunteer service career spans more than 20 years with the following non-profit organizations: The Arab American Women’s Society of Georgia (board member and past-president); The Arab-American Fund of Georgia / Alif Institute (board member and past president); The National Arab American Medical Association (national board member and chapter president); The ArtReach Foundation (advisory board member). Through her involvement with the Alif Institute, she gained experience in managing small non-profit organizations, teaching the Arabic language, and educating about the Arab culture. Dr. Houssami is currently a part-time instructor of Arabic at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mr. Arafat Imam
Emeritus Board Member
Arafat Imam came to the United States in 1976, from his birthplace of Jerusalem, to begin his undergraduate studies.  After graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, he attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where he earned his MS in Structural Engineering in 1984.  Currently, Mr. Imam is with the Southern Company as a Senior Structural Engineer over the Plant Shearer Project, a $ 7MM expansion and retrofit of the largest power plant east of the Mississippi.  He is an active member of his homeowner’s association, serves as a Board Member to the Alif Institute, is a USSF Grade 8 certified referee and a tireless volunteer for Gwinnett Senior Services and Habitat for Humanity.  On any given weekend, he might be re-roofing a senior citizen’s home, clearing a community park, or serving hamburgers at a high school football game. Mr. Imam joined the board of Alif Institute in 2006 and served as secretary of the board in 2008, 2009 and as Vice President in 2010. 
Dr. Ihsen Ketata
Emeritus Board Member
Dr. Ihsen Ketata was born and raised in Tunisia until the age of 21, when she had to leave to pursue her graduate study in France. Ihsen received her Ph.D. in strategic management and her master's degree in economic analysis, modeling and quantitative analysis from the University of Montpellier 1, France. During her doctoral studies, she taught several courses in French both at the University of Montpellier I, France and at the Institut Supérieure d'Administration des Affaires of Sfax (ISAAS), Tunisia. Ihsen has served as a visiting assistant professor at the ISAAS, Tunisia and had a Temporary Appointment for Instruction and Research in the University of Montpellier I. In 2005, Ihsen joined Georgia Tech-CIBER (Center for International Business education and Research) as post-doctoral fellow, where she continued her research in the area of multinational company strategies. Currently, Ihsen serves as a consultant for GSU-CIBER. In this capacity, she leads several students’ projects and competitions, implementation of workshops, conferences and guest speaker events and assists with the visiting scholar program in support of the center’s goals and objectives. She also teaches in the Institute of International Business.  Ihsen has initially joined GSU-CIBER as Director where she helped founding the Southeast US Higher education Consortium for International Business, was instrumental in many grant writings, created the International Business Field Study course and added it to the International Business certificate, led the center’s research grant, and co-chaired conferences like CIMaR 2011 and conducting business in the Middle East. Ihsen is a member of the Tunisian American Young Professional association (TAYP), the Academy of Management, and the Academy of International Business. Ihsen joined the board of Alif Institute in 2013, and served as president of the board in 2015 and 2016. At the national level, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Arab American National Museum. In 2016, Dr. Ketata moved with her family to New York.
Mrs. Angela Khoury
Emeritus Board Member
Angela Khoury was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Despite civil war and its imposing burden, Angela pursued engineering, graduating from l’Ecole Superieure des Ingenieurs de Beyrouth in 1990. She worked for 20 years in the private sector, while also involved in several non-profit organizations. Angela’s professional career started in France, June of 1991. At the time, the small software company Murex constituted of less than 20 employees; presently it has 1500 employees worldwide. In September of 1992, Angela and her husband relocated to the US, where she continued working remotely with Paris. As the company grew over the years Angela moved past software development and customer service, and took charge in leading new initiatives and teams. She created and managed the integration team (1995-2000), designed and managed the training department, which expanded from Paris to Dublin, New-York and Singapore (2000-2007), and built a centralized data repository with a complete workflow and process that allowed communication between the company’s different data types across its various departments (2007-2010). In parallel to her professional life, Angela was always involved in various volunteer positions with varied organizations, primarily the Alif Institute. In 2009, Angela was invited to become Chair of the Strategic Planning committee at the Alif Institute. Angela then took the responsibility of co-chairing two years in a row a major festival organized by the Institute: the Atlanta Arab Festival, which took place in April of 2010 and in April of 2011. In September 2010, after almost 20 years of working in the private sector, Angela retired and decided to dedicate more time to the non-profit sector, particularly to the Alif Institute. Angela served on Alif Institute's board of director from 2011 to 2015. She is currently serving as the Executive Director of Alif Institute.
Mr. Jean Leon
Emeritus Board Member
Jean Leon is a prominent businessman and a dedicated community volunteer. Born in Antioch, Syria, Mr. Leon moved later on to Aleppo, Syria, where he established a successful tailor shop. In 1957, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where he had a distinguished and acknowledged career that culminated with the establishment of “Leondaca”, an Haute Couture fashion store. In 1979, Mr. Leon moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Empowered by his entrepreneurial skills, he established the “Middle East Baking Company”, the first automated Arabic bread company in the southeast. The bakery grew to include Middle Eastern groceries and pastries. Mr. Leon’s dedication to his community is highlighted by his involvement with the Arab American Fund of Georgia / Alif Institute, and the Arab American Business and Professional Association. He is a founding board member of both organizations, in 1986 and 1990 respectively. He served as treasurer of AAFG for several terms and had a significant role in fundraising for the establishment of Alif Institute.
Dr. Abdallah Najjar
Emeritus Board Member
Dr. Abdallah Najjar, his brothers and cousins, left Lebanon to serve in the U.S. Army during WWII. Their fathers had previously immigrated to the U.S. and served in WWI. Poster, Dr. Najjar picked a new fight, working for USAID and the CDC in Atlanta to eradicate infectious diseases. He traveled to dozens of countries and became director of international health services at CDC hosting all international visitors.   Dr. Najjar is also one of the founders of the Arab American Fund of Georgia, Inc/AAFG. The AAFG is non-profit organization that was establiseh in 1986 and then created the Alif Institute in 2004.    Dr. Najjar published his memoir entitled "From Baakleenb to Atlanta".
Mrs. Ghada Muhanna
Emeritus Board Member
Ghada Muhanna is a community volunteer who, for over 25 years, has dedicated her talents and professional skills to enhance appreciation of the Arab culture and heritage. She graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and later received a Master’s Degree in Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following her graduation from college, she served as a volunteer chair of the Cultural Committee at Tartous Oil Terminal, Syria. She also supervised the Vocational Training Center for Women in Tartous. Since immigrating to the U.S. and out of her strong belief in a common vision for the future of her community, Mrs. Muhanna helped found in 1985, the Arab American Women’s Society of Georgia (AAWSG), an educational and charitable organization.  She served as its president in 1991-1993, 1996, and 2005.  When Atlanta hosted the Olympic Games in 1996, she volunteered as an Envoy with the Atlanta Committee for the Centennial Olympic Games. In 1999, Mrs. Muhanna joined the board of the Arab American Fund of Georgia and was one of the founders of Alif Institute in 2004, serving as its president from 2008-2010.  She is currently serving as the Vice-President and as the Director of the Arabic Language program. At the national level, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Arab American National Museum since 2004. 
Mr. Ismail Ramzy
Emeritus Board Member
 
Mr. Mubadda Suidan
Emeritus Board Member
 
Mr. Saleh Zaki
Emeritus Board Member