Zainab Al-Suwaij is a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) and has been its Executive Director since its inception in 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Zainab left her teaching position at Yale to launch AIC with the mission of building interfaith and interethnic understanding and to represent the diversity of American Muslim life.
Zainab’s leadership has expanded AIC into an international organization with six bureaus worldwide, including the U.S., Egypt, Iraq, and newest location, Tunisia. Her vision for acceptance and understanding in the U.S. is being realized through AIC’s growing campus initiative, Project Nur, as well as its Interfaith Councils and groundbreaking Witness Series. Zainab is an outspoken advocate for women’s equality, civil rights, and interfaith understanding.
Hana Abdalla is the Program Manager for Project Nur. She has over eighteen years of professional experience in research, education and direct experience working with NGOs and academic institutions. She holds a PhD in Medical Microbiology from Linkoping University in Sweden and she is a Research Associate and Faculty Member of the University of Maryland.
Hana is a member of the Sudanese American Women’s Organization, which works to empower women, building their capacities and expand their ability to lead, serve and advance the Sudanese community in the United States.
Rowa Kodi is a Program Coordinator for Project Nur. Rowa is an international gender empowerment specialist with proven expertise delivering education, clinical services, policy advocacy, and community-based innovation using participatory approaches. She has more than five years of experience in program management.
Rowa worked for local nonprofit organizations in Sudan, where she focused on providing services for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) victims and provided services for rape victims in ongoing conflict areas. She was also part of the team that developed the national training curriculum for health professionals in service provision for rape victims, in collaboration with UNFPA.
Ben Lutz is a Program Coordinator for Project Nur. He is a Middle East security politics specialist and has lived in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and Oman conducting research on interfaith diplomacy, refugee migration, and economic development while finishing his master’s degree in Middle East Politics and Security Studies from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. He graduated in 2018.
In 2017, he graduated from Elon University studying International Politics with four concentrations on the Middle East, Arabic, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Interreligious Studies. He holds the honor of being the university’s first graduate of the Interreligious Studies Minor, paving the way for the academic insights to interfaith activities.
Director of AIC’s Tunisia Office
Basma Azizi is the Director of AIC’s Tunisia Office. Prior to joining AIC, Basma worked for one year as a guest relations specialist at the Moevenpick Hotel Gammarth Tunis. Basma holds a master’s degree in literature from the Department of Human and Social Sciences at the University of Tunis as well as a degree in Hebrew language. She comes to AIC with a long involvement in the civil society through several associations and volunteering works.
Basma is the co-founder of Culture for Citizenship and Ambassadors’ Institute for Citizenship Associations. She is also a board member in MEPI Alumni Tunisia Chapter.