Our Team


Lina Abou-Habib

Director

Lina Abou-Habib is the Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut as well as the Gender Project Director of the MEPI-TLS program at AUB. She is a feminist activist and researcher with a long career working with local, regional, and international institutions including the Royal Tropical Institute on gender mainstreaming and feminist activism. She has designed, implemented, and led multi-year gender equality initiatives including training, research, and community actions, and served on many local and international boards including AWID where she served as the Board Secretary and Chair from 2008 to 2012. Abou-Habib is a member of the editorial committee of the Gender and Development journal and serves on the Board of Haven for Artists. She also designs and teaches a number of undergraduate gender courses at AUB.


Hala Yanni

Finance and Grants Manager

Hala Yanni manages the administrative and financial matters of the Institute, including budgeting, financial reporting, systemizing office logistics, and University liaison. She is directly responsible for all the financial matters of the office, including the recording and tracking of grants and their proposals. She monitors and coordinates the administration of post-award grants to ensure that budgeting and administrative policies, procedures, allowable and non-allowable costs, reporting, and funding agency requirements are being followed.

Prior to joining the Asfari Institute, Ms. Yanni served as a Financial Analyst at the Office of Financial Planning at AUB (2013-2014); Executive Officer at the Vice President for Facilities at AUB (2012-2013); Internal Auditor at BLOM Bank (2008-2012); Administrative Officer at the Auxiliary Services at AUB (2004-2008); and External Auditor at KPMG (2002-2004). Ms. Yanni received her MBA with an emphasis in internal audit from the Lebanese American University (LAU) in June 2010.


Fatima Nasser

Administrative Officer

Fatima Nasser graduated from AUB with a MA in Public Administration focusing on Consultancy Management and Public Policy. Her thesis is on “Women Leadership in Disaster Management: Case of Beirut Blast”. She has a BA in Public Administration from AUB. Nasser has received Erasmus+ Staff training certification on Celebrating 50 years of Inclusivity and Sustainability in International Education at the University of Limerick in Ireland (2022).

Before joining the Asfari Institute, she was an intern at the Issam Fares Institute (2017-2018) and World Vision (2017-2018). Nasser received two training workshop certifications on Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Nawaya-UNICEF and the Switchmed Program. She has also worked as a part-time work-study student in several departments at AUB and AUBMC (2015-2018).


Carla Akil

Senior Research Assistant

Carla Akil is a researcher and a project coordinator who has extensive experience in advocacy for gender equality, including developing and implementing social media campaigns as well as organizing and moderating webinars. Her research work is focused on women’s rights and gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including internalized misogyny, feminist funding narratives, and feminist collective action. Carla has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the American University of Beirut.


Islam Elrabieey

Senior Researcher & Consultant

Islam ElRabieey is a senior researcher–consultant in political sociology. He was a senior researcher at Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms (Egypt). He wrote several reports on human rights in Egypt; criminal justice, free trials, places of detention, and capital punishment. He holds an M.A. in Human Rights and Democracy from Saint Joseph University in Beirut. He has published several research articles on Transnational Social Movements in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. He works at the Institute on the program: Beyond the Pandemic: Structure of Opportunities and Challenges for Transforming Arab States and Civil Societies.


Marwan Issa

Research Assistant

Marwan Issa works on several programs at the Institute and coordinates projects with partner civil society organizations, particularly advocacy and activist groups. He is a writer and researcher specializing in sociopolitical analysis with a focus on Lebanon and Western Asia.


Montaha Nottah

Program Coordinator

Montaha Nottah is a Political Studies graduate and a MEPI-TL alumna with triple minors in the Non-profit Sector, Human Rights, and International Law from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Montaha has volunteered and worked with several international and local organizations across the world. Her fields of interest include youth empowerment, humanitarian aid, migration, and gender studies with an eye focused on the MENA region, especially Libya and Lebanon.


On secondment 

Vanessa Zammar

Research Assistant

Vanessa Zammar is a researcher at the Asfari Institute, a Sociology graduate student at the American University of Beirut, a period poverty activist, and co-founder of Jeyetna, a feminist collective based in Lebanon. She is currently writing her thesis about women’s strategies within the Lebanese sectarian and patriarchal legal and bureaucratic systems. Mixed-heritage daughter of the diaspora she was born and raised in Switzerland and settled in Lebanon in 2018 to volunteer with Palestinian and Syrian women in a school. This experience steered her interest in how women go about xenophobic and sexist legal/bureaucratic systems. Her feminist perspective is one based on intersectional political solidarity & sisterhood and this is how she addresses the fight against period poverty.

Reham Kannout Alrefaei

Research Assistant

Reham Kannout Alrefaei is an intersectional and eco-feminist from Syria based in Lebanon. In the past 16 years, she moved from graphic design, advertisement, and radio announcing, to media analysis, gender studies, and psych-education; her eclectic background and interests create a path that she likes to call narratives’ creation and analysis. Currently, she works as a research assistant with the SAWT project at the Arab Reform Initiative, and she’s an affiliate of the Asfari Institute.

Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship

American University of Beirut

BEIRUT

PO Box 11-0236

Riad El Solh, ​1107 2020
Beirut, Lebanon

Tel: +961-1-350000 EXT. 4469

NEW YORK

The Debs Center, 3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 8th floor
New York, NY 10017-2303, USA

Tel: 1-212-583-7600