Board of Directors

AAFSC Board of Directors provide critical philanthropic, partnership-building, and advisory support for our free programming.

Naseem Haffar

Chair, Private Investor

Naseem Haffar is a retired Managing Director with over 30 years experience in investment banking and real estate finance. Haffar started his career in the early 1980s at Irving Trust Company (now BNY Mellon), and then joined JP Morgan’s Loan Trading desk where he subsequently became Head of Sales and represented JPM on the board of Directors of the Loan Syndications & Trading Association. He later joined Societe Generale, where he built the Loan Sales & Trading desk.

Haffar was a member of the Whitney Museum photography acquisition committee. He is on the board of directors of the Arab American Democratic Action Fund and Noor Theater. He has an MBA in Finance from Columbia University School of Business and a BS in Business and International Relations from the University of Minnesota. He’s fluent in English, Arabic, and conversational in French.

Roberta Baum


A native from the Chicago area, Roberta moved and settled in Brooklyn with her husband 27 years ago to raise her family. During this time, Roberta volunteered at Packer Collegiate Institute. She was as an active member of the Parent Association performing in various roles for over twelve years. Serving the greater Brooklyn community remained important to Roberta, so she embarked on a philanthropic project at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). For 5 years, Roberta served as both committee member and co-chair of BBG’s annual Family Party, an event to raise funds to support children’s education at BBG.

Roberta joined the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) in October 2009 and instructed Beginner and Intermediate ESL classes. Roberta implemented student-centered lessons with a thematic focus. She also empowered intermediate students through journal writing. Lastly, Roberta helped organize Reading Buddies, a collaborative reading exchange between The Packer Collegiate Institute’s elementary school children and beginning adult ESL students – a multi-layered cultural exchange for all. Roberta left the employment of AAFSC to pursue a master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Hunter College. Roberta speaks Italian, French and studied Russian.

Matthew Brogan

Poetry Society of America

Matt Brogan is a consultant, producer and writer. He works with foundations, nonprofit organizations and individuals to develop compelling, thoughtful strategies and to create and manage new initiatives in a variety of fields, including the arts, education, public space and social justice. He has produced major cultural projects in a wide range of disciplines and media, including exhibitions, festivals, public art projects, books and documentaries. His poems and fiction have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines and he is the editor of This Place (Hatje Cantz, 2019). He has also authored several research studies, most recently, “Art, Migration and Public Space,” for the Open Society Foundations.

Anissa Dhouibi


Anissa Dhouibi is a Managing Director at Citi and the Global Head of Equities Quantitative Analysis. Prior to joining Citi in 2020, she held various roles in Quantitative Research at JP Morgan in London and New York. Anissa is a regular volunteer and former board member for Xavier Mission, as well as a mentor at Streetwise Partners. She holds Master’s degrees in Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Sorbonne University and Telecom Paris.

Mohamed El Beih

Mohamed El Beih joined Angelo Gordon in 2021 and is a Managing Director and Head of Europe, Middle East & Australasia for the Firm’s investor relations efforts. He focuses onbusiness development and managing the firm’s strategic institutional partnerships across the regions. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. El Beih was a Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and a member of the management committee for Blackstone’s Hedge Fund Solutions Group (“BAAM”). At Blackstone, Mr. El Beih was primarily involved with institutional client coverage, business development, and managing Blackstone's sovereign relationships in the Middle East. He was also involved in building networks and deal sourcing for BAAM’s special situations group, in addition to BAAM’s broader business strategy and product development efforts.

Before joining Blackstone in 2007, Mr. El Beih was an Investment Advisor at Morgan Stanley International in London, where he was responsible for Middle East client coverage and business development. He had previously worked at Goldman Sachs in London and spent five years as a Financial Advisor for Associated Securities Corp. in Los Angeles, California.

Mr. El Beih is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as a Board Member and Vice Chair of ABANA, the leading U.S. organization for finance professionals and institutions with interest in the Middle East and North Africa. He is also on the Board of the Arab-American Family Support Center, a non-profit organization that provides trauma-informed social services for immigrants and refugees from all ethnicities and backgrounds in New York City.

Mr. El Beih received a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California, where he graduated magna cum laude, and his MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Kwame Fynn

Treasurer, Goldman Sachs

Kwame Fynn is Vice President, Multi-Asset Solutions at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where he has worked since 2013. In this role, he constructs and manages $11+billion multi-asset portfolios for global institutional clients. Kwame also served as an Ambassador with Launch with Goldman Sachs, an initiative to invest $1 billion in women, Black, Latinx and other diverse led companies and investment managers and served as a Division Steering Committee member of the Firmwide Black Network. He is currently a member of the Diversity Council within his business unit of over 200 employees.

