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. Board members include members of the Jurji Zaidan family as well as noted scholars. The Advisory Council consists of the following members:  

• Mr Bassem Abdallah
• Dr Edmond Asfour
• Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
• Ambassador Hussein Hassouna
• Dr Hada Zaidan
• Dr George C Zaidan – Founder and President
• Mr George S 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 to UK for publications. Having studied and worked in Arab countries, Europe and the USA, he has an understanding of how best to build bridges between the cultures.


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 founded the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) in 2009 and served as its Dean from 2009 to 2014. The school has become an invaluable Middle East voice of stellar caliber on topical issues of public affairs, law, journalism, as well as studies on the Middle East, refugees, and gender and American studies.

Ambassador Fahmy is a career diplomat (1976-2011) and the former foreign minister of Egypt (July 2013 – June 2014). During his distinguished diplomatic career over three decades, Nabil Fahmy served as ambassador to the United States (1999-2008) and Japan (1997-1999) as well as in numerous government and international positions. His work focused on international and regional security, disarmament and non-proliferation, conflict resolution and Arab-Israeli diplomacy. He was also the chairman of the United Nations advisory board on disarmament matters, and the vice-chairman of the United Nations general assembly’s first committee dealing with disarmament and international security. He was also a member of the Egyptian delegation to the 1991 Madrid peace conference; the review conferences of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; the committee on principles in the United Nations conference on promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and many other multilateral events. His involvement in international political initiatives and educational activities make him ideally suited in promoting intercultural understanding.


Ambassador Hussein A. Hassouna

Ambassador Hassouna was the Ambassador of the Arab League to Washington DC between 2002 and 2010. 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. Between 2007 and 2012 he was a member of the UN International Law Commission in Geneva; he was also 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.


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 Science 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, grandson of Jurji Zaidan and son of Choucri (Shukri) George Zaidan one of the two owners of Dar-Hilal until 1960, obtained his PhD from Harvard in 1967 in Development Economics after obtaining an LL.B from the Law Faculty at Cairo University in 1959 and a B.Sc in Economics at the London School of Economics in 1962. 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.


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. He has traveled extensively and has a knowledge of several foreign languages. He is an avid golfer and he also enjoys cooking.