We’ve been making a positive change in the lives of Palestinian youth since 2007!

The problem

Palestinian youth living in Palestine/Israel face ever-growing poverty & discrimination. With limited resources & opportunities, they’re struggling to break out of this crippling cycle.

Our vision

We want to have empowered Palestinian youth who have the tools needed to make a positive & transformational change in their lives & communities.

Our mission

We’re a British charity that empowers underprivileged Palestinian youth in Palestine/Israel by giving them the tools & skills needed to become change-makers. We do this through our Scholarship Programme that provides educational, cultural & capacity development.


We also partner with grassroots civil society organisations that work in the fields of education & culture to increase their impact & sustainability in order to empower Palestinian youth.

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Vanessa Redgrave, CBE

Born into an illustrious acting family, Vanessa Redgrave is one of the most distinguished and talented actresses in British history, in fact, “the greatest actress of our time” according to Tennessee Williams. The awards to her name include an Academy Award, two Emmys, two Golden Globes, two Cannes Best Actress awards and a Tony. In November 2011, Redgrave received an honour at the Oscars Academy for 50 years in the industry, during which she made over 70 films, the first time such an honour has been awarded to a British actress.


Always supportive of human rights causes, Redgrave has always been vocal on the point of supporting the Palestinian people, as well as condemning both anti-Semitism and Zionism, most famously while accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the film Julia (1977). Largely an unpopular cause at the time, Redgrave’s career suffered as a result of her courage to speak out against injustice. Yet, she continues to support the Palestinian cause, and thanks to her humanitarian work, has been elected to serve as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Board of Trustees

Marwan Bishara, Chairman

Dr Bishara is a political sociologist and the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera English. He was previously a lecturer in International Relations at the American University of Paris and a fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of The Invisible ArabPalestine Israel: Peace or Apartheid, and other works focusing on the US foreign policy and the Middle East. Dr. Bishara is currently working on US Patron-Client relations in the Middle East.

Sawsan Asfari, Co-founder & Director

Sawsan is also a co-founder and Trustee of the Asfari Foundation, which aims to help young people make a valuable contribution to society by empowering them through education, research and the power of free thinking. In addition to this, she is board member of the U.S Middle East Project, advisory board member of Challenge To Change and member of the Palestinian development organisation, the Welfare Association. She is also a partner in the production company Cactus World Films.

Yousef Bazian, Trustee

Yousef has over 26 years experience in complex corporate finance and business development. He gained extensive market knowledge after 10 years with a boutique advisory firm. He led the Transaction Services for Private Capital in the Middle East for two professional services firms. Yousef has sat on the Board of Directors of several investment companies and has hands on experience of company management.


He has also worked with many clients ranging from Large Private Equity Firms to Global holding companies. Yousef brings diversified technical financial and business skills into transaction advisory; including deal negotiations & closure, structured trade & project finance, capital raising, deal structuring, M&A and valuations. He has a Bachelors degree in Finance and Marketing from Yarmouk University in Jordan.

Abdulrahman Elshayyal, Trustee

Abdulrahman is the CEO of Alaraby AlJadeed, one of the largest pan-Arab news outlet headquartered in London. Prior to joining Alaraby Aljadeed, he worked at the BBC for five years in different capacities, firstly as a producer and then as a Business Development Manager,  responsible for the BBC World Service’s relationships with the relevant government departments, NGOs and private companies in over 15 Arab countries.


Prior to that, he worked at a number of media organisations as well as a UK government funded project on Security Sector Reform. In early 2014, Abdulrahman secured funding for and organised the opening of an independent media training centre in Sana’a, Yemen. The institute went on to train over 150 potential journalists in Yemen on various production skills for multi-platform media and journalism ethics.


Abdulrahman was born in London and holds a BA in Economics and History from SOAS, an MA in Political Economy from Durham and an MBA from the London Business School.

Leila Garadaghi, Trustee

Leila received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Master of Business Administration from the George Washington University and an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London. She has worked at The World BankBrandes Asset ManagementRobert Fleming NY and Goldman Sachs.

