Welcome to the Zaidan Foundation

Zaidan Foundation Program

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council

The Zaidan Foundation is a Private Operating Foundation established in April 2009 as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization to enhance intercultural understanding. George C Zaidan is the Founder and President of the Zaidan Foundation as well as the Chair of its Advisory council. The Board members are made up of members of the Jurji Zaidan family. The Advisory Council is composed of the following members:  

• Mr Bassem Abdallah
• Dr Edmond Asfour
• Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
• Ambassador Hussein Hassouna
• Ambassador Clovis F Maksoud
• Dr Hada Zaidan
• Dr George C Zaidan – Founder and President
• Mr George S Zaidan
• Mr Nadim E Zaidan  

Details on the qualifications, activities and experience of members of the Advisory Council are summarized below.

Mr Bassem Abdallah
Bassem Abdallah is a filmmaker based in London.  His documentary work covers many films that were either about Arab history for Western television stations and international distribution, or about Arab and Islamic issues in the West, aimed at an Arab audience. He has also written and provided photographs about the Middle East for publication. Having benefited from studying and working in Arab countries, Europe and the USA, he has an understanding for the need to build bridges between the cultures, and is in a good position to use his professional experience to this end.

Edmond Asfour
Born in Haifa, Palestine in 1926. Educated in the Rachidiya and Arab Colleges in Jerusalem. Graduate of Oxford University BA, MA, BLitt. in philosophy, history and economics (1946-1950). Economist with UNRWA. Beirut (1950-1955) Senior Research fellow at Harvard Center for Middle Eastern studies (1955/56). Economist at the United Nations (1956-1960). Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic Research Institute at the American University of Beirut (1962-1967). President of the Industrial Development Board in Lebanon (1968-1969). Senior Department Economist and Program Division Chief at the World Bank , Europe, Middle East and North Africa Department (1969-1986).  Economic Consultant to the World Bank, United Nations, Welfare Association (Geneva) etc, (1986-1995). Board member and then Chairman of the Board of the Economic Policy Institute (MAS) in Ramallah, Occupied Territories (1990-1998). Mr Asfour is the author of numerous published articles, books and reports on various aspects of economic development of the Middle East and North Africa and the Gulf countries.

Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
Ambassador Fahmy is the founding Dean of the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Cairo and has written extensively on Middle East politics, peacemaking and regional security and disarmament. He is also the Chair of the Monterey California Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ Middle East Project. As of September 1 2008 he has been Ambassador at Large at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry after completing his post as Ambassador of Egypt to the United States since October 1999. He also served as Egypt’s Ambassador to Japan from September 1997-September 1999 and before that as the Political Advisor to the Foreign Minister from1992-97 and has held numerous posts in the Egyptian Government since 1974.

Ambassador Nabil Fahmy is a career diplomat who has played an active role in the numerous efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, as well as in international and regional disarmament affairs. Over the years, Ambassador Fahmy has been a member of the Egyptian Missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York. His involvement in international political initiatives and educational activities make him ideally suited in promoting intercultural understanding.

Ambassador Hussein A. Hassouna
Ambassador Hassouna has been the Ambassador of the Arab League to Washington DC since 2002. Prior to that he was the Permanent Representative of the Arab League to the UN in New-York between 1997 and 2002 and Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Morocco (1992 to 1996) and Yugoslavia (1989 to 1992). He was Assistant Foreign Minister for International Legal Affairs and Treaties in 1996-97. Ambassador Hassouna obtained his Law Degree from Cairo University in 1960 and his PhD in International Law from Cambridge University in England in 1968. He is a member of the UN International Law Commission in Geneva, a Board member of the International Development Law Organization in Rome and of the International Law Institute in Washington DC as well as a member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Relations and the American Society of International Law. Ambassador Hassouna lectures widely in major universities in the US and is the author of books and articles on the Middle East and world issues. He has spent a lifelong career in promoting understanding and dialogue between different cultures and religions through educational, cultural and political initiatives.           

