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Meet Our Board

United States Board Members

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after a visit to Egypt, her childhood home. She found a country struggling with widespread poverty and decided to make a difference. She began by taking care of 45 girls in a Cairo orphanage with the help of family and friends.  She worked as a volunteer for 12 years before becoming the Executive Director in 2000. She holds a Master's degree in Public Administration a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering both from Polytechnic Virginia Institute. She has worked for the Federal Government for 17 years with the US Department of State and the Internal Revenue Service. In recognition of her work, Nermien was selected by the National Council of Nonprofits as a delegate for the nonprofit congress. She is also the recipient of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area Community Human Rights award. Nermien is married with two children who are also very committed to the betterment of Egypt.


Dr. Ashraf Rofail - Chairman of the Board - is Chairman and CEO of Santeon Group, Inc. a publically traded company focused on the Healthcare, Energy, Media and technology solutions. Prior to founding Santeon Group, Ash served as Chief Technology Officer for User Technology Associates, a $100 M software consultancy with over 1000 employees. Ash was responsible for setting technology strategy and technical leadership. Ash has provided strategic technical vision for several successful and innovative products as Chief Architect for Best Software (acquired by Sage), Product Architect for Solomon/Great Plains (acquired by Microsoft), and State of the Art Software (acquired by Sage). Ash is a thought leader in enterprise software as a member of Microsoft's Visual Basic advisory board since 1997; patent holder for artificial intelligence technology; author of 6 software engineering books on topics such as XML, .NET, COM/DCOM, building n-Tier Applications and Service Oriented Architectures; and Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Business. Ash holds a PhD Artificial Intelligence and MS Computer Science. 


Raouf Youssef is currently Managing Partner of Global Development Associates, LLC, a U.S.-based consultancy that focuses on international development and foreign affairs. He is a USAID veteran of 34 years having served in 5 overseas missions and several regional missions.  While at USAID, Mr. Youssef managed the power and telecommunications portfolio ($1.6B) in Egypt, and led the effort to privatize the telecommunications sector in Egypt, as well as commercializing the power sector.  He served as Mission Director for USAID/Lebanon from 2002 to 2008.  Mr. Youssef retired from the USAID as Senior Development Counselor for Regional Donor coordination in early 2010.  He was also called to serve on the CENTCOM joint strategic assessment team for the Middle East, covering Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, West Bank/Gaza, and Jordan in 2008/9.


Andrew Abdalla is an independent consultant who provides strategic project, programme, and stakeholder management services for investment banking and corporate clients within the Asia/Australia region, with a principal focus on high risk mission critical engineering and technology capital projects. Prior to this, Andrew lived in London for nine years where he had similar roles as an executive director at Goldman Sachs International, in JPMorgan Chase, and in independent consulting. Andrew graduated with a double degree in electrical engineering and medical biophysics. He worked as an electrical design engineer before venturing off to London in 2004. Andrew now resides in Melbourne, but spends much of time in the Asia region servicing his corporate clients. He also serves on the Australia board.



United Kingdom Board Members

Andrew Whitworth is a senior legal counsel at GE Healthcare, where he provides a wide range of legal advice in relation to a variety of commercial, regulatory, intellectual property and compliance advice across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to that he worked in-house for several multi-national pharmaceutical and chemicals companies and trained as a lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna. He has both a Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Science in Biochemistry from Oxford University, and holds several post-graduate diplomas in Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law from Bristol University and Kings College London respectively. Andrew was born and raised in London. He keenly follows one of the London Football clubs, is a good cook, and a lover of literature and films.



Randa Shafieg began her involvement with Coptic Orphans as a Serve to Learn volunteer in 2006 in the village of Qus in the area of Qena. She was then approached by Coptic Orphans to become a board member and to help start the Coptic Orphans UK office. Randa is an independent Locum Pharmacist with a Master of Pharmacy degree from the University of Portsmouth. She is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. She is fluent in Arabic and English and raised in Kuwait to an Egyptian father and Sudanese mother. She moved to Egypt in 1990 and then to England in 1992.




Daniel Boctor was born and raised in the United Kingdom. He studied Medicine at Trinity College, University of Cambridge and graduated in 2007. He then went on to become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2008, and a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 2009. He is a member of St George’s Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and maintains close links with St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Cleopatra, Heliopolis, which is his church in Cairo, Egypt. Outside of his medical work, he is strongly involved in the Coptic Church’s services outside of Egypt, and to this end, has travelled widely, including Sudan, Ethiopia (in joint work between the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches), Zimbabwe and South Africa.



