Khayrallah Center Team Members
Dr. Akram Khater, Director: Akram is a professor of history at North Carolina State University. He has published extensively on Lebanese migration to the United States. He is also the Khayrallah Chair in Lebanese Diaspora Studies, a University Faculty Scholar and the editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies.
Laura Lethers, Lead Archivist: Laura manages the accessioning, processing, and preservation of the materials held by the KCLDS Archive. Before joining the Khayrallah Center she worked in collections management for both archives and museums. She obtained dual Master's degrees from NC State in Public History and UNC Chapel Hill in Library Science.
Dr. Moise Khayrallah, Founder: Dr. Khayrallah earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from UNC Chapel Hill before he went on to become a biotech entrepreneur who has founded several drug-development companies. He is the founder of the Khayrallah Center and President of Aerialbio. Read more about Dr. Khayrallah.
Geoff (Maroun) Akiki has been involved in almost all aspects of semiconductor and associated ecosystems during his over 40 years in various high technology roles, including executive positions with IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and currently President of HOYA IT Segment Company. He has been involved with Lebanon his whole life and maintains strong ties both in Lebanon and the diaspora.
Greg Hatem is a North Carolina native and second-generation Lebanese-American. He is the inspirational vision behind Empire Eats and Empire Properties, which has worked to revitalize and improve the culture of downtown Raleigh since 1995, employing more than 450 people in the area. Greg is the founder of Empire Eats and Empire's restaurant division. In addition to serving on the Khayrallah Center Advisory Board, Greg is a member of the NC Commission of Public Health and the board of directors of The Wolfpack Club. He also is active in local Boy Scouts, serving as a leader for Troop 325 and on the advisory committee for the Occoneechee Council Eagle Scouts (Eagle Scout, 1978). Greg has been the recipient of numerous awards for his real estate and revitalization efforts. He was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2019. Greg has a bachelors degree in chemical engineering from NC State and a diploma in Chinese studies from Beijing Youth Politics College.
Dr. Linda K. Jacobs is an independent scholar/historian of the Lebanese diaspora in the United States in the nineteenth century. She is the author of two books on the subject (Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City 1880-1900, published in 2015, with a revised second edition due out in 2023; and Strangers No More: Syrians in the United States, 1880-1900, published in 2019). A third book, a series of themed chapters on the nineteenth-century diaspora, will be published in late 2023.
Lina Jazi currently manages alumni relations in North America for the American University of Beirut as the Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations-North America and the General Secretary of the Worldwide Alumni Association. She is the founder and CEO of Terra Nova Consulting, Inc.. Lina is a founding member of the International Advisory Council of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut and served on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University. In 2011, Lina revived Act for Lebanon, a US-based non-profit organization aiming at strengthening civic institutions in Lebanon. Lina currently serves as the President of Act for Lebanon and is instrumental in raising much needed funds to support underserved communities in Lebanon. Lina has also served on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations in the US and served on the City of Houston Mayor's International Affairs & Development Council. Lina holds a bachelors degree in environmental health from the American University of Beirut and a masters degree in Environmental Sciences form the University of Texas School of Public Health.
Richard J. Salem founded Enable America to eliminate the significant barriers to employment, civic involvement, and social inclusion for the millions of Americans living with disabilities in 2002. Richard, who lost his eyesight as a teenager, has been practicing business and governmental law for over forty years. He is the founding partner of the Furth, Salem, Mason, and Li, LLP. He serves as the Chairman of several technology businesses including VASTEC Inc., Thermal Matrix Inc., and Salem Enterprise Solutions, LLC, a SBA HUBZ one certified company. He is a member of the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association. In addition to his practice of law, he is currently the CEO of VASTEC Inc. and its sister, not-for-profit concern, Able Force, an AbilityOne organization. Richard serves on the Professional Advisory Board of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, and is an emeritus member of the Duke Law School Board of Visitors. He also served on the National Advisory Eye Council of the National Eye Institute and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind from 1979 through 1986. A native of North Carolina, Richard graduated cum laude from Belmont Abbey College in 1969. He graduated from Duke Law School with distinction in 1972 and completed post-graduate law studies at Harvard Law School.
Zeina Fares graduated in 1995 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelors degree in economics and political science. Zeina was President of the Lebanese Club of Houston from 1996 until 1998, and was the Founding President of the American Foundation for Auxilia- a charity that supported children orphaned during the war in Lebanon. She was a board member of the Arab-American Educational Foundation, which endowed chairs for Arab Studies at both Rice University and more recently at the University of Houston where a one of a kind Center for Arab Studies has also been created. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart for six years. She was also a Board member of Inprint, a nationally recognized nonprofit literary arts organization in Houston. In 2012, she was appointed by the Mayor of Houston to the Board of the Houston Zoo. She is currently a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she also serves on the Development and Art of the Islamic Worlds Subcommittees. Zeina is fluent in Arabic, French, and Spanish in addition to English.
Mr. Jimmy Nassour is a Managing Partner at JLM Financial Investments. He is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas and has over 25 years of experience in multiple areas of the real estate industry. In addition to significant experience investing in real estate secured assets, Mr. Nassour is considered an expert in matters of real estate law including finance, acquisitions, closings, property title, and taxation.
101 Lampe Drive
North Carolina State University
Withers Hall, Suite 332
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8013
Operating Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.