Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development; Director, Columbia Global Centers | Amman

Professor Safwan M. Masri is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University. In this role, he directs a number of Columbia’s global initiatives and is responsible for the development of an expanding network of Global Centers, located in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and Tunis. These centers work to advance Columbia’s global mission and extend the University’s reach to address the pressing demands of our global society.

Masri holds a senior research scholar appointment at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He joined the faculty of Columbia Business School in 1988 and was appointed Vice Dean in 1993, a position he held for thirteen years. He previously taught engineering at Stanford University, and was a visiting professor at INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires) in France.

A scholar on education and contemporary geopolitics and society in the Arab world, Masri’s work focuses on understanding the historic, postcolonial dynamics among religion, education, society, and politics. He is the author of Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly (Columbia University Press, 2017), which examines why Tunisia was the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring as a democracy. Masri’s writings on education and current affairs have been featured in the Financial Times, Huffington Post, and Times Higher Education.

Masri is an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. He was founding chairman of both King’s Academy and Queen Rania Teacher Academy in Jordan, and served as an advisor to Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. He is a trustee of International College in Beirut and of the Welfare Association (Taawon) in Ramallah, and a member of the advisory board of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo. Masri has served on the governing boards of Endeavor Jordan, the Children’s Museum Jordan, Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA), and Aramex.

Masri earned his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University in 1982; his Master of Science in industrial engineering, also from Purdue, in 1984; and his Ph.D. in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University in 1988. He was honored with Columbia’s Singhvi Professor of the Year for Scholarship in the Classroom Award in 1990, the Robert W. Lear Service Award in 1998, and the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in a Core Course in 2000. Masri has also been honored with the 2003 American Service Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Deputy Director

Hanya Salah is the Deputy Director at the Columbia Global Centers | Amman. She joined the Center in August 2010. She is responsible for overseeing and managing the Programs Department at the Center and supporting the Director in a number of initiatives. Prior to joining the Center, Hanya was the Director of the Children’s Museum in Jordan and was responsible for implementing and coordinating the final phase of the museum’s development and launch, as well as managing its overall activities. Hanya also directed the Ali Jabri Human Heritage Foundation, where she curated and oversaw the opening of the Foundation’s inaugural exhibition and managed the Foundation’s daily operation. Prior to that, Hanya worked for over 10 years at UNICEF and the United Nations in New York in different capacities.

Hanya received her B.A. in Art History from Williams College and studied for her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Museum Studies at New York University.

Director, Studio-X Amman and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Nora Akawi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and a Master of Science in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Her research focus is on the role of the archive in the visualization of collective spatial narratives and in imagining alternative spatial and political organization. She returned to Jerusalem in October 2011 to teach Design Studio in the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Nora joined the Center in September 2012 as the Curator of the Studio-X Amman and is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Finance and Administration Manager

Zakhariya Awwad graduated from Yarmouk University in Jordan with a degree in accounting. He has developed extensive corporate finance experience over the past 11 years in a career which has spanned a wide range of companies.  Zakhariya is currently the Finance and Administration Manager and is responsible for managing all finance-related matters.


Communications and Outreach Manager

Farrah Bdour graduated cum laude with high honors from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts in May 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. Farrah joined the Center in June 2010 and is currently the Communications and Outreach ManagerPreviously, Farrah worked with the Jordan Breast Cancer Program at the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, whereby she was responsible for communications, advocacy, international relations, fundraising, and cause-related marketing. 

Communications and Outreach Officer

Samar Bushnaq holds a Bachelors of Arts (Honours) degree in Political Studies and History from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada. She graduated in 2014 on the Dean’s List and moved to Jordan where she worked as the Technical Assistant to the CEO at Save the Children Jordan. She joined the Columbia Global Centers | Amman in February of 2016 and is the Communications and Outreach Officer. 

Associate Director, Studio-X Amman

Jawad Dukhgan holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from the University of Jordan in Amman. His graduation thesis proposed innovative architectural interventions on the cliffs surrounding Ras Al-Ein and the Amman downtown area to promote urban regeneration through community participation. Jawad joined as the Programs Coordinator in December 2013, and is currently the Associate Director of Studio-X Amman.

Research Associate

Syreen Forest holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Paris-Sorbonne University and a Master’s degree in Middle East Politics from SOAS, University of London. Prior to joining the Center in December 2015 as a Research Assistant, Syreen worked in the field of human rights with a specific focus on the MENA region at the Euromed Foundation in Copenhagen and a Jordanian company specialized in education.

Assistant Manager - Operations and HR

Emad Al Hmoud holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Marketing Communications from Yarmouk University and a post-graduate certificate in Global Studies from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Prior to joining the Center on September 2014 as a Project Officer, Emad held several human resources positions in the Oil and Gas, Retail and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors. His current role is as Assistant Manager- Operations and HR with duties that include; operations management, facilities management, events management, procurement activities, IT and logistics.

Program Officer

Aya Al Kabarity double majored in Urban Studies and Equity Studies, and minored in Women and Gender Studies. Her previous work experiences include the areas of social work, sustainability, urban studies and geography. Aya joined the Center in October 2013, and is currently a Program Officer. 

Program Manager

Dr. Ahmad Al-Mousa is the Program Manager at the Columbia Global Centers | Amman. He joined the Center in April 2015. He is responsible for identifying relevant scholarly projects with the aim to expand them regionally to address urgent current questions, and establishing collaborative partnerships with other Global Centers. Prior to joining the Center, Ahmad was the Research Manager for the Entrepreneurial and Investments Projects Development Company (Oasis500) in Jordan. Before moving to Jordan, Ahmad worked as a Strategic Development Officer in Australian NGOs to improve processes employed around the social and economic inclusion of immigrants and humanitarian entrants. He has experience in practice-led policy development and advocacy at state and federal levels, and applied experience in examining and evaluating organizational strategies to address issues relating to effective utilization and exchange of social capital in multicultural workplaces and communities.

Ahmad earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the American University of Cairo in 2000; his Master of Arts in Diplomatic Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of London at the University of Westminster in 2001; his Master of Science in Business Information Technology also from University of Westminster in 2003; and his Ph.D. in Diversity and Knowledge Management from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2009.

Executive Manager

Rita Salameh graduated from the Beirut Arab University with a degree in accounting. She has over ten years of experience in office management in both the public and private sectors in Jordan. She joined the Center in September 2008 as Chief of Staff. Rita is currently the Executive Manager at the Center and is responsible for overseeing and managing all financial and administrative matters.

Human Resources and Finance Officer

Lina Sharaan graduated from the University of Jordan with a degree in English Language and Literature. She pursued a career in Human Resources Management and Finance for seven years before joining the Center in August 2011 as the Human Resources and Finance Officer.

Operations Officer

Samer Sobuh graduated from Arab Open University with a degree in Human Resource Management in 2011. He joined the Center in 2008, and is the Operations Officer

Administration Assistant

Diala joined the Columbia Global Centers | Amman in October 2016 as the Administration Assistant. She studied Foreign Languages (Chinese and English) at the University of Jordan. During this time, she was granted a scholarship to study Chinese at the Central China Normal University for a semester. 

Columbia Global Centers