The Assyrian Policy Institute is pleased to announce the addition of three new team members to support the growing and expanding needs of its diversifying ambitions. Joining the API's advocacy team as Advocacy Associates are Arbella Issa, Maureen Khoshaba, and Oriana Lazar. In their new roles, they will help develop and execute communications and advocacy strategies related to the API’s policy priorities.
"We're very excited by this period of growth on our team, which aligns with the success of the API in the last two years," said Reine Hanna, API Executive Director. "Arbella, Maureen, and Oriana are committed to our purpose and our approach to advocacy and organizing. Their experiences and abilities will be assets to the organization as we continue our work to advance our policy advocacy priorities and elevate the visibility and capacity of our community."
Arbella Issa is a graduate student at San Francisco State University. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Communication Studies, and her areas of research include intercultural communication, Assyrian identity formation, and political rhetoric. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Stanislaus where she works as a Social Media Manager for the Chancellor's Office.
Born and raised in Modesto, California, Arbella's family has its roots in Al-Hasakah, Syria and Baghdad, Iraq. She credits her parents' dedication to their cultural heritage, coupled with the fact that she was raised in a city heavily-populated by Assyrians, for her desire to get involved in Assyrian organizing. She began working with the API as a volunteer in February 2021 and recently attended the Assyrian National Conference, which solidified her commitment to the Assyrian cause. In her new role, she aims to merge her background in communication with policy and advocacy to bring more recognition to Assyrian issues, to pursue justice and equality for Assyrians in the traditional homeland, and to support the Assyrian community globally.
Maureen Khoshaba is a recent graduate of DePaul University, where she received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Politics and a minor in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. She currently works as a Legal Assistant for an immigration law firm.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Maureen has extensive organizing experience and a desire to see more Assyrian representation in public service. She has worked in electoral politics in a range of races at the local and state levels. Maureen has also been working to increase voter registration within the Assyrian-American community. She initially came to the API as a volunteer in 2021.
Oriana Lazar is a Juris Doctor candidate at California Western School of Law, where she focuses on civil rights law and intellectual property law. She previously earned her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in History. Currently, Oriana is completing a six-month fellowship at an intellectual property law clinic and will begin a position as a law clerk at a civil rights firm.
Born in Al-Hasakah, Syria, Oriana immigrated to the United States at the age of six. She grew up as part of the vibrant Assyrian community in California's Central Valley, where her desire to advocate for her community was first fostered. She is also an International Humanitarian Law (IHL) instructor for the American Red Cross. Oriana aims to research how IHL intersects with conflicts that concern Assyrians in their traditional homeland. Oriana first came to the API as a volunteer in 2021. In her new role, she hopes to use her legal background to strengthen her advocacy.