2014-2016 Alumni

Over the course of three years from 2011 to 2014, we worked tirelessly to raise funds to bring a cohort of ICAN Graduate Fellows to Montreal, the first since 2008. We had a brilliant cohort of nine Middle Eastern Fellows who completed for their MSW degrees at McGill and have, for the first time, introduced a Syrian Fellow into the group. They are inspiring organizers with diverse backgrounds in health, law, engineering, social work, psychology, communications, education and more.

Anwar AlhJooj  obtained a LL.M. degree in Italy where he lived for six years. From the Bedouin community in Israel, he returned to work as a civil rights and criminal lawyer, and co-founded Hagar, the Arab-Jewish school in Beer Sheva. As a branch director of Commitment to Peace and a Just Society, he supervised students in a community legal clinic at Sapir College, providing legal services and advice, primarily to blue collar workers.

Kifah Baniowed  from the village of Tammoun near Jenin, holds a BS in Medical Laboratory Science from An-Najah National University and two MS degrees, in Laboratory Science (Birzeit U), and health management and policy (Al Quds U). Kifah works on research into the relationship between communities and authorities and worked as a project manager at the Center for Development of Primary Heath Care at Al Quds University.

Irit Ben-Porat began her post-secondary education at the Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv before completing her BA in political science and literature from Tel Aviv University. Irit has worked in a variety of capacities with teenagers and youth, with a focus on empowering young Israeli women. Most recently, she managed the “Circle of Groups”, a nationwide federation of co-operative urban communities, while also advising groups in the education sphere on unionization.

Shirly Karavani  holds a BA, Communications, from Sapir College and an MA in Nonprofit Management from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shirly’s focus has been on education and human rights advocacy. Shirly worked in the education department of Amnesty International and, most recently, as a community organizer focused on local sustainable economic development at Shatil, the empowerment wing of the New Israel Fund.

Ibtisam Khasawneh  obtained a BA in Education from Yarmouk Univ. and an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Jordan with a thesis on drug addiction and its community impacts. She has worked as a counselor and psychologist at many NGOs. Most recently, she worked at ICAN’s Waqa in Amman as a psychologist empowering women to move away from victimhood toward full citizenship with equal rights.

Amit Kitain  obtained his BSW at Sapir College. He has worked with refugees, and founded and facilitated Jewish-Arab dialogue groups. He also served as head of of "social workers for change" which he established with friends at Sapir College. With a focus on rights and organizing, Amit worked as the lead community organizer at ICAN’s affiliated centres in Sderot and Ofakim from 2012 until leaving for McGill. He will play an essential role in expanding RBCP in southern Israel on his return.

Adnan Mahameed,  a mechanical engineer by training (Aleppo University), has been at the epicentre of the non-violent Syrian revolution since its first day in 2011. Prior to the revolution, Adnan worked in his field at both the Damascus and Aleppo airports and opened his own engineering firm. With the outbreak of the revolution he could no longer go to his office and became one of the founders of the April 17 Movement for Democratic Change. He has worked with a variety of citizens’ organizations and in providing humanitarian relief in Syria. His journey out of Syria and commitment to its future are deeply inspiring to all.
Baheej Nasassra completed his BA in Psychology and Counseling at An-Najah University. From Nablus, he has worked as a volunteer in the SOS Children’s Village, working directly with families and communities to empower them to effectively protect and care for their children and young people; in a union of people with disabilities; and as a therapist at ICAN’s affiliated Nablus centre, CSC, in their hospital psycho-social support program. Baheej later joined a multi-disciplinary team in the CSC Housing Program as a social psychologist to empower vulnerable families. 
Tahany Okby  a Palestinian Bedouin from southern Israel, holds a BSW from Ben Gurion University. Since graduating she has worked as both a family therapist and researcher. Before departing for McGill, she worked with people with eating disorders at the Soroka Univ. Medical Centre; in the Community Unit for Child Development, with Bedouin children and their families; and advocating for children’s rights vis-a-vis government authorities. She is a go-to expert around issues of child welfare in southern Israel.




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