Board of Trustees
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne
President of AMAR U.S.
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne founded the AMAR Foundation in 1991. She is the Executive Chairman of AMAR ICF and President of AMAR U.S. She has worked in a variety of charitable and political roles linked to the Middle East for almost 25 years.
She is a World Health Organization Envoy for Health as a Tool for Peace and Development.
Baroness Nicholson served as a member of the House of Commons from 1987 to 1997, when she was created a Life Peer in the House of Lords. She also represented the South East region of England in the European Parliament from 1999-2009 where she was Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq, and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Subcommittee on Human Rights.
Baroness Nicholson is the Founder President of the Caine Prize for African Writing, a Founder Member of the Booker Prize Foundation and of the Booker Prize for Russian Fiction and a Prize Committee Member of the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations.
Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary
Christopher Straub worked on Middle Eastern policy at the U.S. Department of Defense between June 2002 and February 2009, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East.
Mr. Straub served on the staff of the U.S. Senate from 1988 to 2001, successively as staff designee on the Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) for Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) and Senator J. Robert Kerrey (D-NE), Minority Staff Director of the SSCI, and chief of staff to Senator Kerrey.
Prior to this Mr. Straub served twenty-two years in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer and specialist in the Arab world, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1988. Mr. Straub’s military awards include the Silver Star and Legion of Merit. He has also received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.
Mr. Straub was educated at Columbia College (BA, English) and earned an MA in Middle Eastern history at the University of Kansas. He is also a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (Syrian Arabic Course) the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
Dr Kazem Behbehani
Dr. Kazem Behbehani joined the World Health Organisation in 1990. He became WHO Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Governing Bodies in 2003 and in 2005 became a WHO Envoy.
He co-chairs Harvard University’s Science Advisory Board for the Environment and Public Health and is a member of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s Ethics Review Committee.
Dr Behbehani is actively involved in environmental and health issues, health management, application of information technology to health (eHealth), and development of interactive educational materials for public, professional and medical use (eLearning).
He has received several awards and scientific recognitions and has more than 100 scientific publications and a book on science and technology to his name.
Margaret Casscells-Hamby is an entrepreneur and commercial real estate investor and manager. She owns and operates several commercial real estate properties and a diverse portfolio of companies including a music promotion company, an entertainment company and billboard company. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Licensed Real Estate Broker in Florida.
Mrs. Casscells-Hamby was educated at the University of Virginia (MA, Economics). She is a Certified Public Accountant, graduated with an MBA from the University of Maryland and earned a Masters in Taxation from the University of Central Florida.
She is the sister of the late Honorable S. Ward Casscells III, M.D., a founding member of the AMAR U.S. Board.
Col. (Ret.) C. James Olson
Colonel (Ret.) C. James Olson is the Director of Business Development of the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR) at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.
He was formerly the Executive Officer to the Principle Assistant for Research and Technology at the U.S. Army Medical and Materiel Command (MRMC) in Frederick, Maryland. For the past three decades Col. Jim Olson has been involved in the advancement of medical technology research as well as the management of Army field medical materiel readiness worldwide. He previously served as the Director of Business Development at Henry Jackson Foundation and the Chief of Staff at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, where he managed Department of Defense (DoD) investments in emerging technologies and integrated DoD and Georgetown University advanced technology research programs.
Colonel Jim Olson has enjoyed a lengthy career of leadership in the U.S. Army, serving as a Battalion Commander in Korea in the early 90’s, a Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, and a Chief Operating Officer at the Telemedicine Research Laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. He is a recipient of the Legion of Merit award and is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit. He sits on the board of numerous organizations including the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, United Way of Frederick and Rotary Club of Carroll Creek.
Christopher Bryan Robert Stott is a space entrepreneur. He is best known for co-founding the regulatory and orbital frequency services company, ManSat, and the commercial spaceline, Excalibur Almaz.
Early in his career, Stott worked extensively in British and American politics as an Office Manager, Staff Aide, and Speech Writer in the British House of Commons and House of Lords, and as an Intern in the US Senate and as a political aide on two US Presidential Campaigns. Stott also served as Special Projects Director with Life Education International, children’s health education and drug prevention program and United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He has also taught international space law at the University of Houston–Clear Lake and lectured at the University of Houston Law Center.
Chris Stott was previously Director of International Commercialization & Sales with Lockheed Martin Space Operations’ $3.4 billion Consolidated Space Operations Contract with NASA. He came to Lockheed Martin from the Boeing Space & Communications Company in Huntington Beach, California, where he worked International Business Development for the Delta Launch Vehicle program.
Stott is also a Founding Trustee of the ISU International Institute of Space Commerce and the Manna Energy Foundation, working to bring renewable energy to developing nations via micro economics. He is an Honorary Member of the Manx Astronomical Association; Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (published); Member of the Reform Club; Conservative Party, and Tory Reform Group; and a Fellow of the International Institute of Space Law (published) and the International Institute of Space Commerce.
The Honorable S. Ward Casscells III, M.D.
Former Vice President (2010-2012)
The late S. Ward Casscells III, M.D. was a former Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) in which capacity he administered the $45 billion Military Health System (MHS) and was principal advisor to the United States Secretary of Defense for health issues.
Dr. Casscell’s served as the John Edward Tyson Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Public Health, and Vice President for External Affairs and Public Policy, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston as well as Senior Scholar at the Texas Heart Institute. He was a founder of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research (CABIR) at U.T/M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
A leader in disaster medicine, and pandemic preparedness, Dr. Casscells was a first responder and medical coordinator during Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian tsunamis, the Peru Earthquakes, and other disaster situations. In 2002 he was named “Hero of the Flood” by the Memorial Hermann Hospital for his work on the front lines of Tropical Storm Allison.
He received a B.S. in Biology (cum laude) from Yale University in 1974 and his M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School in 1979.
Dr. Casscells died on October 14, 2012, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. A statement on the life of Dr. Casscells from Baroness Nicholson is available here.