Basem Morris was born in Egypt, then moved to Australia at a young age. There, he grew up, graduated, and began working. He is a qualified actuary working as an independent consultant within investment banking specializing in credit risk management. Prior to this, he held management positions in Deloitte London, where he played a major role in key engagements with major Norwegian and UK banks. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as an actuarial analyst at KPMG Australia, focusing on the acquisitions and liquidations of major Australian insurance corporations. Bassem studied actuarial studies at the Macquarie University of Sydney, and, in 2007, was qualified as an Actuary Fellow at the Institute of Actuaries Australia. While on a backpacking trip around the world, Basem passed by London, met his beautiful wife, and ended up staying there. Outside of work, Basem enjoys playing, watching, and talking about football (soccer).




Canadian Board Members

Mark Nakhla a Sudanese born Copt holds a special place in his heart for Coptic Orphans since he was orphaned himself at the tender age of 1 year old.  He gives glory to God that he was able to grow up in a loving environment that made him the successful man he is today. He graduated from the University of Khartoum’s School of Management with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. During the same time he also sat on the Board of the Khartoum University Christian Association.  He worked with Citibank as a Treasury and liability management department head. He later moved to England where he joined Golden Eagle International, at this time he had started his relationship with Coptic Orphans as a sponsor. A few years later, he moved to Canada and started work with the Royal Bank of Canada as a Senior Account Manager. He was approached by Nermien Riad to start the Canada office in 2001 and has been a board member ever since. Mark now has his own real estate business with Century 21. He lives in Toronto Canada with his wife and has two beautiful girls.


Australian Board Members

Ben Morcos was one of the two members who started the Coptic Orphans Australia office some eight years ago and has watched the growth and development of the office over the years. Ben has a commercial/financial background and has extensive experience in the corporate world. He holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney and is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA). He is also currently undertaking a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University in Australia. Ben has travelled and worked extensively throughout Africa and has played a major role in the programs and projects developed by the Christian organization "Friends of Africa," an organization that serves disadvantaged youth in South Africa. Ben has also worked on the ground with Coptic Orphans – in 2005, he was a participant in Coptic Orphans’ Serve to Learn program. Ben is a soccer nut and even more so when his beloved Aussie national team is playing.


Rhonda Farag was first introduced to Coptic Orphans after attending a church presentation in Australia. Since then she has been committed to spreading the word about this organization throughout Australia. She was born and raised in Egypt and graduated from Cairo Universities School of Pharmacy. She moved to Australia in 1996 where she has worked as a Pharmacist. Rhonda is a  member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Board of Australia, and the Australian Association of Hospital Pharmacists. Rhonda and her husband live in Australia and have two beautiful daughters.




Debbie Armanious is one of the founding members of Exodus Youth Worx, a social welfare organisation that cares for Coptic Youth and the wider Australian community. Debbie has been a youth community worker for over 30 years. She has extensive experience in the fields of youth services, mentoring, leadership and various other youth initiatives.  She has been an instrumental member of Exodus Youth Worx and has been at the forefront of all the initiatives and programs established in the organisation. Debbie has also been nominated three times for the NSW Volunteer of the Year award. Debbie continues to play a major role in the “connection meetings,”out of home care, court support and many other programs. She continues to be the principal mentor for young people who benefit from the work of Exodus Youth Worx and the guide for most of the employees and volunteers who are running the programs of Exodus Youth Worx. Debbie also has served in South Africa with the Coptic Church and His Grace Bishop Antonius Markos for the last 11 years. She has been the principle organiser for the Australian contingent of youth who would travel to South Africa to serve in the mission field.


Advisory Council

Julie Meawad began serving on the Coptic Orphans Board in 2003 as a board member and joined the Advisory Council in 2009. She is currently an attorney at the Board of Veterans' Appeals, a court under the umbrella of the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she writes decisions for a judge concerning veterans’ benefits. Julie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Law with a specialization in Health Law. During her undergraduate career she completed a semester abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo. While in Egypt she had the opportunity to work for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which gave her valuable insight into the challenges that Egyptian children face. She has also spent time serving in Coptic missions in Africa supporting the church's efforts in Congo, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania. Julie regularly attends St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church where she serves as a youth ministry coordinator and has lead several mission trips. She is a proud aunt of two adorable children, Gabrielle and Mark.


Dr. Robie I. Samanta Roy is currently a Professional Staff Member with the Senate Armed Services Committee. Previous positions included, Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Principal Strategic Analyst with the Congressional Budget Office, and Research Staff Member in the Systems Evaluation Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, VA. Robie holds a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, a Master’s degree in Space Policy from the George Washington University, as well as diplomas from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and three children. Robie's extracurricular interests include tutoring mathematics and science, Middle Eastern history, comparative theology and Crossfit fitness.