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HUMANSERVE International, Society for Relief and Development, is a non-profit agency registered with the Government of Alberta and governed by a community-based board of directorsHUMANSERVE works with a number of local and international non-government organizations (NGOs) providing  educational, community health, development and social services in Lebanon and Palestine.

Initially, the society was the regional office of Medical Aid for Palestine, an NGO based in Montreal.  Between 1993 and 1996, several projects were implemented through the Edmonton office.  Funds that were raised in Edmonton by the regional office were forwarded to the head office and MAP-Montreal maintained responsibility for developing the budgets and financial administration of the projects.

In December 1996, the Edmonton regional office of MAP closed and the Society changed its name to HUMANSERVE International.  We are now able to self-administer our funds and take responsibility for our projects from beginning to end.  This society is committed to results based, practical and sustainable development work.

HUMANSERVE is governed by a volunteer board who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.  The board meets approximately one a month to discuss and approve decisions regarding our current projects and the operations of the HUMANSERVE society.

Board members give freely of their time and  expertise and without their participation HUMANSERVE could not begin to accomplish the important work that it undertakes.


Vanessa Ali - President

Vanessa is responsible for the operations of the society, project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  She has been with this society since it's inception in 1993 as a member of the board for the regional office of Medical Aid for Palestine - Canada (MAP), an NGO based in Montreal.  From 1996 to 1999, Vanessa held the position of  Vice-President and from 1999 to the present, she has held the position of President.  Vanessa's duties include developing projects, applying for provincial and federal grants, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation overseas, public engagement events and the production of HUMANSERVE's communications and web site.

 Vanessa works as a visual artist, graphic artist and web site designer and previously worked for over ten years as an Architectural Technologist.  She own and operates Ali Cat Graphics and is a consultant web site designer to Mallennium WebVentures Ltd.


Nathan Deisman - Vice President

Nathan has served on the HUMANSERVE board since 2007. He has traveled to Lebanon to work on low-cost water filtration and to monitor HUMANSERVE'S projects. Nathan enjoys creating and presenting public engagement materials which he has presented at HUMANSERVE public engagement events at venues such as International Week at the University of Alberta.

Nathan is a civil engineer and is currently working as a Research Engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering an the University of Alberta.


Malcolm Azania, B.Ed., A.D.B.Ed. - Secretary

Malcolm joined the board of HUMANSERVE in November 2003. He has worked with numerous community groups in Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa since 1985. He has coordinated and performed fundraising for development assistance work towards the creation of a safe house for former child soldiers in Sierra Leone through the International Society for Peace and Human rights, for Ethiopian famine relief with the Council of Canadians of African and Caribbean Heritage, and for war-relief in Iraq through Iraq Adopt-a-Town.

Malcolm is a high school English teacher, local community broadcaster and freelancer to CBC, freelance writer, novelist (his first novel, The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, was published in August 2004 by Del Rey), poet, actor, and an activist in the Alberta Teachers’ Association and movements for multiculturalism, democracy and international peace.  Malcolm ran as a candidate for the New Democratic Party of Canada for Edmonton-Strathcona in the 2004 federal election.


Joan Shaben

Joan  joined the HUMANSERVE board in November 1999.  She has worked with many non-profit groups in Edmonton over the years.  Joan spent innumerable volunteer hours in 1999 as a team leader to help settle the refugees from Kosova who immigrated to Edmonton.

Joan is a Doctor of Chiropractic and has a practice in Edmonton in the Lendrum Health Centre.  Joan spent 3 weeks in the West Bank in December 2003 giving hands-on training for "Management of Low Back Pain" to physiotherapists in Bethlehem and Ramallah as part of a HUMANSERVE project .


Nizar Ali

Nizar has been a member of the HUMANSERVE board since it's inception in 1993 when this society was the regional office of MAP.  Nizar's fluency in Arabic and first-hand knowledge of Arab culture and Lebanese society have been important tools in this society's planning and implementation of projects overseas.  He also brings to this society a wide knowledge in computer and information technology which are an important resource in the daily running of  its operations.  Nizar also spends time in the field, meeting with our partners to scout new projects and to monitor and evaluate projects in progress. 

Nizar is a Senior Network Architect with Telus Advanced Communications and has been working in the telecommunications and internet technology field since 1987. Nizar serves on the board of the World Lebanese Cultural Union-Edmonton Branch as treasurer and he is a derbeke (Arabic drum) player with the Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME) at the University of Alberta.



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Vanessa Ali - President
Nathan Deisman - Vice President
Tracy Shaben - Treasurer, Casino Chair
Malcolm Azania - Secretary
Joan Shaben - Director
Nizar Ali - Director
Farah Akhtar
- Director
Evan Worman - Director

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