The current team is coming up on the end of its two-year term (elected on Apr 8, 2017), and we need your votes to select the next team. All candidates and voters must be paying members of JAADC, as a member it is your right to serve and vote. 

PRESIDENT

  • Merissa Khurma

Bio & Qualifications: Merissa Khurma is project director of the Middle East Special Initiatives at the Wilson Center and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown university. She was a non-resident fellow in the International Security program at New America. She has leadership experience working in a range of development projects in the Middle East that focused on economic development, the Syrian refugee crisis, education, youth, gender development, and governance. Additionally, Khurma served as director of the Office of Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (2010- 2013) and as press attaché and director of the Information Bureau at the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C. (2003-2010). Khurma has a master of public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a master of science in international security and foreign policy from Georgetown University, and a bachelor of art in political science from McGill University. She is also a leadership development practitioner with a focus on Adaptive Leadership, Public Narrative & Community Organizing. Merissa speaks Arabic and French.

Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: As a JAADC member and executive committee member, I've grown to better understand the value of this platform tin bringing Jordanians together in the DMV area and giving them a voice. I've not only enjoyed serving the executive committee, I've also learned a lot about the opportunities we have as a community to make a difference. I look forward to serving for another 2 years on the board to continue implementing our strategy, increasing the number of members and launching more diverse activities to promote Jordan's cultural heritage as well as strengthen our community bonds.

A short statement about what qualifies you for the position: I am running for JAADC President to build on the work of my predecessors and also bring in new and innovative ways to move the organization forward. As a Jordanian immigrant here in America and a long-time Washingtonian, I believe I have the capacity and networks to lead JAADC as President. I had the pleasure to serve the community as an executive committee member of JAADC focused on public affairs and outreach. In addition to contributing to team work, I have led initiative to promote Jordan through the Arab film festival, media outreach (particularly in the Jordanian press) and organizing a plethora of discussions with Jordanian and American leaders through the Leadership Series. Lastly, as a Jordanian woman, I strongly believe it is crucial to have more women at the helm. We represent 50% of the community as we do Jordan's population and it is paramount to ensure that DC remains a representative, inclusive and diverse organization- reflecting Jordan's rich social fabric and the diversity within the Jordanian community in the DMC area.

VICE PRESIDENT

  • Fadi Nabil Samara

Bio & Qualifications: I have been fortunate enough to be with JAADC from day one as a member of the founding committee, and, since then, I have witnessed the dedication and hard work that led to our 5-year milestone.  I believe in the overarching vision and purpose of JAADC and I know that such multi-pillar platform must exist to serve as our voice as Jordanians and Jordanian-Americans alike, here in the US and in Jordan.  The opportunity, albeit a long-term one, is real and invaluable, requires our support and active participation.  JAADC’s success depends on us, let us make it happen, because together, we can. 

Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I have been serving the community and JAADC since its inception, and while we’ve had a handful of challenges, I enjoyed every minute of it and believe in JAADC’s promising future.  I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside many bright and dedicated Jordanians who share the same passion for the mission and we’ve accomplished a lot together, but there is a lot more to be done. That’s why I would like to continue serving our community as vice president, and pursuing our collective priorities. I am fully committed to implementing our strategy, reaching every Jordanian in our region, and collaborating with other Jordanian associations. 

TREASURER

  • Salim Rihani
    Bio & Qualifications
    : Salem grew up between Jeddah and Boulder, Colorado and lived for seven great years in Dubai more recently. Salem and his wife, Razan, returned to the US and put down roots in Washington, DC in 2015. Currently a Realtor licensed in DC, VA and MD, he focuses exclusively on the residential market.

Salem began his career in Denver as a public finance professional helping local government issue over $1 billion in municipal debt securities, he later moved into financial advisory services and helped his clients in the acquisition of land totaling more than 20,000 acres.
A graduate from the business school at the University of Colorado in Boulder he loves traveling, tennis, motorsports, and is a thalassophile.

Why I’m interested in serving JAADC:  JAADC gave me the opportunity to connect with fantastic Jordanians living in the community when I first arrived and also strengthened my ties to Jordan! I have proudly served as the Treasurer for the last two years and want to continue that commitment. 

SOCIAL CO-CHAIR

  • Saba Gheshan

Bio & Qualifications:I am a certified lawyer in the Jordanian Bar Association, currently working at the World Bank and covering multiple African and Middle Eastern country portfolios. Prior to moving to DC, I earned my master’s degree in international law from Loyola University of Chicago as well as a professional degree in alternative dispute resolution. More on the personal side, I enjoy cooking and watching films.

Having moved from Amman to DC, a new and strange city, I found comfort in attending JAADC events. It connected me to great people and helped me feel at home within the Jordanian-American Community in DC. By running for JAADC social co-chair, I aim to continue being a part of this great community and to try to the best of my ability to plan social events that will help members get to know each other and hopefully create a sense of belonging for the community. Additionally, I believe in JAADC’s message. The Jordanian community in DC has a lot to offer and JAADC is the type of organization that can unlock such potential.

Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I am running for JAADC social co-chair because I believe I have new and fresh ideas for JAADC’s social events that could be cultural and fun at the same time. Above all, I think my sincere interest and personal initiative would make me an excellent candidate for the position.

  • Raed Samara

    Bio & Qualifications:I am currently a Senior Global Product Manager at QIAGEN Inc, a life science and diagnostics company headquartered in Germantown, MD. I manage a line of products focused on genetic analysis for cancer and hereditary diseases. Prior to joining QIAGEN, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute conducting research in the field of cancer immunology with emphasis on identifying strategies to boost the efficacy of cancer vaccines. I received my Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University in tumor biology, and my bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in Biology and Chemistry.

    Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I am writing to express my interest in serving for another term on the executive committee of JAADC, specifically for the Social Co-Chair position. Based on my prior and current experiences, I believe I am the ideal candidate for this position, as I currently hold this position at JAADC and have held similar positions in other organizations in the past. 

    As a senior undergraduate, I was elected and served as the president of the Valparaiso international student organization, an organization focused on serving the international student body at Valparaiso University, and raising awareness of the richness of the different cultures presented on campus through social, educational, and philanthropic activities. 

    As a graduate student, I was elected and served as President of the Medical Center Graduate Student Organization, an organization focused on addressing the issues that students face while in grad school such as funding their research to finding appropriate mentors for their graduate studies. 

    I have been an active member of JAADC and a member of the executive committee, and now want to extend my participation for another term. I believe my leadership skills and experiences will enable me to contribute tremendously to the organization’s objectives and fulfilling its mission of empowering the Jordanian American community. Through the position of Social Co-Chair, I want to ensure that the broader DC metro communities are well-educated on the issues Jordan face, and are exposed to the rich culture that Jordan and Jordanians have to offer.

DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIPS

  • Ibrahim Al-Refae

    Bio & Qualifications: I have been in the USA for the last 5 years, the majority of it in Maryland. I am an entrepreneur and I run my own Mediterranean restaurant in the inner harbor, Baltimore, MD.

    I have been watching JAADC since it started and I have been involved as much as possible with the events. I want to be part of this organization and help it grow and become more successful and popular. 

    Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I believe I am a good fit since I have great communication skills and I am very well connected with the majority of the Jordanians in the DC area, especially Maryland. I think this is the right time for me to jump in and help out and support the mission of JAADC.

  • Fadi Ghazwi

    Bio & Qualifications:  I was born and raised in Jordan.  I attended Yarmouk University, where I earned my BS degree in Accounting.  I graduated in 2008.  I currently work for Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded Bio-Science company in Columbia, Maryland.  I serve as the Senior Accountant and have been with this company for over three years.  While working at Osiris I attended American University and successfully earned by MS in Accounting.  I graduated in 2018.  I am currently obtaining my CPA and am due to complete in December 2019. .  From 2012 to 2016, I worked as a Payroll and Sales Tax Manager for Kayali & Co, P.A. in Tampa, Florida.  Prior to that, I served as a Tax Analyst at Citi Bank, also located in Tampa, Florida from 2014-2015.  I also served as the External Auditor for TAGI & Co. in Doha-Qatar from 2008-2010.    

    Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I am very interested in the JAADC Membership Director position because I believe that my experience, education and Jordanian-American pride will add to the strong foundation that has been established in five short years.  I would be so proud to offer my financial intelligence to continue the strong reputation of JAADC.  I am dedicated and willing to do what it takes to add to the growth of this organization.      

    I know I am qualified to successfully handle the requirements as the organizations membership director.   I have vast financial experience.  I work very well with a diverse team and find so much value in learning something from every experience.  I truly hope to be considered a very strong candidate. 

PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR

  • Lina Sawaqed

    Bio & Qualifications: I am a Private Sector Development Consultant at the World Bank Group, focusing on Investment Policy and Promotion. I have been mainly working with client countries to identify and tackle constraints to attracting and retaining investments; devise investment strategies and plans; conduct investor outreach, facilitation and servicing; and set up, operationalize and/or revamp investment promotion agencies, including training and capacity building. I’ve been with the World Bank for over 9 years, including previous work in the Africa region and in anti-money laundering. Before that I served as Investment Promotion Manager at the Jordanian Embassy in Washington DC and Investment Promotion Specialist at the Jordan Investment Board. I also have experience in the private sector and in language teaching.

    Born and raised in Jordan, I have a Master’s degree in international management from the University of Provence in France and a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from the University of Yarmouk in Jordan. I speak Arabic, English, French, Italian and some Spanish; and enjoy music, singing, volunteering, hiking, traveling, reading, languages, nature and the arts.

    Why I’m interested in serving JAADC: I am a proud Jordanian and want to see my country and community prosper. I have seen JAADC grow and develop and do outstanding work over the past few years and believe in its mission and its capacity to add value to the experience of Jordanians living in Washington DC. I work with many countries every day, helping identify issues and design and implement solutions, maximizing benefits to all constituents. I would like to apply the same thinking and put these skills to the service of my community and fellow-citizens. I hope to give back to my country and community by serving JAADC.