Our Board

The members of our Board are all professionals ranging in age from Millennials to Baby Boomers. We have a balanced mix of gender, religion, race, and ethnicity. Each member brings a passion for the NAO and an area of expertise necessary to successfully run a nonprofit. The board positions rotate on a 2-year staggered schedule. Our Board is 100% a giving board.

List of board members

We are always growing, please reach out if you are interested in becoming part of the board.

Usama Baalbaki

Co-Founder / Chairman

Hassan Melhem

Comerica Bank Executive

Bashar Kalai

Member At Large

Tina Farhat


Karen Barbee Adkisson

Director Chapter Locations & Treasurer

Mayk Chahine


Michael Ibrahim

Founder / Music Director

Dr. Rabih Suki

Director Of Events

Sherri Richards

Executive Director

Latest News:

Comerica Bank Executive Hassan Melhem Joins National Arab Orchestra (NAO) Board of Directors
Sterling Heights, MI — September 11, 20203 — The National Arab Orchestra (NAO), a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Arab culture through music, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Hassan Melhem, a distinguished executive from Comerica Bank, to its esteemed Board of Directors.

Melhem brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to community engagement and will be pivotal in advancing NAO's mission of fostering cultural appreciation and understanding through music education, outreach, and performance.

As a seasoned professional, Melhem has achieved remarkable success during his tenure at Comerica Bank, where he currently serves as Vice President-External Affairs Marketing Manager-SE Michigan and National Middle Eastern American Business Development Manager. His finance and strategic leadership expertise has made him a standout figure in the banking industry. Mr. Melhem's unwavering dedication to excellence aligns seamlessly with NAO's commitment to delivering high-quality musical experiences that celebrate the beauty and richness of Arab culture.

Founded in 2009, the National Arab Orchestra, under the visionary leadership of founder and Music Director Michael Ibrahim, has consistently captivated audiences with its unforgettable performances. The orchestra began as a small chamber music group and has since evolved into a dynamic ensemble of exceptional musicians, including individuals from Arab and non-Arab backgrounds.

Through the NAO Orchestra, NAO Takht Ensemble (NAOTE), National Arab Orchestra Community Choir (NAOCC), and the Building Bridges through Music Student Program (BBTM), NAO has tirelessly worked to bridge social and cultural divides by providing a platform for cultural expression and exchange. Over the past 14 years, NAO's work has impacted tens of thousands of lives, fostering an appreciation for Arab culture among diverse audiences in the USA and worldwide.

Melhem's appointment to the NAO Board of Directors underscores the organization's commitment to forging strong partnerships with leaders in the corporate and financial sectors. With its dedicated board members, NAO looks forward to expanding its reach and influence in the community.

"We are delighted to welcome Hassan Melhem to our Board of Directors," said Sherri Richards, Executive Director of the NAO. "His extensive experience and passion for community engagement make him an ideal addition to our team. We look forward to working together to further our mission of preserving and promoting Arab culture through music."

The National Arab Orchestra's impact extends beyond the concert stage with initiatives such as the Building Bridges Through Music Program, which has provided invaluable opportunities for over 5,000 students. Many of these young musicians have performed alongside NAO musicians, an experience described as priceless.

In addition to its educational efforts, NAO has formed prestigious partnerships with institutions like the Detroit Institute for the Arts in Michigan, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Saudi Arabia, and Rice University in Houston. The orchestra has also received widespread recognition from media outlets such as BBC Arabic, Detroit Metro Times, Aramco World, Crain's Detroit Business, and Houston's Youm W Lelah news program.

With a global reach exemplified by its YouTube channel's 400,000 subscribers and up to 40,000,000 annual views, the National Arab Orchestra continues to share the beauty and cultural richness of Arab music with a diverse and growing audience.

Hassan Melhem's appointment to the NAO Board of Directors marks an exciting chapter in the organization's journey to further elevate and preserve Arab culture and musical traditions in the United States and beyond.

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