Our Team

Reem Abbas, Yafa Kasem

Reem Abbas & Yafa Kasem
MARIE-JOSE VAN SCHAIK
OLGA DE WIT

Founder: @nooranila

Anila Noor is a refugee-activist, Research based in the Netherlands.  As a consultant, she also works with different institutions on designing engagement projects related to refugees and humanitarian situation.Noor has diverse experience working with national and international nonprofit organizations and causes namely dealing with peace-building efforts, refugee integration, and education special focus on women Rights. She has been active in advocating for refugee resettlement and social/political engagement of refugees in the Europe. Noor is an active public speaker and has spoken at numerous Internationally significant Events.

Anila Noor,  initiated  New Women Connectors, a movement striving for mainstreaming the unheard voices of migrant and refugee women living across Europe. New Women Connectors is a perspective-shift to the refugee agenda and advocates inclusion than integration as a policy choice. The movement also helps newcomer refugee women to lift their spirits and make something of it. She found herself involved in the subjects of forced migration and identity crisis, when she had to go through the same experience. Since, she has been working as a refugee social entrepreneur  focusing Forced Migration, Asylum, Refugee Policies and Advocacy for the rights of Migrants. Noor is currently working on the subject of Receiving Refugees in Urban Settings: Narratives from the European Countries.

Advisory Board

Shada Islam
Director for Europe & Geopolitics

Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and
publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the
Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of
Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in
Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review
and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one
of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after
as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events.
Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and
development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic
journals.
Twitter: @shada_islam
Chaired by Shada Islam
Director for Europe & Geopolitics

Twitter: @shada_islam

Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and
publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic
journals.

Alexandra Dufresne

Alexandra Dufresne An American Lawyer

Alexandra Dufresne is an American lawyer for refugees and childrenAlexandra Dufresne is an American lawyer for refugees and children, based in Zurich, Switzerland. In the U.S., she specialized in representing low-income refugees and immigrants detained by the Department of Homeland Security. She also taught seminars in Immigration, Refugee and Child Law and Policy at Yale College from 2006-2015 and worked as a lawyer for children at leading children’s rights NGOs. While in the U.S., she served on the Board of IRIS, New Haven’s refugee resettlement NGO. Alexandra moved with her family to Switzerland in 2016, where she teaches law at ZHAW and The University of Zurich Faculty of Law (starting Fall 2020) and is writing a textbook about American law. Alexandra serves on the Board of Trustees of Asylos, a Brussels-based NGO dedicated to providing asylum seekers and their counsel with high-quality human rights information, and continues to advise refugee lawyers in the U.S. on questions of law and strategy.

Germany BASED BOARD MEMBER Shaza AL rIHAWI

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Shaza Al Rihawi from Germany NWC Advisory Board Member. Shaza is a Syrian Refugee resident in Bamberg, Germany who is deeply involved in human rights issues and has first-hand experience in dealing with refugees and women’s crisis. Currently working on a five-year research project at the LifBi Institute as a research assistant for culture aspects, conducting Longitudinal Research on Refugees in the German Educational System. Previously worked as a senior community service assistant for 8 years, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in Damascus. Prior to that, worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Centre for Strategic Studies in Syria. Shaza hold a Bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate degree in sociology and a Master in psychosocial work. In addition to political science from Maxwell School-Syracuse University.

Barcelona BASED BOARD MEMBER ANALUCIA

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AnaLucía Olivos Pairazamán for being part of Our Advisory Board from Spain. She has been living in Barcelona for 27 years. She graduated in Political Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and has two Master degrees in International Cooperation from University of Valencia (UV) and in Immigration Management from Pompeu Fabra University.

She has experience in international migration projects as a result of her participation as Peer Advisor in a project led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Besides this, Ana Lucía knows many organisations and NGOs with a focus on Migration in Barcelona. She has worked as a job counsellor for migrants and refugees to support their labour market integration. In her free time, she participates in different activities and projects to raise awareness and to promote interculturality in the city of Barcelona.

Geneva Based Board Member Farida T. Bena

Our New Board Member Farida T. Bena, Director of Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee 

Farida joined the IRC in 2017 as Director of Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, based in Geneva. She brings over 20 years of experience in programming, policy and advocacy with a special focus on accountability and aid effectiveness. Among her previous roles, she worked for the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) from 2013 to 2015 and consulted for UNICEF, the European Commission, Save the Children, CARE International and others in fifteen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

Farida established the first Oxfam International office in Italy and subsequently held a variety of Oxfam roles from 2007 to 2013. Prior to that, she founded and directed IRC Belgium, the Brussels chapter of the International Rescue Committee. She also worked for IRC in the field from 2003 to 2005 as Coordinator of a child protection consortium in DR Congo. 

Farida holds a Master’s degree in international relations from Yale University and another Master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Milan. Among her publications is her contribution to the first OECD-UNDP report Making Development Co-operation More Effective and a blog on accountability and citizen engagement, Kiliza – Listening to Southern Citizens.