Lucien Bourjeily is a Lebanese writer and director of both theater and film. He was behind the first professional improvisational theatre show in the Middle East where he peacefully challenged social and cultural barriers using theatre to create dialogue, encourage free speech, and become a true force of positive change. His work in both theatre and film has enabled him to travel the worldwide festival circuit and won him many awards, one of which was the 2017 Dubai International Film Festival Jury Prize. He brought his progressive approach to the theatre to London's LIFT Festival in 2012 with his hard-hitting immersive play 66 Minutes in Damascus, which was chosen as one of 10 plays in the world that "rethink the stage" by the Huffington Post. In 2012, he was chosen by CNN as one of eight leading cultural lights from Lebanon's contemporary art scene that are making an impact in Lebanon and internationally. For his activism against censorship on the arts in Lebanon, he was nominated for the 2014 "Freedom of Expression" award, held annually at the Barbican Center in London by Index on Censorship. He wrote and directed Vanishing State at the Battersea Arts Center in London as part of the 2014 LIFT festival. Bourjeily received an MFA in Film from Loyola Marymount University, where he was a Fulbright student from 2010 to 2012. He received an Alumni Development Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Amideast, in October 2018 to participate in the Arabian Sights Film Festival in Washington D.C., where he screened his first feature-length film Heaven Without People.
Inas Miloud is a transnational women’s rights defender and expert on the issues relating to women, peace, and security in the SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) region. She is the former Lead Coordinator of 1325 Network in Libya, and Former Indigenous Senior Fellow at the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. She is the co-founder and Director of Tamazight Women's Movement, an organization that works to address gender and indigenous peoples' inequalities in Libya. Her work has been particularly focused on sexual and gender-based violence, militarization, masculinities and femininities, internal displacement, indigenous issues, and intersectionality. Currently, Miloud serves as a member of the 2020 External United Nations Trust Fund for Ending Violence Against Women Strategic Planning Advisory Group (AG), and is currently a member of RESURJ, a transnational alliance for realizing sexual and reproductive justice. In 2019, she briefed the UN Security Council on the Open Debate of Conflict-related Sexual Violence on behalf of the Tamazight Women’s Movement. Miloud is a 2014 Fulbright alumna from Libya who graduated from Minnesota State University with her master's in Gender and Women Studies.
Imane Fahli is currently a Policy Manager at the Morocco Employment Lab, where she works with policymakers and non-profit organizations to improve the effectiveness of labor markets. Prior to this, Fahli was the Economic Development Coordinator for the Special Commission on the Development Model, which was established by his Majesty King Mohammed VI in 2019 to improve and renew Morocco’s development model. Fahli also worked at the Head of Government office in Morocco to improve the business environment, develop the private sector, and attract foreign direct investment to stimulate the economy. In 2019, Fahli was the recipient of an Alumni Community Action Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Amideast. With this support, she created a financial literacy program in the Casablanca-Rabat region in Morocco that empowers female entrepreneurs running micro-enterprises. This program provides practical tools to ensure the financial sustainability of their business. Fahli is a 2015 Fulbright alumna from Morocco who received her master’s in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Mourad Yazli is a Project Manager and co-founder of the Algerian Youth Voices (AVY), the first English online audio broadcasting channel in Algeria. Yazli has played an active role as a volunteer and social activist, both in Algeria and abroad. He has worked with the U.S. Embassy’s American Corner and American Cultural Center Algeria (ACCA), where he organized several cultural events, participated in national book fairs, and taught English. He has also taken on leadership roles in AIESEC, an international youth-run, non-governmental and non-profit organization, where he initiated and led two editions of the project ‘Health Awareness for Youth,’ a campaign raising awareness of the effects of smoking, drug addiction, and cyber-addiction, among other topics. Abroad, Yazli has been involved with the United Nations as a participant of the Young Peacebuilders Program held in Amman, Jordan in 2017. He twice served as a panelist and youth speaker at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Yazli is also a U.S. Embassy Exchange alumnus, serving as a mentor in the Algerian Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) in 2016. He won an Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund award in 2017. This award, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provided resources to train up to 300 youth leaders in the production and broadcasting of quality digital media through AYV in 12 different cities in Algeria. In 2018, he was accepted into the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and won a Clemson Graduate Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in Marketing at Clemson University in South Carolina. Upon completion of his degree, he returned to his career in Digital Marketing and Customer Engagement which took him back to Algeria.
Dr. Rana Dajani is an expert in genetics and a globally recognized social entrepreneur. She has been lauded as one of the most influential women scientists in the Islamic world. An advocate for biological evolution and Islam, she has been awarded the Jordan Star of Science- the country’s highest recognition for contributions to science, by His Majesty King Abdullah II. Dr. Dajani was also ranked 12th among the 100 most influential Arab women in 2015 and was inducted into the Women in Science Hall of Fame for her contributions to science. In 2021, she was named one of the top "Women of Influence in the Arab World" by Arabian Business. Dr. Dajani also established a women-to-women mentor network and organized the first gender summit for the Arab world, in 2017. Dr. Dajani splits her time between laboratories, teaching classes for university students, and is the founder and Lead Organizer of We Love Reading. This non-profit organization helps introduce and inspire children from around the world to read and create new social leaders capable of solving problems in their communities, through books. Dr. Dajani is a 2000 Fulbright alumna from Jordan who graduated from the University of Iowa with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.
