News & Resources

IRAP Welcomes Sharif Aly in New Role as President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

July 20, 2023


Spencer Tilger |


IRAP’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Becca Heller, to Become Chief Executive Officer

(New York, NY) – The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is thrilled to announce that Sharif Aly has joined the organization in the new role of President of IRAP. As President, Aly will be involved in all aspects of IRAP’s work and provide additional expertise and capacity to the organization’s Executive Leadership Team. He will oversee the growing work and staff of the Operations, Development, and Organizational Culture departments and facilitate IRAP’s increasingly global programming in support of the organization’s strategic plan.

As part of this expansion of IRAP’s Executive Leadership Team, Becca Heller, Co-Founder and Executive Director, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Nisha Agarwal and Amy Taylor, currently the Deputy Executive Directors, will continue to oversee impact and programs, respectively, and directly report to Heller.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sharif Aly to our team,” said Becca Heller. “His experience, insight, and passion for the protections of refugee rights will make for a significant contribution to IRAP’s mission and staff.”

Sharif Aly comes to IRAP from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), an international humanitarian relief and development organization that operates in 40 countries across the world, including the United States, where he served as CEO from August 2017. In this role, he oversaw a program portfolio of over $250 million in active programs dedicated to providing relief and sustainable development solutions to support marginalized and disenfranchised people out of poverty. Aly also led IRUSA in expanding its national partner network with over 200 community-based organizations across the country. He was a key leader in transforming the international federation’s strategy and business model, and pushed the organization to focus on tackling climate change, livelihoods, refugees, and displacement, particularly surrounding conflict and disaster. An attorney by background, he worked in litigation prior to fully dedicating his career to the nonprofit sector. He is certified in Fundraising Management through the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and holds multiple certifications in leadership and management. He currently serves on the American Red Cross National Diversity Advisory Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Refugee Council USA and InterAction.

Aly was selected through an extremely rigorous international search process.

“Being in the humanitarian sector for close to the last decade, I’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change, conflict, and injustice on the lives of displaced people,” said Sharif Aly. “I can’t imagine a more noble cause than continuing that fight for those people here at IRAP.”

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) develops and enforces a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.