Satin TashniziExecutive Director / Co-founder
Satin graduated from the University of Utah with an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Middle Eastern Studies. She wrote her honors undergraduate thesis on Millennial voting after working to bring the first ever voter center to her campus. Recently, her work to empower young voters was featured in Forbes. In 2015 she interned at the United States House of Representatives in Washington DC. As a fluent Farsi speaker, and the proud daughter of Iranian immigrants, she was proud to work as an interpreter serving refugees and migrants in the community. She started her career at Goldman Sachs in 2018, and was appointed by Governor Herbert to the board of the Multicultural Commission in 2019. In January of 2019 Satin gave a Ted Talk titled ‘How we can defeat terrorism’ where she highlighted the separation between political ideology and Islam. Satin proudly serves as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Emerald Project working alongside her team to combat the misrepresentation of Islam.
Nora Abu-DanChief Operating Officer / Co-founder
Nora Abu-Dan is Utah born but both her parents are from the holy land of Palestine. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a minor in Spanish. Nora is also a former reigning Miss United Nations USA and used her platform to educate youth on using their voice to make a difference. In 2016, Nora went on to become an Arabic Interpreter for refugees who were seeking safety from their war torn countries. She found her passion in helping others establish a new life in America with the promise of hope and peace. Shortly after, with all the misinformation and hate that was being perpetuated about Islam and Muslims, it was time to make a change. Nora co-founded Emerald Project in 2017 and in the future, she plans to be a Peace Ambassador for Palestine and help rebuild this war-traumatized nation, one conversation at a time.
Emina MehmedovicChief Financial Officer
Emina is a Bosnian American, her family came to the United States as refugees in 1998 in hopes of providing a better life for themselves. Both of her parents have worked hard labor jobs in the U.S. and their work ethic has inspired Emina to accomplish great things in her own life. Being the first in her family to attend a 4 year educational institution, Emina hopes to inspire other young immigrants to pursue their education because she knows it is one of the most powerful tools. Emina graduated May 2020 from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.
Ermina MustaficDirector of Sponsorship & Outreach
Ermina Mustafic is a first generation college student studying Political Science at the University of Utah. Ermina and her family came to the U.S. as Bosnian Muslim refugees in 1998 and settled in Utah. Her passion for educating people on the misrepresentation of Islam stems from her families experiences in their home country. Ermina hopes to help build a bridge of unity by engaging in important conversations with others. In 2019 she served as a congressional intern for Congressman Andre Carson in Washington, DC and was awarded an intern scholarship by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019. Ermina joined as an Ambassador in March of 2019 and was the first Emerald team member to get promoted to the Executive team. As of April 2020 Ermina serves Emerald Project as our Director of Sponsorships & Outreach.
Taha AbdallahDirector of Special Projects & Programming
Taha is an Honors Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies student at the University of Utah. His father is from Tunisia and mother from Brazil. He is currently the President of the Muslim Students’ Association chapter at the U of U. Taha is the recipient of the Eccles Scholarship, a full ride scholarship, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship to study Arabic. His passions include history, soccer, and basketball. Taha’s goal as an ambassador with Emerald Project is to build bridges between communities. Taha has been with Emerald Project since its founding, and he has loved every second of it.
Fidel VillatoroOperations Manager
Fidel was born in Washington D.C. to immigrants parents from Mexico and El Salvador. Fidel’s father came to America during the Salvadorian civil war.
“I was born and raised in Washington D.C. and I am a product of my environment. My city made me fall in love with history, politics, and business. As young child my heroes were Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Malcom X. I admire these heroes because they fought for change.”
Fidel divides his time as a full time college student and a full time employee at Goldman Sachs. Fidel hopes that in his lifetime he can always fight for positive change.
Tala is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is Lebanese, but she was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She plans on pursuing a career in dentistry in college. She is passionate about working things by hand (i.e. Jewelry), teaching, and learning about new things. Tala volunteered as a TA in French, a tutor in organization and time management, and an Islamic studies teacher at the Muslim Community Center. Tala recently joined the Emerald Project as an Ambassador. Her Goal at the Emerald Project is to participate/initiate the conversation about the misrepresentation of Islam and educating those of the Salt Lake community.
Ali Abbas Sial is a 21 year old Pakistani American finishing his first year as an Emerald Project Ambassador. Ali Abbas is a senior at the University of Utah and is studying Chemistry. He has volunteered at the University of Utah Hospital with Connect2Health, Utah Islamic Center, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Parliament of World Religions, and the American Red Cross. Ali Abbas has worked as an associate instructor for the Math and Chemistry Departments at the University of Utah and volunteered as a TA for Physiology. He is a recipient of the Lloyd E. Malm Memorial Award for outstanding performance in Chemistry.
