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Board of Trustees

Mr. Ziad Azzam, Board Chairman and Founding Partner of International Horizons College

Ziad J. Azzam served as Chief Executive Officer of Taaleem PJSC (also known as Madaares PJSC and Beacon Education) since September 18, 2007. Mr. Azzam served as Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Education (acquired by Madaares) since its inception in 2002. He served as the headmaster of the International School of Choueifat in Dubai for four years. He also served at Middle East office of McKinsey & Co. He developed expertise in educational public policy and supported the development of education reform strategies for several Middle Eastern countries. Mr. Azzam has a Masters degree in theoretical physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Ms. Hoda Barakat, Vice Chair

Hoda Barakat, Managing Partner Hoda Barakat Legal Consultancy: Ms. Barakat has over 20 years experience in handling complicated legal issues and resolving them. Having started as an intellectual property (IP) lawyer setting up a leading IP practice with over 20 lawyers, Ms. Barakat developed her practice to cover IT and other related issues. Strategic management of litigation cases and sensitive negotiations were also an area of key strength. Prior to starting her own practice, Ms. Barakat was the Managing Partner of the largest UAE law firm with over 130 lawyers and 300 staff.

Ms. Alia Al Mazrouei
Born and raised in a business-oriented family, Alia Al Mazrouei was given the freedom to choose her career. She is a working mother and a business owner and loves to pursue her passion of helping and inspiring others.
Ms. Mazrouei is the co-founder of the fast food restaurant Just Falafel first started in Abu Dhabi in 2007, COO of Mazuri Holdings LLC and sits on the board of various private organizations. Before joining her family business, she worked with various UAE public sector organizations forming HR policies. Ms. Mazrouei holds an MBA in Global Leadership from UAE University and is also the chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, UK.

Mr. Clive Pierrepont

Mr. Clive Pierrepont was Director at The Sultan’s School in Muscat, Oman where as part of his role he oversaw His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s Scholarship Scheme. Previously a Headmaster of a UK school, designated as a National Centre of Excellence, Mr. Pierrepont accumulated considerable experience working with students who had problems in mainstream education. His activities also included broadcasting and journalism, The Round Table Organisation as an Executive Committee Member, Chamber of Commerce Board Member and for his last five years in the UK, Chairman of the local Head Teachers’ Association. He has been a member of an all-party UK Government ‘Think Tank’ on reforms in education and changes in the legislation relating to children with special needs. As a diversion from academic matters in the UK he was a partner in several businesses including a restaurant, which achieved national and international critical recognition during his tenure. After leaving the UK he has been a Board Member of British Schools in The Middle East and conference organiser, member of The British and European Business Forums and founder board member of Outward Bound, Oman. Mr. Pierrepont is also part of a mentoring network that works with ‘High Achievers’ from various industries.

Mr. Hany Syed, Founding Partner of International Horizons College

Mr. Hany Syed is a founding partner of International Horizons College and the Head of Ventures for RHT Partners. At RHT, he focuses on early stage and growth capital businesses within the education, healthcare and late stage technology sectors. Mr. Syed takes an active role in operations and strategic development of companies at the Board and Executive Committee level within RHT’s companies. Prior to RHT, Mr Syed worked in investment banking and technology related firms in California. Mr. Syed graduated from Columbia Business School and received his bachelors degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Zeinab Karake

Zeinab Karake-Shalhoub is a professor of Management and Information Systems in the School of Business and Management at the American University in Sharjah, UAE. She served as the Associate Dean of the School of Business and Management for five years (2000-2004). Before coming to AUS, Ms. Karake was a professor of Management at the Catholic University in Washington, DC (1989-2001). She also served on the Faculty of Management at George Washington University for four years (1986-1989). Ms. Karake has a BBA in Marketing and Research from the College of Business (Beirut, Lebanon, 1979), a MA in Quantitative Management and Economics from Catholic University of America (Washington, DC, 1982) and a PhD in Information and Decision Systems from the George Washington University (Washington, DC, 1987). Ms. Karake completed three summers (summer 1996; summer 1997; and summer 2000) of professional, post-doctoral programs at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts.Zeinab is the author of more than 35 published articles, monographs, and reviews. She is also the author of five published books “Technology and Developing Economies” (Praeger Publishers, New York, 1990), “Information Technology and Managerial Control” (Praeger Publishers, New York, 1992), “Organizational Downsizing, Discrimination, and Corporate Social Responsibility” (Quorum Publishers, New York, 1999), “Trust and Loyalty in Electronic Commerce: An Agency Theory Perspective” (Quorum, New York, 2002), and “The Diffusion of Electronic Commerce in Developing Economies”, co-author is Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy and Planning (Edward Elgar Publication, December 2005). Zeinab is also the regional editor of Management Decision Journal.

Ms. Afra Al Basti

Afrai Al Basti is a Member of the Federal National Council and the Executive Director of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children. Ms. Al Basti holds many national and international awards for her work and commitment to humanitarian affairs. Most recently she has been honored with the 2009 Ahlan Dubai Hot 100 Persons and the 2008 Inspire Dubai Guardian of the Year Award, both of which were tributes to her unparalleled commitment to women’s rights and human rights and the development of humanitarian services in her home country of the United Arab Emirates.

Ms. Al Basti represents women and human rights issues around the world and works to build coalitions through her commitment and participation in numerous national and international conferences and forums, including:

1. Human Trafficking at the Crossroads in Bahrain, March 2009.
2. Tripartite Regional Conference on All Forms of Trafficking in Tbilisi, Georgia, February 2009.
3. The Regional and International Conference on Comparative UPR Experience in Bahrain, November 2008.
4. International Trafficking Conference-National Referral Mechanism in Moldova, October 2008.
5. Forum for the Future in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 2008.
6. Panel Series with the University of Texas Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, US Domestic Violence Courts, SafePlace Domestic Violence Shelter, and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s of the Attorney General’s Office in the USA, April 2008.
7. United Nations GIFT in Vienna, Austria, February 2008

Ms. Al Basti holds a degree from the UAE University and has dedicated twenty years to the service of higher education through her roles as supervisor, educator, and deputy vice president at the UAE Ministry of Education and Zayed University, respectively. In 2004, she became the Executive Manager of Business Development at Dubai World Trade Center, and in 2007, she was appointed as the Executive Director of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.