WHO WE ARE
American KURDS is a humanitarian, non political, non profit and non governmental organization based in Washington DC, USA and in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. Founded to work and serve the public interest, American KURDS was established with a scientific and engineering focus to develop rural areas specifically in Kurdistan and generally in all parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. KURDS NGO was founded after having its first conference in 1991 on the basis of transparency, accountability and cost effective policies by specialists in the fields of agriculture, engineering, geology and social & civil society. The American KURDS branch of KURDS NGO was established to represent the needs of the Kurdish community to the US humanitarian aid community and US partners . Representation in both countries allows American KURDS NGO to collaborate, coordinate and cooperate closely and honestly with the Local Authority Departments, humanitarian NGOs and UN Agencies quickly and easily.
The original KURDS NGO was formed in 1991 after the establishment of the safe haven territory in Northern Iraq to assist with the process of returning diaspora, refugees and IDP’s from Iran and Turkey as they returned to their homelands. American KURDS assists by providing focused and designed reconstruction programs for viable and sustainable communities for IDPs and returnees. American KURDS has successfully implemented more than 1500 projects in all districts and sub-districts of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniya Governorates since being established and has provided services to approximately 3000 villages in the field of reconstruction, water and sanitation, agriculture, irrigation, productive projects, agriculture extensions, advocacy and development programs for rural women, improving the environment and de-mining. Furthermore, American KURDS has contributed extensively in the development of rural communities over all Iraqi Kurdistan and has participated in monitoring all election processes for establishing the Democratic Federalism Government, Governorate Councils and Municipal Councils.
On Jun 16th, 2008 in an official ceremony under the sponsor of His Excellency (H.E. Nechirvan Barzani) the Prime Minister of Kurdistan Region Government (KRG), KURDS NGO awarded with a (Civic Award) in an assessment and evaluation campaign for local NGOs in Kurdistan, organized and conducted by Ministry of Civil Society Affairs - KRG. Out of 46 Local NGOs in the Kurdistan region, only seven NGOs have been awarded this honor.
American KURDS is a humanitarian, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit and an independent community based and public utility organization. American KURDS NGO was established in 1991 as an Iraqi NGO with the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) to respond to natural or man-made disasters and to address its vital objectives: reconstruction of destroyed areas during the arbitrary wars and internal conflicts and the development of targeted communities by highlighting diverse issues of awareness programs regarding health, education, women’s social and political rights, violence against women, gender equality rights and duties and capacity building programs. Simultaneously American KURDS aims to develop the socio-economic conditions and the environment of targeted areas by coordinating amongst National & International agencies and targeted communities in terms of raising the needs and requirements to provide transitional development, emergency responses and relief assistance nationally to the beneficiaries.
Ali N Salhi - Chief Executive Officer
Ali Salhi was born in Kirkuk, Iraq in 1944 in a Kurdish middle class family. He received his schooling in Kirkuk and Baghdad with a degree in Education and additional studies in Economics, International Trade, Real Estate, Marketing and Development. After leaving Iraq, he became a US citizen and a successful businessman, receiving a Congressional Businessman of the Year award in Washington, DC.
Salhi has been involved in Iraqi politics since his early years. As a young student, he became a strong opponent of Saddam Hussein and his regime. In the early 1970’s, he took up arms in the Kurdish revolt against Saddam and became a commando leader. In 1975, the revolt collapsed and Salhi was forced to seek refuge and political asylum in the United States.
In 1976 he started his new life in America, settling in South Dakota. He continued his involvement with both American and Iraqi politics. During the 1980’s and 1990’s he worked in the Iraqi opposition against Saddam Hussein, secretly returning to Northern Iraq many times to organize political activities. In 2000 he was elected Chairman of the “Iraqi Free Officers and Civilians Movement” (IFOCM). This independent underground political organization worked secretly inside Iraq to organize Iraqi senior military officers against Saddam’s government. Many members of the organization were executed for their attempt to overthrow Saddam.
The IFOCM was named by the White House in 2003 as one of Iraqi’s “democratic opposition organizations” in a Presidential Determination issued under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Leaders of the Iraqi Free Officers and Civilians Movement were dispatched to the war zone before the arrival of U.S. troops and participated in the fighting once the war started.
