MR. JOHN PRATT
Mr. John Pratt has spent over 45 years in the Middle East and North Africa, and is Chairman of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Board of Directors. Prior to joining the National Council, Mr. Pratt concluded a 35-year career with Saudi Aramco. His assignments included Government Relations postings in Jeddah, Yanbu, Riyadh, and Dhahran. He served as a Member of the Planning Staff of the Senior Vice President for Industrial Relations, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Management Services, U.S. Company Affairs Coordinator handling technical relations with ExxonMobil and Chevron, and Coordinator of the Law Department Transformation Project. For 25 years Mr. Pratt was an active member of the American Business Association of the Eastern Province, serving as Vice President for External Affairs and Chairman of the Issues Committee. He is a former Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce regional organization in the Arabian Gulf, the Middle East Council of the American Chambers of Commerce, and a past member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s International Policy Committee. Prior to moving to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Pratt worked for the Republican National Committee, the Peace Corps training program in Yemen, and was Peace Corps project director in Bahrain. Mr. Pratt is a graduate of Stanford University, where he was an Albert J. Hettinger Scholar, and studied at the American University of Beirut writing on Yemeni Affairs.
MS. ELIZABETH WOSSEN
Ms. Elizabeth Wossen is Principal and Lead Consultant for Energy Links Group (ELG) LLC, a Washington-based firm providing strategic and political counsel to select clients. ELG also assists in linking U.S. companies with Middle Eastern and African counterparts to identify and assess business and investment opportunities. Ms. Wossen serves as Treasurer on the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Board of Directors.
Ms. Wossen previously served as Coordinator of Congressional and Government Relations for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, USA Inc. (KPCUSA). In that capacity, she worked to maintain and enhance KPCUSA’s relationships with members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs, the Executive Branch, international oil companies, and the U.S. think tank community. Prior to joining KPCUSA, Ms. Wossen served in the Congressional Affairs Office of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, including during Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
Ms. Wossen has been and remains engaged with numerous non-profit and charitable organizations.
Independent Voting Members
MS. SUSAN WILSON BYNUM
Ms. Susan Wilson Bynum is a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. She previously served on the National Council’s International Advisory Board.
Ms. Bynum’s interest in the Middle East and Islamic world grew out of a summer experience in Egypt on the Experiment in International Living, where she was Ohio Wesleyan University’s Community Ambassador. Her Experiment group included National Council Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony and renowned Council Board Member Dr. Mario Pascale, who was the group leader. Ms. Bynum’s interest deepened during a subsequent summer living in Pakistan, made possible through her winning a national contest for promoting the Experiment on a college campus.
Ms. Bynum has worked in marketing and public relations for non-profit and government organizations managing health and mental health concerns, and for publishing and financial services companies. She also established a consulting firm that provides providing customer research and planning services.
Over the past forty years, Ms. Bynum has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Arab-American Family Support Center, a settlement house whose mission is empowering immigrants and helping their families. She is active in the United Methodist Church (UMC), having held various roles at Christ Church UMC in New York City, and served as Treasurer of the New York Annual Conference, as a Member of the Committee on Native American Ministries, and, currently, as a Board Member of Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation. Ms. Bynum is also an English tutor for young Hispanic mothers at El Nido de Esperanza.
In addition to her degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, Ms. Bynum earned a Master’s Degree from Harvard Business School.
COLONEL (RET.) ABBAS DAHOUK
Colonel (Ret.) Abbas Dahouk is the Founder and President of HyphenPoint LLC focusing on illuminating mutual strategic interests and bridging divides between the U.S. and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations in Washington, D.C. Abbas is a frequent commentator on U.S.-Middle East political and military affairs appearing on Al Arabiya TV, Al-Hadath TV, Alhurra TV, Al-Shariq TV, and other media outlets.
Abbas was born and raised in Lebanon. During the Lebanese Civil War, he joined the local Druze militia at the age of 15 and subsequently travelled to the former Soviet Union at the age of 17 where he received military low-intensity conflict training in Simferopol City, Crimea Peninsula. At the age of 21, he traveled to the U.S. seeking higher education and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in the U.S. Army for 33 years as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne division along with multiple other staff and leadership assignments throughout Europe and the Middle East during periods of war and peace. As a soldier-diplomat, Abbas served at the U.S. Department of State as a Senior Military Advisor for the Bureaus of Near Eastern Affairs and Political-Military Affairs; Defense and Army Attaché to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia representing three consecutive Secretaries of Defense: Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter, and Jim Mattis. As a soldier-professor, he served as an Associate Professor of Arabic and Persian-Farsi at the U.S. Military Academy of West Point, NY.
Abbas holds two Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Arizona—a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies; and two Master’s Degrees – an M.A. in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University.
Abbas has been inducted to the U.S. Army OCS Hall of Fame and honored with numerous U.S. and foreign awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Medal, National Intelligence Meritorious Citation, King Salman of Saudi Arabia Military Appreciation Medal-First Class and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Global War on Terrorism Medal – Expeditionary and Service, Kuwait Liberation Medal (from the Government of Kuwait), and Multinational Force and Observers Medal.
