LEADERSHIP

Our team is led by our Founder and Chairman, Jay T. Snyder. Together, we are a small group of dedicated professionals who are passionate about people-to-people diplomacy and the role we play in complementing traditional diplomacy.



Senior Advisor


Founder & Chairman


Executive Director

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Meredith DeWitt

As a Senior Advisor of the Open Hands Initiative, Meredith DeWitt provides strategic counsel, management, and leadership across all aspects of the organization. Since forming her firm, Dewitt Consulting in 2004, Mrs. Dewitt has advised national political committees and candidates on fundraising strategy and has worked with an impressive roster of private individuals in managing their philanthropic interests as they seek to make a difference in their communities.

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Jay T. Snyder

Jay T. Snyder serves as Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Open Hands Initiative, a U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving people-to-people understanding and friendship throughout the world by fostering exchanges and other projects that emphasize our basic shared values and common humanity.

Mr. Snyder has been active in community service and as a public servant for a number of years. In 2008, he joined the Advisory Board of the Brookings' Saban Center/Council on Foreign Relations Middle East Project. He continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Beatrice Snyder Foundation, a non-profit organization, and on committees for several charitable organizations including Phoenix House. From 2003 to 2005, he was a member of the National Committee for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center. In April 2005, Mr. Snyder became a member of the Board of Governors of the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy. He currently sits on the University of Southern California's Advisory Board for the Center on Public Diplomacy.

In May 2003, Mr. Snyder was sworn in as a member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He was reappointed to serve a second term in June 2005. From 2000 to 2001, Mr. Snyder served as Public Delegate, United States Representative to the 55th United Nations General Assembly. In that capacity, Mr. Snyder functioned as a representative on general policy matters, reform issues, and the Millennium Summit, and formulated and presented statements before the U.N. on a variety of public diplomacy questions.

Mr. Snyder was additionally appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the New York State Commission for Public Authority Reform in June 2005, responsible for studying, reviewing and evaluating the operations and practices of public authorities and advising and assisting public authority boards in developing and adopting model governance principles to strengthen external oversight, management accountability, internal operations and public disclosure practices.

In addition to his philanthropic and public service work, Mr. Snyder also currently works in private equity investments as a principal of HBJ Investments LLC, which provides seed capital to a diverse group of start-up companies. Prior to this, Mr. Snyder enjoyed a 17-year career at Biocraft Laboratories, a publicly held generic drug manufacturer. At the end of his tenure, Mr. Snyder was the Vice President of Research and Development and a member of both the Management Steering Committee and Board of Directors. Before serving in those capacities, Mr. Snyder held various positions with the company, including Plant Manager, Production Manager, and Operations Manager. In his career at Biocraft, Mr. Snyder not only improved operational productivity, he also worked with major international concerns in Europe, Asia and Latin America to develop supply agreements, collaborate on import arrangements and assess acquisition candidates.

During that time, Mr. Snyder also began to work in the private financial management area. In 2007, he became the Non-Executive Chairman of Pelion Financial Group; a company that provides retirement wealth and plan management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. He was a principal of Ashfield Consulting Group from 2003 to 2005, and JB Partners from 1997-1998, both financial services firms. From 1991 to 1996, he served as a Managing Director of Mayberry Core Asset Management, a financial advisory firm serving high net-worth individuals. Mr. Snyder was a member of the Board of Directors of the PAIC Insurance Company.

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Tara Trombetta

Tara Trombetta is the Executive Director of the Open Hands Initiative. In this role, she oversees relationships with program partners and is charged with various aspects of program management, development, and delivery. She holds a Master's degree in Global Affairs from New York University, where she specialized in transnational security and the Middle East, as well as Bachelor's degree in Spanish and Multilingual Journalism. She speaks Spanish, French, and Turkish.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDERS

We founded the Open Hands Initiative in 2009. We were inspired to begin a new conversation between the people of the United States and the Middle East, hoping to make a small difference in encouraging cooperation across cultural and political boundaries.

Through our personal involvement in international business, philanthropy, and public service, we know how important the role of diplomacy is in building consensus, confronting common threats, and securing peace and prosperity in the world.We recognize that despite our diverse cultures and traditions across the globe, we all share a common humanity with much to teach and learn from each other. Rather than driving us further apart, the things that make us different can in fact bring us closer together and inspire innovation and camaraderie.

We launched the Open Hands Initiative to help the private sector play its part in building understanding and goodwill between peoples of the world. Today, the work we do at Open Hands Initiative is more important than ever. Our efforts are dedicated to addressing areas that affect people's everyday lives--from health to education, culture, media, business, and more. We strive to provide a long-term, grassroots platform to exchange ideas, inspire creativity, and build friendships in these critical areas.

