Co-founder and CEO
Awatef Sheikh previously worked for various international grant-making organisations focusing on the Middle East, including five years as the Managing Director of the London based Galilee Foundation before she left to co-found Ajyal Foundation for Education in 2018. Before she moved to the UK Awatef worked extensively with civil society organisations in the West Bank and within the indigenous Palestinian society in Israel focusing on culture, education, civic and human rights. She also worked as a freelance journalist and has written for various media organisations. Awatef has a BA in Social Work from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MSc in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Dr Jasr Kawkby is a consultant Paediatrician. He is a Fellow at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
A Co-Founder of Ajyal and a former Trustee of the Foundation, Jasr is a member of the Selection Committee for Ajyal's Sindyan Scholarship Programme.
Dr Elizabeth Coombes is an HCPC registered music therapist living and working in South Wales. She is the course leader of the MA Music Therapy. Her research interests include working with displaced people, crosscultural music therapy and the support music can bring to children and families.
Liz first worked in Palestine in 2009, delivering a skillsharing project in the Bethlehem area. This work continues today with Palestinian teachers and school counsellors using music groups to support social and emotional development.
Following a career in the Criminal Justice System and the NHS, Neil subsequently led several governance projects centred around rights and fairness with regard to data privacy, disclosure and consent. Experienced in charity trusteeship and governance, Neil oversaw numerous Economic and Social Research Council projects, in particular developing Impact Strategies for Civic Society Organisations. With a long interest in the Middle East and Palestine he previously voluntarily worked for UNWRA with refugees abroad and is currently a trustee with FQMS (Quds Foundation for Medical Schools).
Terry Weber worked for Verizon for 24 years as a cable and fibre optic splicer and an electronic technician. Terry became a mathematics teacher in 1996 at the Urban Academy Laboratory High School in New York City. He became the head of the math department in 2006 and retired in 2012 when he started working for the New York Performance Standards Consortium (the Consortium is made up of 38 state schools, 36 in New York City) as a math coach and in policy development for mathematics education. He continues his work with the Consortium working with math teachers in the classroom and in professional development seminars.
Terry has a BS in Marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Masters of Liberal Studies with a concentration in Urban Education from the City University of New York.
A co-founder of Ajyal and a former Trustee, Najat has been involved with and supporting the Foundation since its early days.
Najat has been active in a number of charities and civil society organisations and has volunteered with several relief campaigns. She is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the educational organisation the Forum for Sexuality and was a Board member at Kayan Organization. She has a BA in nursing from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an MA in Management of Health Systems from Clark University USA, and an MA in Gender Studies from Bar Eilan University. Najat is also a trained personal Coach.
Najat was the head nurse at the Tuberculosis Center in Nazareth Hospital for the past 15 years. Before she joined Nazareth Hospital, she worked as a Deputy Head Nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for 10 years.
Dr Haddad is the Acting Director of the Kenyon Institute, the Jerusalem branch of the Council for British Research in the Levant. A co-founder of Ajyal former Trustee, Toufic continues to support Ajyal and it's work as member of the Advisory Board.
He is a social scientist whose work focuses on the political economy of development and conflict in the Middle East, and Israel-Palestine in particular. Toufic has an eclectic professional and academic career working as a journalist, editor, publisher, researcher, and consultant. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Middle East Studies from Trinity College [CT, USA]; an MA from New York University (Near East Studies and Journalism); and a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (Development Studies). Toufic has also lectured at SOAS, King’s College London,and Birzeit University.