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 (AAI), 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 managed the Congressman's legislative strategy and developed policies on international relations, human rights, immigration, civil rights and liberties, and trade. Previously, Berry co-founded a private consulting company focused on improving U.S. bilateral relations with the Arab world on the economic, political, and cultural fronts. In her personal capacity, Berry is a long-time Democratic Party activist who served as a member of the 2016 Democratic National Convention’s Platform Standing Committee and has attended all but one Democratic National Convention as a Delegate, Alternate or Standing Committee Member since 1992.

 

Staff

Suher Adi

Policy Associate

Haley_Headshot.jpgSuher Adi is a 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 education policy and the 2020 Census at AAI.

 


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 MSNBC, 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.   


Anastasia Horn

Executive Assistant to President

Ana

Anastasia Horn is Executive Assistant to Dr. James Zogby at the Arab American Institute.  She graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a BA in International Studies. While at BC, she worked as a research assistant in the Department of Political Science, researching possible connections between media coverage of human rights violations and international arms sanctions.  Ana is excited to help more Americans become involved in the political process. 

 

 

 


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.


Heba Mohammad

National Field Coordinator

Heba_Headshot.jpgHeba Mohammad is a National Field Coordinator 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 Development 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. 


Elly Rostoum

Program Director

Elly Rostoum is the Program Director at the Arab American Institute, where she oversees the U.S.-MENA Experiential Partnership – an innovative partnership that pairs Arab Americans public servants with newly elected officials in the Middle East and North Africa for a co-mentorship that champions best practices in civic engagement and good governance. Prior to joining AAI, Elly served on the National Security Council at the White House covering the Middle East portfolio. She specializes in public diplomacy, foreign policy and national security issues. Elly began her career in the private sector as a management consultant, and has consulted with C-suite executives worldwide. As a graduate student, Elly was a White House Intern with the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Elly is fluent in Arabic and French, and holds a Master’s degree in liberal arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master’s in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts, a Certificate in Decision Analysis and Risk Management from Stanford University, and a Bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Bates College. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Global Governance and Human Security, and has conducted field research Austria, Germany, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and in the United Arab Emirates.


Ryan J. Suto, Esq.

Policy Counsel 

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Ryan J. Suto, Esq. serves as Policy Counsel for the Arab American Institute. Formerly AAI's Government Relations Manager, Ryan worked with organizations such as UNDP Bahrain, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, and Fair Vote prior to joining AAI. 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. 

 


Tess M. Waggoner

Communications Associate

Tess

Tess M. Waggoner is Communications Associate at the Arab American Institute. After completing consecutive Fulbright U.S. Student Program ETA grants in Turkey (2013-2015), Tess was a part-time program advisor at the Turkish Fulbright Commission. She has held internships with United Palestinian Appeal, Inc., the Unite Lebanon Youth Project, the Arab American Institute, and the D.C. office of the Hon. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). Additionally, Tess has served on the committee for the Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture Series at the University of Toledo for the last decade. She received her B.A. from Kenyon College in 2013 and is finishing her M.Sc. in Social Anthropology at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; her academic research examines the intersections of material culture, urban space, and trans/national identity. 

 


Kai Wiggins

Policy Analyst

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Kai Wiggins is a Policy Analyst at the Arab American Institute. He graduated from Middlebury College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. His research is focused on the civil rights and civil liberties concerns of securitized communities, particularly those of Arab Americans. Kai's primary issue areas include hate crime, surveillance, and the effects of national security and counterterrorism policies. He is the principal author of the Arab American Institute Foundation's 2018 report, Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans.