Our Team

Mark Rosenblum


Professor Mark Rosenblum is an award-winning historian at Queens College of the City University of New York where he was Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, the Founding Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial & Religious Understanding, as well as the Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Change. 


He is currently Professor Emeritus, Queens College, Special Advisor to the President, Director, Ibrahim Student Leadership & Dialogue Middle East Program with Queens College and Founder & Director of the “America & the Middle East Program” at Queens College. An expert on the Middle East, he has combined academic research and policy analysis with direct involvement in Mid East conflict resolution since the 1980s. Professor Rosenblum has been involved in numerous efforts to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian coexistence: through organizing and moderating six international conferences, hosting a roundtable discussion series televised in the U.S., and launching an Israeli-Palestinian youth dialogue program. 


He has received major grants for his Middle East work from the Clinton Global Initiative, the Ford Foundation, and the US Department of Education, among many others. Professor Rosenblum has been selected by the Forward Newspaper as one of the 50 most influential American Jews and was awarded the coveted Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at Queens College.


Nashwa El-Sayed

Assistant Manager

Nashwa Lylah El-Sayed is a recent graduate of Queens College, with a B.A in international relations. She was the president of the Egyptian Cultural Club on campus, as well as a facilitator for the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding. She was chosen as a student scholar in the 2013 Ibrahim & Queens College program. She returned as a Teacher’s Assistant working with Professor Mark Rosenblum on America and Middle East: Clash of Civilizations or Meeting of the Minds, an award winning course series, in Queens College. She now works as the Assistant Manager for the Ibrahim & Queens College Leadership and Dialogue Program. Nashwa hopes to continue her Masters in Foreign Policy and Non-Profit management, and hopes to establish her own NGO to prevent international child abduction and human trafficking. 

Sophia McGee

Consultant: Dialogue & Organizational Development

Sophia McGee is a founding member and the current Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at Queens College (CERRU). She is also the co-Director and co-Facilitator of the two year old CUNY Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Incubator. McGee is an adjunct lecturer in the History Department at Queens College, where she teaches a series of courses on the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict. She holds an MFA in International Affairs from the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School University. Her concentration was Conflict and Security, and her regional area of specialization was the Middle East, with a focus on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. 


Ms. McGee has lectured and presented both on current affairs involving Israel, the United States, and the Palestinian Territories, as well as the use of innovative pedagogy and trainings to foster inclusivity on campus. She has given presentations at Hebrew University, Columbia University (Medical School and Teacher’s College), and for the International Society for Political Psychology Conference, among others. In 2014, she appeared at the inaugural CUNY TEDx conference, where her lecture was entitled “Learning to Take the Leap of Faith.”


In her first life, Ms. McGee was an actress, singer and dancer who appeared on and off Broadway, nationally and internationally, and in TV and film. 

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Nicholas Shafer

Program Manager

Nicholas Shafer graduated from Berkeley in 2019 with Double B.A. in Anthropology and Arabic Language and Minors in Public Policy and Global Studies. He was a 2019 Center for Arabic Studies Abroad Fellow and Boren Scholar and a 2020 John Gardner Fellow. He has extensive experience in the broader Mediterranean and has lived 3+ years in Morocco, Algeria, Israel, Jordan, and Spain while also traveling widely throughout the Levant and Gulf. Nick has served in a diverse range of positions with the State Department, the Smithsonian, language centers in Morocco and Jordan, and research centers at UC Berkeley. He is a proud community college transfer student and advocate for the community college system. 

The Founding Ibrahim Family

The Ibrahim family distinguishes itself with the uncommon courage to combat hate and fear of “the other” and connect people across borders, religions, races, ethnicities, and social classes.  The family’s success in business is married to their passionate commitment to all of humanity, not just “selective” humanity.

In 2009 a distinguished American Muslim family, S.A. Ibrahim, his wife Nina and son Winston, expanded its philanthropic mission to combat violence and enhance understanding of the Middle East by launching a student travel and exchange program, the Ibrahim Student Leadership & Dialogue Middle East Program (ILDME).

The Ibrahim Family’s determination and passion to found this program has its roots in the aftermath of the horrific events of 9/11.  Like most Muslim families the Ibrahim’s were shocked and dismayed to see those professing their faith carry out such infamy.

S.A. Ibrahim is a seasoned and extremely successful executive with almost 40 years of leadership experience in the finance and tech sector.  He was most recently the CEO of Radian Group, a global credit risk management company headquartered in Philadelphia with significant operations in New York and London.

As a passionate and effective advocate of diversity, inclusion, interfaith relations and cross cultural engagement, S.A. is active in a broad spectrum of educational, religious and policy non-profit organizations including: the Middle East Institute, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the American Jewish Committee and the Muslim-Jewish Council. He was also the first Muslim to serve on any board of the Anti-Defamation League.

Along with the Department of State and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, he funded a trip to Dachau and Auschwitz for a group of Muslim leaders from around the world. He is also in his tenth year of nurturing the Ibrahim Program and continuing its bold expansion.


As the Co-Founder of ILDME, Winston Ibrahim shares his father’s passion for the fusion of business and philanthropy.  He’s a sustainability-based entrepreneur with a laser like focus on creating a dramatic decline in the consumer’s use of plastic.  As the Co-Founder & CEO of Hydros, a filtered on-the-go water bottle enterprise, Winston has produced the first technology of its kind that provides for the most convenient way to get portable tap water while simultaneously reducing the use of single use plastics.


In addition to Winston’s Co-founding ILDME he has engaged in a number of other organizations and philanthropic activities including: the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), NationSwell, and Founding SF Bay Area Ambassador for Nexus Global and India Community Center Silicon Valley.