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 500 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 peacebuilding 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 65,000 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.
Fady Kiama joined Coptic Orphans in June 2021 as the Finance Director. Prior to joining Coptic Orphans, he spent over 25 years in finance leadership in multinational corporations and publicly-listed companies, both inside and outside Egypt. Fady moved to the U.S. in 2013 after being transferred from Egypt to assume a new finance leadership role at the Orascom Construction Group. Fady holds a Masters degree in Economics from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Since moving to the U.S., Fady and his family have visited Egypt annually and have kept strong ties with family, friends, and the church community there.
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.
Manal came to Canada with her parents from Cairo when she was three years old and though she grew up there, she went to Egypt every year to visit family.
Before coming to Coptic Orphans, she had a strong career in sales at a fortune 500 company. She started with Coptic Orphans as the Canada Director in 2005. She has headed Canadian operations since then and has built a strong team. Manal has a professional background in fundraising and an academic background in communications from the University of Montreal. She lives in Laval, Quebec with her husband and son.
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.