Board of Directors of the Arab Center of Washington
The board is composed of a president, one treasurer, one secretary and directors at large. If you are interested in becoming a board member please fill out our ACW Board Member Form and submit to email@example.com
2012-2014 Board Members
Huda Giddens, President
Huda was born in Cairo, Egypt, to Palestinian parents, and spent her early years in Cairo, sometime in Jerusalem, and some in Lebanon, where she earned a B.A. degree from the Beirut College for Women. She came to the USA in 1959 to Iowa State University where I received a Master’s degree in Child Development and Early Childhood Education (ECE). Shortly after graduation she married and joined her husband in Okinawa, Japan, where she taught undergraduate courses at the University of Maryland’s Far East Division, and also taught English to Okinawans, subsequently becoming the President of the American Volunteer Teachers’ Association.
Upon returning to the USA, they settled in Michigan at MSU, Lansing, where her son Bryce was born. In 1968, Huda moved to Seattle where, after much deliberation, she decided to start a school, with a distinctly strong foundation in sound learning principles, implemented by child-appropriate teaching techniques. Now named the Giddens School, Huda taught in and directed the School for 14 years, which accepts all children from preschool age to the fifth grade.
In 1986 Huda accepted an invitation to be an Arabic-speaking Early Childhood Consultant and Teacher Trainer to the Quaker Kindergarten Program in Gaza. Upon finishing her work with the Quaker program, she joined OXFAM as the ECE Specialist, with an assignment to develop an extensive ECE Project to include teacher training, parent education and the establishment of preschools in Bedouin communities in southern Israel (the Negev). During this time she was also the Curriculum Advisor at Bethlehem University, assigned to upgrade their ECE program from a 2-year to a 4-year curriculum, and to teach some of the upper level courses. Huda returned to Seattle in the fall of 1998 to teach Arabic and familiarize the Seattle public with Arab culture. She taught at Seattle University, Fort Lewis, and Lowell Elementary School, in addition to tutoring individual students.
Su Nelson, Secretary
When asked where she is from, Su usually responds “I was raised in Alaska.” However, many who know her suggest she must be at least a little bit Arab. Arab music infused itself into her soul when she was in high school, along with a love for the many dances styles from the Arab world. She studied Arabic language for a year before moving to Seattle in 1994. She has a Master’s Degree in Education from Seattle University and an undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from the University of Portland.
Su first became involved with the Seattle Arab community while in grad school and has performed as part of Shahrazad Dance Ensemble at all 7 biennial Arab Festivals held at Seattle Center. In 1999 she helped check in performers and her role with the festival has grown ever since. Su served on the Board of Directors from 2007-2010 and was reappointed in 2013. Su is currently volunteering as the Festival Coordinator, while also serving in the role of Board Secretary.
Mary Toutonghi, Treasurer
Born and raised here in Seattle, Mary is the oldest of six siblings. Her father and his seven siblings came here from Egypt when he was a teenager. Her grandparents are Lebanese and Syrian. Mary grew up with a large, extended Arab family in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and has “always had a passion for food.” That passion led her to restaurant work for many years and owning her own neighborhood natural foods store and deli. Mary also loves working with young people and has a degree in education. She helped start an alternative Montessori public school with her sister-in-law. Mary is now in graduate school in the International Studies Department at the University of Washington, with the Middle East as her regional focus. She is studying Arabic language and Middle Eastern history and culture, with an emphasis on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. She states that “Arab immigrants have a long history of enriching our American culture and I am greatly honored to be a part of the Arab Center of Washington. I look forward to using my creativity and energy to learn and contribute!”
Rasha Qamheyeh, Board Advisor and Acting Financial Officer
Born in Kuwait, Rasha moved to Amman, Jordan as a young adult. In Amman, she received a B.Sc. in Physics from Jordan University and spent over eight years in teaching physics and mathematical physics to high school students with ardent passion. She was recognized for her commitment for achieving high standards of competence and using creative methods that would inspire and positively influence her students, some of which went on to win internationally acclaimed prizes in physics under her supervision.
In line with her determination to effect change on a larger scale, she set herself to learn the intricacies of today’s global economy; with concentration in economics and finance she earned her MBA with honors from the New York Institute of Technology and embarked on working in the financial sector in positions that empowered the public to make informed decision concerning their financial matters whether through her detailed research reports or through the financial planning services she offered through her work in the corporate world.
Rasha was always in touch with the non-profit sector promoting cross cultural understanding. She is a volunteering member of the United Nations and is always looking for opportunities she can extend quality service to others in need. Her involvement and contribution to an open university curriculum that offers distance learning opportunities to people around the globe is indicative of her intrinsic motivation to reach far beyond her geography.
Rasha served as Treasurer for four years (February 2009- February 2013) and is now the board appointed Financial Officer in addition to acting as an Advisor to the Board.
Board of Directors Contact Information:
President Huda Giddens: firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Su Nelson: email@example.com