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About Humanserve

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 directors. HUMANSERVE 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.





Vanessa Ali - President

Vanessa has been with the agency since it's inception and has held the position of president since 1999. Vanessa’s responsibilities within HUMANSERVE include development of projects, writing grant proposals, fundraising, educating and informing the Canadian public with regards to the society’s projects and activities and the humanitarian aspects of life for Palestinians and Lebanese living in the Middle East, monitoring and evaluation of HSI's projects overseas and the production of Humanserve's communications and web site.

Vanessa works as a visual artist (see online art gallery) , 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.


Evan Worman - Vice President

Evan is passionate about working for the public good and has an academic background in Sociology, Service Learning, and International Relations. Evan believes in the importance of building engagement and knowledge between institutions and individuals, and has worked on many community projects to facilitate this, including collaborating with the Community Service Learning program at the University of Alberta. He has worked for the University of Alberta International Center where he coordinated events for international students to experience Canadian society outside of the "university bubble" through volunteerism, and he also assisted students in navigating immigration processes. Evan additionally worked for the Alberta Public Interest Research Group, where he helped make funding decisions and give support to community organizations.

Currently, Evan is working for the City of Edmonton developing policy around respectful workplaces. He volunteers his editing and grant writing skills to smaller organizations, and is also a student of Arabic and French.



Tracy Shaben - Treasurer, Casino Chair

Tracy has been serving on the board for many years. Currently, she is the Treasurer and the Casino Chair. Tracy is strong supporter of healthy populations, emergency relief and humanitarian initiatives for under-privliedged groups worldwide.


Secretary (Vacant)


Farah Akhtar

Farah is a Bcom graduate from the University of Alberta and an HR professional with experience in the public and education sector. Farah joined the Humanserve International board in 2010. She has supported the work of our organization through public engagement by organizing fundraising events and our first two Palestinian Bazaars. Farah recently had the opportunity to go on a field visit to Lebanon and use her skills in photography to document some of our main projects.


Nathan Deisman

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.


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 Practice Lead in Information Technology and Cyber Security with Telus Advanced Communications and has been working in the telecommunications and internet technology field since 1987. Nizar volunteers with Canadian Red Cross on the Emergency Response Team and the Personal Disaster Assistance Team 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
Evan Worman - Vice President
Tracy Shaben - Treasurer, Casino Chair
Farah Akhtar - Secretary
Nathan Deisman - Director

Joan Shaben - Director
Nizar Ali - Director

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