Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Kulluna Irada's Board of Directors is composed of 15 members. Every two years, the Global Council elects 10 new members to the Board, in order to ensure rotation. The Board of Directors relies on collegial decision making and follows strict rules to avoid any conflict of interest: members of the board have vowed not to run for elections and to renounce to participate in any public auction.

Below are the profiles of our current Board members.

Firas Abi-Nassif

Managing Partner – Teleios Capital Partners


Firas Abi-Nassif is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Teleios Capital, an activist hedge fund based in Switzerland with over $1 billion in assets. He currently also serves as Chairman of the Board of Kongsberg Automotive, a publicly traded company and leading global automotive supplier. He is also a board member of LIFE. From 2008 to 2011, Abi-Nassif served as Director of Investments at Vision Capital, a New York-based special situations hedge fund with $1 billion in assets, after working in Investment Banking at Credit Suisse in New York. Formerly, Abi-Nassif was a member of the founding team of Airvana, a leading global telecommunications equipment vendor, acquired for $535 million after going public on the Nasdaq. Prior to that, he held senior engineering roles at Motorola. Over the course of his career, Abi-Nassif produced seven internationally patented inventions in the field of telecommunications. Firas Abi-Nassif obtained an Engineering degree in Computer and Communications with Distinction from the American University of Beirut, an MS in Telecommunications Engineering from Northeastern University, and an MBA in Finance and Economics with honors from Harvard Business School.

Diane Assaf

Partner - Assaf & Associates Law Firm


Diane Assaf is a partner at Assaf & Associate Law Firm. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at DS Avocats in Paris and briefly worked at Dewey & Leboeuf in London. Her practice focuses on real estate, corporate and commercial, employment law and dispute resolution. Following the Beirut Port explosion on August 4, 2020, and after having lost one of her closest friends, Diane launched a platform to spread legal awareness. Through this platform, she plays an active role in shedding the light on the flaws of the Lebanese judiciary. Assaf has been a member of a number of committees of the Beirut Bar Association and is currently a member of the Beirut Bar Association legal team in charge of reviewing the National Action Plan for Human Rights in cooperation with the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Diane Assaf earned her Master’s degree in Media and Communication Law from Université Paris-2 Pantheon Assas and a law degree from Université Saint Joseph in Beirut.

Khalil Barrage

Managing Director - Invus Public Equity


Khalil Barrage is a Managing Director at Invus, based in New York. He joined Invus in 2003 and established its Public Equity activity. Since its inception, Invus Public Equity has concentrated its investments in the emerging innovative biotech companies. Prior to joining Invus, he worked at The Olayan Group in New York and ran their US equity portfolio for 15 years. He holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut. He is a member of the board of Protagenic Therapeutics, Celtaxsys Inc and Sensorion. As part of his philanthropic engagement, Khalil Barrage serves on the board of the Children of Armenia Fund and Solving Kids’ Cancer.

Ayah Bdeir

Founder – LittleBits


Ayah Bdeir is an entrepreneur, engineer and social activist. She is the founder of LittleBits, the electronic building block that has transformed STEM education for millions of kids around the world. She founded and ran LittleBits Electronic Inc., which was supported by prominent Silicon Valley investors and won over 150 awards including Toy of the Year, until it was acquired in 2019. In October of 2019, when a revolution broke out in Lebanon, she went back to Beirut and co-founded a platform, called Daleel Thawra, to help political and civil activists use technology to further democracy. Bdeir has received numerous awards, including: BBC 100 Most Influential Women, Inc. Magazine Top 100 Female Founders and a TED fellowship. She has appeared on the covers of The New York Times Magazine, Forbes Middle East and others. She holds a dozen patents to her name. Ayah Bdeir earned a MSc in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab and an undergraduate in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut and a minor in sociology.

Amer Bisat

Global Head of Emerging Markets - BlackRock


Amer Bisat, PhD, is the Global Head of Emerging Markets at BlackRock and a member of the firm’s Global Fixed Income Executive Committee. In this capacity, he leads a team managing approximately $40 billion in government and corporate bonds. Dr. Bisat's service with BlackRock dates back to 2013. Prior to that, he was a partner in two macro hedge funds, and held portfolio management responsibilities at UBS and Morgan Stanley. Between 1991 and 1998, he was a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he helped negotiate high profile programs with Russia, Ukraine, and Egypt. Dr. Bisat taught graduate level economics courses at Columbia University, co-authored a book on globalization and academic and policy papers on growth and financial sector development. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the Advisory Council of the Carnegie Middle East Center. He is a trustee of a number of Middle Eastern cultural and art institutions. Dr. Bisat earned a bacherlor's degree in economics from the American University of Beirut and a PhD in economics from Columbia University.

George Bitar

Managing Partner - Rho Acceleration


George A. Bitar is a Managing Partner of Rho Acceleration, an affiliate of Rho Capital Partners, a venture capital firm that actively invests in technology and new media and clean tech. He was co-head of Global Private Equity at BlackRock, Inc. and co-founded and co-led Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. Bitar served as well on the board of directors of a number of private and public companies operating in several industries including healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, re-insurance, retail and business services. George Bitar holds a BSc in Systems Engineering from Boston University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University.

Ali Khalil

CEO - Kuwait Financial Center “Markaz”


Ali Khalil is the Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz” a publicly listed Kuwaiti investment company. He has more than 33 years of investment banking and asset management experience spent between Kuwait and the United States, with the Markaz Group of Companies. He is the Chairman of the Board of First-Equilease, and the Vice Chairman at Kuwait’s Heavy Engineering Industries and Shipbuilding Company, (PLC). He is the Chairman of the Lebanese Business Council in Kuwait since 2020. Ali Khalil holds an MBA from INSEAD, a M.Sc., and a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University, USA.

