2021-2022 Syrian American Council Board Members


Each Syrian American Council Board member represents three to four states. The states are categorized into regions as below:


Rhode Island
New Hampshire

Washington, D.C.

West Virginia
New York
New Jersey


North Dakota

South Dakota


North Carolina
South Carolina


New Mexico





Osama Khatib, Northeast Region, Secretary

Osama Khatib is an active member of the Syrian American community in Massachusetts.  He has been involved in organizing several events that advocate and support the Syrian people’s plight for freedom and democracy.  He is an active Board Member of the Syrian American Council. Osama is engaged with groups in his local hometown supporting Diversity. He also helped settle Syrian refugees in the Boston area. Osama came to the US in 1983.   He currently resides in Swampscott, MA with his wife of 30 years and their three children.

Dylan Connor Northeast Region, Public Relations Chair

Dylan Connor lives in Connecticut with his Syrian wife Reem Hariri and their two children. He is a high school Latin teacher, musician, and advocate for a free and democratic Syria. His original songs Feza Feza, Weary World, Idlib (The Revolution Lives), and If Only You’d Listen have brought awareness and solidarity to the Syrian crisis. Connor has also served as Chair of Missions for the Syrian American Council since 2018, leading missions to the Syrian border of Turkey and Jordan in direct response to mass displacement caused by the Assad regime and Russian war crimes. One of his songs was featured in the acclaimed film, “Little Gandhi.” He resides in Stratford, Connecticut.

Farouk Belal, Mid-Atlantic Region, Treasurer and Budget Chair

Farouk Belal is a Syrian-American activist and community organizer. Farouk left Syria in 2000 to pursue his Bachelor’s in Biology at Istanbul University, Turkey. He moved to the U.S. in 2006 and pursued a BS in Business Administration at Phoenix University. Farouk joined the Syrian revolution from its beginning. He worked with a wide network of global activists to establish the Syrian Solidarity Movement. He also served as the Chairman of Committees organizing the Revolution Anniversary events in DC. Farouk is the Co-Founder of the Syrian Cultural House and led the SyriaFest project in Washington DC.

At the community organizing level, Farouk worked closely with key community members to engage, mobilize, and empower the Syrian American community in the DMV area. He resides in Fall Church, Virginia.

Ahmed Sakkal, Mid-Atlantic

Ahmed was born in Aleppo in 1953 and graduated from the University of Aleppo in 1977. From 1977 to 1980, he completed his residency in Aleppo (2 years) and Damascus (1 year). He did his military service from 1981 to 1983, and then a residency in CVMH, Johnstown, Pennsylvania from 1985 to 1987. He completed a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the Christ Hospital in Chicago, Illinois from 1987 to 1990, and was at The Community Health Foundation from 1991 to 1993. From 1993 to now, he has been at the Charleston Heart Clinic of West Virginia. He also serves as a board member of Americans for a Free Syria and Kayla’s PAC and is a member of the Syrian American Council West Virginia Chapter. Dr. Sakkal has been involved in advocacy projects and organizations to bridge his community to the rest of the United States.  He resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

Keenan Kassar, Midwest, Government Relations Chair

Keenan is a second-generation Syrian American. Both his parents are from Damascus, which he visited every other year before 2011. He has worked in the finance industry for over six years and received his MBA from the University of Chicago. Since joining the Syrian American Council, he has co-founded the Masks 4 Idlib campaign which has delivered over 18,000 made-in-Idlib cotton masks to refugees in northern Syria (more masks coming soon). He is passionate about the free Syrian cause and looks forward to further opportunities to help the community. He resides in Naperville, Illinois.

Shadia Martini, Midwest

Shadia Martini was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1965. She moved to Barcelona, Spain from 1967 to 1972. After studying architectural engineering at the University of Aleppo, she taught at the university for four years. In 1992, she received a scholarship from the Austrian government to do research at the University of Economics in Vienna, Austria. In 1993, she left Austria for the United States where she went back to school to receive her MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1996. Since 1997, she has worked as a real estate broker and builder.

