Meet the board

Ghida Rabbat
President
Biography:
Ghida holds a BA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut. She is co-founder and President of OpenMinds since 2013. 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.
Suha Beyhum
Vice President
Biography:
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 Vice President of OpenMinds and has been a member since it was founded. She is also an active member of the Lebanese Autism Society.
Hazem Farra
Treasurer
Biography:
Hazem holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Political Science and Law and an MBA from Hult. He has worked with Capital Guidance for over 28 years. He along with the other Managing Directors have led the company to become a reputable global investment management firm. His areas of expertise are negotiations, M&A, management operations and governance systems. More recently, he has taken over the oversight of Accounting, Finance, Risk Management, Internal Audit and IT functions for the organization. Hazem has been the Treasurer of OpenMinds since its inception and has ties with several other NGOs in the region. He is also an active member of the Young Presidents Organization and the Family Business Network.
Maya Richa
Secretary
Biography:
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 has been Secretary since joining the OpenMinds Board.
Alia Arab
Biography:
Alia holds a degree Nutrition and Food Technology from the American University of Beirut as well as a teaching diploma. After her studies, Alia worked in Beirut’s Association for Social Development as an assistant manager. She has also attended several seminars in building NGO skills and empowering them. Alia feels that the cause of special needs is something close to her heart and has been a member since 2013.
Amna Choucair
Biography:
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.
Dana Mikati
Biography:
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.
Laura Lahoud
Biography:
Laura Lahoud holds a BSc. in Mathematics from London University and an MSc. in Mathematics & Operational Research from the London School of Economics. She is a member of Saradar Bank Board of Directors and is involved in several family businesses, in the Al Bustan Hotel and the Al Bustan International Festival of Music and The Performing Arts. She has been on the OpenMinds Board since its creation in 2012. OpenMinds is very close to her heart, as she believes that every child should be given an equal chance in life. She believes that special needs children enhance our lives and it is our duty to do our utmost to help them reach their full potential and integrate well into our society. In a country like Lebanon, it is essential to raise awareness, and make up for the lack of necessary government support.
Maha Sabbagh
Biography:
Maha holds a BA in Business Administration from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, an MBA from Cleveland State University in Ohio, and a degree in Montessori Education from Saint Nicholas Montessori School in London, England. Maha is passionate about young children. She developed her own curriculum for children ages one to four years old and introduced it into Innocent Minds pre-school nurseries, which she operates in Lebanon. She has also integrated children with special needs at Innocent Minds to provide them with the environment conducive to developing their learning aptitude and social skills.
Maha Shair
Biography:
Maha holds an International Relations degree from the American College of Switzerland and a Masters in Communication in 3rd World Countries from Cornell University. She worked for Jordan TV and CNN as a reporter. Maha has been living in Beirut for the past 20 years. She is married and is the mother of four boys. Maha was raised to believe in always giving back to society. Many of the charities she is involved with today have become causes that are close to her heart. With her husband, they are firm believers of giving back to society and they have donated to several charities, endowments and universities. Recently, they created the Shair Foundation, which focuses on giving scholarship to students in Lebanon and Jordan.
Maya Raad
Biography:
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.
Nabil Gharzouzi
Biography:
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.
Nelly Choucair Zeidan
Biography:
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.
Rima Faddoul
Biography:
Rima holds a Pharmacy degree from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon, and an MBA from Paris-Dauphine University. She has owned and managed her own pharmacy for over 20 years. She is the mother of three, one of whom has autism. As such, she has participated and attended many trainings and workshops on autism, advocacy and inclusive education. She has been an active Board Member of OpenMinds since it was founded in 2012.
Rose-Mary Boustany MD
Biography:
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
Biography:
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.
Sami Rabbath
Biography:
Sami holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Paris. He started as a fixed income trader, dealing with North American Pension Funds, Family offices, and Funds managers. He later graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with an MBA/Finance. In 2001, Sami then joined the family’s agricultural commodities trading business with the goal of diversifying activities through partnerships in agriculture and food related sectors. In 2014, he helped develop clean, sustainable energy production in Europe, by building on the rising demand for cleaner energy generation and solutions. He is married and has three daughters. Sami was invited to join the OpenMinds Board in 2018.
Rizk El Khoury
Biography:
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.
Abraham Karabajakian
Biography:
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.
Emile Khoury
Biography:
A graduate from Paris University with a Masters in Law and a Masters in Political Science, Emile also holds an MBA from ESA Business School. Emile is the CEO of CIEL, the leading book distribution company in the Middle East. He also runs Akak Marine, a shipping company based in Lebanon. Emile is married and has two children. Joining OpenMinds has given Emile the opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the disadvantaged in the community and the chance to give something back.
Shereen Ammache
Biography:
Since graduating with a business degree from the American University of Beirut and throughout her postgraduate studies, Shereen has developed and honed her entrepreneurial skills. Combining her love of fashion with her business acumen, she started a clothing line for children, which was manufactured in Lebanon and distributed all over the MENA region and the UK. She shifted focus when, as a mother of three, she witnessed systemic marginalization of children with special needs. Since then she has been active in insuring their medical accessibility and pushing for a full integration of children with neurological disorders into the Lebanese schooling system. Shereen has been the Assistant Treasurer since 2018.