Nour is a criminal justice student at Salt Lake Community College. Nour and her family moved to America from Syria in 2014. Her dreams are to finish college, write her book, and become a public speaker. She volunteers as a mentor with Know Your Neighbor program. Nour also earned a full ride scholarship through the One Refugee program. She learned about Emerald Project through her English class as a service project, but she wanted to stay and become part of the team.
Yassin is a high school student from Berlin. In May of 2020, Yassin graduated from Hillcrest High school. Before coming to the United States he was active in the Muslim Youth Organization of Berlin. He is a passionate soccer player and Hertha BSC fan. His roots are Tunisian and Bosnian, but he was born and raised in Germany. His goals are to make this world a better place. His hobbies are hanging out with his friends, traveling, playing sports and hiking. He is interested in meeting new people and loves to hear their stories.
Ahmad KarehBoard Member
Ahmad Kareh founded Twistlab Marketing a Utah top 20 Ad Agency and Utah Top Workplace. Kareh is a member of the Forbes Agency Council, a tenure-track professor at Salt Lake Community College, and a part-time professor at BYU and USU. Kareh’s passion for teaching has helped him gain national recognition including ACBSP’s National Teaching Excellence Award.
Ahmad has an undergraduate degree in Marketing Communications from BYU, an MBA from Utah State University, and a Master of Liberal Arts in the Field of Management from Harvard University.
Ali VallartaAdvisory Board Member
Ali has built a global career as a producer, fundraiser, and media consultant to independent storytellers — a portfolio that ranges from filmmakers to political candidates. She is passionate about connecting the stories at the heart of our communities to the work of activists, newsrooms, and local dialogues. Ali studied Arabic language and literature at Middlebury College, the American University of Beirut, and the University of Jordan. She is the Development Director at the Rural Utah Project, a voting rights advocacy organization.
Kristin VazquezAdvisory Board Member
Kristin Marie Raffone Vazquez, Esq. is the President and CEO of Raffone Dessiné, a legal services provider. She has over 16 years’ of comprehensive legal experience. Ms. Vazquez has extensive experience in emerging growth companies, and in particular, mergers and acquisitions, business combinations and joint ventures. Ms. Vazquez has licenses to practice in New York, Connecticut and Utah. She has been recognized as one of the Utah’s Legal Elite for her accomplishments in the field of Mergers and Acquisitions. She was also featured in Salt Lake Magazine’s Women to Watch feature for her business consulting and fashion accessories business “Raffone Design.” Ms. Vazquez is a member of the Utah Bar; Utah Minority Bar Association; Utah Lawyers for the Arts; Sandy Chamber of Commerce and Utah Technology Council. Ms. Vazquez is also a certified business and executive coach.
Bakir MohamedBoard Member
Born in Swansea, Wales, Bakir Mohammad later moved to London and then Beirut, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Islamic ideology and philosophy from the Global University in 2012. He returned to the United Kingdom where he gained a Master’s degree in Islamic studies at Newman University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in theology and religious studies from the University of Glasgow.
Tarek AnabtawiBoard Member
Tarek was born in Amman, Jordan. He earned a BA in Economics and Human Resource Management from the University of Toronto. Tarek taught Arabic and Islamic studies at Warden Woods Community Center. He was heavily involved in the establishment of the Islamic Community Center of Toronto. In Jordan, Tarek worked in one of the largest E-Commerce Businesses in the Middle East, Marka VIP. Tarek worked there for 3 years as an Assistant Sourcing Director, after which he decided to dedicate his life to learning and teaching Islam. Tarek has dedicated his time to giving Islamic lessons, teaching the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet ﷺ. His Islamic education and experience include:
o Explanation of Al-Tahawi Creed
o Explanation of Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar by Imam Abu-Hanifa
o Explanation of The Risala of Ibn-Asaker
· Fiqh (Jurisprudence):
o Explanation of Maten of Abi-Shuja’
· Science of Hadeeth:
o Explanation of Al-Bayqouniah
o Explanation of Nukhbat Al-Fiker by Ibn-Hajar Al-Askalani
o The Forty Nawawi Hadeeths
o Riyad Al-Saliheen
o Summary of Al-Bukhari
o Al-Shama’el of the Prophet ﷺ
o Al-Dur Al-Nadeed in the rules of Tajweed
o Explanation of Juzu’ Amma (The Thirtieth Part)
o Explanation of Juzu’ Tabarak (The Twenty Ninth Part)
· Knowledge of Usool Al-Fiqh:
o Explanation of Al-Warakat