Our Experts

Local insight. Global perspective.

Scott Shadian

Scott Shadian

CEO/Managing Partner

Scott is the Chief Executive Officer at Sayara International. He is a conflict mitigation and international development specialist with a decade of experience in the public and private sectors, mostly within post-conflict environments. Scott has unique insight into how mainstream media and digital platforms, as well as non-traditional means of communication, relate to stabilization operations, countering violent extremism and development activities.

Background

Scott started his career as an aide in the White House in 2003 and, in 2005, began his tenure as a communications advisor to two American ambassadors to Afghanistan. During that time, he assisted with the coordination of communication and public diplomacy strategies for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. He went on to assist USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives projects in Lebanon and Pakistan, with a particular emphasis on developing district-level governance and CVE strategies. Scott also served as a communications advisor to Zain Telecommunications in Iraq.

Education

Scott has an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Scott Shadian

Scott Shadian

CEO/Managing Partner

Fareed Payaam

President/Managing Partner

Fareed is the President of Sayara International. His experience includes political analysis, cross-ministerial advising, donor strategy, strategic communications, private sector management, and programming.

Background

Fareed previously served as a Program Manager at USAID, where he designed and managed over $365 million in stabilization programs, including the Local Governance and Community Development Program, the Afghanistan Civilian Assistance Program and the Community Based Stabilization Grants. Fareed also worked as a Public Information Officer with the International Organization for Migration and as a Political Advisor with the United Nations’ Development Programme’s Disarmament and Reintegration Commission in Afghanistan.

Education

Fareed holds an MA in Political Science from Balochistan University and a BA in Political Science, Sociology, and Pashto.

Fareed Payaam

President/Managing Partner

George Abi-Habib

COO/Managing Partner

George is the Chief Operating Officer of Sayara International. He is a media and innovation specialist with a decade of experience building entrepreneurial activities in emerging markets throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Background

George’s private sector background has focused on developing groundbreaking media products tailored toward youth. Having worked with Viacom’s broadcasting arm, OSN Network (previously Showtime Networks), George helped to develop the pan-Arab Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and an interactive English Premier League program that allowed Middle Eastern audiences to interact with commentators, celebrity guests and former Premier League football players via SMS and television chat. George has taught marketing and entrepreneurship at EMDI in Dubai, the IE Business School in Madrid, and is currently a lecturer at Lebanese American University in Beirut.

Education

George has a B.A. in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University and an MBA from the IE Business School in Madrid.

George Abi-Habib

COO/Managing Partner

Nama Vanier

Vice President/Managing Partner

Nama is the Vice President that oversees all research programs. She has over seven years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing perception studies, monitoring and evaluation protocols, baseline studies, and needs assessments.

Background

Nama has led a large number of socio-economical and evaluation research projects on behalf of major donors such as USAID, the UN, the U.S. State Department and ISAF. She singlehandedly built, organized and trained a research network across Afghanistan. In addition, she designed and implemented innovative methodologies to collect and analyze data in unstable and challenging environments such as Libya and Tunisia during the Arab uprisings. Nama also served as an Advocacy Officer for women’s protection in the refugee camps in Lebanon.

Education

Ms. Vanier holds a BA in Social Science from the University of Strasbourg and an AD from the Toulouse Institute of Political Science.

Nama Vanier

Vice President/Managing Partner

Rahmatullah Kawsar

Senior Program Manager

Kawsar is a Senior Program Manager with over a decade of experience in stabilization, community engagement, CVE programming, and civilian-military initiatives. Kawsar’s research focuses on Islamic militancy and radical movements in Central Asia and CVE programming in the MENA region.

Background

Kawsar has managed and supervised over $50 million in development and stabilization projects for USAID in Afghanistan. As USAID-Afghanistan Deputy Field Program Officer for Khost, he oversaw the implementation of a variety of development and stabilization programs, including the Local Governance and Community Development Program and the Afghanistan Civilian Assistance Program.

Education

Kawsar holds a BA in Journalism from Afghan University.

Rahmatullah Kawsar

Senior Program Manager

Sarah Gengler

Research Analyst

Sarah is a Research Analyst with particular interest in ethnic and civil conflict and human security issues. She works on a number of research projects for clients including Aga Khan Foundation, United States Institute for Peace, and UNICEF.

Background

Sarah has an extensive background in researching and working on issues related to conflict and international development. Previously she worked as the Program Associate for the United Nations Associate of Minnesota’s Global Classrooms program, developing and teaching research and analysis curriculum to junior high and high school students throughout the Twin Cities metro area. She also participated in collegiate-level Model United Nations.

In addition, Sarah was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia (’13-’15), where she taught English for Livelihoods in Cartagena.

Education

Sarah is currently studying for her M.A. in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, with a concentration in Terrorism and Sub-State Violence. She has a B.A. in International Relations and a Certificate in Conflict Studies from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Sarah Gengler

Research Analyst

Alexa Greenwald

Program Manager

Alexa is international program manager at Sayara. She supports both business development efforts and program management from the DC office.

Background

Alexa previously worked at the University of Chicago Crime Lab conducting research and evaluating programming on education inequality and gang violence. This led her into the countering violent extremism field, where she worked for Women without Borders in Vienna, Austria, scaling up the Mothers Schools initiative, a family-centered counter-radicalization platform across Europe, Africa and Asia. Her work focused on coalition-building among families, educators, law enforcement and government officials to support at-risk youth.

Education

Alexa has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the Uni​versity of Chicago.

Alexa Greenwald

Program Manager

Sayara by the numbers

50

Years Combined Experience

15

Spoken Languages

68

Published Articles