Board of Directors

Dr. Wael Haddara

President of the Board

Dr. Wael Haddara is the Medical/Surgical ICU and Site Lead for the Critical Care Outreach Team at University Hospital, and is an Associate Professor at Western University in London, Ontario. As a medical education researcher, he discovered a framework for exploring the words and ideas that are  most fundamental to our culture’s understanding of the purpose and work of medicine. Dr. Haddara also has a strong commitment to community, working with local and national Muslim organizations including MSA National and CAIR-CAN. He is further committed to and engaged in interfaith activities through the Center for Abrahamic Religions at Huron University College, the Center for Jewish-Catholic-Muslim Learning at King's University College and Abraham's Cafe, an interfaith dialogue activity. Prior to entering the medical profession, Dr. Haddara trained and worked as a pharmacist. Dr. Haddara's interests include Middle Eastern politics and Islamic issues.

Khaled Al-Qazzaz

Executive Director

Khaled Al-Qazzaz is an education and communications consultant. He holds a Masters of Applied Sciences in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto (U of T), and pursued a Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration at Walden University. In 2005, Khaled moved to Egypt and established a K-12 international school. In 2012, Khaled served in the first democratically elected government of Egypt until the military coup in 2013. Khaled's mandate was to set-up and execute the portfolios for foreign relations, human rights and women's rights for the Egyptian Presidency. In 2016, Khaled moved back to Canada and co-founded and led the QED Foundation serving vulnerable refugees. In 2018, Khaled started I-RSS to encourage the exchange of knowledge between academics and the Muslim community and as a vehicle to bring positive policy change for Muslims in North America. In the same year, Khaled established Zajel Institute to empower members of the Arab Diaspora and exile communities. He is currently a member of the International Justice Circle of Human Rights Watch and is the director of Education and Communications for the Muslim Association of Canada.

Research Team

Nakita Valerio

Research Director

Nakita Valerio is an award-winning writer, researcher, and Muslim community organizer based on Treaty 6 territory, Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton, Canada). She is a graduate in history and Islamic-Jewish studies from the University of Alberta and has been a research fellow with the Tessellate Institute, the Institute for Religious and Socio-Political Studies (I-RSS), the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities (ECMC) and Mercy Mission Canada (MMC).  Nakita also acts as an academic strategist/mentor for graduate students in the disciplines of history, religious studies, sociology, and social work. She has worked as an academic copy-editor in the social sciences and humanities since 2014. Nakita serves as an advisor to the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus. Nakita is honoured to be the Research Director for I-RSS, serving both Muslim and research communities across Canada.

Elisabeth Hill

Academic Copy-Editor/ Research Assistant

Research Support

Elisabeth Hill is a researcher, writer, and editor living on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton AB. She holds a BA in Art History from the University of Victoria and an MA in History from the University of Alberta. In addition to extensive writing and copy-editing experience, she has worked as a curatorial assistant and public programming coordinator at the Art Gallery of Alberta and as a research assistant to multiple projects at the University of Alberta. Elisabeth is currently pursuing an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Alberta.              

Conrad Leibel

Research Assistant

Research Support

Conrad Leibel (he/him) is a researcher with interests in Literature, World Religions and Comparative Literature. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an MA in English Literature and holds a BA in English and Film Studies from the University of Alberta. He has previously published work on open access resources, technology, copyright law as well as film and media studies both independently and as a staff member at the University of Victoria.

Stephanie Bush

Transcriber

Research Support

Stephanie Bush is an administrative professional and transcriber with a wealth of experience working for non-profit associations in Muslim community advocacy and with at-risk youth. She brings her expertise to her role in research support at I-RSS.

Romaisa Hameed

Student Intern

Research Support

Romaisa Hameed is a University of Toronto undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. She has an interest in politics, both at home in Canada and globally, as well as academic writing. Romaisa is passionate about social justice, specifically issues regarding economic inequality, human rights, and mental health awareness.

Amina Abdille

Student Intern

Research Support

Amina Abdille is an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She is interested in issues such as social stratification and inequality, in addition to the intersections of class, age, gender, and ethnicity in Canada.

Labiba Aboguddah

Student Intern

Research Support

Labiba Aboguddah  is a student at the University of Regina pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Prior to her education in Sociology, she obtained a Private Investigation diploma from the International Correspondence School. Labiba has a long history of volunteerism in her community. She has played an active role on campus by joining various student groups such as, the Muslim Student Association, Justice Student’s Society, the Student Union and Amnesty International. To this day she’s actively involved within her broader community by volunteering at the Muslim Association of Canada, Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, and Islamic Relief Canada. In 2019, she founded Ebtihaj, a non-profit organization that hosts events for her local Muslim community with an emphasis on mental health. When the COVID pandemic first hit, Labiba took part in founding and running an emergency relief program aimed at helping the vulnerable during the pandemic.

Bilal Ali

Student Intern

Research Support

Bilal Ali is a student at the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor's combined degree in Native Studies and Education. Bilal is passionate about community work, justice, human rights, sports, and building relationships! He is a competitive gymnast that was named to Team Alberta in 2020. Bilal takes the skills and lessons he learns in his trainings and implements them in coaching kid's gymnastics classes. His community work includes volunteering with the Muslim Association of Canada, and the Alberta Gymnastics Federation. He also hosts a podcast called "Anything Goes with Bilal Ali" where he facilitates meaningful conversations with people from all walks of life about their stories, experiences, issues going on in the world, and much more!