The Syrian revolution turned her world upside down and got her involved in humanitarian work and politics. She started working with refugees when they started arriving in the United States and was involved in advocacy efforts from the beginning. In 2020, she ran for the Michigan House of Representatives but did not make it through the primaries. However, she considered the experience very interesting and educational and she intends to try again. She is married to Rouchdi Rifai and they have boys, Omar and Kareem Rifai. She resides in Franklin, Michigan.

Adalmajid Katranji, Midwest

Abdalmajid Katranji, MD is active with several local and national community service organizations.  For over 30 years, he has been active in serving the Muslim American community. He currently serves on the Boards of Impression 5 Children’s Museum, Carefree Medical and Dental, which provides medical care to underserved populations, the Ingham Regional Refugee Council, providing social services to refugee populations, and Emgage Action USA, a national advocacy organization for the Muslim American Community, Syrian American Council, and Atlantic Humanitarian Relief.  He has traveled the globe providing surgical services for humanitarian missions.  Active in several initiatives promoting interfaith dialogue and community-based action.  He is an experienced public speaker and has been interviewed and reported on by several media outlets such as CBS, US Arab Radio and Television, Deutsche Welle, and BBC World Service. He has had the honor of presenting at several conferences including at the United Nations, United States Institute for Peace, the European Union, Muslim Mental Health Conference, and the Global Conference on Muslim Studies sponsored by Michigan State University. He is the chairperson of Hama Foundation, Katranji Family Foundation, and The Syria Institute.

Darren Fenwick Southeast, Vice President

Darren Fenwick is a human rights activist, lawyer, and lobbyist with 20 years of advocacy experience on a variety of issues, including human rights in Africa and the Middle East. Darren travels frequently to Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon on medical and humanitarian mission trips. Additionally, he communicates regularly with members of Congress, other governments, and UN officials to raise awareness about the mass atrocities and crimes against humanity against Syrians and to advocate for ending policies. Darren is Vice President of the Syrian American Council. Prior to advocating for Syria, he worked for the Enough Project. At Enough, his policy work focused on eliminating the use of natural resource extraction, in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, to fuel mass atrocities and crimes against humanity. As such, he was invited by the Securities and Exchange Commission to participate on its conflict minerals round-table. Further, he worked with EU officials to craft their own version of the conflict minerals provision of Dodd-Frank and was a frequent participant at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)'s biannual meetings on responsible sourcing. Darren is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and the George Washington University Law School. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Suzan Daghestani Southwest, Membership and Outreach Chair

Suzan Aldairi Daghestani is a Syrian-American currently living in South Texas. Her father, Abdo Aldairi, was politically exiled from Syria in 1968. Originally from Daraa, Suzan was born in Damascus and has lived in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Canada, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. She has been in the United States since 1995 and lived in California before moving to Texas. 

Suzan has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Wales College of Cardiff and a Masters of Business Administration from the European University of Lisbon. Suzan also has a certificate in Academic Life Coaching and works as an academic consultant. She sits on the board of both academic and community organizations. Since 2011, Suzan has been active in the Syrian revolution, participating in advocacy and fundraising efforts. 

Suzan is married to Dr. Ghanem Daghestani. They have four daughters, Samia, Sumaya, Maysam, and Mariam. She resides in McAllen, Texas.

