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

Ellen Brooks Shehata, President
Ellen Brooks Shehata is a Vice President in the private banking division of JPMorgan Chase, where she is responsible for managing Middle Eastern relationships and investment. She holds a degree in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master’s of International Affairs in International Finance and Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Ellen worked for the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, in Cairo, Egypt, where she ran the U.S. Relations portfolio and founded the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Committee. She currently lives on the Upper West Side of New York City with her husband.
Hazam Gamal, Treasurer
Born in Cairo to an Egyptian father and American mother, Hazem spent the majority of his youth between Cairo and Beirut.  Frequent travel early on inspired undergraduate studies in hotel management which took him across the US, China and Europe for the first decade of his career.  An MBA from Thunderbird, The International School of Graduate Studies, in Phoenix helped him leverage his international living and work experience towards a new career in the financial services industry initially with American Express then for more than 15 years with OppenheimerFunds in various roles in New York.Hazem brings a broad interest in the arts and his deep organizational skills to the board of ArtEast where he hopes to share his experiences and interests to help continue the program’s reach and growth.

Omar Berrada

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

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.

Angela Edens
Angela Edens is currently Executive Director, Strategy and Development for the JP Morgan Chase Compliance team. She has worked in process transformation and strategy roles since 2001, predominantly in financial services. Prior to JP Morgan Chase, she worked in Operations at CIT, Controllership at American Express and in the Engineering Process Improvement team at Motorola. During the same time, she also dabbled in real estate, was a professional musician, and provided cross-cultural business consulting within her family’s extended network. Angela moved to Cairo as a child and considered it her home base for the 17 years that her parents lived there. She appreciates the ability of the arts to build connections and bridge cultural barriers. She has enjoyed supporting the ArteEast residency program by hosting many of ArteEast artists-in-residents at her Brooklyn home.

Naila Farouky

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.

Tarek Khanachet
Tarek Khanachet practices as an attorney at Covington & Burling LLP, where he advises clients across a broad range of complex international regulatory, government affairs and corporate matters focused on Turkey, the Middle East and Gulf States. Tarek was previously an archaeologist and a Supervisor at the Brown University Petra Great Temple Excavations in Petra, Jordan. Tarek received his A.B. in Old World Archaeology and Art from Brown University, his M.A. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. He is currently a member of the New York City Bar Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Committee, and a member of the NYU Law Alumni Association Board.
Nathaniel Bowditch

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.

Advisory Board

Livia Alexander

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.

Karim Mostafa
An Egyptian-American philanthropist who is a doctoral candidate in Reading, Writing, and Literacy at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. While working to complete his dissertation on the interplay of text and image in Arabic and Arab-American children’s picture books, he has been assisting in teaching a course at Penn on Multicultural Issues in Education for three years. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Karim worked in New York City for nine years as a journalist and an elementary public school teacher. From 1997 – 2002, Karim reported on the online newspaper industry as Associate Editor of Editor & Publisher Online, the online edition of Editor & Publisher magazine. From 2002-2006, he was a New York City Teaching Fellow, requiring him to teach grades 4-6 in Spanish Harlem and to complete a Masters in Elementary Education at Hunter College in 2004. For his undergraduate degree, Karim studied Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, focusing on medieval Islamic thought, at the University of Chicago (1995). Since 2006, Karim has been an active board member participating in the management of Nimos Engineering & Agricultural Development Co., (Cairo, Egypt), while studying at University of Pennsylvania. As an Egyptian-American who has lived in both Egypt and North America, each for 20 years, Karim now divides his time between residences in Cairo and New York City.

Katherine Precht
Katherine Precht is a development professional currently at Friends Seminary and previously at the American University in Cairo who brings professional experience to support ArteEast development efforts.

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