P.O. Box 57319
Washington D.C. 20037
Al Waref Advisory Board:
Mr. Naser Khader, Former Danish Parliament Member - Syria
Mrs. Naima Semina, MA, Algeria
Mr. Monzir Akbik,MA, Businessman, UAE
Mr. Wassim Mallak, MA, Syria
Dr. Latifa Halim, Ph.D, Mohammed V University - Morocco
Dr. Faouzi Bendridi, Ph.D, Professor of Sociology - Algeria
Mrs. Ghada Jamsheer, M.A, Women Rights' Activist -Bahrain
Mrs. May A. Rihani, M.A, AED Senior Vice President - USA
Ms. Maliha Alshehab, B.A, Computer& Information System - KSA
Mr. Richard Mc Sweeney, M.A. Ireland - Levant
Eng. Hadi Al Bahra, BS, Industrial Engineer, Syria
Dr. Youssef Tibesse, Ph.D, Morocco
Dr. Brian R. Parkinson. Ph.D, Georgia - USA
Mr. Fadel Lamen, M. A, Libya - USA
Dr. Ahmed Saad, Ph.D, Egypt - UK
Dr. Idriss Lagrini, Ph.D, Morocco
Mr. Ibrahim Almugaiteeb, Activist- KSA
Mrs. Yvonne R. Davis, M.S, M.A, USA
Dr. Tarek Heggy, Ph.D, Egypt
Dr. Katerin Michael, Ph.D, Iraq - USA
Mr. Elias Aoun, Attorney, J.D, Lebanon - USA
Dr. Hashem Sultan, M.D, Syria - USA
Dr. Nayef Jarrad, Ph.D, Palestine
Mr. Hassan Jamali, Montreal - Canada
Founder and Chair
Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University
Dr. Nayef Jarrad
Dr. Idriss Lagrini
The core target of Al Waref Institute is to bridge the gap between East and West and increase the knowledge of the Middle East among American people by emphasizing the importance of the cultures as a platform for engagement, enhancing inter-cultural understanding, and encouraging dialogue between the citizens of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), and the United States.
Al Waref Institute, headquartered in Washington DC, with supporting offices in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine, is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-sectarian and non-governmental organization. It is committed to promoting the achievements of writers, scholars, activists, and artists who believe in the concepts of freedom, justice, and individual rights as the fundamental elements to the eradication of fear, extremism, and war.
Al Waref Institute will act as a podium for these thinkers who are overcoming obstacles and making contributions to further advance the MENA region, their host countries, and humanity. The Institute will support their efforts to make it possible for constructive values to become more prevalent in the future, changing the dominant orientation in the years to come, especially in the MENA region.
Shaping the Future
The success of some extremist trends to reach out and monopolize the political decision-making centers has led to conflicts, wars, and struggles. All of this was taking place in light of a remarkable retreat of the intellectual elites' role across the world.
In the aftermath of this vacuum, the escalation of violence and revenge attitude could be catastrophic unless wise voices congregate to establish a MENA region Renaissance aimed to reverse these destructive trends.
Al Waref Institute promotes alternatives to the warmongering "solutions." Searching for better ways has always been the human's obsession in the pursuit of advancing civilization. Humankind created fire to defeat cold weather, invented agriculture to defeat hunger, and language to defeat lack of communication within its community.
Today, as humanity continues to face the danger of wars, conflicts, and tensions that threaten the environment, peace, and prosperity, everyone is invited to search for policies that cherish life, make just peace, and promote deserving recognition.
Al Waref Institute is a step ahead in the direction of making a better future for humanity - a future where reason and conscience prevail over extremist tendencies. One way to achieve this goal is to strengthen a common ground of respect, acknowledgment, and appreciation between people of all cultures, races, and nationalities.
Aims and Tools
The Al Waref Institute is committed to adopting all available media, technology, and communication tools that help bridge the gap between cultures and civilizations.
