ABOUT AACC
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Mr. Sulaiman Lutfi
Chairman of the Board
Sulaiman Lutfi is the current Chairman of the Board of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and a Member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  He is one of the Founding Members and has helped develop the brand of AACC and supported the marketing efforts of the organization, since its inception.   He was one of the key planners in organizing AACC’s Annual Matchmaking Conferences by securing sponsors, promoting the conference and handling public relation and media efforts.

He has over 20 years of experience in marketing and media communications. As an Afghan-American business owner of family owned, TriVision Studios, Sulaiman Lutfi has helped start a successful business with offices in the United States and Afghanistan. TriVision Studios is an award-winning, full service agency that develops innovative strategies to achieve powerful and creative marketing, entertainment and media campaigns for its clients. TriVision manages cross-platform advertising and integrated communication programs for a diverse group of clients, ranging from start-up companies to government agencies to some of the world's leading multi-national organizations.

Prior to AACC, Sulaiman Lutfi has served and helped to create many Afghan organizations in the United States. He co-founded the Afghan Student Association (ASA) in 1992 and served as the President of the organization from 1994 to 1997 and thereafter as the Director of Events and Programming until 1999. In his involvement with ASA, he organized community and cultural events and helped raise funds for needy children and women in Afghanistan.  He also co-founded the Afghan Sports Federation in 1997 and serves as the Vice-President and Soccer League Commissioner for the organization.   Afghan Sports Federation is the largest sports organization outside Afghanistan with over 1000 members.  In addition, he has also worked and contributed to many other organizations, such as Afghan Academy, Mustafa Center and Society of Afghan Professional.

Sulaiman Lutfi received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Decision Science Management Information System from George Mason University and participated in many professional training and conferences for media communications and branding.  He has received many awards and certificates for his achievements and innovation.

Sulaiman Lutfi and his wife, Zakia Lutfi, have three children – Arman, Sabrina and Sultan. They reside in Virginia.

altHon. Don Ritter
President & CEO

The Honorable Dr. Donald Ritter is the current President and CEO of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  Since 2002, he has worked full time on Afghanistan and has been back to the country 22 times. Dr. Ritter represented Pennsylvania’s 15th district, the “Lehigh Valley”, from 1979 to 1993 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and has a near 30-year history in Afghanistan. As ranking member on the Congressional Helsinki Commission, he fought for liberty and human rights in the former Soviet Union, serving also as the founding chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Baltic States and Ukraine. No other Congressional body even came close to the number of hearings the Helsinki Commission held on Afghanistan under Ritter’s guidance. As one of the leading congressional proponents of U.S. assistance to the people of Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and occupation as prime author of the “Material Assistance“legislation and founder and Chairman of the “Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan”, Dr. Ritter continues his effort today via the economy and private sector to find solutions to Afghanistan's challenges of insurgency and drug trade.
 
He is founder and former Chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Afghanistan Foundation, later known as the Afghanistan-America Foundation and a founder of the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) in 2002. He also served as Senior Advisor to the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce and the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) in Kabul during the creation and development years of AICC, 2004 and 2005 under a USAID grant. Dr. Ritter was a major architect of the AICC, the first independent, free-market oriented Chamber in the history of Afghanistan, now merged with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). Dr. Ritter presently seeks to continue AACC’s seminal role in assisting the development of the Afghan market economy to bring stability and prosperity to Afghanistan. He also wears the hat of private businessman and investor in Afghanistan and is active in businesses involving consumer services, construction and carpets. Dr. Ritter holds a B.S. in Engineering from Lehigh University and an engineering doctorate from M.I.T.  He was a NAS Scientific Exchange fellow in the former Soviet Union for a year and speaks fluent Russian. He was a member of the faculty and administration at Lehigh University for 10 years, a consultant to industry, and, after 7 terms and 14 years in the US Congress, was founder and President of the National Environmental Policy Institute (NEPI) for 10 years. Don also serves on the Board of Directors of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and is Chairman of their Development Committee.

Jeffrey Grieco
Mr. Jeffrey Grieco
Vice President

Jeffrey Grieco is the current Vice President of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Jeffrey Grieco is a senior foreign policy and foreign assistance consultant having served as a senior leader both in the public and private sector, focused on U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance implementation.  He is a Board Member of the Society of International Development (SID-Washington Chapter), a former Board Member of the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA) completing his 2 year term in 2013 and a former Board Member of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) completing a 2 year term in early 2013.

