About Us


Dialogue & Communications

Jessie Lowry Francescon, Director of Dialogue & Communications

Jessie recently joined Hedayah as the U.S. secondee.  She comes with years of international development, strategic communications, brand awareness and media relations experience. Jessie has developed communications and marketing strategies in collaboration with a diverse range of clients including governments, private sector businesses, NGOs, trade associations, nonprofits and donor community across Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central and Southeast Asia.

Most recently, Jessie served as CNFA’s Director of Communications, an international development NGO focused on economic growth initiatives. She managed the communication activities, media relationships, digital presence, special events and branding for CNFA Corporate, CNFA Europe and CNFA Programs with a portfolio valued at +200 million. She frequently traveled to deliver training in branding, mass media campaigns and social media as well as develop programmatic intervention communication strategies, produce program videos and engage with local media. She also served as the Communications Committee Co-Chair for the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba and a member of the Public Affairs and Communications Committee for the International Fertilization Industry Association. Prior to her time at CNFA, Jessie was the Communications Manager for the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), a trade association representing 80% of North America’s steel industry.

Jessie holds a Master of Arts in Political Communication with a concentration in Public Diplomacy from The George Washington University and two Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs and Organizational Communications from Miami University. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for The Women’s Partnership Market - a social enterprise focused on accelerating avenues for income, skills, and dignity for female artisans worldwide.

Wedad Al Hassen, Senior Program Associate

Wedad was the first hire to Hedayah and was part of the Strategy and Delivery Unit that help stand up the center in 2012, which included working with the U.A.E Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her initial capacity at Hedayah, Wedad set up the Communications Strategy, Internship Program and played a key role in the branding of the center. Additionally, Wedad has also managed initiatives and projects on various CVE areas both in the U.A.E and internationally. Wedad was responsible for managing the first ever Global CVE Expo and introducing and implementing the first ever CVE Hackathon.

Wedad has a background in Communications and Digital Storytelling and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University in Dubai.  

Talal Faris, Senior Program Associate

Talal Faris joined Hedayah in 2015 and has since been involved in the development and implementation of both local and international workshops. Talal has previously held positions within the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation as well as the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council where he worked within the Safety and Security department. Here, he focused on protective security through the implementation of the Safety and Security Planning Manual.

Educationally, Talal holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology from Northumbria University. Additionally, he holds two Master degrees, the first is a Master of Arts in International and Civil Security from Khalifa University where he researched counter-terrorism strategies.  The second is a Masters in Philosophy in Criminology from the University of Cambridge where he researched the key components needed for the successful development of a Counter-radicalization and De-radicalization Program in which he received a distinction.

Iman Badwan, Communications Officer

Iman initially joined the team as a Communications Intern in 2014 and was hired full time as a Communications Assistant in 2015, she was later promoted to be the Communications Officer. Since then, she has managed the corporate communications initiatives and their implementation, which include Hedayah’s new website, social media outreach, and branding. As the in-house graphic designer, she also worked on creating the design and layouts of several publications such as Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia: A How-To Guide and A Man’s World? Exploring the Role of Women in Countering Terrorism and CVE.

Prior to Hedayah, Iman worked as a Public Information intern with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and has communications experiences from various internships held at international organizations in Abu Dhabi, Florence, and New York. She is currently pursuing an M.P.S in PR and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Visual Arts (double major) from New York University Abu Dhabi as part of its inaugural class.



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