Hazem Farra
Hazem holds a BS in International Political Science and Law from Concordia University in Canada and an MBA from Hult Business School in the US.

He has worked with the family business for over 30 years. He along with the other Managing Directors have led the company to become a reputable global investment management firm.

His functional areas of expertise are negotiations, M&A, management operations, financial planning, and governance systems.

His industry experience is in Real Estate, Consumer Distribution and Financial Management.

Before being elected President, Hazem had been the Treasurer of OpenMinds since its inception.

He has ties with several other NGOs in the region and is also an active member of the Young Presidents Organization and the Family Business Network.

“ Everyone is originally a special need child; they just didn’t know it and more importunately didn’t get the label. I believe that every child deserves an equal opportunity to thrive and contribute to society at their own pace, and I want to be part of creating a world where this is possible for every child and particularly for children with Special Needs.”
Vice President - Head of the Integration Committee
Rima Faddoul
Rima holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Saint Joseph University in Beirut , and an MBA from Paris Dauphine and Pantheon-Sorbonne Universities.

She has owned and managed her own pharmacy for over 25 years.

She is the mother of three, one of whom has autism. As such, she has attended many trainings and workshops on autism advocacy and inclusive education internationally, including Harvard University's Inclusive Education Certification.

She has been an active Board Member of OpenMinds since she helped co-found it in 2012.

"I went from being an overwhelmed parent to an autism advocate and fighter for change, that's how my son Naji and OpenMinds transformed my life"
Sami Rabbath
Sami holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the American University of Paris.

He later graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with an MBA. He started as a fixed income trader, dealing with North American Pension Funds, Family offices, and Funds managers.

In 2001, Sami then joined the family business with the goal of diversifying the group’s activities through partnerships in agriculture and food related sectors.

In 2016, he helped finance and develop clean, sustainable energy production in Europe by building on the rising demand for cleaner energy generation and solutions.

He is married and is father to three daughters.

Sami was invited to join the OpenMinds Board in 2018.

In January 2023, he’s accepted the position of Treasurer.

“It is when reading a novel* written from the perspective of a young boy with Aspergers syndrome that I started imagining the world, the challenges, the hope, the abilities of kids with Autism. With this in mind, I wanted with OpenMinds to make our world more inclusive and bring kids with Special Needs the opportunity to express their difference, grow and be part of our society.”

*Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Secretary – Head of the Scholarships Committee
Shereen Ammache
Shereen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

She has launched and managed her clothing brand for kids which gained popularity in the whole MENA region, therefore expanding on an international scale.

With a passion for retail and fashion, she then moved on to creating her own refined jewellery line with two of her close friends.

She has great knowledge and experience in business management, negotiation, and financial accounting. She has been an active Board Member of Open Minds since its inception.

“Shereen is also a proud mother of three and wife, who seeks to positively impact the world and especially empower individuals with special needs.”
Director of the ASKC
Rose-Mary Boustany MD
A renowned pediatric neurologist, Dr. Boustany directs Neurogenetics, Pediatric Neurology and the AUMBC Special Kids Clinic at AUB, where she oversees research/clinical programs for special needs children and adults.

She is tenured Professor in Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at AUB, and tenured Professor of Pediatrics and Neurobiology at Duke University, where she headed a research laboratory until 2007.

She previously co-directed the Lysosomal Disease Laboratory at Harvard until 1988.

She holds 4 patents and several awards, notably the Sidney Carter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pediatric Neurology.

She completed Medicine/Pediatrics at AUB, Pediatric Neurology, Neurogenetics and Neurochemistry at MGH/Harvard Medical School, and Molecular Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

She co-founded OpenMinds in 2012 where she serves as a board member and is on the clinical Batten Disease Support and Research Board, as well as the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Advisory Board for the MENA region.
Sarah Beydoun
After writing her thesis on disadvantaged women in Lebanon, Sarah decided to set up her company as part of a rehabilitation program, whereby women in need would work and learn valuable skills in the creation of accessories in return for a reliable income.

In the process, traditional expertise in embroidery crocheting and hand, stitching would be revamped and presented in a contemporary way.

The arrangement turned out to be successful, innovative, and highly efficient. “Sarah’s Bag” expanded from a small line to a region wide fashion phenomena built on Social consciousness.

Sarah has an 18-year-old son on the Autism Spectrum and this has led her to be an active Board Member of both OpenMinds and the Lebanese Autism Society.
Suha Beyhum
Suha holds a BS degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA in Finance, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

Suha began her career in the petrochemical unit of Brown & Root in Houston, Texas, and has since worked in the trade and distribution fields in Lebanon.

