Board of Directors Biographies
Jalal Bachour, President
Mr. Jalal Bachour earned a bachelor’s degree in 1984 and master Science in civil engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1986. He is an entrepreneur with extensive business experience in the U.S. He was a franchisee who owned and operated for many years several successful franchised businesses in different locations such as Arby’s, Captain D’s Seafood, Bellacino’s Pizzas and grinders. He also developed several commercial properties and shopping strips as well as buildings to suit other franchisees or operators. He served as the vice president of Arby’s Coop Advertising (ARCOP) between 1988 and 2001.
Mr. Bachour was elected president of Togetherness US in 2022. He is the co-founder of Burj Safita Association (BSA), a nonprofit organization, and has served as its treasurer since its formation in 1990. BSA organized social gatherings for its members every other year in different places, including various cities across the united states, as well as Paris, Lyon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Safita, Montreal, and others. BSA raised funds and donated to different causes in both Syria and the United States, including a donation to the victims of the world trade center 2001 catastrophe.
Raymond Khoudary MD, Treasurer
Dr. Raymond Khoudary is a graduate of Aleppo University Faculty of Medicine and immigrated to the U.S. in 1987 for his medical residency. He earned a board certification in Pediatrics, Allergy, Asthma, And Immunology, and currently lives and works in Pennsylvania with his wife and children. His hobbies include outdoor activities, gardening, table tennis, and backgammon.
Dr. Khoudary has been active in nonprofit charitable work for over 20 years including projects in the U.S. and Syria. He is a co-founding member of Togetherness US since 2021, and currently is the organization treasurer. He and his wife started a nonprofit foundation the Christina Center for children in Aleppo that provided computer lab access and summer camps for underprivileged Syrian youth. In 2015 he spearheaded multiple fundraising campaigns including the Jesuit Refugee Services to benefit the victim’s family in the Syrian war.
Dr. Khoudary is an active member in his community and has been a guest speaker at local Universities including interviews by the local media on raising awareness of the Syrian humanitarian needs. In 2019, he supported the Kids Innovation Stage & Sound (KISS) theater, a nonprofit center for youth performing arts which he hosted a fundraising event in a local “Dancing with the Stars” competition.
Tony Khawam, Secretary
Mr. Tony Khawam holds Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and a Master in commercial art from Montclair State University in NJ, USA, and currently He lives and works in South Florida with his wife and children.
Mr. Khawam is an award-winning artist, curator, and a marketing creative director with over 20 years of experience in brand marketing and advertising for fortune 100 companies. His artwork is exhibited nationally and has been collected by several museums and private collectors in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, and has been featured in numerous art magazines.
Mr. Khawam has been active in the nonprofit sector for the past 15 years. He is a co-founding member of Togetherness US in 2021 and currently is the organization secretary. Some of the nonprofit charitable organizations he is active with include the Southern Federation of the Syrian Lebanese American Club (SFSLAC); American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) the fundraising and awareness organization for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in New York, Miami, and Tennessee. He has been active in the arts and culture for social good for over 20 years exhibiting with prominent American arts and cultural institutions in Florida, Texas, New York, and California. In 2022, he earned a certification in Fundraising for Small Nonprofits presented by the Broward County Cultural Division and the Fundraising School with Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Florida Atlantic University.
Yazan Khatib MD, Spokesperson and Communications
Dr. Yazan Khatib graduated with honors from Damascus University Medical School and residencies in the US in the field of cardiovascular medicine at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, Loyola University in Chicago, the Indiana Heart Institute, and St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. Khatib was one of the Honorees of the 2012 ONEJAX Humanitarian award, he lives a life of commitment to the common good. His commitment to excellence in healthcare has earned him the title “Health Care Hero” in 2009 by the Jacksonville Business Journal. He has frequently lectured nationally and internationally in the fields of cardiovascular medicine, amputation prevention, and endovascular innovation.
Despite his busy practice, Dr. Khatib was always an activist philanthropist, dedicated to inter-faith & Inter-cultural dialogue and to the promotion of a greater understanding of the world we live in. Along with his gracious wife, He was the main sponsor of the Amity Center dialogue dinner series “Alliance of Civilizations” for many years. He had also sponsored several similarly themed activities like the Annual Art and Essay Contest for middle and high school students at Florida State College in 2010 and 2011.
Dr. Khatib was a co-founder to numerous nonprofit organizations including:
– Co-founding member of Togetherness US in 2021, currently is the organization spokesperson and communications.
– Member of Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation, focused on reducing amputations and saving lives.
– Outpatient Endovascular Interventional Society “OEIS”, where he served on the board for 6 years, focusing on improving outcomes and safety in the office-based Cath labs.
– Board President for the American Heart Association, First Coast Chapter, where he continues to serve as a board member.
– Board member for the following institutions: The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville; the Syrian American Cultural Council; Atlantic Institute; The way to my heart foundation, focused on reducing amputations reducing the burden of PAD.
In 2009, Dr Khatib was the Chair of the “friends of Al Farah Choir US committee”, he was instrumental in bringing 150 children from Syria to tour the US, and perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Detroit, Jacksonville, and Disney World in Orlando. This Syrian Christians choir illustrated in most touching ways the unity of the Abrahamic faiths by performing hymns & recitals inspired by all three major Abrahamic religions.
Dr. Khatib and his wife Dima with their children have called Jacksonville, Florida, home since 2002. Yet they have remained true to their Syrian roots, and eager to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.
Mrs. Alma Khoury Korkor has been in the nonprofit charitable for 25 years and a board member at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) for 6 years. Mrs. Korkor is a board member of the National Arab American Women Association (NAAWA) for 4 years including 2 years as the auxiliary president of NAAMA.
Mrs. Korkor is an activist, writer, from a family of academics who have had a major impact on the Arab world. She studied in Syria, France, and America and has had an impressive and diverse career. Alma is a teacher of Arabic language who has written and translated numerous articles and books, including a publication about the treatment of children during times of disaster.
Mrs. Korkor has a long successful career including a real estate agency, and an owner of a Middle Eastern restaurant. She served as a radio host for an Ohio Arab American program and was the President of Cleveland City International Festival. She has been active with various local political initiatives and has been a guest speaker at schools and civic events on the Arab American topics and introduced many Americans to the Arab culture and heritage. Most recently, she joined the Board of Directors for the Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi (The Cleveland Arab Theater). For the last 15 years she has served on the Arab American Institute (AAI) Leadership Council.
Sahar Kayata, MD was born in Aleppo, raised in Damascus and Beirut and a graduate of the Sorbonne University Medical School in Paris, France. She came to the USA in 1980 with her husband, Imad Katib, MD for medical residency in Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and completed her fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of WI, The Medical College of WI. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and has practiced Neonatology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the last 30 years.
Dr. Kayata realized the need for Arab and Muslim advocacy early on as she was raising her 3 children in the US. She has been a guest speaker in fairs at her children’s schools in which she shared some of the rich history and cultural heritage with the students. She volunteered at the children’s Sunday school and at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. She participated in organizing the Milwaukee Summer Arab Festival and is one of the Founding Board Members and the Treasurer for the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC). Most recently she worked with the Hanan Refugee Relief Group (HRRG) to help resettle Syrian and Afghani Refugees in Wisconsin.
Dr. Kayata has been active in the nonprofit sector and was elected in 2022 to Togetherness US board of directors. She has been a long-time member of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) and of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).