Khalil Jahshan, Trustee

Khalil is currently the Executive Director of the Arab Center Washington DC, a think tank focused on researching the Arab World and US foreign policy. Between 2004-2013, Khalil was a lecturer in International Studies and Languages at Pepperdine University and Executive Director of Pepperdine’s Seaver College Washington DC Internship Program.


Prior to joining Pepperdine University, Jahshan served as Executive Vice President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Director of its government affairs affiliate, NAAA-ADC. Throughout his career Khalil has held numerous positions, including Vice President of the American Committee on Jerusalem, President of the National Association of Arab-Americans, and National Director of the Association of Arab-American University graduates. He received a BA in Political Science and French from Harding University in 1972.


Khalil serves on the board of directors, and advisory boards of various Middle East-oriented groups, including ANERA, MIFTAH and Search for Common Ground (Middle East). He appears regularly on various outlets including BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, CCTV, France24, RT, Al-Jazeera, Al-Araby TV, Al-Arabiya, Al-Hurra, Al-Ghad Al-Arabi, Ekhbariya TV, Al-Iraqiya, Qatar TV, Saudi TV 1, Saudi TV 2.

Eyad Mahameed, Trustee

Eyad is a human rights lawyer based in Haifa and has been working with Palestinian political prisoners for over 10 years, representing them in the Israeli military courts. From his private Law Practice, he also provides legal advice to various companies and private clients. Eyad is involved with several educational and civil society organisations working for advancing the rights of the Palestinian community in Israel. Eyad received an L.L.B in Law and B.A in Sociology and Anthropology from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and while studying he was Chairman of the Arab Students’ Union.


Dina Bseisu, Adviser

Dina is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of Arab Women. She is also a banker with a career in Private Banking that spans over 25 years, having worked with various leading international banks from Geneva. In December 2014, Dina launched ”Challenge to Change”; a platform focusing on the empowerment of Arab women. It was officially registered as a non-profit association in May 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, and is now recognised as the region’s enabling network for women; catalysing positive change with a specific emphasis on those affected by conflict.


She earned a BA in Political Science & Economics from Duke University and later on, an MSC in Foreign Services from Georgetown University. In her spare time, Dina writes poetry. She loves alpine skiing, reading, music, and the outdoors. She is the mother of two young adult children, spends her time between Bahrain and Geneva, and travels extensively.

David Freeman, Legal Adviser

David is a lawyer based in London who has worked with Palestinians both inside and outside Palestine for over twenty five years. He spends more than half his time working as a lawyer on a pro bono basis for charities and NGOs that work in the Middle East while advising international families and their businesses on a broad range of tax, trust, real estate and commercial matters. He writes for Al Hayat on these subjects and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and of Chatham House.

Dianne Woodward, Media & Outreach Consultant

Dianne has enjoyed a varied career that began in scientific research in food crop diseases and finished in teaching in further and higher education. A Degree in Biological Sciences and a Ph.D in Plant Pathology from the University of East Anglia followed later by Open University courses in Maths and Computing led Dianne to teach on a number of A level subjects, other Level 3 programmes and Degree courses, in a variety of roles, including programme leader.


Alongside being an examiner and team leader with several major exam boards, Dianne has written and mentored fully interactive computer based distance learning courses in GCSE and A Level subjects for elite sports students, and chronically ill scholars unable to attend school. As a keen advocate of ICT in the classroom she has coached colleagues in its use as a tool to enliven teaching and enhance learning.


Always an advocate of the Palestinian cause and wishing to progress from supporting equality, diversity and widening participation in British education to seeking to help promote it within the Palestinian context, Dianne has found her way to the Galilee Foundation and aims to make herself useful there in a practical capacity.


Maha Alfarra, Communications & Fundraising Manager

Maha joined the Galilee Foundation in April 2018. She comes with over 12 years experience in media, with a particular focus on the Middle East. Maha started her career working at Al Jazeera English in Kuala Lumpur, on current affairs, breaking news and at times in the field. She then moved to Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha where she was the Senior Interview Producer at Al Jazeera English leading a team of interview producers, and working on news, programmes and various PR campaigns.


Maha then decided to move permanently into the charity sector. The Galilee Foundation is a charity with a cause close to her heart. Being of Palestinian origin herself and a strong advocate for education, it has been an honour for her to work to help young Palestinians fulfil their potential.