CEPAL is run by an Executive Board of Directors whose objectives are to lead and manage the activities of the organization.  Directors are voted in by CEPAL’s members every year at the Annual General Meeting.  They typically come from a variety of backgrounds, either as past overseas teachers, volunteers, or supporters of CEPAL.




Henry Zaccak, President

A CEPAL volunteer in 2011, he joined the board soon after returning from Lebanon. He helps a variety of charities and non-profit organizations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and has a passion for building software products and services that improve the wellness of others. He has a Masters in Health Informatics from the University of Waterloo. He also has an Hon. B.Sc. in Computer Science: Software Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a PMP Certified Project Manager.


Robert Assaly, Treasurer

Robert is a priest in Montreal. He served for three years in the ‘90s as Director of the Jerusalem office of the Middle East Council of Churches and Vicar of Gaza. He holds three degrees, one in Middle East and Islamic history. Robert had been vice-chair of a UN committee on Palestinian rights, and continues to head up Canada’s original Middle East peace charity. Having experienced first-hand the essential role of religion in Middle East peacemaking and religious extremism in war-making, he is committed to strengthening the Canadian churches in their partnerships with the region’s churches and other civil society organizations, not least those which serve in the camps in Lebanon.


Rami Darwich

Rami is a Palestinian refugee that is currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry on the subject of elucidating the genetic circuits that pattern the embryonic heart.  He strongly believes that the key to improving the quality of life for people in the less fortunate areas of the world and in particular, for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, is education.  Thus, he joined CEPAL’s board in 2010 hoping that it will be the proverbial acorn in: “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”  Rami was awarded the prestigious Vanier Canada Scholarship for his scholarly and leadership achievements.   He believes that the award is proof of the human potential residing in the alleys of the refugee camps in Lebanon.


Hammam Farah

Hammam is a Palestinian Canadian resettlement worker for Syrian refugees and a therapist in training at Toronto’s Centre for Training in Psychotherapy. He received his BA in Political Science and Psychology from York University, and he has been a leading activist with the Palestine solidarity movement since the 2003 Iraq war and the second Palestinian Intifada. Hammam frequently lectures on Palestinian rights and the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), and has appeared to comment on various media outlets, including CP24, CityNews, The Toronto Star, and Al Quds TV in Palestine.


Sarah Halabi

Sarah is a Canadian of Palestinian origin, has a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Teaching Learning and Development. She is currently a PhD Candidate studying Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies in the Faculty of Education at UWO.  She believes that environments systemically arranged to reduce educational access result in generational cycles of oppression and that increasing access to quality education will help disrupt such cycles which is why she believes CEPAL’s initiatives are essential for Palestinian refugees.


Ruba Mabad

Ruba is a Palestinian-Canadian residing in London, Ontario. After completing a Masters in History at Western University and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto, Ruba is now a French Immersion teacher at her local school board. Ruba is passionate about education and has worked with youth and young adults in elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions. She is committed to CEPAL’s vision and hopes to one day return to Palestine herself.


Heba Ragheb

Heba is a research coordinator and psychometrist in the Cognitive Neurology Department of Sunnybrook Hospital. She has completed a B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Psychology and a Masters of Social Work. Over the past 10 years Heba has been a mental health activist, researcher and community advocate. She is especially devoted to delivering culturally adapted mental wellness services to Middle Eastern and Arab Communities, given the traumatizing impact of war and widespread political conflicts, xenophobia, discrimination and oppression.  Heba has spear-headed quality of life and collective resilience research in different Arab regions (Palestinian Territories, Syria and Egypt) at the university of Toronto. She also believes that research and education as well as art and culture are great tools for advocacy, empowerment  and for fostering resilience in Arabs and Middle-Eastern communities. Heba believes that the road to healing, growth and restoration of human rights in Arab and Middle regions is in their unity against injustice, openness to diversity and in their solidarity. For that reason, Heba has joined CEPAL – to support Palestinians’ human rights, fundamental freedoms and opportunities for education.

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CEPAL cookbook for sale
CEPAL cook books for sale: $15 each. Enjoy Palestinian food at home! Email info@cepal.ca to order