Ambassador Clovis F Maksoud
Ambassador Clovis Maksoud is presently Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for the Global South at American University in Washington, DC. Born on December 17, 1928, Dr. Maksoud graduated from The American University of Beirut, went on to receive his J.D. from the George Washington University in Washington, DC and did post-graduate studies at Oxford University in Britain. A Lebanese national, who is a lawyer, journalist and diplomat, Dr. Maksoud  was the Chief Representative of the League of Arab States in India from 1961-1966. From 1967-1979, he served as the Senior Editor of Al-Ahram and then Chief Editor of Al-Nahar Weekly. Ambassador Maksoud was appointed as the League of Arab States' Chief Representative to the United States and the United Nations on September, 1979 until August, 1990. Dr. Maksoud is the author of several articles and books on the Middle East and the global South, among them: "The Meaning of Non-Alignment," "The Crisis of the Arab Left," "Reflections on Afro-Asianism," and "The Arab Image."  Clovis Maksoud was the Chairperson and Convener of many conferences on environment and development, human rights, population, and disarmament.

Dr Hada Zaidan
Hada Zaidan, wife of George Zaidan, grew up in Lebanon and came to the US in 1972. She has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Maryland University and a Masters in Food Technology from the American University of Beirut. She worked in various international organizations including the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank.  She was President and Vice-President (1994-1999) of the World Bank Family Network, the support organization for World Bank Group families supporting them with relocation and educational issues. Subsequently she was the head of the Family-Work Life Services Unit in the Human Resource Department of the World Bank (1999 to 2005). The Unit was responsible for addressing all the cultural, legal, educational and other issues facing international staff and their families as they relocated in the US and to serve in the large number of World Bank offices abroad.  After 2005, she joined the Board of the Margaret Mc Namara Memorial Fund, where she became Vice-President in 2009. The Fund provides scholarships to women from developing countries. Hada Zaidan’s background and extensive international experience are strong assets that will help the Foundation address issues of intercultural understanding. 

Dr George C Zaidan – Founder and President
George C. Zaidan obtained his PhD from Harvard University in 1967 in Development Economics after doing his undergraduate degree in Law at Cairo University and in Economics at the London School of Economics. Between 1967 and 1998 he worked in the World Bank in various professional and managerial positions traveling to more than fifty countries where he was involved with programs of development assistance in various intercultural settings. Since retiring from the World Bank he has been actively involved as a consultant to various international and regional organizations such as UNDP, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He grew up in Egypt and his family came originally from Lebanon. His family was centrally involved in the intellectual development of the Arab progressive movement of the late nineteenth and twentieth century in the Arab world. His background and experience make him uniquely qualified to promote the mission of the Zaidan Foundation of intercultural understanding.

Mr George S Zaidan
George S. Zaidan, son of George and Hada Zaidan, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008 after receiving his International Baccalaureate in 2004 from the Washington International School. Throughout his time at MIT, Mr. Zaidan founded or chaired various educational and cultural organizations. He founded Open Lab Ware, a free and open web portal to MIT's research process, for which he was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship.  He also served as President of MIT French House, a living group for those interested in French language and culture. He was a teaching assistant in chemistry classes for which he was awarded an undergraduate teaching prize. In 2011 he was appointed to the Board of the Washington International School. He has traveled extensively and has a knowledge of several foreign languages. He is an avid golfer and he also enjoys cooking.

Mr Nadim E Zaidan
Nadim Zaidan studied and practiced theatre set-design in London where he developed a lifelong love for all things beautiful. Once back in Egypt his interests extended to the decorative arts. Since retiring he has moved to Alexandria, Egypt where he has been able to indulge in his lifelong passion
for reading and in helping with the activities of the Zaidan Foundation.


Opera on the Life of Jurji Zaidan
(in Arabic) attended by the
President of Egypt

Prelude with Speeches of Literary Figures


Jurji Zaidan and his Family

Centennial Celebrations
of Dar-al-Hilal