• Our Staff

    Paper Airplanes is run by a team of 30+ educators, advocates, aid workers, refugees, and former students, all dedicated to expanding opportunities for those affected by conflict.

    Demetri Fadel

    Executive Director



    Demetri (Robert) Fadel proudly serves as Paper Airplanes’ Executive Director. Demetri also works at MIT’s Center for Excellence in Energy, and is an advisor and mentor at R2 Social. He has an MBA from Boston College, an MA in Energy and Environmental Policy from Boston University, and a BA from UMass, Amherst. Educational technology and learning for displaced youth have been a passion since helping to launch and grow One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and the MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT). Almost immune to jet-lag, Demetri enjoys making and eating peanut butter and hummus, and is an avid fan of the beautiful game of football (soccer).

    Gabrielle Wimer

    Managing Director



    Gabrielle (Gabby) Wimer graduated in 2016 from the University of Chicago where she studied the history of medicine and human rights. She first joined Paper Airplanes as a tutor in the fall of 2016 and quickly fell in love with the organization and its mission. Before moving to Amman, Jordan to work as Managing Director, Gabby worked in Guatemala running a program she co-founded called MealFlour which collaborates with local organizations to teach people how to raise mealworms as a more affordable source of protein. In her spare time, she likes to hike, read, and continue her quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  • English Program

    Turkish Program

    Youth Exchange Program

    Women in Tech Program

    Cross Program Roles



  • English Program

    Hieu (Holly) Vo

    English Program Manager



    Holly started with Paper Airplanes in 2017. Holly applies her experience as a tutor, Tutor Coordinator and Program Coordinator to her current position as the English Program Manager. With a degree in Linguistics from the University of Maryland and a wanderlusting soul, she taught ESL in China and Chile before coming back home in DC where she is also simultaneously working as a Diplomatic Assistant at the Embassy of Japan. Holly immigrated to the USA from Vietnam, thus her passion and conviction in international education and assistance are what drive her work. She hopes to bring equitable education to who needs it most.

    Ibrahim Alaboud

    Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator

    Arabic and English

    I graduated from the University of Aleppo in 2014 with a master's degree in criminal law. Born and raised in Syria, I moved to Lebanon to complete my studies. In 2018, I joined Paper Airplanes as an English language student, and afterwards, applied to be part of the PA team. I am currently volunteering with Paper Airplanes as a student coordinator.

    Karenna Oner

    English Program Coordinator



    Karenna is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in International Studies and English. Her past experience in Paper Airplanes includes a semester as an English Program Tutor and a participant of the Virtual Language Exchange Program. As a first-generation American of Colombian and Turkish heritage, she is passionate about matters of conflict and forced migration. In her free time, Karenna is invested in community organizing efforts and is especially passionate about her role as a leader in the Pennsylvania Youth Climate Strikes.

    Stephanie Cannon

    English Program Reading and Conversation Groups Coordinator



    My name is Stephanie Cannon, and I am a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Georgia pursuing degrees in international affairs and Arabic with a minor in Russian. When I am not in class, you can find me either in the residence hall I work in as a Resident Assistant, in Sanford Stadium playing the baritone with the Redcoat Band, or hiking the many trails near Athens, Georgia! Working with Paper Airplanes has inspired me to become more involved with the nearby refugee community of Clarkston, Georgia, and to continue to advocate for refugees around the world.

    James Nassur

    English Program Tutor Coordinator


    My name is James Nassur, and I am a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania! I am currently applying to medical school and working in research for my gap year. I love to cook, bowl, and lift in my free time.

    Khalil Jouma​

    English Program Student Coordinator


    From Syria living in Turkey. Senior undergraduate student double majoring in Optical & Acoustical Engineering and in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Gaziantep University in Gaziantep, Turkey. I am Volunteering at Paper-Airplanes as a student coordinator. My interests are Technology, Business, Food, Entrepreneurship, and Podcasts.

    Ikram Tebai

    English Program Student Coordinator

    English and Arabic

    My name is Ikram. I have a bachelors degree in English For Communication. My journey began with Paper Airplanes in late 2018 as a tutor. I fell in love with the organization's work and the eye opening experience I had with my student and the team. So, I decided to continue as a Student Coordinator. In a such a short time, I have learned timeless lessons: gratitude, resilience, and altruism. And, I have had the chance to step out of my little world and see how my peers are trying to survive and thrive amidst conflicts. I aspire to do a masters degree in International Relations and work on disarmament and conflict resolutions in the MENA. My contribution and work with Paper Airplanes is the first step in this journey.

