Leadership Team

Dr. James Zogby

President

James Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm that has conducted groundbreaking surveys across the Middle East. For the past 3 decades, he has served in leadership roles in the Democratic National Committee and served 2 terms as a President Obama appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He writes a weekly column published in 12 countries. He is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-books, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion and 20 Years After Oslo, are drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.

Maya Berry

Executive Director

Maya Berry is Executive Director of the Arab American Institute, steering the Institute's policy agenda. In 1996 she established AAI’s first Government Relations department, which she led for 5 years before becoming Legislative Director for House Minority Whip David Bonior, where she developed policies on international relations, human rights, trade, and immigration. Berry started her career in public service working for ACCESS, the nation's oldest and largest Arab American human services non-profit. Berry is also the founder of MidAmr Group, a private consulting firm dedicated to enhancing US-Arab economic, political, and cultural cooperation.

 

Staff

Suher Adi

Policy Associate

Haley_Headshot.jpgSuher Adi is the Policy Associate at the Arab American Institute. Suher graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2018 with Bachelors of Arts Degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science. While at UC Berkeley she conducted her own research on the interplay between gender-informed group identity, labor formations, political preferences, and the role of women in Palestinian society. She has served as a research assistant for a report titled “No Safe Space: Health Consequences of Tear Gas Exposure Among Palestine Refugees” published by the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center. Prior to joining AAI Suher worked at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Merging her passion for policy work and her love for her community, Suher is thrilled to be working on important issue areas at AAI.

 


Mona Ahmed

Executive Assistant to President 

Haley_Headshot.jpgMona Ahmed is the Executive Assistant to Dr. James Zogby at the Arab American Institute. She graduated with an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on identity performativity, collective memory and the use of arts in post-war healing. Prior to joining AAI, she was a Research Assistant with the United States Institute for Peace and interned with the United States Embassy in Cairo. She received a BA in International Studies and Japanese language from California State University Long Beach. Mona is an Egyptian American from Long Beach, CA. 

 

 


Haley Arata

Field Organizer

Haley_Headshot.jpgHaley Arata is a Field Organizer at the Arab American Institute. Raised in Virginia, she received a B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from the College of William and Mary. Before joining AAI, Haley was a Programs Intern with AAI and an undergraduate intern with KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, working to promote gender equity and civil rights through education and advocacy. A dedicated volunteer on political campaigns since before she could vote, Haley firmly believes in the importance of everyone being involved in our democratic process.

 

 


Omar Baddar

Deputy Director

Omar_Headshot.jpgOmar Baddar is the Deputy Director of the Arab American Institute. Omar is a political analyst, digital producer, and human rights advocate. He has an MA in International Relations from the University of Memphis, where his research focused on U.S.-Middle East policy. Prior to joining AAI, Omar was a Digital Producer and Presenter with Al Jazeera International's The Stream, the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts, and the the Director of the Palestine Cultural Center for Peace. He has participated in dozens of panels, lectures, and debates on college and university campuses throughout the U.S. His media appearances include the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, Voice of America, and RT; and his writings have appeared in the Daily Beast, Salon, the Huffington Post, and Jadaliyya.   


Elizabeth Johnson

Finance Manager

Elizabeth Johnson is the Finance Manager at the Arab American Institute.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Saint Leo University.  She has been with the Arab American Institute since 2009.


Rawan Elbaba

Digital Media Associate 

Rawan_Headshot.jpgRawan Elbaba is the Digital Media Associate at the Arab American Institute.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Media Production and a double minor in Journalism and Graphic Design from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  Prior to joining AAI, Rawan interned with both BBC and Al Jazeera in their news production units. She is also the co-founder and Executive Editor of Layali Webzine, a digital lifestyle magazine for millennial Muslim women. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Journalism at Georgetown University. Rawan was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. 

 

 


Heba Mohammad

Field Organizer

Heba_Headshot.jpgHeba Mohammad is the Field Organizer at the Arab American Institute. A native of Wisconsin, Heba received her B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Before joining the AAI team, Heba worked for non-profits in Green Bay, WI, spending one year in the AmeriCorps VISTA program. In 2016, Heba expanded her political experience by running for City Council in Green Bay and by working on a multi-candidate coordinated campaign through the state Democratic Party. Heba is passionate about social justice issues generally, and is particularly invested in social justice as it relates to Palestine & refugees. 

 

 


 Jennifer Salan

Development Director

Jennifer Salan is Communications Director at the Arab American Institute, a position she returns to after ten years of producing award-winning television for Al Jazeera English. As Senior Producer and then Executive Producer of the network’s groundbreaking social media show, The Stream, Salan oversaw the show’s daily live production, focusing on issues of social justice and under reported stories. Salan’s work with The Stream was recognized with an Emmy nomination, Gracie Award, Royal Television Society award in addition to several Webbys.  Prior to her time at Al Jazeera, she spent eight years with AAI starting as a public affairs associate before eventually being promoted to Communications Director. During that time she produced Dr. Zogby’s award-winning show “Viewpoint with James Zogby” for Abu Dhabi television. 


Ryan J. Suto

Government Relations Manager

Ryan_Headshot.jpgRyan J. Suto is the Government Relations Manager for the Arab American Institute. Prior to joining AAI Ryan has worked with organizations such as UNDP Bahrain, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, and Fair Vote. His writing has appeared in Fair Observer, Atlantic Council’s MENA Source, Middle East Eye, Jurist, and elsewhere. Ryan graduated from Syracuse University's Law and Public Diplomacy program, where he received certificates in Middle Eastern Affairs, International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. He previously earned bachelor degrees in political science and philosophy from Penn State University. 

 


 

Kai Wiggins

Policy Associate

Kai_Headshot.jpgKai Wiggins is the Policy Associate at the Arab American Institute. He graduated from Middlebury College in 2017, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a focus in Islam and American Culture. Kai has a background in competitive athletics, and has pursued both freestyle snowboarding and road cycling at the international level. While at Middlebury, he completed an honors thesis on digital media ethics, conflict, and political violence. His research is anchored in social justice issues, particularly as they relate to the Arab American community.