Meet the Senior Management Team
Rhett Gurian is the chief of party of the USAID/Lebanon Community Support Program (CSP), implemented by Chemonics International. He has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing programs focused on community development, community stabilization, peacebuilding, political transition, local governance, and service delivery in the Middle East, Africa, Haiti, and Afghanistan. Since joining Chemonics in 2003, Mr. Gurian has held a number of leadership roles, including senior vice president of the West and Central Africa and Haiti business unit, chief of party for the USAID/Syria Essential Services (SES) project based out of Jordan, and chief of party of USAID/OTI’s earthquake recovery program in Haiti from 2010 to 2013. He began his development career as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in Benin. Mr. Gurian is a graduate of Syracuse University and holds a B.A. in International Relations, Public Relations, and French.
Arafat Harake directs CSP’s finance and operations; procurement, grants, subcontracts administration; and engineering units, while also serving as an advisor to the chief of party. With over 15 years of experience managing the finance and operations of complex development programs in Lebanon, Mr. Harake previously held leadership roles on four USAID funded programs. Prior to his position at CSP, he was the head of finance and operations of the Lebanon Enterprise and Employment Program funded by DFID. Mr. Harake holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut, in addition to being qualified by the U.S. Institute of Management Accounts as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Finance Manager (CFA).
Khadija Zahzah is the director of CSP’s workforce development component, including the Job Education and Training (JET) scholarship program. She has more than 29 years of regional and international experience in social and organizational development, capacity building, policy analysis, strategic planning, and education programming. Ms. Zahzah’s has previously worked with a number of donors, development agencies, and governmental institutions in the MENA region, including the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), UN Women, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, and Ministries of Education and Social Affairs across the MENA region. She assumed numerous leadership positions at the Institute for Palestinian Studies (IPS) and the Palestinian Student Fund (PSF), as well as the USAID-funded Expand your Horizons program. Prior to Ms. Zahzah’s positions at the Community Development Authority in the UAE as acting director of the policy department and head of program design and support, she oversaw regional programs at the Arab Council for Childhood Development in Egypt. Ms. Zahzah holds an M.A. in human development from Pacific Oaks College and a post graduate diploma in education policy analysis and planning from Harvard University; she also holds a special education specialist certificate from California State University – Long Beach.
Fares El Zein heads CSP’s technical assistance and capacity building component. He has over 20 years of experience in project design, organizational and legislative development, advocacy, and provision of technical support to civil society and local authorities. Dr. El Zein holds a Ph.D. in public administration and policy from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany and an M.A. in public administration from the American University of Beirut. His professional portfolio includes leadership positions and consultancies for the World Bank, EU, UNDP, USAID, OXFAM, as well as major USAID and EU partners such as SUNY, Management Systems International (MSI), Louis Berger, and GOPA. Dr. El Zein also assumed consultancies for private sector corporations on institution building, organizational development, HR systems, and performance measurement and management, in addition to giving academic courses across several universities in Lebanon on American and Lebanese public administration and legislative processes.
Bilal Al Ayoubi is the director of CSP’s direct community support component. With over ten years of experience in program design and implementation, Mr. Al Ayoubi’s profile includes leadership positions on post-conflict programs in the Middle East focusing on peacebuilding, stabilization, political transition, local governance, and service provision. Prior to joining CSP, Mr. Al Ayoubi consulted for UN agencies and international organizations including UNDP, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Oxfam, International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Social Impact. He also served as senior program development specialist on the USAID/OTI Lebanon Civic Support Initiative and as senior transition advisor for the Yemen Stabilization Initiative with Development Transformations. Mr. Al Ayoubi holds an M.A. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Economics from the Lebanese American University, in addition to a certificate in NGO Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Osama Amad heads CSP’s wastewater management component, leading implementation of several sustainable municipal wastewater infrastructure interventions and industrial pretreatment technologies. Mr. Amad has over 30 years of experience in design, construction, operations and maintenance within the water/wastewater sector. Prior to CSP, Mr. Amad was a superintendent with a leading water/wastewater utility in the Washington D.C. metro area, responsible for the sustainability, performance, compliance, budgeting, operations and maintenance of major components of the utility’s infrastructure. He also conducted numerous short-term technical assignments for USAID in the Middle East. Mr. Amad holds an M.A in engineering management from George Washington University and a B.A in civil engineering from Kuwait University. He is a licensed professional engineer, a board-certified environmental engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and a certified water/wastewater superintendent.
Raed Harb heads CSP’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) unit. With over 14 years of experience working with a range of international and local organizations across Lebanon, Mr. Harb is specialized in developing and managing program performance monitoring plans, quality assurance, tailored assessments, and data verification and analysis. His experience includes working on USAID-funded projects with Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) and Chemonics, as well as on complex projects with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Mercy Corps where he headed the MEL teams for two major projects. Mr. Harb hold a B.S. in computer science from the American University of Science and Technology.
Anastacia Hajj leads CSP’s communications unit to ensure effective and impactful reporting and community outreach. With over 10 years of experience in the development and implementation of media, advocacy, and communications strategies in the MENA region for development actors and the private sector, Ms. Hajj has assumed technical and managerial positions with donors and UN agencies, as well as several international NGOs. Her professional portfolio includes leading on reporting and communications at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their regional development and protection program in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. She has also designed and implemented communication strategies for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mercy Corps, and Save the Children International. Prior to her work in the development sector, Ms. Hajj managed international news agency accounts and freelance journalists to produce news content from conflict areas including Ukraine, Central African Republic, and Syria. Ms. Hajj holds a B.A in sociology and anthropology, as well as a diploma in communications and media studies from the American University in Beirut (AUB). She also worked as a graduate and research assistance at AUB while studying for her M.A in media studies.