ArteEast is led by a dedicated board that brings a range of professional expertise to the organization, including nonprofit, arts, banking, business management, marketing and law.
Board of Directors
Omar Berrada is a writer, translator and curator, and the director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, a library and artists residency in Marrakech. Previously, he curated public programs at Centre Pompidou, hosted shows on French national radio, ran Tangier’s International Book Salon, and co-directed Dubai’s Global Art Forum. He is editor, with Erik Bullot, of Expanded Translation – A Treason Treatise, a book of verbal and visual betrayals; and, with Yto Barrada, of Album – Cinémathèque de Tanger, a multilingual volume about film in Tangier and Tangier on film. His translations (into French) include books by Jalal Toufic, Stanley Cavell and Joan Retallack. In 2016 he edited The Africans, a book on migration and racial politics in Morocco, and curated several exhibitions including ‘Memory Games,’ a group show within the Marrakech biennale; ‘Black Hands,’ a solo M’barek Bouhchichi show at Kulte Gallery in Rabat; and ‘I want to possess in this world…,’ a presentation of Ahmed Bouanani’s films and archive at Witte de With in Rotterdam. Currently living in New York, Omar is a co-editor of Sharjah Biennial’s tamawuj.org and the guest curator of the 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize. He also guest edited the current issue of the Arte East Quarterly.
Lena Diab is an art collector and currently runs My Pick LLC, a New York-based company that identifies and promotes emerging labels in the ready-to-wear and fashion accessories space. Born and raised in Nazareth, Lena is a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Lena moved to the United States in 1994 and has lived in Washington, London and York City where she currently lives with her husband, Salah Saabneh, and her two children, Amir and Yara. Lena is an art enthusiast and collects art from around the world.
With over 20 years of experience in project management, media production, and strategic communication, Naila Farouky is a Peabody Award-winning executive who has built a career across several continents. She currently serves as CEO at Arab Foundations Forum.
With 13 years of experience at the iconic Sesame Workshop in New York, Naila was responsible for managing the project, content production, and creative aspects of Sesame Workshop’s multi-media co-productions in 17 countries over the course of her career.
She has worked as a Media and Communications consultant on a wide range of projects, including a project funded by USAID and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) focused on a Decentralization and Local Administration Reform initiative to introduce and secure the inclusion of democratic governance principles in the Egyptian Constitution. In this role, Naila was the Project Director responsible for creating a Media and Communications strategy around the initiative.
As a consultant for the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo, Naila co-authored a scan narrative on philanthropic giving in post-January 25th revolution Egypt – part of an 83-page paper highlighting case studies of different forms of philanthropic giving and the current state of philanthropy in Egypt vis-à-vis the political environment post the political uprising. The scan was published in January 2013.
In 2014, Naila assumed the role of CEO for the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) – a regional, membership-based association of foundations and philanthropic entities working across the Arab Region. Headquartered in Brussels, and with a registered administrative branch in Amman, Jordan, AFF is now a virtual network with team members based across the region in Cairo, Amman, and Tunis.
Naila grew up mostly in Cairo, Egypt, and has lived in Kenya, New York, Washington DC, Jordan, Switzerland and South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the American University in Cairo.
Dr. Nathaniel Bowditch is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences a Long Island University (LIU Post). Prior to joining LIU, Dr. Bowditch served as Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the American University in Cairo (AUC). During his eleven-year tenure at AUC, Dr. Bowditch was successful in program and curriculum development, faculty recruitment and advancement, cultivating global relationships, strategic planning, and securing external funding for the school. In addition to his own scholarship and teaching on ethics and the History of Philosophy, Dr. Bowditch spearheaded ambitious initiatives that resulted in establishing the first English-language M.A. in philosophy in North Africa, a grant from the Mellon Foundation to create a humanities and social sciences ‘research laboratory’, USAID grants to support the arts, and a milestone for the region—the first psychology department in the Middle East and North Africa to offer APA-recognized Masters degrees in counseling and community psychology.