Albert Kostanian

Managing Partner - Levant Consult


Albert Kostanian is an economist and an expert in strategy. He is also the content producer and host of “Vision 2030”, a leading TV show on LBCI that provides a platform for an in-depth debate around politics and policy making in Lebanon. He has founded and is heading the Beirut office of Arthur D. Little, the world premier strategy consulting firm, after having spent years with the firm in France. His main areas of expertise are in Telecom and infrastructure and he worked for major international corporations and governments in a dozen of countries. Kostanian has also established a boutique consultancy “Levant Consult”. He is a Senior Fellow for economy in Issam Fares Institute for Public Policies at the American University of Beirut. He is committed to promoting reforms in Lebanon and regularly publishes articles and studies in various domains in addition to having been active in politics and policy making. Albert Kostanian holds an MSc from the HEC School in Paris and a BA in Economics from the Saint-Joseph University in Beirut.

Paul Naggear

Co-Founder – FABERNOVEL Middle East


Paul Naggear is a strategy and innovation consultant. After spending 7 years at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), him and his spouse Tracy founded the Middle Eastern arm of FABERNOVEL, a global innovation agency, with a mission of serving the Levant and the GCC from Beirut. Paul is the father of Alexandra Naggear, the youngest Lebanese victim of the murderous explosion of the Beirut Port. He is committed to fighting for truth and justice for his daughter and the communities of victims, and holds a key role in the August 4th Collective: a federation of blast-affected families, associations, volunteers, and activists. Paul has decided to take an active role in resisting the current establishment and contributing to its transformation through political and social initiatives. He has been elected at the Order of Engineers and Architects in Beirut in 2021 where he serves as a delegate, with a principal mission of job creation. He implements socially-sustainable initiatives such as large-scale food production and distribution to families in need, and is in the stage of developing a community center pilot and a free school. Paul Naggear holds a Master’s degree in Software and Networks Engineering from ESIB and a Masters in Management-Grande École programme from ESSEC Business School Paris-Singapore.

Paul Raphael

Former Executive Vice Chairman – UBS


Paul Raphael served as Executive Vice Chairman of UBS until July 2021. Paul joined UBS in 2010 eventually heading UBS’ Wealth Management unit for Europe, Middle, East, Africa and Latin America where he managed USD 450Bn of client assets and over 3,000 employees across 4 continents. Before joining UBS, he spent six years at Credit Suisse, including three years in Hong Kong as Head of Investment Banking for the Asia Pacific region. Previously, from 2004-2007, he headed CS’ European Capital Markets. Prior to Credit Suisse, Paul spent 10 years with Merrill Lynch initially as Head of its Emerging Markets activities and subsequently as Head of French Investment Banking and European TMT client coverage. From 1986 to 1994, he was at Salomon Brothers in New York eventually leading the Latin American Investment Banking team. Paul Raphael holds a degree in Economics from the University of Maryland and an MSc in Management from MIT.

Dalia Salaam Rishani

Owner - Hood Hood Books


Dalia Salaam Rishani is a publisher, an Educational and Scholarships Advisor and a Human Rights Advocate. After debuting her career in Finance at SG Warburg Securities, she established Hood Hood Books, a publishing house specializing in interfaith and the Islamic and Eastern civilizations. She is Vice-Chair at the Centre for Lebanese Studies, an independent academic research institution, based in Lebanon, and affiliated with St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and more recently with the University of Cambridge. She is also a Global Advisor to the Knight Hennessy Scholarship Program at Stanford University and a trustee of St. Peter’s Foundation at Oxford University. Rishani has a particular interest in advancing Women’s Rights in Lebanon and sits on the committee of Human Rights Watch (Beirut). Dalia Salaam Rishani obtained a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University and a MSc. from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Washington D.C.

Wafa Saab

CEO - Tinol Paints International


Wafa Saab is the CEO of Tinol Paints, a leader in the Paint & Coatings industry in the Middle East. She was elected as the Personality of the Year in the Industry Sector in 2012 and was the first woman to be elected as President of the Worldwide Alumni Association of AUB in 2015. She is currently chair of the AMIDEAST/Lebanon Board, and sits on the boards of various non-profit organizations, namely Embrace, the Beiteddine Festival, the Lebanese Red Cross, and Mission Joy. Wafa Saab holds a BA in Human Development from LAU and an Executive MBA from AUB.

Bassam Yammine

Founder and CEO - Excelsa


Bassam Yammine is the founder and CEO of Excelsa Development Holding, a diversified investment holding company. Excelsa invests in operating companies active in the real estate, oil & gas, and manufacturing sectors in the Middle East and North America. Prior to founding Excelsa in 2013, he led the growth and development of Credit Suisse in the MENA region over six years as Co-CEO of Middle East & North Africa and head of investment banking. Before that, he was the founder and CEO of Audi Saudi Arabia and managed the regional investment banking business for Audi Saradar Group. He also worked with Lebanon Invest SAL, the first investment bank in Lebanon where he held the role of General Manager and Member of the Board. Bassam was Deputy Chairman of Li Venture (Holding) SAL, the first venture capital firm in Lebanon. In 2005, he served in the Government of the Republic of Lebanon as Minister of Energy and Water. Bassam Yammine holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago and M.S. in computer science and B.A in business from Loyola Marymount University.

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