DR. RAYMOND JALLOW
Dr. Raymond Jallow is an internationally-recognized business executive, investment advisor, economic forecaster, and financial specialist. He is the Chairman of Jallow International Ltd. of Los Angeles, California.
Before starting his own firm, Dr. Jallow was the Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist of First Interstate Bank. For more than fifteen years he guided the bank’s investments and money management strategies as it became one of the most profitable banks in the United States. First Interstate grew from a small savings bank to become the seventh largest banking institution in America before its consolidation with Wells Fargo Bank.
In his practice as Chief Economist, Dr. Jallow developed an annual economic forecast presentation and has delivered more than eighty such presentations every year in the U.S., Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. He has published fourteen annual reports with 100,000 copies distributed worldwide each year.
As an economic advisor, Dr. Jallow has appeared in national and international media, and has been quoted by publications including Time, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, and The Los Angeles Times . He has been an advisor on economic policies and Middle East strategies for seven U.S. presidential administrations.
Dr. Jallow is deeply involved in philanthropy and he supports numerous cultural organizations, educational institutions, economics profession entities, and civil rights and human rights advocacy groups. He has received numerous awards for his career achievements and civic engagements, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Lifetime Achievement Award. ADC has subsequently established The Dr. Raymond Jallow Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented at each ADC Annual Convention.
Dr. Jallow has served in leadership positions on numerous boards and committees. He currently serves as a Distinguished International Economic Affairs Fellow and a Member of the Board of Directors at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
Dr. Jallow was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics from the University of Baghdad. He earned a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School.
MS. PAIGE PETERSON
Ms. Paige Peterson serves on the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Board of Directors.
As a journalist, Ms. Peterson has reported on the Middle East and the Arab region, and contributed writing and photography to Marin Magazine, the New York Social Diary, and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Arabia, the Gulf, and the GCC blog. Her most recent book is Growing Up Belvedere-Tiburon. She is the co-author, with Christoper Cerf, and illustrator of Blackie: The Horse Who Stood Still. She is also the illustrator of adaptations of A Christmas Carol and Black Beauty.
As a painter, Ms. Peterson is represented by Gerald Peters Gallery in New York and has been honored by The Guild Hall Academy of the Arts in East Hampton. She is Author and Artist in Residence at Literacy Partners, and a board member of Catmosphere and the Safari West Wildlife Foundation in addition to her service with the National Council.
Raised in Belvedere, California, Ms. Peterson has two adult children and lives in New York City.
MR. TOM SAMS
Mr. Thomas A. Sams is a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. He retired in 2015 after a 36-year career in the Office of the Middle East within the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. His public service career focused on developing and implementing trade policy and promotion programs between the United States and the countries in the Middle East, including the Gulf, Levant, and North Africa.
In 1984, Mr. Sams was a member of the U.S. government interagency delegation that negotiated the first bilateral commercial agreement between the United States and Iraq, when relations were restored after a 17-year hiatus. Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Sams was the Commerce Department’s primary interlocutor in the Gore-Mubarak Partnership Initiative, which served as an umbrella for U.S.-Egypt engagement in a variety of areas including trade, environment, education, and science and technology. Under the Partnership, Mr. Sams established the U.S.-Egypt Presidents’ Council, a body of senior U.S. and Egyptian business executives who provided policy recommendations on steps Egypt could take to develop a more robust private sector and attract foreign direct investment.
Between 2002 and 2004, at the State Department’s request, Mr. Sams served as the Egypt Economic and Trade Officer in the Office of Egypt and North Africa within the Department’s Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. He also served twice as the Acting Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Mr. Sams traveled to the region frequently as the Commerce Department representative to advance U.S. business interests in trade policy and promotion activities.
Mr. Sams received his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in International Relations and his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan in Middle East Area Studies. He also studied at Haigazian College in Beirut, the University of Kuwait, and the American University in Cairo.
MR. OLIVER ZANDONA
Mr. Oliver Zandona is a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. He retired in 2013 from Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mr. Zandona served as Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, ExxonMobil Iraq, prior to his retirement, and was previously Manager, Middle East and North Africa, International Government Relations, in Washington, DC. His career included assignments focused on ExxonMobil’s project development activity in Saudi Arabia, its joint venture operations in Abu Dhabi, and other ExxonMobil business interests in the Middle East. He worked in Abu Dhabi as Head of Business Planning for the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, and in Qatar as Manager, New Business Development, with responsibilities for ExxonMobil’s business development activities in Qatar.
Mr. Zandona was a board member of various organizations in Washington including the Board of Advisors at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, the Board of Governors at the Middle East Institute, and the Board of Directors at American Near East Refugee Aid. He represented ExxonMobil on several business councils including the US-Qatar Business Council, the US-UAE Business Council, the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, and the US-Libyan Business Association.