Having a son with autism, she worked for the last 20 years securing him services in Lebanon, the US, and Europe, and gained tremendous experience in various therapies and special education.

Suha is the ex-Vice President of OpenMinds and has been a member since it was founded. She is also an active member of the Lebanese Autism Society.
Amna Choucair
Amna studied Business Admiration in the Netherlands. Upon completing her studies she moved to Lebanon. She is married and is the mother of one girl and three boys; one of whom has ADHD. Amna has been very active in several charities in recent years. She joined the OpenMinds Board in 2013.
Rana Farra
Rana Sawaf Farra grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas before moving to Beirut where she lived for 13 years.

She has taken part with the Son-Rise program, volunteered for the non-profit organization The Braveheart Fund, and received certificates from both Harvard and The London Business School for her participation in their entrepreneurial and leadership programs.

Rana currently lives in Dubai with her husband Karim and four kids, Yasmine, Dalia, Tarek and Sami.
Nabil Gharzouzi
Nabil holds a degree in Interior Architecture from the French institution Charpentier.

Nabil is an interior architect and shareholder in Decoration Elie Ghazourzi, a family owned firm providing consulting and design services in the fields of Interior Architecture and Decoration.

Nabil joined OpenMinds in 2013 and was previously a Board Member of Skoun.
Head of the Fundraising Committee
Abraham Karabajakian
Abraham holds a Masters in Marketing from Saint Joseph University, Lebanon.

He is the founder and managing partner of "Loyalty Investments & Insurance" in Lebanon in 1997 and "Loyalty Insurance brokers" in Romania in 2006.

In 2010, he co-organized and curated the Exhibition "Pieces for a museum" which highlighted the importance of building a modern and contemporary art museum in Lebanon. In 2012, Abraham co-initiated a private art collection called KA Modern and contemporary art. In 2013, he co-organised and curated the exhibition of the famous Armenian artist "JANSEM" in Beirut.

In 2014 he joined "Apeal Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of Arts in Lebanon" to support a museum project in Beirut. He thus co-founded BeMA, the Beirut museum of art, of which he was a Board of trustees until July 2019. He is a member of the "Middle East Acquisition Committee" of "Pompidou Centre" Paris since 2013.

He is married and has three children. Khalil Gebran said “To give is to give from thyself”. Abraham believes that giving joy to others is the biggest joy in life; this is why he joined the OpenMinds Board.
Rizk El Khoury
Rizk holds an MBA from the London Business School.

He is the Chairman of Cumberland Insurance & Reinsurance Company that is part of a group of companies operating throughout the Middle East.

He is the father of four boys, one of whom has Autism. He dedicates a substantial amount of his time keeping up to date with research into new methods and treatments and is hopeful that a solution is ‘out there’ waiting to be discovered.

Rizk joined OpenMinds in 2018.
Head of the CarePlan Committee
Dana Mikati
Dana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

She is a mother of four, and has a daughter on the Autism Spectrum. Since her daughter’s diagnosis in 2013, Dana has been very active in seeking and exploring different therapy methods and has gained a lot of experience in the field of ABA and has also been trained for Neuro-feedback.

Dana joined OpenMinds in 2015, and has since been an active member working mainly on integrating kids with Special Needs in mainstream schools. She also started a program within OpenMinds to sponsor Lebanese students in getting their BCBA certification from the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Dana has decided to continue her studies at AUB in Special Education.
Maya Raad
Maya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the American University of Beirut.

She owned and managed a retail business for home accessories and furniture from 2000 to 2016 called Maison & Objet. Since 2017, she opened Msquare Gallery a concept art space.

Maya is married and is the mother of three children. Maya joined OpenMinds to support her sister who has a son on the Autism Spectrum.
President Emeritus
Ghida Rabbat
Ghida holds a BA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut.

She is co-founder since 2013 and now ex-President of OpenMinds.

Ghida is the mother of four children, with her youngest being a special needs boy.

She has accumulated extensive knowledge on matters related to autism and special needs over the last 15 years. She completed many courses in the Son-Rise program, attended several ABA training programs and workshops, and trained in neuro-feedback therapy.

She is a strong proponent of integrating special needs children in mainstream society.
Maya Richa
Maya holds a Master’s in Money and Banking from the American University of Beirut.

