Our Team

The Foundation has an active team that manages the day-to-day and long-term activities of the Foundation. This is done in close cooperation with the Board and under the supervision of the Chairman.


Salim Rabbani, Chairman

salim_rabbaniSalim Rabbani (1962) is Managing Director of RTC Rabbani Trading and Consulting BV based in The Hague, The Netherlands. RTC is an international business development and strategy consulting firm specialized in developing projects, strategies, networks and partnerships for European firms in the Middle East and North Africa and vice versa. Mr. Rabbani is Chairman of the Netherlands – Middle East Business Council, the leading private sector trade and investment promotion organization in The Netherlands. In addition, he is Chairman of the Middle East Work Group, a Public-Private partnership initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs together with the leading Dutch industry associations. Salim Rabbani was born and raised in The Netherlands to Palestinian parents. After finishing his secondary education in The Netherlands he completed his graduate and undergraduate studies in the United States (MBA, University of Southern California; BS in International Business, California State University).

Jan Donner, Former President, Royal Tropical Institute

jan-donnerDr. Jan Donner (1947) was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and obtained his doctorate in law in 1978 from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He did his Ph.D. on higher education policies and management. He lived and worked in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Throughout his career he has worked in academic and entrepreneurial environments. At the Dutch ministry of Education he was in charge of the programme to replace the University Medical Centers in Amsterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Maastricht and Groningen before being appointed vice-president of the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, followed by appointments in senior healthcare management posts until 1991. He was appointed vice-president of the Vrije Universiteit in 1991 and president of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam in 2001. He participated in peer reviews in universities all over the globe, was amongst the initiators of the Arab European Universities Association in 1998 and started many SME’s in developing countries in Africa and Latin America. He retired in 2012 but is active in many national and international roles, chairing several boards of directors. He travels widely and continues to publish on higher education.

Joumana El Zein Khoury, Director Prince Claus FundJoumana-El-Zein-Khoury zwart wit3

Joumana was born in 1975 in Beirut, Lebanon and is currently Director of the Prince Claus Fund for culture and development in Amsterdam. Previously she was Director of the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation, Programme Coordinator for Grants and Collaborations at the Prince Claus Fund and consultant in Development and fundraising for various cultural organisations. Joumana obtained her MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University, New York.

Frank Houben, Delegate to the Board of KLM

frank-houbenFrank Houben was born in 1971 and is currently Delegate to the Board at KLM, where he began his career in 1998. In recent years his success in turning KLM into a prominent social brand has been internationally recognized, with awards for the notable “Tile and Inspire” campaign (Delft Blue aircraft) and other creative brand campaigns such as “Be My Guest” (meet & seat) and “Miffy in China”.

Maya Meijer, DGA MeijerBergman Erfgoed Groep

Maya Meijer is an art historian with specialized knowledge of architectureboard and the contemporary art scene. She holds many important positions in different organizations, including the family business MeijerBergman Erfgoed (heritage), which owns the real estate projects Paleis Soestdijk and Doornburgh Estate in Maarssen, member of the Advisory Board of the Cancer Center Amsterdam, member of the Board of the Alzheimer Foundation VUmc, Governor of the Holland Festival, as well as former Director of Stichting Den Haag Sculptuur, former Chairman of Pink Ribbon Breast cancer Awareness Foundation and former owner and Director of  Promenade Hotel Holding  – to name but a few.

Jan Peters, Professor Emeritus in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen

jan-petersDr. Jan Peters was born in 1940 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1961. He studied in Nijmegen, Beirut and Leiden and graduated in philosophy (1964), theology (1970) and Arabic Studies (1972). He was chair of the department of Middle Eastern Studies in the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen from 1976-1987. From 1984 till his retirement in 2005 he was member of the Board of Governors of this university. He was a member of the Research Council for the Humanities in the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and chair of the Council for the Humanities in the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was president of the Federation of Catholic Universities in Europe (FUCE, 1997-2000) and president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU, 2000-2006).

Yonet Schroder, Manager External Affairs, Rabbani Trading and Consulting

yonet-schroderFollowing her studies in Sociology and Public Administration in Toronto, Ontario, Yonet Schroder (1961) joined the Ontario Psychological Association, a professional organisation that helps to improve psychological well being through advocacy, education and support for the science and practice of psychology. Upon moving to the Netherlands in 1992, Ms. Schroder worked as a Research Consultant with the Butler Cox Foundation, an information technology research and advisory service firm. She has been active as Manager of External Affairs for RTC, Rabbani Trading and Consulting since 1993 and joined the Board of the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation that same year. In this capacity, she brings over twenty years of management experience.

Ehsan Turabaz, International Relations Leader, Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

turabazDrs. Turabaz (1959) has been living in the Netherlands since 1981. He is currently working as the International Relations Leader at Inter IKEA Systems B.V., which is the owner and worldwide franchisor of the IKEA concept. Besides this, Mr. Turabaz occupies the position of honorary consul general of Afghanistan in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Board member of Netherlands–Middle East Business Council at the NCH. Mr. Turabaz studied Law and Political Science and International Relations at the Kabul University, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and Leiden University. Moreover, he established the Netherlands-Afghanistan Business Council, and has been president of this Council since 2006.

Katherine Watson, Cultural Leader in Residence, Groningen University.

Katherine Watson was born in Canada in 1952. Having studied, worked and raised a family in Europe and Canada, Katherine moved to Amsterdam to join the European Cultural Foundation in 2006 and was Director from 2010 – 2018. Katherine earned her degree in Art History from the University of Toronto (1978) and followed this with a career in cultural management. Katherine’s international experience combined interdisciplinary production with advocacy, research, policy, organizational and programme development for arts and culture organisations and all levels of government. She has a particular interest in the impact of the digital shift on our lives, in fostering the intersection between culture and other fields of knowledge and in enabling voices from all corners of society. Katherine was a member of the Governing Council of the European Foundation Centre, a membership organisation for institutional philanthropy from 2011 – 2018 and was the EFC Vice Chair from 2013 – 2018. Katherine is the Cultural Leader in Residence for a Research Master Programme in Cultural Leadership at Groningen University and is a Board member of BAK (Basis voor Actuele Kunst) in Utrecht.



Manar Ellethy

Manar Ellethy  holds a Master’s degree in in International Relations from Leiden University with a specialization in Culture and Politics. Her interest in the Middle East stems from her own international background (Egyptian, Greek, and Dutch) as well as her specialisation in US-MENA relations during her studies. Her reseearch focused on the intersection between visual/popular culture and politics as well as themes of cultural resistance and activism.  Before joining the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation she worked as a researcher and editor in the academic and corporate sector. She joined the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation as Communications Associate.

Marina Grama

Marina Grama is a third year bachelor student pursuing a degree in International Relations and Organizations at Leiden University. Her interest in the MENA region stems from being raised in a multicultural household as well as her experience as volunteer at local NGO’s working for integrating refugees from MENA into Maltese society. Before joining the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation she did an internship at the Centre of Public Values and Ethics and the El Salvadoran Chamber of Commerce. She joined the Foundation as Scholarships Intern and later as Programmes Associate.