Staff

Director of Operations
Suzanne Meriden 

Suzanne is the Director of Operations for SAC where she manages SAC’s day to day operations with focus on chapter development, coalition building, and fundraising. She has been a member of SAC since 2013, and was most recently the Government Relations Chair for SAC-LA where she successfully lobbied Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for a hearing on the Assad regime’s chemical weapons attacks in June 2015. Prior to her work at SAC, Suzanne held multiple retail corporate operations management positions with reputable U.S. retail companie. She is fluent in English, French, Arabic. Suzanne holds a BA in international Business from California State University.

 

Director of Government Relations & Strategist
Mohammed Alaa Ghanem
Mohammed Alaa Ghanem is the Senior Political Adviser, Government Relations Director, and Strategist for the Syrian American Council in Washington D.C. He previously served as a professor at the University of Damascus, and has been involved in the Syrian Revolution since its early days as a peaceful protest movement. His work connects U.S. policy-makers and the Syrian-American community with the revolution inside Syria. Utilizing his extensive network of contacts at all levels of the Syrian opposition, he frequently travels to the liberated parts of Syria, participates in international conferences on Syria, and advises local administrative councils in liberated areas on international relations. In early 2013, he participated in monitoring the elections of the first democratically elected government in Aleppo. Ghanem is also an Atlantic Council Millennium Fellow and a Fellow at the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Politico, the Hill, the New York Post, the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, the Washington Examiner, Syria Deeply, and the Atlantic Council MENASource. ​He holds a master’s degree in peace-building and conflict transformation.
 
Government Relations officer
Chad Brand 
Chad is the Government Relations Officer at SAC where he focuses on Congress and legislation dealing with Syria.

Chad comes from an extensive background in congressional affairs. Chad has over eleven years of experience working on foreign policy for leading publications and companies dealing with Congress including LegiStorm, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, and Gallery Watch.

As a congressional researcher with LegiStorm, an online congressional information provider, Chad performed congressional research that involved the updating and maintenance of a comprehensive database of over 16,000 members working on Capitol Hill. At Congressional Quarterly, he covered a variety of foreign policy issues addressed by Congress for CQ Homeland Security that included committee hearings and markups that addressed U.S. policy towards Syria, particularly legislative efforts to ramp up sanctions against the Assad regime.  As a researcher and staff writer for Roll Call's Briefing Room, he wrote the Foreign Policy and Trade brief and provided in-depth coverage and analysis of U.S. policy in the Middle East. As Manager of Congressional Relations for Gallerywatch, an online legislative tracking service, he was responsible, in part, for meeting specific client requests for information regarding legislative issues.

Chad holds an M.A. from American University in International Relations and a B.A. in Political Science from Hartwick College.

Policy and Advocacy officer
Shlomo Bolts
Shlomo is the Policy and Advocacy Officer at SAC where he prepares analysis and presentations regarding the ground situation inside Syria to facilitate policy papers, reports, op-eds and briefings with senior officials in the government and Congress.

Shlomo has been a part of the Coalition for a Democratic Syria since September 2012, when he joined the Syrian Expatriates' Organization as a Policy Fellow. Before that, he interned at International Institute for Strategic Studies and at Project on Middle East Democracy. He has also consulted for Uri L'Tzedek, a Jewish social justice group.

Shlomo has a B.A. from Columbia University in Political Science and Sociology, and an MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations from Cambridge University. He has been an activist for human rights, atrocities prevention and Jewish-Arab dialogue for nearly 10 years. He has ancestry from the Jewish communities of Aleppo, Syria.