Board of Advisors

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian is Senior Vice President of International Affairs at ADL. Sharon heads ADL’s work fighting anti-Semitism and racial hatred globally, including ADL’s Israel office.

Prior to ADL, Sharon was active in three worlds: academia, philanthropy and foreign policy. She is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation. She is also the founder of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Chair of its Advisory Board.

Sharon taught as an adjunct professor at UCLA in the Department of Political Science, is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and sits on a myriad of foreign policy boards. She studied at the University of Southern California (USC), double majoring in Journalism and International Relations, and went on to receive her Master’s and Ph.D. in Political Science from USC.

Nazarian holds Master’s and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees from the University of Southern California in the field of Political Science, with a specialization in Political Economy and Economic Development. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Political Science for many years. She is also founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and Chair of its Advisory Board.

Nazarian is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her international policy and foreign affairs work has included fact finding missions to Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, and South Sudan, election monitoring in Ukraine, and academic exchanges Azerbaijan, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

“Sharon’s depth and breadth of experience in academia, philanthropy, policy and international affairs makes her the perfect fit to lead ADL’s international efforts,” ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said. “She brings a level of expertise and perspective that is extraordinary. We are fortunate to have her experience in the role and on our senior leadership team as we continue our mission of fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, as well as promoting justice and fair treatment for all.”

Alex Vatanka

Alex Vatanka

Alex Vatanka is a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. He specializes in Middle Eastern security with a particular focus on Iran. Previously, he held various senior positions at Jane’s London, a top security and intelligence publishing company. Mr. Vatanka is also a Senior Fellow in Middle East Studies at the US Air Force Special Operations School and is an Adjunct Professor at DISAS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has testified before the US Congress and lectured widely for both governmental and commercial audiences. He has written extensively for such outlets as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, the Jerusalem Post, Journal of Democracy and the Council of Foreign Relations and published several books. Born in Tehran, he holds a BA in Political Science (Sheffield University, UK), and an MA in International Relations (Essex University, UK).

Arash Sobhani

Arash Sobhani

Arash Sobhani is an Iranian musician, television host, and producer. He is the lead singer and guitarist of underground rock band Kiosk which has released seven albums and toured for sold-out audiences across the United States and Europe. Mr. Sobhani is also the former host of OnTen, a satirical news program that aired on VOA Persian. He was born and raised in Tehran, and attended Isfahan University of Art where he earned a Master’s degree in Architecture. He moved to the United States in 2005 and has since been an active advocate for human rights issues in Iran.