Management Team

Francesca Freeman

Communication Director

Francesca Freeman is a Master’s student studying Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She previously served as a program assistant for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program at the Social Science Research Council.

Francesca graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a double major in anthropology and comparative race and ethnic studies and a minor in human rights. At the University of Chicago, she focused her research and advocacy work on conflict studies and early warning signs of genocide. She has previously worked on international grassroots mobilization against genocide and mass atrocities as the Student Director of STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities and as an intern for The Aegis Trust in Rwanda.

Abed Arnaout

IT Management

Abed Arnaout was among the first Jusoor’s scholarship receipients. He transfered from the University of Aleppo to Illinois Institute of Technology in 2012, and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked for Motorola Solutions for about 1.5 years then started his part time Master’s program in Software Engineering and joined Deutsche Bank as a Software Developer. Abed is obsessed with finding solutions for real life problems; he participated in and won several Hackathon competitions in multiple states in the U.S. Abed helped forming a new chapter for the Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects, and was involved in other organizations and social activities. He recently received a Certificate of Appreciation from US Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology for being mentor/coach in US FIRST program.

George Batah

Co-Founder of SYE

George Batah is based out of New York and works as a consultant at Deloitte. George is from Syria and moved to the U.S. in 2013 to continue his education at Illinois Institute of Technology where he obtained his bachelor degree in business in 2015.
He has recently been named a Schwarzman Scholar and is a part of the Global Shaper Community in NYC. In 2015, He carried on a successful petition to increase the number of refugees admitted by the US and has been invited to the White House. Eventually, the efforts led to the administration’s decision to increase the refugee cap and humanitarian aid to Syria.
George is one of “Syrian Youth Empowerment” co-founders. Besides being a mentor, his responsibilities include overseeing all SYE operations and strategy, fundraising ,and both volunteers and universities relations workstreams.

Majed Abdulsamad

Co-Founder of SYE

Majed is an architect and urban designer based in New York City. He was born and raised in Damascus, Syria, where he attended Damascus University briefly before moving to Chicago to receive his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He also holds a master in Architecture and Urban Design from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University. He currently works on urban design and transportation planning issues at the Global Designing Cities Initiative.
Majed is a co-founder of SYE and a mentor for the third year running.

Toufik Simo

Co-Founder of SYE

Toufik is a Credit Analyst at Braintree Payments, a PayPal company which empowers the payments systems of the world leading startups; Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Jet, etc. Toufik co-founded SYE and has led the financial reporting and operations for the organization. Mentoring is one of Toufik’s most rewarding personal experiences that shaped his life and views on the world. Therefore, every year Toufik is excited to meet new talented SYE students to boost their path to study in the US. In his spare time, Toufik loves to discover new neighborhoods in Chicago by biking around with a good friend and a book.

Araz Khajarian

Program Manager

Araz Khajarian is a graduate student at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education studying International Higher Education. Araz was born and raised in Damascus, Syria, she moved to the United States in 2015 to continue her education at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, where she obtained her bachelor degree in Global Studies with a concentration on International Development. During her time at Salve Regina, Araz conducted major research projects, one of which studied the Armenian Schools in Damascus and how they were affected by the war. Araz is currently the Program Manager at SYE, as well as, a mentor.