IWSAW Advisory Board

Terrie Alafat - Chairperson

Terrie Alafat academic background is in social policy and research. Before moving to the UK 25 years ago she was involved in educational research and evaluation. Her post graduate research focused on women’s education in the Middle East.

Ms. Alafat began her career in the UK in social services policy development in a local authority and was Director of Housing and Corporate Strategy in Kensington and Chelsea until 2002.

Ms. Alafat has worked in the British Civil Service since 2003 covering various housing policies including homelessness, specialist housing with support, affordable housing and housing supply. She is now Director of Housing Growth and Affordable Housing.

She lived in Lebanon during the late 1970s and was a teacher at International College.

“I am pleased to be a member on the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World Advisory Board. I hope my knowledge and experience will support its growth and development in the coming years.”


Haifa Al Kaylani

Mrs Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder Chairman, Arab International Women’s Forum is well known in international government and business circles as a high-impact change agent focusing on leadership in cultural and gender issues. An economist and graduate of the American University of Beirut and Oxford University, she brings a wide range of skills and experience to her personal mission of encouraging greater cultural understanding between Arab and international communities, supporting a strong role for women in that process.

Mrs Al Kaylani holds senior roles in several cultural, commercial and educational UK and international organisations. These include: Board Member, The Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School; Advisory Board Member, The Middle East Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Advisory Board Member, The Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese American University, Beirut; Board Director, EastWest Institute, and Board Member The Arab British Chamber of Commerce in London. Mrs Al Kaylani serves on The Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. Mrs Al Kaylani became the first Honorary Member, the Euro Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development (2012) and serves as a Freeman of the City of London.

Mrs Al Kaylani private sector advisory roles include Director, Bridgeway Consulting (RAKUAE) Limited, Advisory Board Member, Hydromineinc. Advisory Board Member, Hildon Limited Non Executive Director Winmark Global.

Haifa Al Kaylani received recognition as one of the Women eNews 21 Leaders for the 21 Century (2006); was included in the Muslim Power 100 Leaders in the UK listing (2007) receiving the Education Excellence Award; she is a recipient of the International Alliance for Women 2008 World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award; and was named one of the 20 leading Muslim women in the UK in The Equality & Human Rights Commission Muslim Women Lists 2009-2012 and received the United Kingdom Muslim Woman of the Year Award in 2013.

Haifa Al Kaylani was presented with an Award for an Outstanding Contribution as a Women Leader of Palestinian Origin and was honoured by the Qatari Businesswomen Association and presented with an Award for her contributions to the growth and development in the Arab region. She was the recipient of the Global Inspirational Leadership Award 2013 and was honoured for individual achievements as a role model and having made contributions worthy of acknowledgement towards the role of women in Emerging Economies by the Georgia General Assembly.

Mrs Al Kaylani was included in the Power 100 List, compiled by Arabian Business Monitor and recognised on the Arabian Business Power 500 List published by Arabian Business Magazine and placed in the highest ever recording of 118 women in a list of Arab men and women leaders. Mrs Al Kaylani was Inducted in 2013 by the Centre of Economic Leadership & Development into The Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame as a distinguished achiever and symbol of female achievement globally. Mrs Al Kaylani received The Excellence in Life Award presented by The Global Thinkers Forum in Dubai December 2014.

In 2015, Mrs Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, received “The Pearl Initiative Recognition for a Career Focused on Arab Women in Leadership”, presented by the Pearl Initiative Honorary Chairman H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Narayan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development in the United Arab Emirates on the occasion of The Pearl Initiative & United Nations Global Compact Forum held in Dubai.


Barbara Annis, Ph. D.

Barbara Annis is a world-renowned expert on gender intelligence and inclusive leadership, advocating the value and practice of gender intelligence in Fortune 500 companies and numerous organizations across the globe. 

Her insights and achievements have pioneered a transformational shift in cultural attitudes on the importance of gender unity to personal and organizational success. Over the past 25 years, Barbara Annis and her associates have facilitated over 8,000 corporate workshops globally and have introduced breakthrough research on the practice of gender diversity and inclusive leadership.

“I joined the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World Advisory Board due to the fact that I have a deep commitment to advancing women and girls in the Arab world and believe it is one of the most important issues to advance in our world today”


Suad Joseph, Ph.D.