Salhi and his forces participated in the liberation of Kirkuk in the early days of the war. In Kirkuk, he set up his headquarters in the Capital Building and became a personal consultant to the Commander of the 173rd Airborne, Colonel William Mayville. He has maintained close contact with the US Consulate in Kirkuk, as well as with US military commanders.
In early May 2003, Salhi was elected by a landslide vote to the 32- member Kirkuk Governing Council. He was then nominated for the position of Governor of Kirkuk, but declined the post for political and family reasons. Ali Salhi held positions on two government committees as the Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Oil Industry Development. The issues he handled included development and control of Iraq’s oil industry, economic development of the North and the future status of Kirkuk, the structure of the federal state, the use of US assistance, and strategies for political and economic development of Iraq.
Salhi ran for the Kirkuk Governing Council as an independent and has worked closely with all groups in Iraq, including the Arabs, Turkmen, Shia and Sunnis. He also has a strong relation-ship with the Iraqi central government, especially with Iraqi President Talabani, a fellow Kurd.
Ali Salhi is married and has six children.
Shawkat Taha Ahmed - Member
Mr. Ahmed likes to describe himself as being a dedicated civic activist, spending the majority of his professional life sharing his acquired technical skills and experience in service of civic causes. Starting his career as an engineer in the public sector provided an insight into the deteriorating infrastructure in the Kurdistan region following the conflicts and wars in Iraq in the 80s and early 90s. He resigned his public job and joined the newly formed and rapidly expanding civil society sector aiming at filling in the gaps in public service provision with the assistance of international donors. He began as a volunteer with various organizations, associations and charities providing technical engineering knowledge while pursuing community development knowledge.
Later, he joined and lead the Kurdistan Reconstruction and Development Society (KURDS), which has transformed under his leadership since 1998 to be one of the leading civil society organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. KURDS is now the largest partner of the United Nations in the area with a portfolio of over $45M at its peak, providing emergency and long term support to IDPs and Refugees in Iraq, documenting human rights violations, election and voter education, and legal advice to vulnerable persons.
Some of the current activities Mr. Ahmed continues to perform on a volunteer basis until today include: Active participation in observing and leading teams of election observers from 2005 until now, providing open training on election monitoring to local organizations and young leaders, engaging in campaigns to advocate for the development of rural areas, providing system analysis reviews for local organizations in the region, assisting the civil activists and civil society organizations in Iraq in identifying training opportunities with various international organizations, engaging foundations and donors, participating in charity events, and continuing to implement surveys in the IDP and Refugee camps to identify and prioritize most needed interventions in the short term and long term basis for public and international organizations.
Dr. Reuben Egolf - Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Egolf is one of three founders and the Chairman of the United States Council on Global Development. The USCGD is an organization dedicated to the development and improvement of infrastructures through advanced business strategies and sustainable solutions. He speaks in economic business summits concerning ethics in business, leadership strategies, and structuring developing nations for success. He has acted as moderator for many global conferences.
Dr. Egolf is one of three founders of the company STP Energy Solutions that provides energy opportunities in oil and green energy for multiple nations in Africa.
He has worked closely with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning Foreign Policy directly related to Syria, Kurdistan, and Middle East conflicts.
Dr. Egolf currently spearheads debt reconstruction and is the liaison for economic development for multiple nations in Africa and Asia.
Dr. Egolf was the Vice-President of the Human Rights Global Congress (HRGC) from 2013-2016. A United Nations recognized organization that promoted civil dialogue and produced strategies for the defusing of conflict.
He was the host of Experience Life Today a weekly television program he and his wife founded in 2009 that was seen in four states Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia, including Washington DC for nine years.
He received the Girma Wolde-Giogis Award (former president of Ethiopia) as a Human Conservation Solutionist as a result of his work as Vice President of the Human Rights Global Congress.
Dr. Egolf received an honorary doctorate from United Graduate College and Seminary International for life experience, leadership, achievement, and multiple thesis including the annotation of 2/3rds of the New Testament of the Bible. Dr. Egolf is the senior pastor of Mt. Calvary Tabernacle since 1997. Dr. Egolf has authored five books: Can You Trust God; The Voice Within; Avoiding Relationship Mayhem; Please Grow Up – your life depends on it; The Ruth Mizell Story – Heavenly Favored for Earthly Influence.
