CIANA Board Member Spotlight: Zahara Kassam


Zahara Kassam with her twin sister and parents on graduating with an MBA from Harvard University. Photo courtesy of Zahara Kassam.

Astoria, NY -Zahara Kassam first discovered CIANA at a Harvard non-profit board recruitment fair where Emira Habiby Browne, CIANA’s Founder and Executive Director was presenting the organization’s work.

“Given that my husband and I both come from immigrant backgrounds, and Emira’s passion for CIANA’s work, the opportunity was compelling,” she says.

Kassam’s family is from Kenya and Tanzania, while she herself was born in Canada. Her husband is from Pakistan and moved to the US recently. Kassam herself moved to the US as a child, and has been trying to naturalize since then. This gives her an acute understanding of how difficult it can be to immigrate to this country.

With CIANA, Kassam has found an organization that works to provide its clients with holistic services. She was inspired by the historical success of the organization and impressed overall by how CIANA has services for the whole family, from civic courses for parents to tutoring for children.

Having recently moved back to the US from the UK, Kassam has seen first-hand, both here and abroad, how attitudes towards immigration is changing.