    Maxine Noel

    Education Advisor


    Maxine graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a Bachelor's in Psychology and Criminology. She is currently studying towards a Master's in Criminology at the University of Pretoria. Maxine has been with Paper Airplanes since 2019, volunteering as an English Tutor. She holds a TEFL certificate and is currently employed as an ESL Teacher. Maxine has a varied career background, having worked as an academic tutor, photographer, graphic artist and marketing professional. She is passionate about language and learning and loves to share her knowledge through teaching. Maxine loves to travel and meet new people as this feeds her curiosity about languages and cultures. She is excited to be developing her involvement with Paper Airplanes in the capacity of Tutor Coordinator.

    Catherine Frerker

    English Program Tutor Coordinator


    Catherine is a junior at the University of Oklahoma where she studies Arabic and Letters (History, Literature, Philosophy, and Language) with a minor in Psychology. Ever since doing service in Guatemala, she has passionately pursued ways to make the world a more interconnected and egalitarian place. As a Global Engagement Fellow at her school, she mentors international students, remains involved in Arabic cultural activities, and has studied abroad at Oxford and plans to also study in the Middle East. She also loves the arts and volunteers at an art museum, teaches dance classes, and directs yearly short musicals at her school for fun.

    Wael Kourdi

    English Program Student Coordinator

    English and Arabic

    My name is Wael Kourdi. I live in Syria, my home country. I am studying Medicine at The University Of Aleppo. I am a volunteer medical videos translator. I also work as a freelance English Tutor here in Aleppo. I first joined Paper Airplanes as a student in the English Program in 2019 and I was fascinated by this great organization and how it focuses on people who were affected by any kind of conflict, and I knew that one day I will be a part of its great staff team. in my free time I enjoy listening to music, playing Classical Guitar and watching TV shows. I am really grateful of being a part of this amazing organization that provides conflict affected people with the tools and skills to build a better future. 

    Mara Fong

    English Program Tutor Coordinator


    Mara is a student at Brown University and interested in neuroscience and economics. She spent last year living in Morocco on a State Department scholarship program learning Arabic. She joined Paper Airplanes as an English tutor last semester and looks forward to getting more involved as a tutor coordinator this year. In her free time, she enjoys painting, cooking, and watching Netflix.

    Fadi Moris Kafa

    English Program Student Coordinator

    Arabic and English

    Fadi Kafa is an English Teacher and Translator: He graduated from Tishreen University with a BA in English Literature in 2016 and a Graduate Diploma in Education in 2017. He has also obtained TESOL Certification from Arizona State University in 2020. Due to his deep passion for volunteering and teaching English, he began his journey in Paper Airplanes as an English tutor in late 2019. Surely he is a bibliophile, multilingual, cultured, highly ambitious and determined to do the best.

    Darian Barra

    English Program Tutor Coordinator


    My name is Darian Barra, and I am a fourth year undergraduate student in the English Teaching program at the Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile. My first language is Spanish but I have learnt English for around 8 years. I have worked as a Spanish assistant in Birmingham, England thanks to a program sponsored by the British Council. I helped and supported secondary students to gain trust and practice in the learning process of other languages. My experience with Paper Airplanes started in the Spring 2020 term as an English Program Tutor and now as a English Tutor coordinator. I am a good storyteller according to my students and in my free time, I enjoy turning the pages of a good romantic book and watching Netflix.

    Manar AlShams

    English Program Student Coordinator

    Arabic and English

    My name is Manar AlShams, I'm from Syria. I graduated from Damascus University in 2019 with a master's degree in Dentistry. I'm currently studying a BBA at Nexford University. I love learning languages and baking in my free time. I started with Paper Airplanes in 2018 as an English student and I'm very grateful to join now as a student coordinator . Paper Airplanes has had a huge positive impact on my life both personally and academically, and I can't be more grateful that I'm part of such an amazing team.

    Amn Marwaha

    English Program Student Coordinator


    Amn is an English Program Tutor Coordinator at Paper Airplanes. She recently graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Medical Science degree. Besides teaching and learning, she also enjoys cooking and staying active!

    Emily Sulka

    Tutor Coordinator


    Emily graduated from Cedarville University with a B.A. in Music, and followed this up about a year later with a TEFL Certificate from the International TEFL Academy. She currently works as a service dog trainer, and has been moving around the country doing that for about a year now. She loves working with Paper Airplanes for many reasons, but the most important is the impact the organization can have on people's lives. She loves being part of a community that is passionate about making a difference, and has enjoyed getting to tutor for the past year. In her free time, she is a singer-songwriter and loves to read.

