Anera President & CEO
As President and CEO, Sean leads staff of 150 in Lebanon, Palestine (West Bank, Gaza) and Washington, DC, delivering $70 million of humanitarian and development assistance annually to refugees and vulnerable communities in the Middle East. Sean oversees a wide range of programs, from distribution of in-kind medicines and other medical and humanitarian relief; to building community infrastructure in water, sanitation, education, sports and health; to revenue-generating agriculture and other economic growth programs, that improve thousands of families’ lives.
Before joining Anera, Sean worked in several international development and policy roles in Washington, DC, Europe and the Middle East, including at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Club of Madrid, the US Congress, the United Nations’ World Food Programme and Creative Associates International. He served in the Obama Administration as chief of staff and COO at USAID, which has 9,500 staff and 84 missions around the world, and a $1.7 billion operating budget. Sean also served for six years as director of programs for the Club of Madrid, a leadership alliance that includes 106 former presidents and prime ministers.
Sean’s work in and on Palestine began 20 years ago when he worked as chief of mission for the National Democratic Institute in the West Bank and Gaza and lived in East Jerusalem. Sean’s career in international affairs began as he earned a bachelor’s in foreign service from Georgetown University and worked at GU’s Center for Immigration Policy and Refugee Assistance (CIPRA). He holds a master’s in international public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Sean also serves on several boards, including as chairman of Creative Frontiers.
Palestine Country Director
Jack is an experienced development professional with over eighteen years of field work experience in emergency, humanitarian, and development programs across four continents.
Mr. Byrne supervises Anera’s programs across the West Bank and Gaza, including health and education services, sustainable community development, water rehabilitation, agriculture, microfinance, and emergency relief aid.
Prior to joining Anera, Jack was chief of party in Gaza for Catholic Relief Services, where he managed a multiyear program working with local partners to provide training and food assistance to Gazans. He has also served as Country Director for the International Rescue Committee in Jordan, and led the organization’s response to humanitarian needs in Syria. Jack has a master’s degree from the School for International Training in Vermont.
Lebanon Country Director
Since 2011, Samar has been Anera’s director, responsible for all of Anera’s Lebanon operations including education and sports programs for vulnerable adolescents, health and relief access for impoverished families, and sustainable community development in refugee camps.
Ms. Yassir is an experienced development professional who has worked in Lebanon in the field of social development for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Anera, Ms. Yassir was country representative for Diakonia, working with civil society organizations to promote human rights, democracy, gender equality, and peace and conflict transformation. She also has managed programs in Lebanon for UNRWA and IMPACT and consulted with several organizations dealing in strategic planning and development.
The Beirut native is a graduate of American University of Beirut and has a post-graduate diploma from the University of London’s Institute of Child Health. She has written numerous publications on disabilities and other health issues.