There is a crisis of understanding that tears at the social fabric of societies around the world. Globalization has outpaced understanding, creating divisions that plague societies with prejudice, misinformation, hate, and violence.
The Coexist Foundation is a non-profit organization creating understanding across divides.
Since 2006, the Coexist Foundation has forged a range of inspiring initiatives to create understanding through education and innovation.
Tarek Elgawhary, CEO
Tarek has worked for the past ten years in the US, England, Switzerland, Egypt, KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, and Qatar in the space of strategic communications. He is passionate about having the greatest social impact possible and about helping people understand one another. Tarek is a PhD candidate at Princeton University.
Lance McPherson, COO
Over the years, Lance has focused his efforts to increase the impact and efficiency of organizations that are trying to change the world. He grew up in Atlanta and has lived and worked in London, Kuwait, UAE and China. His work at Coexist reflects his drive to increase the appreciation of the cultural diversity in the world.
Nicole Hamam, Design Director
A creative professional in Washington DC for 17 years, Nicole has enjoyed a fruitful career working on illustration, photography, publication, exhibit design, and award-wining branding and design. She is an avid gardener, community activist and new mom who is proud to be part of a team that is making a difference in the world.
Michael Wakelin, Director of Coexist Projects
An award-winning producer, director and executive producer, Michael worked in radio, TV and digital media at the BBC for 23 years and served as head of Religion and Ethics from 2006 – 2009. He graduated with honors in theology from Birmingham University and is a published author, contributor to various publications, and frequent speaker on matters of religion and the media.
Isabella Ward, Executive Administrator
Isabella has a diploma in Fine Art from the City and Guilds School of Art in London. Before she joined the Coexist Foundation in 2009, her career ranged from Wardrobe Assistant with the Boston Ballet, to eight years as a Research Assistant in the office of HRH The Prince of Wales. She’s passionate about Coexist, the arts, and anything to do with horses.
Naushin Huq, Operations Manager
As Operations Manager at the Coexist Foundation, Naushin is committed to generating positive change in the world through innovation, efficiency, and cross-cultural exchange. Prior to working with Coexist, she was a Fellow at the Hub Los Angeles, a social enterprise dedicated to building a vibrant impact economy in L.A. Before that, she served as Project Manager at the Yunus Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she worked with both local and international partners to create sustainable social businesses in Bangladesh and abroad. A native of Los Angeles, Naushin enjoys traveling, baking, and searching for the best tacos in D.C.
Mariam Khaziuri, Controller
Having a multicultural background, Mariam is passionate about international development and is personally invested in work to advance understanding and tolerance across the cultures and religious divides. Prior to Coexist, Mariam was a Controller at DKT International, and Sr. Accountant at HJF and NDI. She holds MS in Finance from GWU, and speaks Georgian, Russian and Turkish.
Sara Kaplow, Communications Director
A D.C.-area native, Sara developed an interest in social causes and cultural issues at an early age. After graduating from Kenyon College she took her first stab at helping make the world a better place with the Women’s Sports Foundation. Before returning to Washington to work with Coexist, Sara was a web developer and magazine editor in Ohio.
Abraham Kamarck, Director of Business Innovation
A former US Naval Aviator with an MBA from the London Business School, Abraham spent the last ten years working overseas as an entrepreneur and finance professional. A follower of lean and agile practices, he launched tech and agriculture startups in the Middle East and Africa and managed SME capital raising and corporate turnarounds in Ghana, China and Eastern Europe. Abraham strives to generate positive change and transparency through technology and market-based systems. He is excited to work with Coexist and implement lean impact practices towards sustainable solutions.
Dana Reinert, Program Innovation Manager/Solutions Designer
Previously a design professional and consultant in DC, Dana is committed to the idea of creating sustainable systems for good and strives to communicate meaningful design in memorable ways. She has also been a visual display designer for Anthropologie and built sustainable housing along the Burmese/Thai border. In her spare time, you can find her hard at work designing exciting and innovative solutions to everyday problems, like how exactly do you keg cold brewed coffee?