We know that there is no shortage of talent or amity in the world. What we need are more meaningful opportunities to cooperate and share these things with one other. I am proud to lead this effort to communicate and collaborate across borders. As Chairman of the Open Hands Initiative, I dedicate myself and this organization to a future in which the misunderstandings that have led to war and conflict in the past give way to a homegrown solidarity between the people of the world.

Sincerely,

&

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Tracy Snyder

Tracy Snyder is a dedicated philanthropist and political activist. In 2009, she co-founded the Open Hands Foundation along with her husband Jay Snyder. Together with Mr. Snyder, she has created and supported numerous U.S. and international institutions focused on improving and enriching the lives of children, their families, and the communities in which they live.

For many years, Mrs. Snyder has been an avid supporter of the arts, focusing her philanthropy on numerous institutions and by serving on the Family Circle for the Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York where she is a member of the Associates Committee. In addition, she has worked to support the Central Park Conservancy, the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Audubon Society.

Active in democratic politics on both state and national level, Mrs. Snyder has served on the Finance Committees for Senator John Kerry, former Senator Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum. Mrs. Snyder is also among the nation's most active supporters of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Prior to her political and charitable work, Mrs. Snyder was a fashion designer and principal with her own label, Tracy Maxwell, Inc.

Mrs. Snyder resides in New York City with her husband Jay and three sons.

ADVISORY BOARD

To help support and guide our mission successfully, we have established an Advisory Board consisting of internationally renowned experts in the fields of public diplomacy, private philanthropy, health, disability, education, business, media, and international cultures.




CEO, Tina Brown Media


CEO and Co-Founder, Global Health Corps


Director of Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution


President, U.S.-Qatar Business Council
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Tina Brown

Tina Brown is an award-winning journalist, editor, author, and currently founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media. Prior to this, Brown launched and edited the award-winning digital news site The Daily Beast with Barry Diller's IAC in October 2008. Between 1979 and 2001, she was Editor-in-Chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Talk, and later Newsweek in 2011. She also authored the 2007 best-selling biography of the Princess of Wales, The Diana Chronicles. In 2000, she was awarded the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for her services to journalism. She is married to editor, publisher, and historian Sir Harold Evans and lives in New York City.

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Martin Indyk

Martin S. Indyk is Vice Ppresident and Director of the Foreign Policy Program at The Brookings Institution. Previously, Indyk was the Founding Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, and a Brookings Senior Fellow. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 1995-1997 and from 2000-2001. Indyk served as Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council (1993-1995) and as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the U.S. Department of State (1997-2000). Before serving in the U.S. government, Indyk was founding Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy for eight years. He currently serves as Chairman of the International Council of the New Israel Fund and on the boards of the Lowy Institute for International Policy (Australia) and the Institute for National Security Studies (Israel). Indyk received a B.Econ. from Sydney University and a Ph.D. from the Australian National University. He is the author of "Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East," which was published by Simon and Schuster in January 2009.

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Barbara Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush is the CEO and Co-Founder of Global Health Corps. Before joining GHC, Barbara worked in educational programming at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. She has worked for Red Cross Children's Hospital in Capetown, South Africa and interned for UNICEF in Botswana. She has traveled with the UN World Food Programme, is a member of UNICEF's Next Generation Steering Committee, and is on the Board of Directors of Covenant House International, PSI, Friends of the Global Fight for AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and the UN's Global Entrepreneurship Council. She is a Draper Richards Foundation Social Entrepreneur, a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, and a fellow of the Echoing Green Foundation. Barbara was named one of Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year in 2011 and one of Newsweek's Women of Impact in 2013.

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Patrick Theros

Ambassador Patrick Theros served as U.S. Ambassador to Qatar from 1995 until his retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1998. Ambassador Theros previously served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. Theros joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1963 and served in a variety of positions: Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political Officer in Amman, Jordan; Charge d'Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; and Economic and Commercial Counselor in Damascus, Syria. He also held diplomatic posts in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Nicaragua, as well as in the U.S. Department of State. Immediately before his appointment to Qatar, Theros served as Deputy Coordinator for Counter terrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. government counter terrorism activities outside the United States. In 1992, Theros was awarded the President's Meritorious Service Award for career officials and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. He also earned four Superior Honor Awards over the course of his career. In 1990, he was accorded the personal rank of Minister Counselor.

Upon retiring from the Foreign Service in 1998, Theros assumed the position of Director for International Projects at Capital Investment Management Corporation, a McLean, Virginia investment firm.

Currently, Theros is President and Executive Director of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council. He also serves as Member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University; Member of the Board of Directors, Qatar Foundation, USA; Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; Member of the Arab American Bankers Association of America; and Member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Theros was born in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and attended public schools in Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1963 and has done advanced study at the American University in Washington D.C., and the Universidad Centro Americana in Managua. He speaks Spanish, Arabic, and Greek.


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