Dr. Bowditch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He has taught at John Hopkins University, Loyola College of Maryland, and Goucher college. He lives with his family and their dog, Spinoza, in Kew Gardens, Queens.
Diana Abouali has lived a nomadic life both personally and professionally. At home in both North America and the Middle East, fluent in English and Arabic, Abouali has worked in the higher education, cultural heritage and museum sectors in the United States, Palestine and Jordan.
Born in Toronto, Canada, in 1971 to Palestinian parents who emigrated from Kuwait in 1967, Abouali moved to Kuwait in 1978, where she completed her primary and secondary education. She moved to the U.S. in 1989 to study at Wellesley College, and graduated in 1993 with a BA cum laude in Economics and History. She later received an MA in Middle Eastern Studies (1995) and a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies (2004) from Harvard University. From 2004 to 2012, she taught at Dartmouth College in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, first as lecturer then as assistant professor, offering courses in Arab-Islamic civilization, gender studies, social history of the Middle East and Arabic language.
After 22 years in the U.S., Abouali traded the mountains of New Hampshire for the hills of Ramallah, Palestine, when she moved there to work as head of research and collections at the newly-established Palestinian Museum (which opened to the public in 2016 in Birzeit). Relocating to Amman, Jordan, in 2014, she worked as director of education, outreach and awareness at the Petra National Trust and later as a senior consultant for Turquoise Mountain in Jordan. She was project manager at Tiraz: Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress on an AHRC-ESRC Global Challenges Fund (UK) project, in cooperation with Plymouth University and the Information and Research Center-King Hussein Foundation. In that position, she studied the resilience of male Syrian artisan refugees in Jordan, co-producing a training program and toolkit in social-enterprise creation as a way to preserve cultural heritage. She has organized and delivered cultural heritage education workshops to Syrian children and women in the Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps, and she occasionally teaches college-level courses in the U.S. and Jordan.
Diana Abouali currently serves as a member of the general assembly of Taawon-Welfare Association, the largest Palestinian NGO that provides development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and Lebanon; on the board of the Palestinian Museum; and on the steering committee of the Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture in Amman, Jordan.
Livia Alexander is a curator, writer, and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University. Her work is focused on examining the relationship between art infrastructure and artistic production, urbanity, cultural politics of food and art, and contemporary art from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Her numerous art and film programs, exhibitions and events, include: Embedded, Embedding: Artist Residencies, Urban Placemaking and Social Practice (commissioned by Residency Unlimited, in collaboration with The New School/Parsons, NYC); Customs Made: Quotidian Rituals and Everyday Practices (Maraya Arts Cenre, Sharjah, UAE); Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema (MoMA, New York; Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Tate Modern, London); and CinemaEast Film Series. Alexander is co-producer of the research-based interactive documentary, Jerusalem, We Are Here(Canada/Palestine/Israel, 2016), directed by Dorit Naaman.
Her award-winning scholarly writing has appeared in the Journal of Visual Anthropology, Framework, MERIP, and as book chapters and catalog essays. She regularly contributes to Hyeprallergic and Harpers Bazaar Art Arabia and founded the online publication ArteEast Quarterly. She is the editor of a year-long series commissioned by the online platform www.ArtsEveryehere.com centered on artist residencies at the nexus of urban placemaking and social practice.
Alexander served as an advisor to a variety of art organizations and galleries, including Tirana Open, Residency Unlimited, Sapar Contemporary, Al Riwaq Art Space, New Rochelle BID, Asian Contemporary Art Week, and the Art & Patronage Summit. She is the co-founder of ArteEast, a non-profit organization established in 2003 to support and promote artists from the Middle East, North Africa and its diasporas, which she directed until 2013.
Dr. Alexander holds a Ph.D. from New York University in Cinema and Middle East Studies and teaches art criticism and theory, visual culture and professional practice at Montclair State University.