Meet the Open Roads Media Team

 
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Eric Maddox
Executive Director, Open Roads Media
Founder & Producer, The Virtual Dinner Guest Project

Eric completed his undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Classic Literature and his MA in International Conflict Transformation. After completing his graduate field research in the West Bank, Eric set up the very first Virtual Dinner Guest Project in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in 2011. Since that time, Eric has traveled throughout the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Europe to expand the network and the impact of The Virtual Dinner Guest Project and to promote what he believes to be the future of news media; collaborative production between local communities, on a global scale. 

Andy Haydu
Board President, Open Roads Media

Andy has a BS in Anthropology from University of East London (UK) and an MA in Conflict Transformation from the SIT Graduate Institute. A dual American/Irish citizen, living in Dublin, his career has oscillated from gang violence prevention/negotiation in Boston to managing a Youth Centre in one of Dublin's marginalized under-served communities. Andy also owned and operated one of Ireland's first food trucks and is a competitive distance runner. He currently sits on the board of several NGO's at home and abroad, when not working and parenting two toddlers. 

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Ammar Karimjee
Board Member, Open Roads Media

Ammar is a Pakistani national who has lived half his life in the United States. Most recently he worked at Teach for Pakistan, and is presently studying for his Masters in International Business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Ammar's interest in The Virtual Dinner Guest Project arose from his personal desire to create effective dialogue between his homes in Karachi and the US. He sees the organization as an opportunity to make other critical connections between people from around the world. Ammar's favorite pastimes are swings in parks, singing, and kayaking. He would spend every free day at the beach if he could. 

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Lindsie Bear
Board Secretary, Open Roads Media

Lindsie, who is of Cherokee and Danish descent, is the California Indian Publishing Director at Heyday books, and the Editor of News from Native California magazine. She is also a trustee on the board of the California Historical Society and a graduate of St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she majored in Philosophy and Classic Literature. In 2013 Lindsie helped arrange her first Virtual Dinner Guest Project event, creating an opportunity for Native American tribal members to share their perspectives with Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip. 

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Laila Mokhiber
Board Vice President, Open Roads Media

Laila, a fourth generation Arab American of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, was born and raised in northern Virginia. She serves as the Communications Officer for UNRWA USA, which supports the humanitarian and human development work of the UN agency for Palestine refugees. She became actively involved with the Virtual Dinner Guest Project after meeting Eric and Ammar in 2013. Laila is most alive when she is connecting people and this passion is what directed her involvement, as well as her love for all things Middle East and media.

Wiebe Ruijtenberg
Board Treasurer, Open Roads Media

Wiebe graduated from a masters in social sciences at the University of Amsterdam with a focus on the anthropology of the Middle East in general and Egypt in particular. Currently, he is a PhD student at the Radboud University Nijmegen where he studies the ways in which Egyptian migrants in the Netherlands negotiate and maneuver the citizenship policies of the Dutch state. In 2016, Wiebe was also a participant in the Virtual Dinner Guest project between Egypt and the US. Wiebe's experiences of working and living in both Egypt and the Netherlands convinced him of the importance of intercultural dialogue, and the need for alternative media sources.

Iris Kolman

Board Member, Open Roads Media

Iris is a native of Amsterdam, with an MSc in International Development Studies, from the University of Amsterdam. She is an independent researcher of Tunisian politics and society, and is currently completing research on the motivates of men and women to engage in cohabitation in Tunisia in the context of the ERC research project "Problematizing 'Muslim Marriages': Ambiguities and Contestations" of prof. dr. A.C.A.E. Moors at the University of Amsterdam. Iris has a broad interest in the Middle East and North Africa and sees her involvement with Open Roads Media as an opportunity to be more socially engaged in both the Netherlands and the region.