Most of Dr. Joseph’s anthropological field research has focused on her native Lebanon. Her early work investigated the politicization of religious sects in Lebanon leading up to the civil war in 1975—questions of ethnicity and state, local community organization and development. That work led her to consider the impact of women’s visiting networks on local and national politics, and the relationships between local communities, community organizations and the state. Joseph developed a long-term research program on the interface of gender, family and state in the Middle East, with a focus on Lebanon, with comparative work in Iraq. Central to this research program has been her work theorizing culturally situated notions of “self”, “rights”, “citizenship” in the context of different political regimes and in the context of the pressures and processes of globalization. She is carrying out a long-term research project following a cohort of children in a Lebanese village, observing, as they grow, how they learn their notions of rights, responsibilities, nationality, citizenship; how these notions come to be gendered; and how the notions are transferred from family arenas into political/public arenas. The project includes analysis of citizenship, family and transnationalism as these families have migrated to the US and Canada over the course of the study. She leads a project analyzing the representation of Arabs, Muslims, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in major American print news media.

Prof. Joseph is the founder of the Middle East Research Group in Anthropology (which evolved into the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association), founder of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) and the Arab Families Research Group. She founded and directs a five-university consortium including the American University Of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, the Lebanese American University, Birzeit University, and UC Davis. She was president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 2010-2011.

She is co-founder and founding president of the Arab American Studies Association and co-founder of the Association for Middle East Anthropology. She is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. She has edited or co-edited 8 books, and published OVER 100 articles in journals and books. She has been a faculty at the University of California, Davis since 1976 where she is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies, and is founding Director of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program, and where she was awarded the UC Davis Prize - the largest undergraduate teaching and research prize in the United States.


Fady Habib Karam, Maître

Fady Karam is a lawyer and the General Secretary for the National Commission of Lebanese Women. He is the former Vice Chairperson for the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN, and the Rapporteur of the Commission of Human Rights within the Bar Association of Beirut.

“The reason for which I am a member of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World Advisory Board is my full commitment to the fulfillment of all women rights in the region.”


Elise Salem, Ph. D.

Elise Salem is currently the Vice President for Student Development & Enrollment Management at the Lebanese American University (LAU).  Previously, she was Associate Provost for Global Learning, Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences for Academic Planning, and Professor of Literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.  She is published in the fields of Lebanese literature, Arab culture, women’s studies and the Renaissance.  She has taught widely and presented on a broad range of topics including on Arab women and gender as they relate to identity formation, cultural politics and institutional inequality.  In her current post, she is eager to do more to engage students at LAU in issues that pertain to gender, to Lebanese inequities, and to labor laws and practice.  She is also well versed in U.S. academic structures and can play a role in reaching out to counterparts at other universities with strong women’s centers.  She is also instrumental in networking, both locally and internationally, to forge relevant partnerships. 

“I can be an asset in grant writing, which is integral to strengthening the financial base of IWSAW. LAU is fortunate to house IWSAW and it is an honor for me to be a small part of its important work.”   


Lina Jazi Chehab

Mrs. Lina Jazi Chehab is the President & CEO of Terra Nova Consulting, Inc., an environmental consulting firm based in Texas and New York.  She was featured as a success story in the Houston Business Journal in 1999 and 2005, and by the Small Business Administration Houston District in 2009.  She was recently featured in the Houston Business Journal as an expert on the impact of oil and gas exploration on the environment.
Mrs. Jazi Chehab is an avid advocate for education, women rights, children causes, and environmental sustainability.  She served/serves on several advisory boards of universities and not-for-profit organizations namely the Faculty of Health Sciences of the American University of Beirut, the Arab-American Educational Foundation, and the Rene Mouawad Foundation.  She also serves on the City of Houston Mayor’s International Affairs & Development Council to advise and assist the Mayor and City representatives on matters of international affairs and development as it pertains to regional economic and sociopolitical issues.
“I am delighted to be part of such an esteemed Institute and look forward to playing a role in shaping the future of women in the Middle East”.

