Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder of AHA Foundation
AHA Foundation Founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is known as a women’s rights activist, champion of free speech, and best-selling author. She is also known as someone who is not afraid to speak out when she feels it necessary. Ayaan’s journey began in Somalia in 1969 where, as a young girl, she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). From very early on, she questioned the subjugation of women she saw all around her; while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she couldn't resist asking, "Must our husbands obey us too?" Ayaan has shown great courage, risking her life to voice the injustice she sees around her. But she has done more than speak out. Ayaan has channeled her life experiences, and the attention she garnered, towards the AHA Foundation. She took tangible action to protect women and girls from the honor violence she herself and so many others she knew faced. Read more
George Zarubin is an attorney and a seasoned, senior executive with 20 years of philanthropic and non-profit experience in Washington, DC, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. He built the organizational capacity of foundations and non-profits by overseeing their transformation, sustainability and ensuring targeted and measurable impacts. With an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and law degrees from Tulane University Law School and McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, Mr. Zarubin practiced law for 10 years in California and Russia before transitioning to work with non-profits and international development. As the former Executive Director of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan, Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation, and President of Eurasia Partnership Foundation, he worked as a change agent and implemented new programs to promote liberal western values, supporting civil society organizations to engage in policy dialogues with national and local governments. One of Mr. Zarubin’s favorite quotes was given at Salzburg Global Seminar where he worked as Vice President designing and raising money for international dialogue programs about the world’s most pressing issues: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Amanda Parker, Senior Director, joined the AHA Foundation in 2011 following two years as Chief of Staff for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ms. Parker has worked with survivors of honor violence to help them find protection, including the repatriation of a woman taken overseas for forced marriage. She has facilitated trainings on honor violence and forced marriage with guidance counselors, law enforcement, service providers and other professionals. Ms. Parker played a key role in organizing the annual John Jay College conferences for the AHA Foundation from 2011-2013. She began her career on Wall Street. Ms. Parker holds a BA in Marketing and International Business from Kansas State University.
Alexandra Still joined the AHA Foundation in 2017 after receiving a Master of Public Policy from Pepperdine University, where she specialized in International Relations and Economics. As a Program and Policy Associate, Alexandra works towards greater legislative protection in all 50 states for victims or those at risk of female genital mutilation and child marriage. Previously, she worked in Belgium for Oasis Global on an anti-human trafficking team and served as their Project Coordinator for an anti-human trafficking awareness event in India.
Julia joined the AHA Foundation as Campus Program Coordinator in 2017 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Arabic and Philosophy. Her undergraduate studies focused on Islamic Political Thought and Islamic Theology. As Campus Program Coordinator, Julia helps campus fellows to create activism and promote the reform of Islam by bringing ex-Muslims, Muslim reformers and scholars from many fields to speak on their campuses.