From 2009-2014 he served as Chief of Communications and Government Affairs for International Relief & Development (IRD), one of the largest non-profit, NGO implementers for the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Grieco was responsible for all IRD Communications, Advocacy, and Government Affairs and served on IRD’s Executive Committee and Senior Management Team.

Prior to arriving at IRD in 2009, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) at USAID, serving as the Agency’s senior advisor on all legislative and global public affairs activities. As head of LPA, he was responsible for all Congressional contacts and communications, managed all agency communications to both foreign and domestic audiences, and supervised USAID media and public affairs programming worldwide. He also served as the agency's lead congressional and public affairs representative at global meetings and conferences dealing with USAID's reconstruction operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Liberia, and other nations. His portfolio dealt with USAID's humanitarian and development programming in more than 100 countries.

 Mr. Grieco also served as USAID's senior representative on various interagency committees and working groups dealing with legislative affairs, communications, public diplomacy, and public affairs, including inter-agency working groups such as the Joint Policy Council of the Department of State, the Administration's Iraq Stabilization Group (ISG), and the Agency's Muslim Outreach Coordinating Committee. He was the U.S. Representative to the Development Assistance Committee Communicators Network of the OECD and participated in major multilateral efforts to improve aid effectiveness and communications.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University's Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service Studies where he obtained a Masters degree in Foreign Relations. He has also received a fellowship for graduate studies in comparative international management at Oxford University's Templeton College. His Bachelors degree is from George Washington University's Elliott School in international affairs. He is proficient in Korean and French.

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Mr. Yama Azami
Treasurer

Yama Azami is the current Treasurer of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.He has been the Treasurer of AACC for the past six years. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and migrated to the United States with his family in 1983. He attended the University of Texas graduating in 1993. In 1996, he relocated to the Washington D.C. area. He continued his business profession as well as his organizational professions with Afghan Student Association, serving as vice president for one year and president from 1998-1999. In this role, he was very involved in community activities as well as raising funds to help the women and children in Afghanistan, sending significant amounts of monetary aid to help provide clothing, food, health care supplies and all items of necessity for the poverty stricken and helpless individuals of Afghanistan. During this time, he was building his professional experience and prospering in the mortgage industry.

He is the President of Washington Mortgage Group, which provides residential and commercial financing for the Washington DC metro area. He has been in the mortgage industry since 1999. His company has built up an impeccable track record for the service they provide to their clients. While he has been continuing his business profession, he has also been a member of the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce and is currently on the board of directors and has been serving as the Treasurer since 2008. Even though he devotes a great deal of time to his professional and organizational commitments, he still makes time for his personal commitments.

He currently resides in Fairfax Station, Virginia with his wife Fara and three children, Neela, Neda and Layla.

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Mr. William C. Joern
Secretary of the Board

William C. (Bill) Joern is the current Secterat of the Board of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.has been an active member of the Afghanistan American Chamber of Commerce since 2005.  He has served on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and as a Member-at-Large; contributed to several organizational issues to ensure openness and transparency of AACC   programs and processes; supported all AACC-sponsored networking events, including the launch event of the Northern California chapter; and represented AACC at other organizations' events.  Currently he is a participant in the Chamber’s ICT Working Group.
 
Mr. Joern has participated in the planning and organization of all eight AACC Business Matchmaking Conferences, including thematic development, identification and selection of speakers, moderation of speaking panels and preparation of post--conference evaluations.  Additionally, he developed a business-to-business matchmaking agreement that was used in previous conferences.

At the request of the AACC Board of Directors, he developed for Board discussion and adoption a set of policies and procedures, including the necessary corporate by-law amendments, which are being used to develop local AACC chapters. If elected to the Board, Mr. Joern will continue to support and contribute to all AACC activities and programs; focus on extending AACC's presence in the United States through local chapters and other localized activities; and support an AACC presence in Afghanistan during the upcoming "transition" period.  

Mr. Joern has over 40 years of experience in general management, strategic planning, program development and evaluation, personnel recruitment and training, budget development and monitoring, proposal development, contract management, and marketing with small and medium-size private corporations.

Mr. Joern is currently a co-founder and executive chairman of ROI3, Inc., which is developing applications for mobile phones and tablets to meet the educational and informational needs of individuals and communities in developing countries and economies.  Applications under development or consideration include those addressing English-as-a-second language, health, agriculture, e-government, business development, and financial management. As executive chairman, he is responsible for establishing the ROI3’s strategic direction and long term goals; identifying partnership opportunities with businesses and non-government organizations; and representing the company at conferences and other public events.

