Jawaad focuses on fostering greater understanding between American Muslims and people of other faiths in the areas of educational media and philanthropy. He has been interviewed by USA Today, NPR, and Voice of America, among others. Jawaad holds an MPA from Indiana University. Directing UPFs fundraising efforts, Jawaad has helped the organization grow from producing one film every two years to working in three strategic areas including annual film production, educational outreach through over 10,000 film screenings, and development of a resource center for Hollywood.
Zeki comes to UPF with a strong background in international business and marketing at several small private companies and large public firms in Turkey. He is co-owner of Zeki Textiles (Wool and Industry Commerce Inc.) based in Usak, Turkey. Zeki holds a Dual-Diploma Degree in Global Politics and International Affairs from SUNY Binghamton, NY and Middle East Technical University, Turkey. At UPF, Zeki supports administrative, finance, fundraising, and program functions.
Sarah has a background working with students and the community. She was a teacher for four years, and worked as the Muslim Program Coordinator at Georgetown University for a year, organizing student, community and interfaith events. Sarah has degrees from Whitman College and Washington State University. Currently Sarah supports donor relations and UPF events.
A frequent writer and lecturer on Islamic awareness and cross-cultural communication, UPF co-founder Alex has published numerous essays, including in the Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post. He has lectured to corporations such as Nike and Disney and non-profits such as the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and Harvard. Alex has appeared as a CNN commentator on several occasions, including during CNN’s historic coverage of the Hajj in 1998. Alex served as political appointee at the U.S. State Department, focusing on U.S. foreign policy and Islam. Alex has a degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University. Alex is co-executive producer of UPF films, CEO of UPF, and Treasurer/Secretary of the UPF board.
Lena Sulpovar is a candidate for a Master of Arts in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations at the SIT (School for International Training) Graduate Institute. Lena was born in Uzbekistan, raised in Israel, and studied both in the U.S. and in France. She interns as an Outreach Associate with UPF’s 20,000 Dialogues program and assists with foundation relations.
Daniel’s work for peace across religious and cultural lines and has been featured on NPR, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press, and at educational symposia. Before working with UPF, Daniel served a year of public service with the Points of Light Foundation, and was the Executive Director for the 9/11 Unity Walk. He holds degrees from American University and Southern Oregon University. For UPF he has built a network of organizations implementing the 20,000 Dialogues methodology, reaching more than 80,000 people in more than 10,000 discussions using UPF films.
A well-known, award-winning poet and writer, UPF co-founder Michael was publisher of Tombouctou Books, a small press that published poetry and avant garde prose, for fifteen years. Michael's first books on Islam were The Hadj, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, and Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (editor), which won a 2003 Wilbur Award. On screen and behind the scenes, Michael has been involved with television since 1997, when he hosted a televised account of the Hajj from Mecca for Nightline, which was nominated for multiple awards. He holds a degree from Wesleyan University. Michael is co-executive producer of UPF films, President of UPF and co-director of MOST.