In 1993, she joined Saradar Bank sal for 10 years where she occupied several managerial positions.

Maya has actively dedicated her time to community service working behind the scenes supporting various NGOs.

Maya is the ex-Secretary of OpenMinds.
Lilia Sabbagh
Lilia Sabbagh is a legal advisor with a wealth of legal expertise in the fields of corporate and transactional law, mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance (both conventional and Islamic), insurance, capital markets and financial instruments, real estate development, infrastructure, structuring and restructuring, and PPP projects throughout the MENA region, Europe, Africa and Asia.

A believer in the power of knowledge, in December 2022, Lilia graduated from Harvard Business School having completed the Senior Executive Leadership Program. She had obtained in 2003 an executive MBA from ESCP Business School and ESA Business School, in 1999 a Graduate Diploma from Saint Joseph University of Beirut and in 1997 the Lebanese Law degree and French Law diploma from Saint Joseph University of Beirut.

Additionally, Lilia is an arbitrator at the Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SHIAC) and is armed with a wealth of accreditations in the fields of Corporate Law, Private Law and Islamic Finance to name a few.

Currently based between Beirut and Doha where she is the founder and managing partner of Sabbagh Law Firm and Sabbagh Consultancy LLC. Lilia and her team have been instrumental in some of the greatest mergers, transactions and partnerships the region has witnessed. Spanning a wide scope of sectors, from banking to insurance, real estate and hospitality, Lilia’s 360 degree approach involves her on multiple levels; from the first stages of establishment, coordination between parties, negotiation of agreements to finalizing of contracts and overseeing their due execution. Lilia’s personal journey has also emphasized our common humanity, one that has compelled her to advise, negotiate and broker with the aim of building bridges of understanding, based on her strong sense of fairness and justice. Armed with a razor sharp focus and attention to the smallest of details, Lilia has proven that a bold and competitive yet compassionate spirit are not mutually exclusive. One of too few successful women in the regional world of law practice, Lilia is a true believer in supporting others, and has been a dependable mentor to many young women in the industry. She also has a very robust CSR program that sees a substantial portion of her time dedicated to pro-bono contracts that aim to support the disenfranchised, small business and startups.
Head of the Communication Committee
Reem Al Shawwaf
Reem Alshawwaf Rabbat, graduated from Boston University with a BA in International Relations and from the London School of Economics with a Masters in Gender Issues in Developing Counties. She previously worked at a United Nations entity, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, and at ANERA, an American NGO that provides humanitarian assistance for refugees in the Middle East.

She currently lives in Dubai and is a mother to two boys, Bassel and Mohammad. She has been an avid supporter of OpenMinds since its inception.
Nely Choucair Zeidan
Nelly is a graduate of Sorbonne Paris III with a PhD in Political Science and is fluent in five languages including Spanish and Japanese. Lebanese born and Paris grown, Nelly is a freelance design artist that has worked with French and American brands. She is an avid collector of Japanese art, and is also a private sponsor of artists of Lebanese origin. She currently possesses the largest private collection of Kaws art toys, which have been displayed in various art venues such as the Beirut Art Fair.

Nelly enjoys traveling and is an avid outdoors sports enthusiast. She is married with four children.

Nelly’s participation in OpenMinds stems from her lifelong commitments to providing medical services to underserved populations especially pediatric patients without proper access to modern medical treatments.
Program Manager
Lea Jabre
Lea Jabre was born in 1987 and is Franco Lebanese. She grew up between Paris and Marbella and went to university in London at the University College of London (UCL), where she obtained a BA in European Social & Political Studies and an MSc in International Public Policy.

After working for a year in the journalism sector in London, she moved to Lebanon to become a political consultant specializing in the MENA region. She later on chose to change career path and shifted towards working full time with different Lebanese NGO’s.

Today she has been with OpenMinds for over seven years and is truly dedicated to the cause.

On a personal level, due to a variety of autoimmune diseases she suffers from, including a rare one, and inspired by her work at OpenMinds, she has recently decided to become an advocate on rare diseases.
Karen Harake
Karen holds a bachelor of Law degree from Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ), a Master’s degree from the Filière Francophone de Droit, and a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from Queen Mary University of London.

She has been a member of the Beirut Bar Association since 2017 and worked at two law firms based in Beirut until she decided to switch career paths in 2021.

She shifted to working at War child Holland, an international NGO who provides psychosocial support to children and young adults affected by conflict. She joined OpenMinds in March 2023.
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About Us

Open minds

Meet The Board And Management