Mr. Joern also serves as president of Business Development Associates, which provides representation and marketing services to U.S. companies that design, manufacture, install and service across multiple sectors. These include food processing, packaging and storage; water bottling; water purification and waste water treatment; housing and commercial building construction technologies; medical and pharmaceutical equipment and supplies; and other areas.  He is familiar with a wide range of programs and funding sources including private venture funds, the US Export-Import Bank, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank.

He also has extensive experience as a board member or executive with non-profit organizations and IRS designated 501 (C) 3 tax-exempt entities at the local, state, and national levels.  Mr. Joern has served as a member of the board of directors of several organizations, CEO of a regional health planning corporation, managing director of Washington operations of a Philadelphia-based information services and R&D organization, and board member of a 200,000+ membership organization with active state chapters.

Mr. Joern is an active participant with and/or member of several international organizations in the Washington, DC area including the Washington International Trade Association, the Maryland China Business Council, the Corporate Council on Africa, the Council of the Americas, the Asia Society, and the Middle East Institute. He also associates with the Wharton Club of DC, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, The Gallup Organization, and the Nebraska Society of Washington DC.

Mr. Joern received his Bachelor of Science degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts with a major in history and political science. He also studied international relations and public administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and attended the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. He regularly attends numerous training conferences and seminars sponsored by universities and professional associations to develop and enhance his knowledge and skills.

Leslie M. Schweitzer 
Ms. Leslie  M. Schweitzer
At-Large Member

Leslie  M. Schweitzer is the Chairman and President of Friends of American University of Afghanistan, a 501c3 based in Washington, D.C., and 2nd Vice Chair of the American University of Afghanistan’s (AUAF) Board of Trustees. 

AUAF is the first not-for-profit, co-ed, private university in the history of Afghanistan. Leslie was instrumental in receiving two grants from the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations to construct the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development built on the International Campus of AUAF in Kabul, and the AUAF Business Innovation Hub housed inside the center and in Herat. Her career in international business and development spans over four decades and includes Asia, Russia, Central Asia, Europe, South and Central America.  

Leslie Schweitzer serves on the Advisory Board for International Programs at the University of Kansas, the D.C.-Virginia District Export Council, Ayenda Foundation, Amar Foundation (Iraq) and the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council. In May 2013, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from American University of Afghanistan.

Said Tayeb JawadMr. Sayed Tayeb Jawad
At-Large Member

Said Tayeb Jawad, former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States, is the Chairman of the Foundation for Afghanistan, a non-profit organization that focuses on increasing human capacity and intercultural dialogue in Afghanistan, and Chief Executive Officer of Capitalize LLC, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in the investment, security and political environments of Afghanistan and the greater Gulf region. Ambassador Jawad also recently became a member of the International Advisory Council in the Global Political Strategies group at APCO Worldwide, an international strategic communications consultancy. Ambassador Jawad holds two positions in the academic community: he recently joined the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University as Diplomat in Residence and was named the inaugural Fisher Family Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In both of these capacities, he engages students and colleagues in a number of forums and public speaking events on the future of Afghanistan.

Ambassador Jawad served as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States from December 2003 to September 2010. Under his leadership, the Embassy of Afghanistan emerged as one of the most successful missions in Washington, D.C. He also served as Afghanistan’s non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.

Ambassador Jawad returned to Afghanistan after 9/11 to assist in the state-building process, where he played a versatile and crucial role in government, serving as President Karzai’s Press Secretary, Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of International Relations. In these positions, Ambassador Jawad formulated and managed strategies, implemented policies, assisted in the building and re-building of national institutions (including the Afghan National Army) as well as prioritizing major reforms in Afghanistan, notably to the Ministry of Defense. 

A fluent speaker of English, German and French, Ambassador Jawad was educated at the Afghan French Lycée Esteqial and School of Law and Political Sciences at Kabul University and later at Westfaelische Wilhelms University in Muenster, Germany. He earned his MBA from the Golden Gate University in San Francisco and subsequently worked for a number of prominent law firms in the United States.  

He is married to Shamim Jawad, a financial consultant, and they have a son, Iman, who is currently studying for his BA at Tufts University.