Our board members are a diverse group of Canadians who bring a wealth of experience and leadership in a wide range of areas that are beneficial to NCCAR and its mission.

Mayssam Zaaroura,  Chair

mayMayssam has over 10 years of experience in the field of international development, with expertise in Gender and Conflict, Forced Migration and Political Settlements, with extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa region and Southeast Asia.

Prior to joining CLIC, Mayssam was a Senior Political Reporter and National Desk Editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon covering the Middle East and North Africa region for six years. She also worked as a consultant and Research Award Recipient at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, liaising with major donors such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Canada (DFATD), Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations, as well as working with global partners in the civil society and private sectors.

Mayssam holds a Master’s in International Development and Global Studies from the University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Languages from the University of Sunderland (UK).

PICT_20160204_113159David Comerford, Vice Chair

David is an international development specialist with a focus on management and evaluation of technical and vocational education projects and programs. Since April 2013 he has been a Director at the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and currently is Director of Business Development for the MENA Region and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Previously, David spent 7 years as sole proprietor of David Comerford & Associates securing and implementing contracts on educational, institutional capacity building, youth entrepreneurship and conflict resolution projects funded by a variety of donors including the Canadian International Development Agency, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, UNESCO, Youth Business International, International Alert and Canadian colleges, universities and non-governmental organisations.

He has also served as Director of External Relations at CUSO, a Canadian international volunteer placement organisation and as Senior Manager at CBIE responsible for management of education projects in Pakistan, the Middle East and Haiti. David has a graduate degree in International Development and Cooperation from the University of Ottawa, is fluently bilingual in French and English and has an intermediate level understanding of Arabic. He served as President of NCCAR in 2010-2011.

Rula Odeh, Vice Chair

rulaRula Odeh, a former Executive Director of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR), has served on the NCCAR board for the past five years including as President in 2009-2010. She has played a leadership role is in several organizations advocating for Canadian policies in the Middle East based on human rights, equality and freedom.

Doug Daniels, Treasurer

Doug, an economist, has worked in the international development field beginning with CUSO in East Africa and later with the International Development Research Centre and the UN and as a consultant across a spectrum of organizations representing the UN, governments, foundations, NGOs and the private sector.

He has been active on the boards of both national and international organizations and has published a number of books and articles on evaluation, planning and different development issues. He has worked in more than 80 countries and managed programs in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Tala Khoury, Legal Officer and Secretary

Tala is an associate at the Ottawa office of law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP where she carries on a litigation practice focusing on commercial arbitration and white collar crime. Tala is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, where she has received awards for her achievements in business law and human rights law.

Tala has volunteered with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as a legal researcher and helped organize a legal symposium on Law & Revolution and the implications for the “Arab Spring” on the development of the law in the Middle East and North Africa. Tala previously worked as a Research Assistant at Osgoode Hall and as a Legal Fellow for the Kosovo Law Centre. She has also worked as a Program and Policy Assistant with Ontario’s Pay Equity Commission, as an intern with the law offices of Ali Sharif Zu’bi in Jordan, and as a Congressional Intern with the Office of Congressman James P. Moran in Washington, D.C.

sayedSayed M. Alaali

Sayed is an Associate at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) where he focuses on real estate private equity investments in the United States. Prior to that, Sayed was responsible for building CPPIB’s investment strategy in Latin America through assessing political and macroeconomic risks. Sayed obtained his International Baccalaureate Diploma in Bahrain, and is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a double degree in economics and actuarial science.
Since 2013, Sayed has been involved with Muppies, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to professional development, and is the President of the Toronto Committee for years 2016-2017. He has previously volunteered with the Munk School of Global Affairs and coauthored the 2011 Cannes G20 research report focusing on Saudi Arabia, China and Australia.

billBill Ayyad

Bill Ayyad has over 25 years of business development and management experience with strong ties to the Ottawa business and political community and has lived in Ottawa for over 40 years. Bill is a long-time NCCAR supporter and former board member. Bill is an active member in the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and has played an active role in outreach efforts and bridge-building between the CPC and NCCAR as well as CAF, as far back as 2004.

Bill is currently a board member with Young Voices Can (formerly Peace Camp
Ottawa). He has served on the Nepean Conservative Association (NCA) board for over a decade and chaired the Fundraising, Events, Public Affairs and Outreach Committees. Bill is currently president of the NCA and was recently elected to his second term. Bill is an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion (Barrhaven Branch) since 2010. Bill supports several local charities including Make-A-Wish Foundation and is a long-time supporter and sponsor of the Annual Motorcycle Ride for Dad (raising funds for prostate cancer research and awareness).

omarOmar Burgan

Omar Burgan has an educational background in Environmental Health with experience working in the private, university and public sectors. He has published peer-reviewed scientific research and has worked as a researcher for Health Canada. Omar has served as a political staffer in the House of Commons and has traveled the Middle East extensively during which time he has taught English with a registered Canadian charity. He currently works as a research officer for a public sector labour union.

taniaTania Jordan

Tania has over 16 years of experience in program management as well as monitoring and evaluation. Her areas of expertise include poverty alleviation, social development, youth empowerment and civil society development. Tania managed the poverty alleviation and social development project portfolios at UNDP-Jordan for over half a decade, supported Save the Children’s educational programs in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, and in her work with USAID was instrumental in establishing a USAID-funded not for profit organization for youth empowerment in Jordan.

She also worked as Director of Community Outreach for Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan for over two years. Tania holds a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (UK), a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology and Development Studies from the University of Sussex (UK), and a certificate from the International Programme for Development Evaluation Training
(IPEDT) administered by Carleton University and the World Bank.

 Adil El Mezouaghi

Adil is a high performing professional with a proven track record of accomplishments in facilitating mutually beneficial international trade agreements between Canadian and Arab corporations with value exceeding millions of dollars. Adil is the Executive Director of the Canada Arab Business Council.

He recently served as a Senior International Trade Executive and as a trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Saudi Arabia with responsibility over Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Adil taught at the University of Ottawa on courses focusing on political and economic developments in the Middle East and worked as a research center coordinator at the University of Québec and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Leadership and Communication Studies in Rabat, Morocco.  Adil is pursuing his Master of Arts in Regional Development at the University of Québec and holds a Master’s Degree in Development Law and Economics from the Institute of Peace and Development Law, Nice, France, and a Bachelor’s in Management Science from the Business Administration Institute, Nice, France.

 Sean Fraser

Sean is a an international affairs professional with experience working with the UN, Canadian government and various NGOs on rule of law, human rights and conflict resolution initiatives. He holds a LL.M. (School of Oriental and African Studies), B.C.L., LL.B. (McGill) and B.A. Hons. in Islamic Studies (Concordia).

Adel Iskander

Adel is an Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver/Burnaby, Canada. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including “Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution” (AUCP/OUP); “Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism” (Basic Books); “Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation” (University of California Press); and “Mediating the Arab Uprisings” (Tadween Publishing).

Adel’s work deals with media, identity and politics; and he has lectured extensively on these topics at universities worldwide. His forthcoming publication is the co-edited volume “Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring” (Palgrave Macmillan).Prior to his arrival at SFU, Adel taught for several years at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. He is a coeditor of Jadaliyya.

Raja Khouri

Raja is co-founder of the Canadian Arab Institute. He is a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, committee member of Human Rights Watch Canada, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group. Raja formerly served on several government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group, the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and as advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada.

He also served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11, authoring the book Arabs in Canada: Post 9/11. For many years Raja was an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building focusing on civil society and human rights work.