Somayeh is currently the Director at the Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF). She is also a consultant to Our Three Winners Foundation (OTWF). She has launched ISF’s operations and programs and has been expanding the work of the organization since. She has a B.A. in Architectural Design from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a part-time MPA student at San Francisco State University. Prior to accepting her position at ISF, she was the Principal of Farsi Andeesheh School at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California. She serves on the board of Northern California Islamic Council (NCIC). She enjoys yoga, painting, reading, cooking, hiking and biking with her two daughters and husband.
Director of Film Grant
Iman Zawahry was born in Panama City, Florida in 1980. To get through the mundane and interesting societal norms of Panama City, Iman and her friends used movies and their young imagination to pass the time. They created spoof productions of the Arsenio Hall show and 90210, complete with full commercial breaks in between. In 1998, she moved to Gainesville, FL to attend the University of Florida where she received a BA in Religion and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Upon graduation Iman worked with Bridges TV, the first American Muslim Television network, as a free-lance journalist. In 2006 Iman attended Florida State University Film School and directed three short films, of which “Tough Crowd” was awarded an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Student Emmy Award and the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Award of Merit. “Tough Crowd” has also been accepted to over 15 film festivals around the country. In 2008 Iman was awarded the Princess Grace Award and is in currently finishing her fourth film in the fall. Iman is ISF’s first Film Scholarship Recipient.
Dr. Maha Hilal
Dr. Maha Hilal is the co-Director of Justice for Muslims Collective where she focuses on political education addressing institutionalized Islamophobia. Previously, she was the inaugural Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. where she produced research and writing on the consequences of the War on Terror on the Muslim community. Dr. Hilal is also an organizer with Witness Against Torture and a Council member of the School of the Americas Watch. She earned her doctorate in May 2014 from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. The title of her dissertation is “Too damn Muslim to be trusted”: The War on Terror and the Muslim American response. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling and her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked at a number of human rights/social justice organizations including the Center for Victims of Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and the Government Accountability Project. Dr. Hilal was previously a Christine Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences as well as a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic study in Morocco.
Hani Kharufeh is a student at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently majoring in Economics and Near Eastern Studies with an emphasis on Arabic. Hani has over five years experience in web and graphic design, Aside from community development, Hani is very passionate about the Palestinian cause and unity in the Muslim world.