Dr. Nataly Naser Al Deen was most recently selected as one of the Forbes "Middle East 30 Under 30" for the Class of 2020, highlighting young change-makers in eight categories. Dr. Naser Al Deen was selected as a social entrepreneurship innovative change-maker. Thanks to the generous support of a Fulbright Alumni Community Action Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Amideast, Dr. Naser Al Deen founded Pink Steps in 2015. Pink Steps is a wellness support group for breast cancer survivors in Lebanon that aims to promote physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She has collaborated with Nobel Laureates such as Prof. Michael Rosbash and Prof. Harold E. Varmus. Her research projects have resulted in the publication of a book chapter, a mini-review, several peer-reviewed manuscripts, and several published abstracts at international conferences. Dr. Naser Al Deen is a 2014 Fulbright alumna from Lebanon who graduated from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with her master’s in Tumor Biology. Dr. Naser Al Deen received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis as part of the Ding Lab, creating new tools to fight cancer.
Iyadh Abid is a Legal and Policy Consultant working on investment and business climate reforms and digital rights. He previously served as an Advisor to the Minister of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation of Tunisia, where he worked on investment law reforms and streamlining market entry, contributing to Tunisia’s improved ranking in the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report.” He also served as the Director of Africa Programs for Penn State Law. Prior to this, Abid worked for the American Bar Association, was a legal analyst for Al-Bawsala- a local parliament watchdog NGO, and co-founded Lead Tunisia, an NGO created to enhance and advance the legal and educational system in Tunisia. Abid is a 2015 Fulbright alumnus from Tunisia with his LL.M. from Penn State Law. In 2018, Abid established a scholarship program with Penn State Law dedicated to Tunisian lawyers. To date, eight Tunisian students have already benefited from this program, with more waiting to enroll.
World-renowned archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass is the former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities and Director of Excavations at Giza, Saqqara, Bahariya Oasis, and the Valley of the Kings. He is currently working as a lecturer in Egypt. In cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, he helps promote Egypt’s tourism globally. Dr. Hawass recently led a team to the discovery of The Lost Golden City in Luxor, Egypt. He has published numerous scholarly articles and books and is a highly respected Egyptologist. For more than 30 years, he has been raising awareness of archaeology and the preservation of Egypt’s precious heritage. Dr. Hawass has made a number of major discoveries over the course of his career, including the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis. Dr. Hawass has discovered two previously unknown Old Kingdom pyramids, one near the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, and one belonging to Queen Neit, wife of King Teti at Saqqara. One of the most significant research efforts that Dr. Hawass has managed and led was the Egyptian Mummy Project (EMP), which used modern forensic techniques such as CT and DNA analysis to answer questions about the royal mummies. Dr. Hawass is a 1987 Fulbright alumnus who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with his Ph.D. in Egyptology and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology.
Luma Bashmi is the Head of Scientific Research & Development and Chairperson of the Institutional Review Board at King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH). She is a co-investigator on six KHUH studies; her research topics include integrative oncology services and mind-body interventions, stress and burnout among residents and emergency medicine physicians, and the psychological impact of COVID-19 on healthcare providers. Her department oversees and supports over 60 active studies in medical research at KHUH. Following the explosion in Beirut in August 2020, Bashmi co-founded and now directs eLaa Beirut, an initiative providing free mental healthcare to victims of the blast, including members of the LGBTQ+ and refugee communities. She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of the Bahrain Medical Society and an active science communicator on social media in her main areas of research. Bashmi recently joined the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland - Bahrain as a Lecturer in Health Psychology. Bashmi is a 2014 Fulbright alumna from Bahrain who graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a master's degree in Psychological Research (Health Psychology).
Basima Abdulrahman has over 10 years of cutting-edge civil engineering experience in Iraq, focused on innovative sustainable development. Her core expertise is in green building assessment tools and amplified strategies that lead to enhanced building performance. She is the founder and CFO of the first local initiative established to introduce the concept of green design and construction to Iraq, called KESK. KESK works to transform cities into more sustainable ones that are inclusive and economically productive. Abdulrahman wants to see cities in Iraq develop buildings and infrastructures that are healthy, environmentally responsible, and resource-efficient. Abdulrahman is a World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member and Cultural Leader and TEDx speaker. She was appointed as the Erbil Chapter Chairperson for the Iraq Britain Business Council Young Executives Network. She was selected to co-chair the 2019 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos and has been featured in TIME, Inhabitant, Forbes, WEF Agenda, Real Leaders magazine, and other platforms for leading the green building movement in Iraq. Abdulrahman is an Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council. Abdulrahman is a 2012 Fulbright alumna from Iraq who graduated from Auburn University with her master’s in Structural Engineering.
Ziad Amro is currently the head of the Palestine Association of Visually Impaired Persons. He is currently working with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Accessible Book Consortium to establish a Palestinian library for blind and visually impaired persons. He is also a human rights activist and candidate for the 2021 Legislative Council elections. Amro is recognized as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to inclusive political, social, economic, and cultural life in the Arab world. He founded the General Union of Persons with Disabilities and has successfully led a national campaign to pass the Palestinian People Disability Rights Law. Amro is a 1995 Fulbright alumnus from the West Bank who graduated from San Francisco State University with a master’s degree in Social Work.