Our Team

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Hazami Sayed: Executive Director

Hazami Sayed
Hazami Sayed

Hazami, an Arab-American, grew up in the Arab region and came to the U.S. to pursue higher education. She began Al-Bustan with the launch of a language and cultural day camp in July 2002, which grew out of a desire to develop a creative and supportive environment where her young boys could learn the Arabic language and be immersed in the richness of Arab arts and culture while navigating their place in American society. Hazami has worked in the fields of architecture and urban development in Philadelphia and New York City. Her areas of research were community development and affordable urban housing in which she was a consultant and taught a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a photographer and has exhibited her work in Philadelphia. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University and Master of Architecture from Columbia University. Hazami is a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s 2012 Transformation Award given to Philadelphia-area women artists committed to art-making for social change. She is the mother of two boys, ages 21 and 18 years.


Nora Elmarzouky: Director of Education

Nora Elmarzouky
Nora Elmarzouky

Nora grew up between Egypt and Pennsylvania. With a BA from Tufts University in International Relations, coupled with her studies in Spain, Morocco, and the Czech Republic, her interest in the interactions between humans, culture, identity, and the built environment was enhanced. In Egypt, she worked on various research projects related to human development. She led a service-learning course to engage students in building relationships across socio-economic divides with communities of greater Cairo. Nora returned to the US in 2013 to pursue a Masters at Parsons School of Design in Theories of Urban Practice, focusing her research on the intersections of public education and urban revitalization. She joined Al-Bustan in October 2015.

 


Hanna Khoury: Director of Music Program

Hanna Khoury
Hanna Khoury

Hanna is a violinist trained in the classical traditions of Arab and Western music. In 2010 he received the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts for his exemplary talent in Arab music. Hanna obtained his Master’s Degree in Music from Temple University. A recipient of the America-Israel Scholarship and Qattan Foundation Award, he graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors from UCLA with a Bachelors in Economics and Music Performance. Hanna began teaching music with Al-Bustan in spring 2009. He leads the development of Al-Bustan’s music program in schools and the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble and Music Concert Series.

 


Hafez Kotain: Percussion Director

Hafez Kotain

Hafez is a master percussionist fluent in both Arab and Latin rhythms. Born in Venezuela of Syrian heritage, he grew up in Syria until the age of 16 years. He began playing the doumbek at the age of seven years, made his first stage performance at nine years, and went on to study with master Syrian percussionist Hady Jazan, winning the national percussion competitions in Syria for five consecutive years. In Venezuela he studied percussion at the TMV Institute for Music in Valencia, where he also taught a variety of percussion styles blending Arab and Latino music to youth. He works with Al-Bustan throughout the year, teaching music at summer camp, weekly percussion classes at several Philadelphia schools, and a weekly percussion ensemble class at University of Pennsylvania. Hafez is a recipient of the prestigious 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which is awarded each year to 12 Philadelphia artists who are of exemplary talent.


Kinan Abou-afach: Cellist & Resident Composer/Arranger

Kinan Abou-afach

Kinan, a Syrian-born cellist and composer, is a recipient of the 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts.  He received his Bachelors degree in cello performance with a minor in oud performance from the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. He relocated to Chicago in 2000 to pursue a master’s degree at the DePaul University School of Music.  Kinan is also a composer, writing music that is influenced by Eastern and Western traditions. Al-Bustan has commissioned him for several new compositions, notably:  “Roads to Damascus” with visual artist Kevork Mourad premiered in February 2013; {De}perception with digital artist Ayman Alalao premiered in May 2015, “Of Night of Solace: Fantasia on Andalusian Muwashshah Poetry” premiered in December 2015, and “Nur: One Breath, One Soul” premiered in April 2016.


Adam Amin: Marketing Associate

Adam Amin
Adam Amin

Adam, an Egyptian American, is experienced in marketing and brand and event management. He has a BA in Integrated Marketing Communication from the American University in Cairo and has taken coursework in media law and international relations at universities in Egypt, the UK, and the US. Raised between Cairo and the US, Adam has a personal appreciation of the need for increased intercultural exchange between the West and the Arab World.  He joined Al-Bustan in August 2016.

 
 


Max Dugan: Program Coordinator

Max Dugan
Max Dugan

Max is a native Philadelphian, passionate about intercultural exchange and the Arabic language. He returned in 2014 to Philadelphia after graduating from Kenyon College where he earned a BA with highest honors in Religious Studies and a Minor in Arabic. To further his Arabic and cultural understanding Max attended the Middlebury Summer Arabic program, studied abroad in Cairo with Amideast, and traveled to Oman as part of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center SALAM program. Max began working with Al-Bustan in summer 2014, eager to spread Arab arts, culture, and language in Philadelphia and beyond.

 


Elisabeth Jaquette: Coordinator of (DIS)PLACED Project

Elisabeth Jaquette
Elisabeth Jaquette

Elisabeth has worked in the field of Arab arts and culture for many years. She grew up in the US and lived in Egypt from 2007 to 2013, where she was part of a team that produced an exhibition at the Townhouse Gallery and taught drama and photography to middle school students. She is a translator of Arabic literature, most recently of The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz (Melville House, 2016), and chaired an Arabic literature reading group series for UK publisher And Other Stories. Elisabeth has a MA in Anthropology from Columbia University, a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College, and was a CASA fellow at the American University in Cairo. She joined Al-Bustan in November 2016.

 


Ayman Alalao: Digital Designer

Ayman Alalao
Ayman Alalao

Ayman is a digital designer with over eight years experience in the design field, focused on web and interactive projects. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, Ayman studied Visual Communication at Damascus University School of Fine Arts and in May 2011 completed his Master of Science in Digital Design at Philadelphia University. Ayman has been working part-time with Al-Bustan since fall 2009.

 

 
 


Bushra Alfaraj: Transformative Leaders Fellow

bushraa
Bushra Alfaraj

Bushra, an Arab American, spent most of her life among multicultural groups within the Middle East and the United States. She recently completed her Master of Science in Digital Media from Drexel University, and holds a degree in journalism from the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Having been surrounded by diversity throughout her lifetime, she is passionate about bridging cultural gaps while celebrating unique identity traits among people, and strongly believes that the arts are an ideal method of highlighting common values and interests. Bushra has blogged for Al-Bustan as a contributing author, and joined the team as a Fellow for the National Network for Arab American Communities’ Transformative Leaders Program in September 2016.