Suzanne Horani, Southwest 

Suzzane was born in Oklahoma City and currently lives in Dallas, Texas, and is an Orthodontist. Suzzane has been involved with the Syrian American Council for several years now because she is passionate about her Syrian roots. She was previously secretary in the executive committee of the Syrian American Council. Although a practicing orthodontist, she remains active as a Syrian American Council board member. Suzzane is proud to be a Syrian American because she is able to exercise her democratic rights as an American and believes that all humanity should be able to voice their opinions freely. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

Obeid Kaifo, Southwest

Obeid Kaifo, is a first-generation Syrian-American, Muslim Millennial born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Aurora, Colorado. Obeid's parents are from Aleppo, Syria. He and his family have owned and operated the Shish Kabob Grill since 2004 in Capitol Hill in Denver. Obeid, is a current National Board Member of the Syrian American Council and an OpEd writer. He has been published in multiple local and national publications like The Denver Post and The Hill. His first and last trip to Syria was in late December 2008. He has lost 4 family members to the Crisis in Syria and his family has made several dozen trips to Southern Turkey, actively helping Syrian refugees since 2012. Obeid works to bridge the gap between refugees, immigrants, Muslim Americans and the Syrian community, and the Muslim community at large with the State and Nation. Obeid is dedicated to being an active part of the dialogue around rebuilding Syria and to help keep Syrians in their homes in Syria. He aims to create an environment that can help integrate refugees and immigrants more effectively while facilitating and supporting a normal way of life and an easier transition into western culture and society. To include a better understanding of Islam and Muslim life in the West. Obeid works to defend the rights of Muslims in the United States and across the world. He resides in Denver, Colorado.

Sammy Al Hajommar, West

Sammy Hajomar is currently a master's student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Data Science. He was born in California before moving to Aleppo in 2005 and then returning back to the U.S. in 2012. Over the past years, Sammy has been an active advocate for Syria involved in the Syrian community grassroots and in advocacy with the Syrian American Council Los Angeles Chapter since 2014. During his time with the Los Angeles Chapter, he served as the president of the youth. In doing so, he organized community events, led meetings with congressional members, and managed the yearly budget. He also served on the Syrian American Council National Board in 2017. Sammy is unrelenting in his pursuit of a free and democratic Syria and understands the need for cooperation with others in the community to help move the needle when it comes to advocacy and grassroots. He resides in Huntington Beach, California.

Youmun ElHelou, West

Yomun Alhlou is a native Californian, a Program Manager at Facebook, and a proud Syrian American. As the daughter of two very active parents, she considers herself lucky to have worked with organizations like the Syrian American Council for quite a while. From contacting and meeting with local congressional representatives and media channels to administering a local Youth for Syria Facebook page, she understands the importance and impact of this organization's work. With experience at tech companies like Facebook and Google and a large network of young professionals within the industry, she knows she can bring a different perspective to the Syrian American Council. She resides in San Jose, California.

Zaki Lababidi, West, President

Zaki Lababidi is a Syrian American political activist and cardiologist from Scottsdale, Arizona.  He is the current president of the Syrian American Council, the largest Syrian American grassroots organization in the United States. He has been active with the Syrian American Council since its inception in 2005 and has previously served as the Government Relations Committee Chairman and national Vice President for the organization.

Zaki has also headed travel delegations worldwide in 2017 and 2018, in efforts to promote the freedom of the Syrian people to Turkey, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates and end the brutal Assad regime and establish a democratic state.  

Through his work in leadership and organizing committees, Zaki has been instrumental in establishing strong relationships with the Syrian opposition on all levels. He has also played an effective role in strengthening the relationship between the Syrian American community and community leaders in an effort to ensure unity and uniformity on the Syrian issue. He resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hanadi Alwan, West

Hanadi Alwan is a Syrian American Council National Board Member from California. She was born in Damascus, Syria, and moved to the United States in 1983 where she raised her family and opened multiple businesses in the Southern California area. She joined the Syrian American Council during the early days of the Syrian Revolution and has held leadership positions both at the National and local levels. She has been involved in the mobilization, public relations, fundraising, and event planning for the organization. She also serves on a national committee that works on U.S.-Turkish relations and has traveled to Washington D.C., Turkey, and Syria on behalf of the Syrian American Council to meet with government representatives, activists, and community members. In addition to her Syrian American Council work, she, along with a group of women activists, has founded Lifemaker, a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping handicapped refugees injured by the war. She resides in San Dimas, California.