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Advisory board

Elie Abouaoun

Elie Abouaoun, Director – Middle East and North Africa Programs, USIP

Dr Abouaoun joined USIP after serving as the executive director of the Arab Human Rights Fund. Prior to this, he was the acting country director and program manager of the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq. Dr Abouaoun spent time working as the program coordinator for Ockenden International – Iraq, and before this, within the Lebanese NGO Arcenciel, as the director of external relations. He has served as a senior trainer and consultant for various international organizations since 1996, including the Council of Europe since 2000. In 2001, he was appointed a member of the Reference Group, established by the Directorate of Education-Council of Europe, to supervise the drafting of COMPASS, a manual for human rights education.

Akwasi Aidoo

Akwasi Aidoo, Senior Fellow, Humanity United

Dr Aidoo is a philanthropy professional, human rights and peace advocate and sociologist. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Humanity United and was the founding Executive Director of TrustAfrica – a grant-making foundation dedicated to promoting equitable development, rights, peace and democracy in Africa. His previous positions include head of the health sciences program of the International Development Research Center in West and Central Africa, head of the Ford Foundation’s offices in Senegal and Nigeria, and director of the Ford Foundation’s Special Initiative for Africa. Dr Aidoo currently serves on the boards of several international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) at Wits University in South Africa, and the African, African American and Diaspora Studies Center at James Madison University. 

Ali Awni

Ali Awni, Director, American University in Cairo

Dr Ali Awni is Professor of Practice at the Business School, and Director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy, Civic Engagement and Responsible Business, at The American University in Cairo (AUC). His research interests are in operations and supply chain innovations for SMEs and base of the pyramid. Dr Awni serves on the Board of the Egyptian Company for Medical investments and the Center of African Philanthropy and Social Investments (CAPSI) at Wits School of Business, South Africa. He is a representative of Africa and the Middle East on the Civil Society Advisory Body, UNEP FI Principles of Responsible Banking.

Aida Essaid, Director General - Taawon (Welfare Association)

Aida Essaid Photo

Dr Aida A. Essaid is the Director General of Taawon (Welfare Association), an impact-driven philanthropic institution, focused on empowering the Palestinian community through programmatic interventions in the fields of education, culture, heritage and social development. Before that, Dr. Essaid was the director of the Information and Research Center at the King Hussein Foundation; a center that mobilizes knowledge for positive social change where she has designed and led research and advocacy projects regarding human rights in Jordan, with a focus on women’s and children’s rights, refugees, and people with disabilities. She received her PhD in Politics and a MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter, and a BA Honours from the University of Toronto with a double major in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. Her research interests and publications include gender and social justice, forced displacement, and civil society. She has also carried out research and published on British Mandate Palestine and land tenure and is a board member of the Arab Foundations Forum.

Catherine Fieschi, Director, Counterpoint

Catherine Fieschi

Catherine Fieschi is a leading European politics expert whose main focus is on populism and other contemporary forms of mobilisation and protest. She is the Director of Counterpoint, a London-based research and advisory group that provides businesses, governments and NGOs with strategic insights on how to manage new forms of social and political risk. She is also Senior Adviser to the macro-advisory firm MAP, and to the Pew Research Center. Prior to founding Counterpoint, Catherine was Director of the London think tank Demos (2004-2008). Catherine is a longstanding adviser to European political leaders and campaigns. Her most recent book is Populocracy (Agenda, 2019); she is widely published across academia and the media and is a regular political commentator.

Michael Marmot

Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology, University College London

Sir Michael Marmot is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (Bloomsbury: 2015), and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (Bloomsbury: 2004). Professor Marmot is the Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director-General, on social determinants of health; Distinguished Visiting Professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong (2019-), and co-Director of their Institute of Health Equity. He has led research groups on health inequalities for nearly 50 years. Sir Michael chaired the Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas, and chaired the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, producing the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008.  He conducted the British Government’s Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post-2010, which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO EURO in 2014, and in 2020 Health Equity in England: Marmot Review 10 Years On, and Build Back Fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot Review.