Al Waref Institute will hold a semi annual conference in the United States and Morocco where scholars, speakers, and researchers would meet to present studies of cultural coexistence, integration and dialogue between the MENA region and Muslim societies and the whole of humanity. The conference's publications will be available in English and Arabic.
In August 2008, a web-based portal www.alwaref.org designed to support the Institute was launched. The portal components will be a virtual ongoing conference, whereon articles, studies and research are set to be published in the fields of individual rights, civil society, energy and economics, sustainable development, culture and art, meaningful dialogue, war and peace, science and technology, environment and climate change, and U.S. foreign policy. Constant technical development of the portal will be pursued to ensure the largest possible degree of interaction with researchers, writers and portal visitors.
The Institute will create and sustain relationships with contacts in the MENA region and American universities to encourage researchers to engage in this project, and to advance partnerships among universities at this level.
Marah Bukai is a Syrian American poet, academic researcher and journalist who spent her professional life to bridge understanding and cultural dialogue between the United States and the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Bukai has always been passionate about teaching and writing in Arabic language, and exploring the beauty and eloquence of her mother tongue.
Born in Syria, educated in France, and currently living in the United States, Marah Bukai has worked to build bridges across cultures. As a professor, a writer, and an advocate for change, Bukai strives to build cross-cultural understanding through her work and her poetry.
Bukai received her BA of Arts, Department of Languages and French Literature, from Damascus University in Syria, and Her MA in Arabic and Islamic Civilization Studies from University of Strasbourg in France.
Bukai has five publications of poetry, and her most recent book of poetry “O” was published by Waref Publishing House in DC.
“O” is a unique collection of poignant poems, delving into the infinite anomalies of the world. Tackling issues of religion, sexuality, and self identity, Bukai accentuates the injustice and hypocrisy plaguing today’s humanity.
Fighting the corruption of politics and power, Marah Bukai shouts attention to the deceit of fundamentalism, extremism, and nationalism. Using images of love and war, Bukai paints a masterpiece of emotion; highlighting the pain she feels for the suffering of humanity and the anger she feels towards the causes of such suffering.
Marah Bukai’s global vision sends a message to the world. Recognizing the lack of tolerance on all levels of society, Bukai confronts the growing disparity between differing ideologies with a voice of reason and understanding. Her ability to synthesize the complexities of the socio-political situation in the Middle East into poetry allows the reader to become acquainted with the rugged emotionality of conflict.
Bukai is a journalist who writes on cultural, political, and contemporary Islamic issues in Arabic and English newspapers, journals and websites. She worked for the last four years as the Senior Editor of “Hi” magazine, which is a cultural magazine that addresses American culture topic, written in Arabic language, with more than 300.000 readers all over 23 Arab countries.
Bukai has recently selected by the publisher of the "Best of DC" book to be featured among the celebrities and prominent figures of Washington DC, through "Honorable Mention" pages of the book. The selection "is based to her remarkable achievement in academic, cultural, and media research, and as recognition of her distinguished role, through her professional life, to bridge understanding and dialogue between the United and the Arab and Muslim worlds".
Bukai has nominated by the CAMPUS WATCH project of the Middle East Forum as one of the most thoughtful and balanced scholars among the Middle East Studies faculties in North America.
Bukai is the Senior Media Adviser at Vital Voices Global Partnership , and the Senior Editor at The Business Women’s Network, MENA BWN, in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Bukai has taught Arabic and French language at DLS institute in Arlington VA, and Berlitz School in DC. Currently, she is a part time professor of Arabic Language, a Faculty researcher, and an occasionally lecturer on Arabic culture and politic at the University of Maryland , College Park (UMCP).
In 2008 she had the honor to establish the “Contemporary Islam” class at the Georgetown University (CCPE). “Contemporary Islam is a controversial term that often stirs deep passions among Muslims. However, a significant number of Muslim reformers use the term to signify a necessary evolution in Muslim thinking that is long overdue and in particular in the post 9/11 terrorist attacks. This course is an intensive and comprehensive introduction to the voice of these Muslim reformers who fearlessly challenge Muslim extremists and those who justify terrorism” she said. The course aims to increase the level of knowledge and understanding between the people of the Muslim world and the West.
