Board Members

George Asseily

George Asseily

OBE (Chairman)

George Asseily was born in Beirut and educated in Lebanon and England, at Leeds University and the London School of Economics. He spent many years in Lebanon managing industrial and commercial enterprises and was President of the Lebanese Industrialists Association as well as director of the Beirut Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He was an executive director of the Schroder Asseily group, a joint venture with Schroders Plc, the international merchant bank, and a director of The Royal Bank of Canada, Middle East SAL.

In 1984 he co-founded the British Lebanese Association and the Centre for Lebanese Studies, of which he is presently Chairman of the Board of Governors. This is an independent academic research institution that aims to promote international understanding of Lebanon and its related issues and challenges.

Alexandra Asseily

Alexandra Asseily

Member of the board of directors

Alexandra Asseily together with her husband George Asseily helped to found the Centre for Lebanese Studies in 1984. She has been on the board of governors since then and a member of the Research committee for many years.

She is on the Board of the Guerrand Hermes Foundation for Peace, on the council of Ara Pacis, Rome and a member of the Leadership Council at Harvard Divinity School and a former member of the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University.

In 1978 she was co-ordinator of International Aid Organisations on the Higher Relief Committee Lebanon after the first Israeli invasion. In 2001, she created the Silk Museum in Bsous – Lebanon with her husband George Asseily. As witness to the civil war in Lebanon, Alexandra Asseily decided to explore her own responsibility for war and peace and became a psychotherapist. In 1998 she initiated Hadiquat as Samah, the Garden of Forgiveness in Central Beirut.

Leila Buheiry

Leila Buheiry

Member of the board of directors

Born and educated in Beirut Leila Buheiry had a long career in banking, both commercial and investment, the last twenty years of which have been in private banking with Schroder Asseily and Co. Limited in London.

She is the co-author with her husband Marwan Buheiry, the first director of the CLS, two of the books in the Splendor Series: Splendor of Lebanon and Splendor of the Holy Land. In Lebanon she was a member of the Baalbeck Festival Committee for many years, and in the UK she was Chairman of the American University Alumni Association and is a member Board of Trustees of The Peace & Prosperity Trust, a charity to promote the exchange of culture between the West and the Middle East through the language of music.

She now has her own property management company which she established since she retired from banking.

Marwan Chatila

Marwan Chatila

Member of the board of directors

After being educated in Beirut at the International College and Saint Joseph School, Marwan Chatila graduated from the American University in Paris in International Business.

He is also a graduate gemologist from the Gemmological Institute of America. He later joined the family business in Geneva in 1984 and moved to London in 1987 to establish Chatila in London.

He is married to Azia Economidou and has one daughter.

Mohammed Choukeir

Mohammed Choukeir

Member of the board of directors

Mohammed is a senior portfolio manager for a US investment bank in London. Prior to that he worked in proprietary trading in New York and Madrid. Mohammed has an undergraduate degree with first class honours from King’s College, University of London, and is currently undertaking a postgraduate degree at the London Business School.

He is also a CFA charter holder and a member of the CFA institute. Mohammed sits on the boards of several charities and NGOs, with a particular focus on Lebanon and education. He has helped devise and lead many fundraising initiatives, including climbing Kilimanjaro to raise over $200,000 to rebuild schools in Lebanon.

He is also a school governor at a primary school in London, where he chairs the finance committee.

Ghias el-Yafi

Ghias el-Yafi

Member of the board of directors

Born in Beirut, he got his BA in economics from the American University of Beirut and went on to do an MBA at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

He worked for several years in banking and finance before setting up and running Tahira Foods Limited a Europe-wide distributor of own brand of halal products.

He is Chairman of the Board of the Berry Juice Company Limited and is also a founder member of the Center for Lebanese Studies and the British Lebanese Association having served as treasurer for the latter for several years.

Youssef Khlat

Youssef Khlat

Treasurer

Youssef Khlat is managing director and Global Head of High Yield Capital Markets. In this role, he oversees the origination, structuring and execution of high yield bond issues for Credit Agricole CIB’s clients located around the world. He joined Credit Agricole CIB in August 2009 from BNP Paribas where he was head of European High Yield Capital Markets and Deputy Head of European Leverages Finance.

Prior to BNP, he worked at Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust. Youssef has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a MA from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Dalia Salam Rishani

Dalia Salam Rishani

Member of the board of directors

In 1996 Dalia Salaam Rishani established Hood Hood Books, a publishing house specialising in children’s books on the Islamic and Eastern civilisations. Her aim is to make Islam, the religion and the civilisation, more accessible to people of all faiths.

Dalia Salaam Rishani was born Dalia Hany Salaam to a political family in Beirut, Lebanon. She has a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (USA).

Currently living in London, Dalia is a trustee of the Next Century Foundation, an organisation that brings together media personalities from the Middle East with the aim of promoting better understanding of and within the region. She is also an executive director of the British-Lebanese Association, where she sits on the board of a scholarship fund. The fund supports Lebanese students for higher education in Britain in areas where they can be of service to Lebanon. She is also a governor of the Centre for Lebanese Studies.

Basim Ziadeh

Basim Ziadeh

Member of the board of directors

Basim Ziadeh was educated in International College in Beirut and studied architecture at the American University of Beirut. He then had an M.Sc. in Architecture from the University of Bristol. In 1978, he established Areen Architects and Engineers with two partners and moved the operation to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and London, UK.

He has been in the design and construction business and has been involved in many projects in the Middle East. In 1982, he helped to establish Roots Group, which has evolved into a major player in the sale of building materials in the MENA region.

He is also involved with several charitable causes in the field of architectural education foremost of which is the Areen Lecture series at the AUB in Beirut.

To view the list of Patrons, Trustees and Founding Board of Governors, please click here.