Nermien Riad is the founder and executive director of Coptic Orphans, an award-winning international Christian development organization.
Coptic Orphans unlocks the God-given potential of the most vulnerable children in Egypt, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their communities through the power of education.
Ms. Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 and worked on a voluntary basis for 12 years before becoming executive director in 2000. Under her leadership, Coptic Orphans has established a grassroots network of over 750 volunteer child advocates in Egypt and mobilized thousands of donors and supporters worldwide.
She has overseen the organization’s expansion into development programs in literacy, girls’ empowerment, microfinance for widowed mothers, and peace-building initiatives to strengthen Egyptian communities for sustainable impact. For its role in connecting Copts abroad to communities in Egypt, Coptic Orphans has been singled out as a unique model for diaspora-led development.
Today, in addition to its headquarters in the United States, Ms. Riad has transformed Coptic Orphans into a global charity with offices in Egypt, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom; that has reached over 75,000 vulnerable children in Egypt.
Under Ms. Riad’s leadership, Coptic Orphans has received numerous awards and was named a semi-finalist in the Washington Post Excellence in Nonprofit Management Award. In addition, Ms. Riad is a recipient of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area’s Community Human Rights Award; and the Women’s Forum Excellence in Leadership Award.
Ms. Riad holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Prior to establishing Coptic Orphans, Ms. Riad worked throughout the Middle East as an engineer with the United States Foreign Service.
Elizabeth was born and raised in New Jersey. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Egypt in the early 1970s and were devoted to her spiritual and educational growth.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, from St. Johns’ University in NY and obtained her Doctorate of Pharmacy from The University of Florida. Her career began as a Community Pharmacist followed by a long tenure in the Pharmaceutical industry for approximately 25 years. Her area of expertise is Medical Communications and Medical Affairs. Her most recent work was managing a global team at Bristol-Myers Squibb as an Executive Director of WW Medical Content & Market Capabilities.
She is a servant leader at heart, which kept her close to Coptic Orphans as a Sponsor and now as Coptic Orphans’ Director of Communications.
She loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and pursues opportunities to be inspired. She is fascinated by people and diverse cultures and welcomes learning about other’s experiences, perspectives and lives. Everyone calls her Liz or Lizzy (and you can too)!
Joshua Benjamin was born in Cairo and immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of four. He received three degrees in only five years, one of which being a Juris Doctorate degree from the prestigious Drexel Kline School of Law. Prior to joining Coptic Orphans, he was the founder and CEO of JAB Law, a national immigration law firm based out of New Jersey. Joshua was ranked a Top 40 under 40 Lawyer in the state of New Jersey for multiple consecutive years and has been featured in the 2020-2021 edition of the Marquis Publication Who’s Who in America. He was also a certified lecturer for the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education where he taught aspects of the law to other lawyers and judges.
Joshua developed a love for non-profit work while leading the immigration department of the Philadelphia Christian Legal Clinic, and his love for Coptic Orphans began as a young child when he would read letters from the children his family sponsored.
John immigrated with his family to New Zealand and then moved to Australia in 2018 to lead the team there. John has a bachelor’s degree in power mechanical engineering and comes to Coptic Orphans with a long history of senior leadership experience at top multinational corporations. He specialized at SC&P doing process control, strategic planning, organizational restructuring and transformation management. John has always maintained extensive involvement with the Coptic Orthodox Church’s services and development. He has a special passion for working with youth and for tackling unexplored venues of Christian service.
Melad directs and overseas all functions and staff of technology systems across all Coptic Orphans Offices in all countries.
Prior to joining us, he was the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Network International, LLC., the largest Payment Processing Company in Africa & Middle East. With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and over 15 years of Information Technology Management experience in the banking industry. Melad possesses very impressive expertise in diverse technologies as well as management of large teams and projects, he is already well on the way toward taking our technology systems to the next level.
Maged is a public health specialist with an academic background in medicine from Cairo University and quality management of healthcare systems from the American University in Cairo.
Before coming to Coptic Orphans, he held a strong career in health and development with a variety of organizations including UNDP, UNICEF and international and local NGOs since 2004.
Maged has professional experience in program management and building and nurturing strategic relations with partners and stakeholders from donors, media, and religious communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations. He is also a professionally certified trainer and has been serving voluntarily for 15+ years as the co-founder and leader of a marriage & parenting education program in Cairo.