President's Advisory Council


Michele Kidwell Gilbert

Michele Kidwell Gilbert hails from New York where she taught Ancient and Renaissance art history at The New School for Social Research, New York University, and the College of New Rochelle. As founder and chair of the Archaeology Committee at The National Arts Club, Michele presents numerous talks including those featuring Ambassadors and Consul Generals who discuss their nations' heritages with members of the diplomatic community in attendance.  She also began an educational initiative for high school students to better understand their shared humanity. 

W. Benson Harer

W. Benson Harer Jr. is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist. He is a past President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and was a Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Western University of Health Sciences. He served on the Governing Board and Executive committee of the American Research Center in Egypt for 25 years. He has been a member of the Brooklyn Museum expedition excavating the Temple of Mut in South Karnak for 30 years. Dr. Harer was also an Professor of Egyptian Art at California State University San Bernardino. He has published and lectured extensively on ancient Egyptian medicine as well as OB/GYN, his field of medical expertise. He has established two professorships at California State University San Bernardino.

Zahi Hawass

Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian archaeologist and public official, whose magnetic personality and forceful advocacy have raised awareness of the excavation and preservation efforts he oversaw as the Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). He served as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities in 2011.

Sameh Iskander

Sameh Iskander is a former president of the ARCE Board of Governors and is currently a research associate at New York University. He is the co-director of the New York University (ISAW) expedition at the temple of Ramses II at Abydos, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Egyptological Seminar of New York. He received a Ph.D. in Egyptology from New York University, and his main area of specialization is in the history and archaeology of the Ramesside Period. As a civil engineer, he received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt and an M.S. in Engineering from the New York University Polytechnic Institute of Technology. He was formerly the President of Intervest Development Corporation in New York City.

Ben Jealous

Benjamin Todd Jealous is a civil rights leader, tech investor and educator. He is also a former investigative journalist and Rhodes Scholar. Ben has dedicated his life to bringing people together, building diverse coalitions for change, and holding government leaders accountable to the needs of everyday people. In 2018, Ben was the Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland. 

At age 35, Ben was named National President and CEO of the NAACP. The youngest person to ever hold the position, he led the organization from 2008 through 2013. Under his leadership, the NAACP underwent an unprecedented era of growth, and membership increased four years consecutively for the first time in 20 years. Ben has also served as the president of the Rosenberg Foundation, founding director of Amnesty International’s U.S. Human Rights Program, Executive Director of National Newspaper Publishers Association, an editor of Mississippi’s Jackson Advocate newspaper, and a NAACP community organizer in Mississippi. After a half-decade at Kapor Capital, Ben cofounded Baltimore-based investment firm, 20X. There he focuses on social impact investing and advising. He is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford Universities, a former visiting professor at Princeton University, and the proud father of two young children.

Jeff Lamia

Jeff Lamia pursued an extensive career in finance before retiring to pursue other passions. He was an International Commercial Banker for 28 years, rising through various positions to become senior vice president and head of the International Division at The Bank of New York and then senior vice president and head of the International Group North America of Commerzbank AG., the second largest German bank. Dr. Lamia formerly served on the board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

In 2008, the AIA awarded him the Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award for his efforts on their finance committee. He is currently president of the AIA New York Society. He has taken part in archaeological field work and has hosted workshops on archaeological ceramics, and his primary research interest is in the Ancient Egyptian economic system.

Deborah Lehr

Deborah Lehr serves as the CEO of Basilinna, a strategic business consulting firm focused on China and the Middle East. In addition, she is the vice chairman and executive director of the Paulson Institute, a think tank founded by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and located at the University of Chicago.   

Deborah previously built and managed two successful consulting businesses representing diverse Western and Chinese companies such as Sesame Workshop, Tory Burch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Sony Music, Time Warner and Boeing. She provided strategic advice and counsel on their growth in China and other markets. In addition, she served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, was a Senior Managing Director at the New York Stock Exchange focused on emerging markets and was President of Stonebridge China, with offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Prior to joining Stonebridge, Deborah was a partner at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, a global top-10 law firm, where she helped build a successful trade business.   

She also served in the U.S. Government where she was the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China, a director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, and involved in export control and trade policy issues at the Department of Commerce. Deborah is the founder and serves as chairman of the Antiquities Coalition, focused on fighting against the looting of cultural heritage by organized crime and terrorist organizations.  

She has lived and studied around the world, including China, England, France, and Germany. Her writings appear regularly in the Huffington Post, and have been published in Foreign Affairs, the South China Morning Post, U.S. News and World Report, Caixin Magazine, and, among others. She has also appeared on television speaking about China as well as antiquities trafficking.  

Deborah is on the Board of the World Monuments Fund, the Middle East Institute, the International Advisory Board of the London School of Economics, and the Sesame Workshop Global Advisory Board.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. UNESCO has nominated Deborah as one of its inaugural list of accomplished global women.  She also received the prestigious Hadrian Award from the World Monument Fund for her work in fighting the illicit trade in antiquities. 

Ed Royce

Ed Royce served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from California from 1993 to 2019. During his tenure in Congress, Royce served as Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2019.  Royce also sat on the Committee on Financial Services and was Co-Chair of the Congressional International Conservation Caucus. He previously served as a member of the California Senate from 1982 to 1993.

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