The Board

Liz Lee, President

Liz Lee is a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State.  She is currently serving in the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.  Previous to this position, she was a John L. Weinberg Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.  Before then, she served as a policy advisor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City, where she negotiated myriad regional and thematic issues in the Security Council, ranging from peace operations in Colombia and Haiti, Iraq, and Women, Peace and Security.   Previous State Department assignments include Baghdad, Jerusalem, Vientiane (TDY) and Seoul.

Emily Ruppel, Vice President for State

Emily Ruppel is a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State, currently serving in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  She joined the Department in 2011 and has served overseas assignments in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Santiago, Chile.  Emily received a B.A. from The George Washington University in International Affairs and an M.A. in International Development and Certificate in Global Health Affairs from the University of Denver.  She is a returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Kenya 2007-2008).  Originally hailing from Minnesota, Emily currently resides with her wife in the District of Columbia.

Zaid Abuhouran, Vice President for USAID and Other Agencies

Zaid Abuhouran is a career civil servant at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is currently a Policy Analyst in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning. Prior to this position, Zaid served in the Bureau for the Middle East as a West Bank and Gaza Desk Officer and a Jordan Desk Officer, overseeing the development programs and policy objectives of two of USAID’s largest development portfolios from Washington, and coordinating USAID’s efforts with the interagency and other stakeholders. Before joining USAID, Zaid managed Federal-level education programs and policy initiatives for several state-level education departments at the United States Department of Education. Prior to his government service, Zaid taught high school biology and Advanced Placement (AP) biology at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore City through Teach For America, where his students saw exponential gains in their Maryland state and AP test scores. At Dunbar, he served as faculty advisor to the Student Governing Association and worked with students to establish a discussion group to support LGBTQI+ students. A New Jersey native, Zaid holds an M.S.Ed from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Public Health and Political Science from Rutgers University.

Zohair Shabbir, Secretary and Treasurer

Zohair brings almost ten years of accounting and finance experience, which also includes five years in international development and the nonprofit sector.  His diverse experience in various fields, especially domestic and international nonprofit organizations, has helped him to deftly manage priorities and deadlines, especially between program and finance departments.

Jeffrey Warner, Director of Policy

Jeffrey Warner is a Foreign Service Officer serving in Washington, DC covering Vietnam, ASEAN, and South China Sea Issues.  He joined the Foreign Service in the 162nd A-100 class in July 2011.  His first tour was as a Consular Officer in Shanghai, China.  His second tour was as a Political Officer in Rangoon, Burma where he was the lead political officer covering elections and domestic politics.  Jeffrey coordinated a 50-person Embassy election observation mission covering every state and region in Burma for its historic 2015 elections.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Jeffrey worked as a Cruise Director on the Yangtze River in China for a U.S. cruise line.  He studied Asian Studies and Chinese Language at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.  He earned a certificate in Chinese Studies from the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in 2007.  He completed his masters from the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy Solutions with a focus on Southeast Asia and Public Policy.  Jeffrey is a native of the Mojave Desert in Southern California.  He lives in Washington, DC with his husband Anchises and their dog, ShenmeShenme.

Curtis Ried, Director of Communications & Outreach

Coming soon…