    Mansour E.Aloklah

    Student Coordinator


    Arabic and English

    From Syria, graduated in 2016 from Damascus University where I studied civil engineering, I also got an associate degree in project management from the American University of Beirut 2018. involved with volunteering work when I was in Syria in the major of education and helping students. I have been with paper Airplanes since 2018, so proud to be part of the amazing paper airplanes family as a student coordinator".

    Ahmad Abu Horan

    Student Coordinator


    Arabic and English

    An English Literature graduate from Aleppo University in 2018. I am currently doing my BBA Management Degree at Nexford University. Since I was at university, I worked as an English teacher in several different governmental and private schools in Lebanon and Syria. In 2019, I worked as an assistant professor at Aleppo University in the Department of English Language. I joined Paper Airplanes in 2017 as a student in the English language program. Eventually, my passion for PAs has continued after graduating from the English language program to join PAs' family as a volunteer tutor and students coordinator at the beginning of 2020.

    Bayan Alsbbagh

    Student Coordinator


    English and Arabic

    I graduated from University of Damascus, Faculty of Dentistry. I worked as a volunteer in many fields and organizations related to humanitarian issues such as education, women, children, refugees and health.

    I enjoy traveling, sport adventures and being active.

    Vaishnavi Sharma

    Tutor Coordinator


    I am a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where I studied Neuroscience and Healthcare Management. I am currently a medical student at Tufts University and am very interested in global health and health disparities in underserved populations. In my free time I love to bake pastries and bread and read!

    Daniel Zhong

    Tutor Coordinator


    Daniel graduated from Rice University in May 2020 with a BA in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and will begin medical school in Fall 2021. He began teaching refugees at Rice, where he mentored Houston refugee youths as part of PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees). Currently, he volunteers as an English Tutor and as an English Program Tutor Coordinator for Paper Airplanes while contact tracing for Dell Medical School. In his free time, he enjoys weight training, building computers, and playing music on the piano and cello.

    Zeina Jhaish

    Tutor Coordinator

    English and Arabic

    Zeina is a Palestinian-Canadian performance poet, editor, and educator. She is pursuing an Education degree at McGill University and also completing a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. When she is not studying or working, she can be found trying to plan her next trip or spending time with her friends.

  • Turkish Program

    Ismail Haj Osman

    Turkish Program Manager


    Arabic, English, and Turkish

    My name is Ismail. I am Syrian. I came to Turkey in 2014 because of the war and to complete my studies. I am now studying my last year of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Gaziantep University. I joined Paper Airplanes as an English student in 2015. After my language improved I joined the PA team as a Student Coordinator for the English Program in 2018 and I am now the Turkish Program Manager. I am so grateful for being a part of this team which has a huge positive impact on refugees' lives.

  • Youth Exchange Program

    Rania Ahmed

    Youth Exchange Program Manager



    Rania Ahmed graduated from Queen’s University in 2017 where she studied Political Science with a focus on Multiculturalism. Before joining Paper Airplanes in Spring 2020, she worked with lead initiatives with the City of Toronto focusing on local conflict and safe city building for marginalized youth. She also co-runs her own local non profit in Mississauga that aims to create educational and networking spaces for young women and girls . Rania is based in Toronto, and enjoys cooking, reading , and traveling when she can..

    Rabab Elgayar

    Youth Exchange Program Coordinator


    Arabic and English

    Rabab Elgayar graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honors BA with a major in History and Theory of Art and a minor in Greek and Roman Studies in 2017. She first joined Paper Airplanes as an English tutor in 2017 and has loved the cause and the positive impact that Paper Airplanes is making and providing for people living in conflicted areas. She is trilingual: English, Arabic, and French. She has traveled and lived in many countries, such as USA, Philippines, UAE, etc., hence, she has great knowledge of cultures and religions. Rabab is interested in creating new methods of teaching to make learning languages easy.

    Mhairi Newlands

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    YEP Speaking Classes Coordinator

    English and Arabic

    Mhairi has a degree in Arabic and French from Edinburgh University and is a certified TEFL teacher. She has experience in community outreach, with a particular focus on supporting refugees. Mhairi started her involvement with Paper Airplanes as a tutor in January 2020. In March, she began an internship with the organization, helping to expand volunteer recruitment in the UK and create partnerships with like-minded organizations. Mhairi now volunteers as a Tutor Coordinator for the English Program and as a Conversation Groups Coordinator for the Youth Exchange Program. She also helps to write Paper Airplanes' bi-monthly volunteer newsletter.

