Posted by Arab American Institute on June 15, 2015 in Blog

AAI congratulates its own National Policy Council Members Susan Dabaja and Fay Beydoun along with long time supporter Mariam Bazzi and all other new members, on their appointment to the Middle Eastern American Affairs Commission of Michigan state. Governor Rick Snyder announced their appointment last week. The 15-member Middle Eastern American Affairs Commission works within Michigan's Department of Civil Rights to monitor, evaluate and provide recommendations to the governor and the department. This is a critical forum for Arab Americans in Michigan to work towards ending discrimination and spreading awareness.

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Gov. Rick Snyder makes initial appointments to Middle Eastern American Affairs Commission

Friday, June 12, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced initial appointments to the Middle Eastern American Affairs Commission.

Established by Executive Order 2015-6, the 15-member commission was created to act in an advisory capacity to the governor and the director of the Department of Civil Rights.

“The Middle Eastern American community plays an integral role in our state, and this commission will help ensure Michiganders from diverse backgrounds have the best opportunities to actively work together,” Snyder said.

Two year terms expiring April 19, 2017:
Dave Abdallah, of Dearborn Heights, is a realtor for Century 21 Curran & Christie and has been with the company for more than 25 years. He served as chairperson of Islamic House of Wisdom and president of the Dearborn Board of Realtors. He is also a member of the Dearborn Heights Tax Tribunal Review and is a Dearborn Heights community organization member. Abdallah earned an associate degree from Oakland Community College and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

Susan Dabaja, of Dearborn, is president of the Dearborn City Council and is of counsel at Farhat & Associates, PLLC. She is co-chair of the Dearborn Education Foundation and treasurer of the Dearborn Bar Association. Dabaja earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Helen Habib, of Farmington Hills, retired from Oakland Community College – Orchard Ridge Campus in 2006, where she served as a program coordinator and foreign student advisor for 20 years. She currently volunteers and serves as vice president on the Board of Directors for the St. John/Providence Hospital Systems, on the board of directors of the Arab American Chaldean Council, and is a member of the advisory council for St. Rafka Maronite Church. Habib earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from La Sagesse University Tripoli in Lebanon.

Sharif Hussein, of Grand Ledge, is senior vice president of the Midwest region for CNSI and held senior leadership positions at BearingPoint. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Maryland and has completed the executive leadership program at the Yale School of Management.

Paul Sophiea, of Dearborn, is an independent consultant specializing in health care related fields. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Three year terms expiring April 19, 2018:
Wendy Acho, of West Bloomfield, is director of strategic initiatives for the Chaldean Community Foundation, and has more than 25 years of experience in strategic financial analysis in domestic and international banking and finance as well as U.S. government public-private economic development with particular emphasis on domestic and Middle East markets. She also served as a commissioner on the Michigan Community Service Commission. Acho earned a bachelor’s of business administration from Wayne State University.

Mariam Bazzi, of Dearborn, is an assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County and is a trustee on the Dearborn Board of Education. She is a member of the Michigan Bar Association and the Arab American Political Action Committee. Bazzi earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a law degree from Wayne State University.

Michael Romaya, of West Bloomfield, is a partner at Varnum, LLP. He serves on the board of directors and is the secretary of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce. Romaya is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Association for Corporate Growth – Detroit Chapter, and the Turnaround Management Association. Romaya earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and both an MBA and law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Manal Saab, of Fenton, is vice president of SGT Ltd. I. She serves as chair of the National Advisory Board for the Arab American National Museum, chair of the board of directors of the American Druze Foundation, a member of the national professional Advisory Board of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), is a trustee of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and has co-chaired the University of Michigan-Flint Capital Campaign. Saab earned a master’s in public administration from Cleveland State University. She will serve as chair of the Commission.

Suzanne Sukkar, of Ypsilanti, is of counsel at Dickinson Wright, PLLC. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Professional Women, a board member of the Pittsfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Lawyers Committee for the Washtenaw County American Civil Liberties Union. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University.

Four year terms expiring April 19, 2019:
Bishr Al-Ujayli, of Rochester Hills, is a private practice physician in Rochester Hills. He is a consultant in infectious diseases, and has practiced medicine for more than 24 years. He is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, the Infectious Diseases society of America, the Arab American Medical Association, and the American Society of Microbiology. Dr. Al-Ujayli holds an MD from Damascas University School of Medicine in Damascas, Syria.

Fay Beydoun, of Dearborn, is the executive director of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, chief operating officer of Tejara & Tejara Global Business Development Center, executive co-chair of the Council of Ethnic Chamber of Commerce, and serves as the chief executive officer of the American Middle East Economic Affairs Committee. She served on the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and was appointed in 2013 by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce as a board member of the Michigan East District Export Council.

Haifa Fakhouri, of Troy, is president and CEO of the Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC). She serves on the International Women’s Leadership Forum and the board of directors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. She holds a doctorate in social work from Wayne State University.

Lina Harajli, of Dearborn, is COO of the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS) and served in the roles of senior accountant, supervisor, manager, and as the director of operations for ACCESS. Harajli earned a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Michigan.

Abe Munfakh, of Plymouth, is chairman and CEO of Munkafh & Associates, LLC, and served as president of Ayres, Lewis, Norris & May, Inc. He is affiliated with the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan. Munfakh is a licensed engineer and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University.

After the expiration of initial terms, members serve four-year terms. Appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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