Alvin Curling
Honorary Chair
Alvin Curling (born November 15, 1939) is a Jamaican-born Canadian politician. He was Canada's envoy to the Dominican Republic from 2005-2006. A former politician in Ontario, Canada, he was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario until he resigned on August 19, 2005 to accept his diplomatic appointment. He had been a Liberal MPP for twenty years, from 1985 to 2005.
Emily-Jane Williams
Writer and Editor in Chief
With her background in Literature, Sociology and Communications, Emily-Jane is passionate about literacy, education, and equality. Highly flexible and adaptable, she has lived, worked and travelled in many different countries with diverse groups of people. She has 11 years experience in facilitating, training, content writing, and client relations. With Friends of Syria, Emily-Jane is proud to contribute to a strong and united Canada.
Adam Finzi
Human Resources Manager
Adam Finzi is a former graduate student from Wilfrid Laurier University's Master of Arts in Political Science program. He has a deep passion in providing the public good and is deeply satisfied by engaging in work which is informed by the Canadian values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law. His interest in providing the public good also extends to the international sphere and through his work with Friends of Syria. Adam aims to aid Syrian newcomers in their successful integration into Canada's pluralistic society.
Betty Ghotbi
Project Manager
Bety (Batool) Ghotbi has a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from Shiraz University. She has participated in Early Childhood Education workshops and courses held at Seneca College with a focus on health, safety, and nutrition. As an Educational Consultant she has helped high school students to navigate possible and future career choices and she worked as a consultant and social worker at the Society for Protecting the Rights of Children through a hotline. During the past two decades she has also been active in women's issues by promoting education in family care and women's rights.
Célia Berlemont
Journalist, Writer
Journalist from Belgium with an immigration background, I argue that happiness is a personal mindset while the ability to help is in the hands of each individual. "I'm lucky. As I travel abroad and enjoy learning about people's culture, being enabled to help others with basic needs becomes not only a choice, but a chance."
Mahad Husien
FoS Manager
Mahad Husien is a Software Engineering graduate from Centennial College, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Mahad has a passion about making the world a better place, in the last two years he has helped raised money for wells in India and Gaza; and now looks to help the Syrian people get integrated smoothly into Canadian society.
Abboud Zleik
Community Liaison Manager
A Paediatrician in his home country, Syria. Dr Zleik is extremely involved in giving back to the Canadian Syrian community. He currently serves as an animator for the Working Women Community Centre (WWCC) in the Accelerated Family Integration program for Syrian refugee families. He also works as a team member in the ‘Bonds to Literacy’ and ‘Food Handling Training Program’ for Syrian families. Finally, in addition to his work at Friends of Syria, Dr Zleik works as a volunteer for Food Bank and translation services and social support initiatives for Syrian families.
Wehbe Zeidan
Community Liaison Officer
Wehbe Zeidan was a pharmacist in her home country, Syria. Here in Canada, she is enthusiastically giving back to the Canadian Syrian community. She is a Peer Facilitator at the Community Food Works for Syrian families, she helps in translation services and social support for Syrian families and she volunteers at a Food Bank and the ‘Newcomer Kitchen’ for Syrian families.
Mohamed Abdelhameed
Project Developer
Mohamed has 16 years combined experience in management, as a training facilitator, as well as in environmental health, and safety. He is bilingual in English and Arabic. Mohamed has been working with many international organizations that support positive community development such as UNESCO and IATA. Also, he has traveled to many countries studying and developing beneficial environmental health and safety standards for local communities.
Amel Taha
HR Development
Amel Taha has an educational background in social services and a specialization in Immigrations and Refugees Studies. As a strong advocate for the social determinants of refugee health, she is eager to make improvements to the lives of newcomers. Her principles are aligned with this organizations main focus, which is to provide the social services needed for newcomers to improve their quality of life.
Baquie Ghazi
A dynamic social voice of the multicultural new Canadian society in Toronto. Baquie was a candidate for the Councillor of Toronto Centre in 2006 and ran for Mayor of Toronto in 2010 on the Environment, Poverty and Afrordable Housing issue. Other popular issues of his are affordable transportation connectivity for the poor and hygienic accommodation for every Canadian as an essential human right. As the principle coordinator in 1985, Baquie has led a 21,000 refugee backlog naturalization campaign successfully.
Ousama Alkhatib
FOS Manager
A recent newcomer from Syria. Bilingual speaker in Arabic and English. Graduated from the English literature department from Damascus university. Worked in the humanitarian field for six years overseas, served in both local and international NGO's: DRC, SOS, and Basmeh & Zeitooneh. Experienced Operations Manager specialized in relief, development, educational, and psychosocial support programs. Deeply involved in the Canadian community. Volunteers in different organizations and as a motivational speaker in many high schools and community spaces. Believes in the importance of helping his people integrate into Canada and in giving back to their hosting community.
Ted Killan
Writer & Editor
Ted Killin is a professional writer and editor who works for academic, corporate, non-profit, and start-up clients on a wide range of content, from journal articles and grant proposals to website copy and business plans. Recently, he has been volunteering with Syrian newcomers to support their ESL training. Specifically, he helps Syrian newcomers with a wide range of administrative communication, such as developing cover letters and resumes, and creates ESL training content that aligns with their professional and personal interests in Canada.
Lara El Shawa
A certified project manager in developmental projects with experience in the Middle East, Lara chose her career path out of passion. Interests, studies, work experience, career path and expertise cover development from a wider angle, in terms of theory, policy and practice, political economy of development, political economy of refugee inhabited areas, migration, working poor; gender studies, social entrepreneurship and economic development. Lara holds an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS-University of London UK, and a Master first level in Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention from University of Bologna Italy.
Samah Ghandour
TV. Host & Miss Lebanon More info coming soon
Mosaab Ghandour
Community Outreach
Lawyer More info coming soon
Aman Al Hafez
Social Media
More info coming soon
Ashraf Naser
Community Liason
More info coming soon
Karim Mirshahi
Experienced Publisher with a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Entrepreneurship. Strong media and communication professional with a B. Sc. from University of Guelph and Waterloo.
Kate Ulman
Kate recently completed her Master of Business Administration at Queen’s University and is currently finishing up a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality. With a background in Marketing & Communications, Kate’s has experience working on-air as a radio host and helped launch a successful media start-up company.