H.E. Sheikh Ali Goma’a
was the Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2003-2013, during which he modernized the fatwa system. He studied at al-Azhar University where he went on to become a Professor. While there Sheikh Ali was renowned for challenging the extremist views of some of his pupils. He has written over thirty books and is a prolific speaker on Islamic issues.
is Master of the Temple at Temple Church, one of the most historic positions in the Anglican Church, and a Senior Lecturer in Theology, King’s College London. He is the author of The Four Witnesses (2000), The Gospel According to Paul (2004) and Mary Magdalene (2008). He is the editor of Islam and English Law (2013).
studied at the University of Wales and the College of Law before joining the Thomas Tilling Group in London as a solicitor. He was later appointed as attorney in the London offices of Chrysler International. In 1980 he joined the Jameel Group as Legal Counsel and Group Secretary, and later moved to Oxford as Company Secretary of the Hartwell Group.
is the Chief Executive Officer of Soliya. Mr. Idriss served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund which merged with Soliya in 2009. In 2005 he was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the Alliance of Civilizations. He served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and as COO of Search for Common Ground, a global conflict resolution organization. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and of the ASMA Society’s Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.
Greville Janner, Lord Janner of Braunstone QC
has been a member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament since 1970, first as MP for Leicester North West, and, since 1997, as a Member of the House of Lords. Educated at Cambridge and Harvard Law School, he has written more than sixty books, many on employment law and on presentational skills and public speaking. He was President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews from 1978-1984; President of the Commonwealth Jewish Council; vice-President of the World Jewish Congress; Chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust; and joint-Founder, with HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, of the Political Council for Coexistence..
is Director of Seven Spires Investments ltd, a high-tech investment fund. He studied at Oxford and the Henley Management School, before joining Barclays Bank. From 1992-2005 he was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Hartwell plc, one of the UK’s biggest car-dealerships.
Rabbi Dr David Rosen
is the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and was for many years Rabbi of the largest congregation in South Africa. He is the Honorary Adviser on Interreligious Affairs of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and for the last four years he has led the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religious bodies. Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department for Interreligious Affairs and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, Rabbi Rosen serves on several international interreligious organisations. Among various awards and honours, Rabbi Rosen is the first Israeli and the first Orthodox rabbi to receive a papal Knighthood, conferred on him for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation.
is Chairman of Consulum Strategic Communications Counsel. Educated in Australia, he served with the Australian Army and with the United Nations in the Middle East. He co-founded Chelworth, an aerospace and defence consultancy, and later joined SkyPharma, the UK-based Pharmaceuticals company, as Director of Communications. He performed a similar role at NTL, the Cable Media and Telecoms company, before moving to Bell Pottinger in 2003.
Dr. William Vendley
William Vendley is the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International. He is a member of its World Council, which consists of 60 senior religious leaders from all continents. He is a pioneer in employing religious cooperation to help resolve conflict. He established Inter-religious Councils in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sierra Leone in the immediate aftermath of the civil war, and assisted in the formal peace talks in Lome, Togo. He has led multi-religious efforts to prevent conflicts, mediate among warring parties, and heal societies in the aftermath of violence in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and other countries. He is convinced that multi-religious efforts for peacemaking provide unique strengths that complement those marshaled by governments and bodies like the United Nations. Dr. Vendley is an advisor to President Obama through his service on the Multi-religious Cooperation and International Affairs Task Force of the White House Faith-Based Council. He lectures frequently in academic, governmental, and other forums.
Adrian Weller graduated in 1991 in mathematics from Trinity College, Cambridge. He moved to New York, ran Goldman Sachs’ US Treasury options trading desk and then joined the fixed income arbitrage trading group at Salomon Brothers. He went on to run US and European interest rate trading at Citadel Investment Group in Chicago and London. Recently, Adrian has been traveling, studying and managing private investments. Adrian is an advisor to and a director of several companies and charitable organizations including Totem Capital, Rismark International, Via Science and Cambridge in America.
Professor Muhammad Yunus
is the founder and Managing Director of Grameen Bank, which currently operates nearly two and a half thousand branches providing credit for more than seven million poor people across almost eighty thousand villages in Bangladesh. His Grameen banking concept – banking without collateral for the poorest of the poor – has won him a host of international prizes, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Professor Yunus studied economics at Vanderbilt University in the USA, and taught, first at Middle Tennessee University, and then at Chittagong University. He started the Grameen project in 1976, and the Grameen Bank was formally registered in 1983. Its principle – helping the rural poor into self-employment through small loans – has since been taken up across the world. Alongside Grameen Bank, Professor Yunus has established a series of companies in Bangladesh to address related issues of development and poverty. These include Grameen Phone, Grameen Cybernet, Grameen Communications, Grameen Fund, Grameen Renewable Energy and many others.
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