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
Chief Financial Officer & Senior Director
Amanda Parker is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Director of the AHA Foundation. Ms. Parker oversees AHA’s women’s rights programs. She develops federal and state policy proposals to protect women and girls from harmful cultural practices, recently working with Michigan to put in place the most comprehensive anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) legislation in the country. She has facilitated trainings on honor violence, FGM, forced marriage, and child marriage for more than 600 professionals likely to encounter cases, and has supported survivors of these abuses to help them find protection and the services they need.
Campus Program Coordinator
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.
Natalie joined the AHA Foundation in 2018 as an intern. She recently graduated from Texas State University with a BBA in Management. Natalie's focus is mainly on social media and marketing. She joined the Foundation in hopes of raising awareness of gender-based violence issues in the United States.
Sheriece joined the AHA Foundation in 2018 as an intern. She earned an M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University. Her primary focus is working with trauma, and multicultural issues in underserved communities and she has worked in several non-profit organizations. Sheriece joined the AHA Foundation to provide support in writing for the organization, as well as to connect women and girls in crisis to the appropriate resources.
Namele is dedicated to advocating for those who are marginalized and serving underprivileged communities. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and joined the AHA Foundation in 2017 to help women and girls in crisis.
Myleah joined the AHA Foundation in October 2018 in hopes of furthering the awareness and education of the general public on women and children's issues. Myleah recently graduated with a B.A in Broadcast Journalism and Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is passionate about videography, photography, and visual storytelling. She focuses on the social media for the Critical Thinking Unit, and hopes to encourage young people to continue positive and engaging dialogue about free speech.
Lisa helped found the UK’s National FGM Centre and chaired their advisory board before moving to Washington DC in 2017. Having initially studied Electronics, Lisa worked in manufacturing before joining Voluntary Service Overseas in 1989 to become a teacher in a Nigeria. Lisa first became familiar with the practice of FGM teaching girls in Nigeria. Returning to England, Lisa worked for the national charity Victim Support, where she sat on several international project steering groups and worked with the European Commission on projects to support victims of violence and abuse. Lisa also became involved in local politics, which resulted in her being elected to the UK’s Local Government Association, a powerful cross-party Westminster lobby group. Here she became Deputy Chair of the Safer, Stronger Communities Board where she helped found the National FGM Centre. Lisa currently supports the AHA Foundation’s activities in tackling FGM, forced marriage and honor based violence.