Expert in International Development

Former Co-Chair of the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI)

Former Director of the Gibran Chair at The University of Maryland

May Rihani is a pioneer in girls’ education and a tireless advocate of women’s rights. 

She was Senior Vice President of three large US leading organizations in international development: Creative Associates, AED, and FHI360, and was elected as co-chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative between 2008 and 2010. Her seminal book, “Keeping the Promise,” is a framework for advancing girls’ education that is used by global organizations. Her knowledge on the subject is drawn from years of experience designing and implementing programs in 40 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East for donor agencies, including USAID, UNICEF, and the World Bank.

In the USA, she has worked on increasing awareness regarding the challenges young women face around the world by testifying on Capitol Hill, contributing to the docudrama, “Girl Rising”, and teaching courses at American University and the University of Maryland.

In early 2016, May accepted an invitation by the University of Maryland to serve as Director of the Gibran Chair where she increased her focus on deepening the understanding between East and West through a series of symposia on reshaping Arab thought through the oeuvres of Gibran, Ameen Rihani, and Mikhail Naimy. 

May Rihani graduated from AUB and took executive courses at Harvard University and MIT. She is also author and or editor of eight books in English and three in Arabic.


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