He was the Washington D.C. Capital Director for the United States National Prayer Council (USNPC) from May 2014 – Jan. 2016.
Dr. Everett Hershey - Chief Management Officer
Starting his first company at the age of 18, Dr. Everett Hershey brings 25 + years of experience owning and operating small businesses. He has a get-it-done attitude and is not one to shy away from a challenge. A calculated risk taker, he and his business partner have successfully built and run multiple companies.
In 2005 Dr. Everett Hershey and his business partner purchased, restructured, and actively managed Precision Pallet, LLC. In 2008 they started Precision Transport, LLC, and in 2016 they purchased IBX Lumber, LLC. All of the companies continue to grow and succeed in their sectors. In 2017 Dr. Hershey cofounded the United States Global Leadership Council (USGLCouncil). He served as vice president of the USGLCouncil until December 2019.
In 2014 Dr. Everett Hershey was awarded the Golden Rule International Award from the Interfaith Peace Building Initiative. In Aug. 2014 Dr. Everett Hershey was given an honorary degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities from the United Graduate College and Seminary International. In 2016 Dr. Hershey was awarded the National Statesmen Degree for the completion of the Presidential Statesmen training through the I Change Nations organization, presented and endorsed by Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers.
Dr. Everett Hershey, along with managing his businesses, is currently working around the world to bring a better understanding of business to the next generation - providing them a vision of hope for what is possible if they continue the learning process.
Dr. Leland Hershey - Chief Financial Officer
For over 25 years, Dr. Leland Hershey has focused on entrepreneurial pursuits and business growth. His desire to excel has taken him full-circle from managing a logging crew, to financial planning, and finally to CEO and co-owner of multiple companies. Dr. Hershey’s strong focus on interpersonal relationships and individual accountability has opened the doors to the successes that his business ventures currently experience.
With an eye for opportunity, Dr. Leland Hershey, along with his brother and longtime business partner, acquired the failing Precision Pallet LLC in 2005. They were able to reverse the direction of the company and create the backbone of his future business ventures. In 2008 the partners started Precision Transport LLC, a freight company supporting the rapidly growing Precision Pallet LLC. Seeing opportunity in supply-chain management, Dr. Hershey and his partner acquired and reinvigorated a struggling IBX Lumber LLC in 2016. In 2020, Dr. Leland Hershey co-founded the United States Council on Global Development to offer economic growth through entrepreneurial spirit to others around the world.
In 2014 Dr Leland Hershey was awarded the Golden Rule International Award from the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative. Dr Leland Hershey was awarded an, Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities, in August 2014 from United Graduate College and Seminary International. In 2016 Dr Leland Hershey was awarded the National Statesmen Degree for the completion of the Presidential Statesmen Program through ICN “I Change Nations,” awarded and endorsed by Ambassador Dr Clyde Rivers.
An active manager, entrepreneur, and family man, Dr. Leland Hershey currently travels around the world to both learn and teach the values he has gained through years in small business and finance.
Jeremy Weaver - Member
Jeremy Weaver is the founder and owner of Surus Group Consulting, a marketing and research company based in Kentucky, USA. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Weaver has honed his skills with a “boots on the ground” approach, working directly with clients in North America, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Asia, and most predominantly in Africa.
Although Mr. Weaver’s background is in marketing and computer science the opportunity to do market research in a multitude of industries and cultures has given him an extremely diverse portfolio of experience including manufacturing, retail, agriculture, healthcare, energy, logistics, defense and politics.
Since 2014 Mr. Weaver has served as an advisor and US liaison to Dr. Tshibangu Mukumbay, founder and President of Union du Peuple d’Avenir, a Congolese political party.
Mr. Weaver is also the co-founder of STP Energy and Solutions which provides energy opportunities in oil and green energy for multiple nations in Africa.
Mr. Weaver serves on the board of the United States Council on Global Development in Washington D.C., the board of American KURDS NGO and the board of American Kurdistan Life Center LLC.
Mr. Weaver lives in Kentucky USA with his wife and four children.