The Board

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Baroness Nicholson is our founder and Chairman. She started AMAR in 1991 in response to Saddam Hussein’s systematic persecution and extermination of the Marsh Arabs, and it has now grown to become one of the leading charities in the Middle East.

Baroness Nicholson is a member of Britain’s Upper Chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, and has recently been appointed as the Chairman of the House of Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee. She chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs and was a member of the influential ad-hoc Soft Power Committee. She has taken part in many election observer missions to countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia, Moldova, Kenya and Zambia, and was Chief International Observer twice in Yemen and Armenia.

She was a member of the European Parliament for ten years, and served as Vice President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Defence, and Security Policy.  She also served as a Rapporteur for Iraq, Kashmir, and Romania. She continues to serve on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and is the former chairman of the Interparliamentary Standing Delegation between the European Parliament and Iraq.

Baroness Nicholson began her political life as a Member of the Parliament in Britain in 1987, serving a constituency in the South West of England for 10 years.  Previously she had worked as a Director of Save the Children, and started life as a computer software developer and engineer. Away from work, her great love is music. She trained at Britain’s Royal Academy of Music.


Kazem Behbehani, PhD, FRCPath(UK)

Kazem was  a Post Doctoral Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London, the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the Vice President of Kuwait University. He was Deputy Director General of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and a member of the Management Board of the IBM Scientific Centre, Kuwait. He was Professor of Immunology and Medical Parasitology at Kuwait Medical Faculty and a Visiting Scholar/Professor at the Harvard Medical School (Boston).

At World Health Organisation (1990-2005), he worked in the vaccine research of the Global programme of AIDS, the Programme Manager of Tropical Disease Research, the Director of both the Division of the Control of Tropical Diseases and the Eastern Mediterranean Liaison Office in Geneva.

He was the Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency External Panel for the Evaluation of Human Health Programme (2005). He continues to be a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK). He is a trustee of a number of other international charitable bodies and foundations.

He is a member of the Ethics Review committee (2005 – ), International Agency for Research on Cancer.  He is the recipient of several awards and scientific recognitions, including the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science’s Best Researcher in Medicine. He served as a member of the Editorial Board of a number of scientific journals. He has more than 100 scientific publications and one book on science and technology to his credit.

Chris Frost

Chris Frost is Chairman of AMAR’s Finance and Operations Committee and has been working with the Foundation since 2013. Specialising in organisational change and operation’s management, Mr Frost has extensive international experience and became a founder board member of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) in 2010. Chris works as a PwC partner and is based in London. He has worked in the Middle East and on projects in several fragile states, including Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Pakistan.


Hayder Hassan qualified from The Medical School, Baghdad University in July 1981 and did jobs in emergency and acute medicine as part of the national service in Iraq till March 1991. He then moved to Iran where he worked for medical charities and organisations including AMAR. He has been a medical advisor for the Foundation ever since.

In February 1992, Hayder moved to the UK where he began training in plastic and reconstructive surgery, trauma and orthopaedic surgery. He did postgraduate degrees and then began work in Emergency Medicine in August 1997. He later trained as a specialist registrar in Emergency Medicine, passing his Exit Intercollegiate Specialty Examination to become a Consultant in the field.

Hayder worked at St Thomas’ Hospital in London before moving to Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup. He is currently working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. In addition to his extensive clinical duties, he is heavily involved in academic and advanced training, senior management, charity work and senior doctors’ appraisals for GMC revalidations. He is also a certified instructor in many life support courses including Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Advance Life Support (ALS) and Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS).

Damon Parker

Damon Parker is a litigator specialising in the field of contentious trusts, probate and tax matters.  His clients include charities, trust companies and private individuals engaged in trust variations and disputes.  He has wide experience in all aspects of Court work involving trusts and tax schemes, both in the UK and offshore.

His practice includes advising on defective tax schemes, often for large groups of investors.  He acts for families and trustees in both onshore and offshore trust litigation.  He is recommended in the 2011 edition of Chambers & Partners as one of the leading practitioners in his field.

Christopher C. Straub

Chris Straub is a director and secretary-treasurer of AMAR U.S., the American affiliate of AMAR. He is also a director of AMAR ICF.

Between June 2002 and February 2009 Mr. Straub worked on Middle Eastern policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East.  Prior to joining the Department of Defense Mr. Straub worked as an independent contractor on security topics and as executive director of the Culture of Life Foundation, Washington, DC.

From 1988 to 2001 Mr. Straub served on the staff of the U.S. Senate, 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 his Capitol Hill service, 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.  His military experience includes command of infantry organizations to battalion level, thirty months in Vietnam, two years with the U.S. project assisting the Saudi Arabian National Guard, and service on the Army Staff and the staff of U.S. Army Europe.  Mr. Straub’s military awards include the Silver Star and Legion of Merit.  He has also been awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Mr. Straub was educated at Columbia College (BA, English).  He 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.  He is the author of The Unit First, a critique of U.S. military personnel management published by the National Defense University Press.

Mr. Straub is married to the former Mary Page Ward of Spartanburg, South Carolina. They have three grown children and six grandchildren and reside in Springfield, Virginia.


Theodore Zeldin is President of the Oxford Muse Foundation. After graduating from London University (Birkbeck College) at the age of 17, and then from Christ Church, Oxford (with Firsts from both), he helped to build up St Anthony’s College, Oxford as the university’s postgraduate centre for international studies, and was its Dean for thirteen years.

His books have focused on the role of the emotions in every aspect of life. His History of French Passions won Britain’s top historical award, the Wolfson Prize, and was followed by the bestseller The French, dealing with contemporary society.  He was president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Planning Commission, adviser to the French Millennium Commission, and presenter of the Prime Minister’s website.

His book on Happiness, his Intimate History of Humanity and his BBC lectures on Conversation marked the expansion of his research to all civilisations. His writings have been translated into 24 languages. He became a member of the BBC Brains Trust and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Picked as an international thought leader by Fast Company USA, and as “one of Britain’s leading intellects” by Management Today; he has been active in the executive leadership programmes of Templeton College Oxford, is an Associate Fellow of Oxford University’s Said Business School, a Professor honoris causa of HEC, the Paris Business School, and a Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

He is a Patron of the National Academy of Writing and of the Oxford Food Symposium for the study of international gastronomy (of which he was the co-founder), a Member of the European Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has been on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors, a visiting professor at Harvard and the University of Southern Carolina, and has lectured in 15 countries. He is married to Deirdre Wilson, the co-inventor of the Theory of Relevance.

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