Advisory Board Biograhies:
Richard Mc Sweeney
A native of the beautiful isle of Eire (Ireland), Mc Sweeney is a self-originating author of six books. Having lived for several years in the Far East and Middle East, he enjoys producing works of wisdom, philosophy, and prevision. He holds a BA degree in Korean Language & Literature, and an MA degree in Chinese Philosophical Taoism, both of which were conducted through the mediums of Korean and Classical Chinese.
While living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, he fell in love with the desert, culture and traditions of the region. It was during his college days in Ireland that he was first introduced to the writings of Khalil Gibran. This was to begin a relationship that has grown in appreciation down through the years as evident in his style and writing temperament. In many ways Mc Sweeney’s writings are very Khalil Gibranean, yet they have something ‘other’ also; something very Richard Mc Sweeneyan about them, in that they have this lovely lightness and humorous charm that makes for non-confrontational encounters between him and his reader.
His work Myriam of Lebanon is a lyrical philosophy of ambiance steadfastly established on Gibran Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. A second book which is also strongly influenced by his time in Arabia is A Jesus of Nazareth in which he set out to write of a Jesus that would be of his own inspiration, and, who to his own heart would be eminently credible, enjoyable, and profound. His other works include Generations Reaching, Hearing in the Write, and his two-volume work Innkeeper’s Fire.
Dr. Brian R. Parkinson:
Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Georgia Southwestern State University. Parkinson holds a Ph.D., Florida State University, Middle Eastern History.
- Faculty Development Grant, Georgia Southwestern State University, 2007
- Fulbright-Hays Seminar in South Africa, U.S. Department of Education, 2006
- Distinguished Professor Grant, Georgia Southwestern State University, 2006
- Faculty Development Grant, Georgia Southwestern State University, 2005
- Dissertation Research Grant, Office of Graduate Studies, Florida State University, 2005
- Wright-Richardson Memorial Dissertation Research Grant, Florida State University, 2004
Heggy was born in 1950, into the Egyptian upper-middle class and hometown of his parents, Port Said.
Heggy studied law at Ain Shams University in Cairo, followed by Modern Management in the International Management Institute of Geneva University. From 1971 until 1979, he taught at the law schools of a number of North African Universities (Algeria and Morocco).
In July 1979, Tarek Heggy joined “Shell International Petroleum Company” as Oil and Gas Attorney (1979-1985) and Deputy to the Chairman of Shell Egypt (1985-1988). In 1988, he was the first Middle East person to be appointed as Chairman of Shell Companies in Egypt and an assistant/advisor to “Shell International” for the Major Resource Holders (MRH). After eight years of holding these positions, Heggy resigned from “Shell International” on 1 July 1996 to devote his efforts to a wide range of intellectual/cultural activities and in parallel to manage his private company “TANA Petroleum”.
-2008 Grinzane Cavour Award for cultural and literary achievement.
-University of Toronto scholarship established in the name of Tarek Heggy for post graduate studies in Comparative Jewish/Muslim relations.
Since April 1978, Tarek Heggy has written 24 books in three languages. In addition, nearly 500 hundred published articles in English, Arabic, French, Italian, Russian and Hebrew are posted as essays on his website. Two of his latest three books in English are to be published in their Italian versions in 2010.
Elias Aoun Esq.
Aoun has received his J.D. from St. Mary's University School of Law and is an international lawyer with experience in multinational corporate litigation, technology related contracts, immigration law, and other legal disciplines. He has published numerous articles on Middle East issues in The Daily Star, a major newspaper based in Lebanon.
Dr. Katrin Michael
Ms. Michael is a political advisor for the Iraqi Kurdish opposition on women's issues from 1982 to 1989. She has been published in more than 50 Arabic web sites, newspapers and magazines both inside the region and in the West. In 2006 she also provided testimony at the Iraqi High Tribunal against Saddam Hussein's regime. She is working with Kurdish Human rights watch since 2003.