Our Board of Trustees

Dr Faiza El-Higzi

Chair of Board of Trustees

Dr Faiza El-Higzi is an academic and a nationally recognised social change advocate with extensive governance experience. Her contributions to the community were recognised in 2020 by an Order of Australia medal.

Faiza brings expertise across economic, social and cultural development having worked across the public, private, not-for-profit and academia. Faiza is currently an academic, research fellow and Deputy Chair of the Cultural Inclusion Council at the University of Queensland. Her current involvements include advising the Queensland state government through her roles in the Multicultural Council (2020-2025), the Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council (2016-2026) and the Metro South Health Consumers Council.

She utilises her skills and knowledge for public good as an executive director with several not-for-profit organisations. Nationally she is the Chair of Welcoming Cities, an initiative that accredits Australian cities as welcoming to refugees. She is also an active member of the National Ethnic and Media and Broadcasting Council. At the state level, she chairs the Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Queensland a community radio that broadcasts in 53 languages. She also sits on the board of the Queensland Council of Social Services.

Faiza has qualifications in architecture, international business, education and a doctorate in political science.
Her work in refugee advocacy and cultural diversity was recognised by a Human Rights Award from the Australian Institute for International Affairs (2013) and in 2018 she was awarded the Outstanding Individual Award by the Queensland Government.

Mahmoud Nahya

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Mahmoud, an experienced team leader, excels in Program and Project Management, Organizational Change Management, and Management Consulting, with over 20 years of business transformation experience. He’s known for delivering results and prioritizing people, combining business acumen, engineering qualifications, and technology expertise across various industries.

From a young age, Mahmoud has been involved in charity work, including collecting donations from mosques and managing charity projects such as establishing a kindergarten and distributing sponsorships to orphans and needy individuals. He’s also been actively engaged in community organizations, from their inception to managing projects as a board member.

Mahmoud holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering.

Dr Nora Amath

Director, Board of Trustees

Dr Nora Amath is a sociologist and a community developer whose research focuses on religion, multiculturalism and inter-community relations. She is the author of The Phenomenology of Community Activism: Muslim Civil Society Organisations in Australia; her writings have also appeared in several edited volumes and journals. Highly active in the Australian Muslim community, Nora is also a consultant and cross-cultural trainer for various Australian government agencies and organisations on issues related to Islam and Muslims. 

She is the founder and/or chair of a number of different organisations focused on supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including establishing a domestic violence shelter. In 2006, Nora received the prestigious award of Australian Muslim Woman of the Year; and in 2013, she received an Australia Day Community Award. In 2017 she was a finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards.

Samir Bennegadi

Director, Board of Trustees

Samir Bennegadi is a principled, educated professional with expertise and exposure in the fields of strategic planning, business development, and public relations. He has managed portfolios exceeding AUD 250 million and a workforce of over 2,500 employees.

During the past 25 years, he has worked closely with the Australian Muslim community across faith-based initiatives, and welfare and charitable projects including the establishment of educational institutions, places of worship, orphan sponsorship programs etc. He sits on various boards for renowned charitable organisations locally and internationally, and is an adviser to several Islamic community organisations in Australia.

Dr Ihab Saad

Director, Board of Trustees

Dr Ihab Saad is a professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Management. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in Civil Engineering from Cairo University. After practising for nine years, he moved to the United States for further postgraduate studies. He then obtained a Master’s degree and PhD from the University of Kentucky.

Dr Saad has taught and consulted in multiple countries over the past 30 years, and seen his work published in engineering and construction management journals. He joined the board of Islamic Relief USA in 2005, and was Chair from 2011 to 2014. He stepped down from the board in 2017 and was invited to rejoin in 2019.

Ibrahim El Zayat

Director, Board of Trustees

Ibrahim El Zayat is an academic from the German universities of Darmstadt, Marburg and Cologne. He holds a Masters in Economics. His work focuses on the study of Law and Islamic Economics, placing special emphasis on the economic challenges of developing countries. He holds various positions in several of Europe’s Muslim organisations. In addition, he regularly lectures on issues concerning integration and Muslim identity in European countries, as well as Islamic Finance and Economics.

Ahmed Hegazi

Director, Board of Trustees

Ahmed is a management and communications academic, currently teaching at Australian universities, including the Australian Catholic University, the University of Sydney, and the University of New South Wales. He’s a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy-UK and received the 2021 Innovation Excellence Award.

Active in strategy, governance, development economics, intercultural communication, and conflict resolution, Ahmed served on the boards of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Postgraduate Council at The University of New South Wales (UNSW).

His education includes a Bachelor of Human Resources Management from the Australian Catholic University (ACU), a Master of Communications Management in Public Relations from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management-UNSW with an exchange at Yale School of Management.

Ahmed is committed to fostering collaboration, and harmony, and maximizing the common good and prosperity in the future.