Kwame is from Ghana and moved to the U.S. to study Economics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics at Macalester College. He is a certified Chartered Financial Analyst and a published author on macroeconomics and sports statistics. Building on his experience as an international student, Kwame served as a mentor for other newly arrived immigrants and created a platform for building cross-cultural connections. He is currently an Alumni Volunteer for Macalester College. He has continued to support immigrant communities and served as an Advisory Council Member at the Arab-American Family Support Center prior to joining the Board. Kwame served as a mentor with iMentor for five years and is a co-chair of Getting Out Staying Out’s Action Board. Kwame speaks English, Twi, Fante, French, and Ga.

Rita Gail Johnson

Global Citizens Initiative

Rita Gail Johnson is the Chief Operating Officer of Global Citizens Initiative. She has been a management consultant for most of her career, specializing in strategic planning and merger integration. She was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she led merger integration assignments in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and has held business development positions at the political risk consultancies Eurasia Group and Oxford Analytica. For the past several years Rita has been actively involved with nonprofit organizations in the arts, education, human rights and social services as a program director, pro bono consultant and Board member. Rita has an AB from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Bobye List

Philanthropic Consultant

Bobye List has over 50 years of experience in nonprofit management, most recently serving as the Executive Director of the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation. List started her career in the 1960s at Bloomingdales and World Publishing Company, and then joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as an Assistant Chief in securities clearance and funds transfer. Driven to serve the greater New York community, List joined the New York City Partnership and New York Chamber of Commerce as their Vice President, where she worked in education, youth employment, and operations. She later joined Brooklyn Children’s Museum as their Executive Director.

List has served on several boards including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Packer Collegiate Institute, Queer Art, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Community Works, Long Island College Hospital, and Fund for Public Schools. She holds an Executive MBA from Columbia University School of Business and a BA from Wellesley College.

Shahla Naimi


Shahla Naimi is a program manager at Google, leading a team within Research and Machine Intelligence focused on digital literacy. Prior to her work at Google, she led multi-country programs for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture focused on preserving Islamic heritage and enabling economic development. She holds a BA from Yale University and a MA from Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement. She lives in Jackson Heights, and grew up in south Los Angeles.

Susan Peters

Susan Peters (CASA ’98) is a co-founder and producer at Twelve Letter Films. She has a long history in nonprofit management, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She is a senior advisor to and former president of ABANA, an association for finance professionals with interest in the MENA region, and was executive director to the board of King’s Academy, where she led strategic planning, development and policy for a new co-ed boarding school outside of Amman, Jordan.

She has lived in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in Morocco, where she was assistant director of the Arabic Language Institute in Fez from 1994 to 1997. Susan was a founding board member and president of ArteEast, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes the contemporary arts of the Middle East, and is on the advisory committees of Noor Theatre and The Welfare Association. She is a partner at Terratron, a real estate and hospitality company.

In 2017, Twelve Letter Films, co-founded with her husband Jim Cricchi, released its first documentary, Los Lecheros, about undocumented workers in Wisconsin dairy farms. Susan holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has completed language studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Middlebury College and the Arabic Language Institute in Fez.

David Pollak

Reverence Capital Partners

David Pollak is Director of Capital Partnering at Reverence Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on thematic investing in middle-market financial services companies. From 2006-2008, Pollak served as Co-Chairman of the New York State Democratic Party. In 2008, he was the New York State Director for the Obama for America Campaign. Pollak has lectured internationally about US politics, economics and financial policy. He is a guest lecturer on Asset Management at the Fordham School of Business in New York and has lectured at Columbia University, McGill University, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Pollak received his Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University, and his BA in Economics and Politics from the Colorado College.

Jeanine Shama

Secretary, Allen & Company LLC

Jeanine is a native New Yorker of Brazilian and Palestinian descent with experience in multi-cultural environments within the private and non-profit sectors. Jeanine currently works for a boutique investment bank managing Human Resources.

Her previous experience includes managing a global talent initiative for Citigroup as well as for working as an organization development consultant for non-governmental organizations in the West Bank with BirZeit University. She also worked for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee post 9-11 as their Chief Administrative Officer.
She is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for Cultural Engagement at the Metropolitan Museum, which engages NYC communities to experience the Met, a pro-bono consultant with the Taproot Foundation, and a volunteer guide with Musicians on Call.

She has a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree from New York University. She is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.

David Tayeh


David Tayeh is Head of Private Equity – North America. He is a member of the Firm’s Operating Committee and serves on its Investment Committee and the Financial and Risk Management Committee.

David rejoined Investcorp in 2015, having left the firm in 2011 to join CVC Capital Partners as a Partner. From 1999 to 2011, David was a member of Investcorp’s private equity team and acted as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Jostens, Inc., a former Investcorp portfolio company. Prior to Investcorp, David was a Vice President with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

David currently serves on the boards of directors of AlixPartners, Arrowhead Engineered Products, Fortune Fish, HealthPlus, ICR, KS Group, Paper Source, PRO Unlimited, Revature and United Talent Agency.

David holds a BA degree in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.