The Arab American Democratic Action Fund (AADAF) was founded in 2017 as the first-ever political action committee that seeks to mutually strengthen the partnership between the Democratic Party and the Arab American community. AADAF supports an agenda that is inclusive in safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans and the human rights of all peoples of the world including equality, social justice, freedom and peace regardless of race, religion, age, national origin or gender identity.
We believe in an American government that reflects the diversity of its citizens. Working through the American political system and with the Arab American community, we endeavor to: elect inclusive Arab-American Democrats to public office; elect other Democrats committed to our inclusive agenda; strengthen the participation of Arab Americans within the political process; combat civil injustice and intolerance as well as create pathways for the integration of Arab Americans into the Democratic Party, while building bridges with a wide range of communities
AADAF is an all volunteer effort—from our board of directors, to the many who freely give their time and talents to organize activities, to our legal counsel. Reach out to us to talk to about volunteering your energy and talents.
MEET THE board:
Naseem Haffar is a former Managing Director with over 30 years experience in investment banking and real estate finance at JP Morgan, Bank of New York and Societe Generale. He is currently focused on his personal investments, the not for profit sector and political activism. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Arab American Family Support Center, a NY based NGO dedicated to helping immigrant families. He is also on the boards of the American Task Force for Lebanon, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy and the Washington Street Historical Society. Mr Haffar is committed to increasing Arab American participation in the political process at the local and national levels.
Ghada Elnajjar, the Director of Operations for an independent wealth management firm, is a longtime political activist and proponent of increasing Arab American engagement in national, state and local electoral politics. She has organized fundraisers and volunteer efforts for several political campaigns and has contributed to lobbying efforts on issues of concern for the Arab American community. Elnajjar’s career in the public and nonprofit sectors include stints at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) of Atlanta. She is one of the founding members of the Washington, D.C.-based Network of Arab American Professionals (NAAP).
Ahmad Chabbani is an entrepreneur who started his own successful accounting and tax firm in 1987. It is now the largest such firm in the region. Mr Chebbani is a co-founder and is Chairman of one of the most recognized chambers of commerce in the country-the American Arab Chamber of Commerce ( AACC ). His leadership in the organization led to several internationally successful forums that brought together the top decision makers and business people from the Arab world and the United States. He is frequently a host to foreign visitors as they look to engage Detroit as an economic hub between the US and the Middle East.
Nirmeen Fahmy is a communications and media relations professional currently working on Capitol Hill. Nirmeen was born and raised in Iowa and serves on Iowa State University's Young Alumni Council. Having worked for previous presidential campaigns, she has extensive political experience as well as expertise in strategic planning, civic engagement and community outreach.
Edward Ayoob is a partner and the co-chair of the Federal Relations Group in Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Ayoob has over 20 years of government experience and is the former legislative counsel, tax counsel, appropriations manager, and foreign affairs advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mr. Ayoob is a member of the board of governors of the Arab American Institute and a member of the board of trustees of the International Maronite (Lebanese Catholics) Foundation.
Sam Jammal is a regulatory attorney and policy advocate based in Los Angeles. Sam currently works as Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Counsel for a smart cities transportation advertising start-up. He spent several years working in clean energy and transportation sectors at leading solar and electric vehicle companies.
Before entering the private sector, Sam held senior roles in government as a Chief of Staff in the United States House of Representatives, Legislative Counsel in the United States Senate and as a former Obama Administration official at the United States Department of Commerce. Sam began his career as a civil rights attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). During the 2018 primary election, Sam was a candidate for Congress in California's 39th congressional district
Lulu Seikaly is an employment and labor attorney based out of Dallas, Texas.
Lulu ran to be the first Arab-American Congresswoman elected from Texas in 2020. Prior to running for office, Lulu practiced law in California and Texas. Lulu was also an adjunct professor at UC Davis School of Law where she taught students how to advocate in the courtroom. Before entering the legal field, Lulu was very involved in Texas politics as she was a Field Director for a Texas Gubernatorial campaign.
Rebecca Abou-Chedid is a project finance attorney in Washington DC with a focus on renewable energy. She previously served as National Political Director at the Arab American Institute, the Director of Outreach at the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force, and a law clerk in the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the US Department of Justice. Rebecca also serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a non-profit organization promoting a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through grants, public programming, and research, and SEED for Change, a non-profit organization working to promote social, educational, and economic development and promote humanitarian assistance in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Honorary Advisory council:
Edward M. Gabriel
Ambassador Edward Gabriel has an extensive background in international affairs, having convened multilateral policy forums involving national security, environmental, trade, and energy issues. He has been involved in matters of Russian and European nuclear non-proliferation and safety, and he has been active in advising the US Government on Mideast policy matters. From November 1997 to March 2001, he was the US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. Currently, Ambassador Gabriel is President and CEO of The Gabriel Company, where he advises a number of American corporations and governments in the Middle East and North Africa on international business projects and policy matters.
He is President and CEO of the American Task Force for Lebanon, Founder and Chairman of the Moroccan American Center, the former Co-Chairman of the American Schools of Tangier and Marrakech, and a member of the boards of The Keystone Center, AMIDEAST, the Arab American National Museum, the Lebanese American University and the Arab American Institute.
Theodore (Ted) Kattouf
A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, did mid-career graduate work at Princeton. After four years in the U.S. Army, he joined the Foreign Service in 1972. From 1973 to 1998, he served at embassies in several Middle Eastern countries including as Deputy Chief of Mission at four different embassies. From 1998-2003, he was was appointed as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and subsequently to Syria. On September 2, 2003, he became President and CEO of AMIDEAST, an educational and training non-profit, that has been working since 1951 throughout the Middle East and North Africa. His fifteen years as AMIDEAST’s President have been marked by unprecedented growth, with revenues tripling and the organization’s endowment quintupling.
Nick J Rahall
Nick is the former U.S. Congressman representing West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. He served on both the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and also on the Public Works Committee, for the entire 19 consecutive terms that he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nick Rahall worked tirelessly to build and repair the Nation’s highways, bridges and ports, improve and modernize thousands of airports, and to provide critical water, sewer systems and flood control projects throughout West Virginia and across the Nation. Always advocating the U.S. best interest first, he has traveled the Middle East extensively and in recognition of his efforts he has received both the Philip C. Habib Distinguished Public Service Award in 1993; and the Najeeb Halaby Public Service Award in 2004, which was presented to him by Queen Noor of Jordan.
James co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm that has conducted groundbreaking surveys across the Middle East. For the past 3 decades, he has served in leadership roles in the Democratic National Committee and served 2 terms as a President Obama appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He writes a weekly column published in 12 countries. He is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-books, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion and 20 Years After Oslo, are drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.