The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson


The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson is president of Auburn Seminary. A seminary with multifaith commitments that honors its Christian roots, Auburn educates through innovative pedagogies and methodologies, public platforms and applied research. With her leadership, Auburn has become a leader in the multifaith movement for justice by equipping bold and resilient leaders of faith and moral courage to build congregations and communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world.

Author of “God’s Troublemakers: How Women of Faith are Changing the World” (Continuum, 2006), Henderson is an internationally known presenter and speaker and has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, MSNBC, NPR’s On the Media, and more. Henderson’s speaking engagements include a United Nations panel on the global culture of peace, and she was one of the national leaders invited to participate in a White House convening on human trafficking.

Through her work in the multifaith movement for social justice, Henderson has been a strong advocate for peace in the Middle East and has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to counter anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States. She co-founded Face to Face | Faith to Faith, bringing together hundreds of Christian, Jewish and Muslim teenagers from Northern Ireland, the Middle East, South Africa, and the U.S. to develop a new generation of leaders able to negotiate a multifaith global society. She is a frequent and passionate speaker on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Henderson was named co-recipient of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for her lifelong passion to create spaces for authentic interfaith engagement, including her work with programs such as Face to Face | Faith to Faith and spearheading the creation of MountainTop, a gathering of 78 faith leaders to move actions forward to catalyze a multifaith movement for justice. She joined esteemed past winners such as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Henderson was raised in Louisville, KY., during the civil rights movement. As a child she accompanied her parents on civil rights marches and sat with them at church gatherings of people of many different faith traditions and people who claimed no faith tradition but came together out of moral conviction or commitment — all united for justice. This personal history has fueled Henderson’s work and lifelong passion for justice. She earned her Masters of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).


May El Khalil

May El Khalil is the award-winning Founder, General Manager, and President of the Beirut Marathon Association. The Beirut Marathon Association oversees the annual Beirut International Marathon, which has been held every autumn since 2003 and was accredited by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in 2009.

Born in Aley, Lebanon, Mrs. El Khalil spent much of her adult life in Nigeria after her marriage to business man Faysal El Khalil. In Nigeria, Mrs. El Khalil became part of an international community and established the Lebanese Ladies in Nigeria, a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing assistance to the underprivileged members of Nigerian society and to promoting educational development by way of grants and scholarships.

When Mrs. El Khalil returned to her mother country of Lebanon, she encountered inflamed religious divisions, political impasses and military checkpoints on roads that were once open to all. In 2001, she suffered a near-fatal accident that placed her in a coma. Mrs. El Khalil spent two years undergoing dozens of surgeries that enabled her to walk again. Determined to celebrate the gift of life and mobility, she founded the marathon to help mend divisions in Lebanon. She wanted to shift the focus from that which divides the Lebanese people, and bring them together to celebrate that which they have in common—their love for exercise and their relationships with friends and family.

Mrs. El Khalil has been recognized for her work nationally and internationally; she has received the AIPS Power of Sport Award in Lausanne, and the Laureus World Sports Academy Lifetime achievement award in Abu Dhabi. She has been decorated by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman with the National Order of the Cedar, and has been granted appreciation awards from the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, The Brazil-Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, and the Lebanese Ministry of Youth and Sport.  Mrs. El Khalil was also a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for 2010 and 2011. In 2013, she was presented with an honorary Ph.D. from the Lebanese American University. In 2014 She was honored by YWCA Lebanon on March 8 on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Mrs. El Khalil spoke at the TED global conference in Edinburgh Scotland in 2013. There she shared the Beirut Marathon Association’s story with an international audience, and she explained that she founded the largest running event in the Middle East as an instrument of peace through sports. The assertion she made in her talk was that “peacemaking was not a sprint, but a marathon”, meaning that this kind of endeavor was a long race that requires commitment, endurance, and optimal belief in the ultimate goal. For May this optimum goal is peace and prosperity for her country, as she still runs her figurative Marathon towards that goal. To date Mrs. El Khalil’s TED talked has been viewed almost four million times on the official TED YouTube channel, she was also a speaker in Brussels at the INNOVATION CONVENTION - 09-11/MAR organized by the European Union.

In addition to her work at the Beirut Marathon Association, Mrs. El Khalil speaks at different universities and organizations about the power of sport, perseverance, unity, and making the impossible dream of peace happen through running.