    Duaa Alsaaideh

    YEP Student Coordinator

    Arabic and English


    Duaa is currently studying Computer Information Systems. She joined paper airplanes in 2019. Moreover, she is very passionate about volunteering and helping people in conflict-affected contexts. She is aiming to master data analytics and data science as well as improving education with new techniques depending on analyzing the main problems that are facing students with their schools. She enjoys reading, playing sports, learning languages, and experiencing new things. Be as the rain all around. Be a reason to revive a human heart.

  • Women in Tech Program

    Zahra Najmi

    Women in Tech Program Manager



    Zahra graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a business degree in Management Information Systems. Although she currently works as a Solutions Engineer at VMware, Zahra has always been passionate about finding ways to bridge education and technology. This has led her to work with startups in Yemen, Belize and China. Zahra joined Paper Airplanes as an English Tutor, but quickly became interested in helping expand the Women in Tech Program after seeing how much of a positive impact it was making on the students. In her free time, Zahra enjoys traveling, learning new languages, and attempting new adventure sports.

    Bayan Alraqqad

    Women in Tech Program Coordinator



    Bayan Alraqqad is an MBA graduate, with a BA in International relations and strategic studies. She joined Paper Airplanes as women in Tech program coordinator in Jan 2020. Bayan was instrumental in developing the admissions processes for existing boot camps in addition to candidate recruitment strategies. Her marketing skills and efforts were significant in developing partnerships with major INGOs. Bayan is still extremely well connected with major Jordanian ministries and players in the ICT sector.
    She finds great pleasure in serving people and making a change among diverse groups of youth and women. Her passion led her to the women in the tech programs. In her spare time, she likes to cook, learn new things, and volunteer with charities.

    Hamsini Ajjan

    Women in Tech Instructor


    My name is Hamsini Ajjan and I am currently a rising sophomore at The University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Finance along with pursuing a pre-med track. I will be one of the Business Analytics instructors in the Women in Tech Program. I look forward to meeting all the students and being able to share my knowledge with them this year. I am fluent in speaking English and Telugu. A little about me is I enjoy meeting new people and hearing new stories, giving back to societies all around the world, and educating others because I understand how lucky we, as women, are to get the chance to receive education and live free, independent lives. If I am able to contribute to better the lives of other women, I am always ready to help and share.

    Zainab Omar

    Women in Tech Instructor

    Arabic and English


    Maggie Kuehn

    Women in Tech Instructor



    My name is Maggie Kuehn and I am an Instructor for the Business Analytics Course in the Women in Tech Program.

    I am an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am studying Civil Engineering and plan on concentrating in Construction Management or Water Resources. This is my first year being a member of Paper Airplanes and I love being a part of it! I have such a strong passion for travelling, experiencing cultures, and helping better the world in any way I can! From being a female pursuing a math and science career that is predominantly male dominated, the Women in Tech Program was a perfect fit as I am able to empower and encourage females in these areas. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, doing some relaxing yoga, and painting! My goal is to find a job that allows me to travel and help our planet and its people!


    Alicia Chen

    Women in Tech Instructor



    Alicia teaches Python with the Women in Tech program. She is a senior at Harvard College, where she studies Chemistry & Physics with a minor in Arabic. She loves teaching and has been a TA for many classes in college. Outside of classes and teaching, she spends most of her time doing research in computational neuroscience. Alicia likes to spend her free time reading books, browsing pop music criticism, looking at memes, and thinking about how we can use neuroscience research to make teaching and learning better for everyone.


  • Cross-Program Roles

    Valentina Spinedi

    Director of Student Advising



    Yasmeen Shahzadeh

    Director of Volunteer Recruitment


    Arabic and English

    Yasmeen is completing her MA from McGill University in Education & Society (with a concentration in Gender & Women's Studies). She has a background in International Development Studies and Communications. Yasmeen's research and work interests lie at the intersection of gender, education, and development with a focus on the Middle East. Her current MA research looks at gender representations in Jordanian curricula and the impacts this can have on social learning, and has been assisting a research project on refugee and local youth access to education and employment in Jordan. She is eager to support the mission of Paper Airplanes on a regional and global scale, and boost volunteer recruitment and engagement across the programs. Yasmeen spends most of her time between Amman and Montreal, and enjoys travelling, eating, and being active!

    Jumana Saadeh

    University Club Coordinator


    Arabic and English

    My name is Jumana Saadeh. I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor degree in International Studies with a concentration in development and sustainability. I interned with Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency for about 2 years and Friends of Refugees for about a year where I assisted and translated for many refugee families whom I’m still in contact with to this day. I have always been interested in education, especially refugee education. I did my senior seminar on refugee education in Jordan and the United States. I am currently in Amman, Jordan. I like learning new languages (I took Spanish and Japanese courses in college), drawing and playing video games in my free time.

