IIE President and CEO Dr. Allan E. Goodman with S.A. and Winston Ibrahim
The Ibrahim Family Foundation, founded by S.A. Ibrahim, focuses on improving international cultural awareness and understanding through educational exchanges. Past major initiatives include the Ibrahim Fellowship at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Ibrahim Family Theater at the International House of Philadelphia, and the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project in the Middle East.
S.A. Ibrahim is chief executive officer of Radian Group Inc., a global credit risk management company headquartered in Philadelphia with significant operations in New York and London.
Mr. Ibrahim joined Radian in May 2005 from GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc., a residential mortgage lender, where he served as president and chief executive officer from 1999 until April 2005. Before that, Mr. Ibrahim was chief operating officer of GreenPoint’s mortgage businesses as well as an executive vice president of GreenPoint Financial Corporation.
Prior to joining GreenPoint in 1997, Mr. Ibrahim headed international re-engineering for American Express in Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America. Mr. Ibrahim spent many years in various consumer-banking positions at Chemical Bank, and was CEO and COO of their mortgage business. Early in his career, Mr. Ibrahim held positions with Bank of America and General Electric.
Mr. Ibrahim is chairman of the board of MERSCORP, Inc., and serves on the California Mortgage Bankers Association Board of Directors, Mortgage Bankers Association of America Residential Board of Governors, Fannie Mae National Advisory Council and International Institute for Education’s Regional Advisory Board. Mr. Ibrahim is also a charter member of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) in Silicon Valley.
Mr. Ibrahim holds an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BE in Engineering from Osmania University in India.
From S.A. Ibrahim:
My family is proud to sponsor this project at the Institute of International Education, for the second year. It would have been difficult to not continue the program after hearing about the experiences of the participants from the inaugural program and reading their Impact Plans. It was particularly moving to hear how all the participants, who were knowledgeable and well-informed about the cultures and religions of the Middle East to begin with, gained even greater respect and understanding as a result of their participation in the program. Equally, if not more impressive, was the manner in which the participants themselves demonstrated one of the best aspects of America—the effortless ease with which Americans of different faiths interact, collaborate and form work and social relationships with each other without differences in faith getting in the way. It is our belief, that by sharing this wonderful aspect about our country, we can someday bring down the barriers that divide so many in parts of the world where religious and cultural differences divide people and keep them from appreciating the common human good in each other.
The Ibrahim Family Foundation while small, has the lofty goal of “sharing America with the world and sharing the world with America”. The participants in the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project while small in number have the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of the people they touch, by sharing themselves as representatives of the America of tomorrow. At the same time, as future American leaders, the participants have the opportunity to gain deeper appreciation of the cultures and religions of the Middle East—a region critical to the security and prosperity of the world. As future American leaders, someday the participants will hopefully play some role in turning a part of the world that is known today as a region of conflict into a region of promise.
From Winston Ibrahim:
The Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project in the Middle East has its roots in the aftermath of the horrific events of 9/11. As with every average Muslim family we were shocked and dismayed to see those professing our faith carry out such infamy. Struck by these feelings we began to search for a way that we could build greater cultural understanding, particularly in regard to the Islamic World and the West. America is unique for the general cooperation and intermixing of peoples of all different faiths and backgrounds. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, we thought, if we could somehow harness this greatest of all our natural resources and refine it to the point where it could possibly make some small difference in the wider world.
Two years ago, it seemed imperative to us that in the middle of the worst recession in a century, the U.S. should not fall for the hollow comforts of isolation. More than ever it was crucial that global travel and the experience of connecting with the “other” should be sought out. Eight months later in June 2009, having bridged countless obstacles and on the day of the historic Cairo address, our first trip was launched. The results were better than we could have ever had hoped for. Young leaders, brimming with talent and excitement returned from the Middle East, not jaded or cynical from the considerable issues facing the region and their global implications, but rather even more energized than before.
This first ever class of Ibrahim Fellows realized how fortunate they had been to have so many opportunities at their disposal, and that they needed to use these blessings on behalf of others. The activities of this class since, and the countless strides they have made in their Impact Plans, does nothing but uphold this legacy. It is incumbent on us as Americans to reach out to the world at large, to not shrink from its problems or pass them off as not our concern. Now more than ever the world is incredibly interconnected, and the action or lack of action of a single individual can make an astounding difference. Only by helping those around the world in their own struggles can we actually help ourselves. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to tip the balance in favor of greater understanding and the common pursuit of basic human dignity.