Civil Society

Join this panel if you are interested in working with non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests and values of others. Career examples: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.

Moderator: Jehad Aliweiwi

Jehad Aliweiwi is a strategic thinker with more than 15 years of experience in senior management positions in social, settlement and community service organizations. Since January 2014, Jehad has held the position of Executive Director with the Laidlaw Foundation. For 10 years before that Jehad was the Executive Director with Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, a multi service non-profit organization serving the Thorncliffe community for more than 30 years. Prior to that, he was Regional Director, Metro Region of Catholic Cross-Cultural Services. Jehad also worked with the Canadian Arab Federation for eight years, as Race Relations Officer and, later, as Executive Director. He is a Trustee of the Ontario Science Centre and a board member of Fred Victor Services and the Canadian Council for Refugees. He served on the Board of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and the Toronto Neighbourhood Centres. In 2010 Jehad was the recipient of the Local Hero Award from the Canadian Urban Institute.


Leen Zaibak

As an advocate for education and with a passion for mentoring youth, Leen co-founded Jusoor, an international NGO that helps Syrian youth realize their potential through educational and career programs. Jusoor has provided over 600 university scholarships for youth to study in North America, Europe and the Middle East and schooling for 700 refugee children in Lebanon with partnerships valued at $10M. Leen strongly believes in the power of collaboration and partnerships across sectors. She is a regular speaker at conferences on the topics of philanthropy and education in times of conflict.

Previously, Leen worked for the Ontario government as a policy advisor for the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Leen serves on several committees and boards, including the Canadian Arab Institute, the International Relief and Development Foundation and Oolagen Youth Mental Health.

Leen holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Manchester, England.


May El-Abdallah

May El-Abdallah is a graduate of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law and currently works as a lawyer in the area of civil litigation. She is the Chair of ArtReach Toronto, an organization that provides funding and capacity-building for youth artists. May also sits on the Education Committee of the Legal Education and Action Fund. In the past, she has worked with the South Asian Legal Clinic's Forced Marriage Project, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, and the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario. In 2009, May was selected as a DiverseCity Fellow in recognition of her community-based work.

Farrah Khan

Farrah Khan is a counsellor, educator and artist that has spent the last 16 years working diligently to raise awareness of gender-based violence. She is a nationally recognized public speaker on violence against women including forced marriage and "honour" related violence.  Farrah holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and supports women who are survivors of violence as a counsellor at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic.  At the Clinic she is the coordinator of Outburst! Young Muslim Women's Project.  Outburst! is an opportunity for young Muslim women to determine the ways in which they define and access safety. Farrah is the editor of the "Heartbeats: The IZZAT Project" a graphic novella by South Asian young women about resiliency in the face of family violence. Currently the team is  going across the United States with their multimedia presentation on family violence with the Tahijir Justice's Centre's Tour to End Forced Marriage.  For her community work Farrah has been presented with numerous awards, including the Toronto Vital People Award.