Nadia Mavrakis

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Nadia leads efforts to build bridges between San Antonio and the MENASA world through education, community development, and arts & culture.

Previously, Nadia co-founded and co-chaired the Islamic Art Revival Series, a nonprofit program in Dallas that promotes cross-cultural dialogue where she led a team to host multiple educational events at the Dallas Museum of Art and other premier arts venues attended by over 2,250 people. Nadia has published papers about the Middle East and North Africa, including “The Hurufiyah Art Movement in Middle Eastern Art” in the McGill Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Blog.

Nadia graduated magna cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Strategy and Finance as well as a minor in French. She studied in France and Morocco. She is a HOLT Values-Based Leadership Fellow with the San Antonio Area Foundation. She completed business leadership courses at Harvard Business School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, HEC Paris, and INSEAD. She is fluent in English and speaks French and Arabic. Nadia has worked in the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

Nader Mehdawi

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Nader is native in Arabic, including Modern Standard Arabic, Libyan Arabic, and Egyptian Arabic, as well as fluent in English.

He has more than eight years of experience in the Civil Engineering industry which includes planning, supervising, and managing residential, commercial, retail, and federal projects.

Throughout his engineering career, he interpreted and translated between Arabic and English and has also taught engineering classes in Arabic.

Nader has a Master of Science degree (M.S.) in Geotechnical and Structural Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.

Auroara Nikkels

Program Coordinator

Auroara has a Bachelors in Political Science-Security Studies with a minor in Sociology from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX.

Her research focuses primarily on Middle Eastern conflict and culture studies, as well as states in Northern Africa.

She presented at the 2019 African Conference held at UT Austin on Institutional Change and Identity: Impact of the Arab Spring, focusing on Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya.

She has worked for 3 years with Students of Service (SOS), a nonprofit organization in San Antonio with a focus on local service and international experience. Auroara also works and volunteers at a local animal shelter in Bulverde, Texas as an animal caretaker. She is fluent in English and learning Arabic.

Vautralise Dunlap


Vautralise is a financial leader who works with nonprofits and government entities to manage resources and increase available financial information.

Vautralise knows that people are what matter most and believes that in order to help the most people it is important to have adequate systems in place.

Vautralise has supported organizations within the United States and abroad in the areas of accounting, auditing, management, and leadership.

Vautralise holds a Master of Accounting and Financial Management from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Lewis University.

Riga Tarin

Program Coordinator

Riga Tarin has a master's degree in Public Management from Japan, and a bachelor's degree in science with a major in mathematics.

Riga worked for over eight years as a Budget Officer in the field of finance.

She is fluent in English, Pastho, Dari, and Urdu.

Ranya Elkadi

Program Coordinator