    Rafik Shoorbajee

    Data Manager


    Arabic and English

    Rafik Shoorbajee first started with Paper Airplanes as a tutor in the summer of 2017. A few semesters later Rafik transitioned to a student coordinator role helping create a better experience for our students. More recently he transitioned to the role of Data Manager for Paper Airplanes. Rafik now overseas the programs' data including the design of the database, security measures, and reporting. Currently based out of Seattle, he is a native of Virginia having graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 with a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering. Outside of volunteering with Paper Airplanes, Rafik coaches high school basketball and works in software development.

    Nadia Mohammed

    Education Specialist


    Arabic and English

    Nadia Mohammad started her journey with Paper Airplanes in 2019 as a member on the English Curriculum Committee. That is how she learned about the impact the programs and tutors are leaving on their students. She is currently the Education Advisor at Paper Airplanes. Nadia teaches English for Academic Purposes at George Brown College. She has also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instructions for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) at various colleges in Ontario, Canada. She has an M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development from the University of Toronto, and she completed the Comparative Education program at UofT. She also has a BA from Birzeit University. Whenever she is not working, she is figuring out what to cook for her two daughters and planning what games to play with them. Other things that make her happy include practicing playing the Qanun, learning belly dance, reading and taking care of her plants.

  • Communications

    Sían Gilsenan

    Graphic Design & Social Media Coordination



    Sían is from Ireland and currently living in Canada in the Coast Mountains. She joined Paper Airplanes in April 2020. She received her qualification in BA Communications in Creative Multimedia in Ireland in 2015 and has since worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for various posts. Her hobbies include skiing and doodling. She is a very proud cat person.

    Kathleen Kelso

    Lead Writer



    Kathleen is a content creator and strategist from Richmond, Virginia and serves as the Lead Writer at Paper Airplanes. She graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in Political Science, with a focus on Women's and Gender Studies. Kathleen got involved with Paper Airplanes in early 2020 and is excited to help grow the reach and impact of our mission. In her role, Kathleen collaborates with talented staff and volunteers to prepare funding applications and craft communications materials to connect our community of learners, volunteers, and supporters.

  • Interns

    Ann Monk

    Reading Guides Intern

    English and Arabic


    Ann is a senior at Connecticut College. She is double majoring in Global Islamic Studies and International Affairs with a minor in Arabic. Ann has lived in seven different countries, including Jordan and Morocco, and she spends her free time learning new languages and cooking foreign foods. In the future, Ann hopes to work in international education with a focus on using education to resolve conflicts and build lasting peace.

    Isha Parikh

    Website Intern


    Isha is a student at the University of Texas at Austin studying biochemistry and health education. She is passionate about community outreach and education. Her goal is to empower refugees with education during her time at Paper Airplanes.

    Chloe-Rose Crouch

    Student Advising Intern

    English and Arabic

    Chloe-Rose is a Middle East Studies and World Literature double-major at Smith College. After graduation, she intends to work in the nonprofit sector, specifically for NGOs in Europe and the United States that serve immigrants and refugees from the Middle East

    Giada Santana

    Communications Intern

    English and Arabic

    Hello everyone! I'm an Italian - Dominican student in International Relations. Here at Paper Airplanes I collect interviews, write for the blog and help with social media posts. When I'm not doing that, I love practising yoga, dancing salsa and creating playlists on Spotify.

    Lucy Reece

    Database Intern

    English and Arabic

    Lucy is a senior at Carleton College in Minnesota. She is majoring in math with a minor in Arabic. In the fall of 2019, she lived in Fez, studying Arabic and Moroccan culture. She has a passion for education, working as a math tutor and swing dance teacher at school. During her free time, she enjoys playing squash and knitting.

    Huilin Han

    Coding and Women in Tech Intern


    I'm Huilin, I grew up in Shanghai and now live in Colorado. I am a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Computer Science, Math and Linguistics. I am currently expanding my abilities in coding and interdisciplinary projects. I was lucky to go through intense education which has allowed me more capability to explore different fields of knowledge, and I hope I can provide thoughtful education to others. I am passionate about subjects such as linguistic and cultural diversity and explainable AI. I stay energized by running, learning new things and listening to music.

    Habib Zreik

    Translation Intern

    Arabic and English

    I am a mechanical Engineer / Translator interested in voluntary work. I' ve had experience starting and managing reading clubs one of which I started in my university. I am also currently enrolled in a Computer Science Bachelor's Degree program and a Translation Diploma. My favourite hobby besides reading is photography.

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