Executive Team and Young Leaders

The Washington Institute has a robust staff with members representing a variety of global backgrounds. It also supports young people with promise as tomorrow’s leaders around the world through scholarships and opportunities to get involved in conversations covering international business, government, and society. To that end, it counts several outstanding young leaders as members of its staff. More about their backgrounds and contributions to the Institute can be found below:


Hakan Ozsancak – Executive Vice President

Hakan oversees the operations, finance and communications of the Washington Institute, providing support to the CEO and Founder. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, he is the son of a diplomat and by the age of ten had lived in Switzerland, Egypt, Germany, and Turkey. He speaks five languages. Having served as Chief Operating Officer of a technology company and executive producer for a major media conglomerate, Hakan has spent 19 years in the communications industry. He has led diverse teams of professionals in a series of news projects around the world and has received several awards for his work. Hakan excels in strategic communications, business development, finance, and strategy. He received his bachelor’s degree in international relations from American University and his executive MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.


Maati Bouabid

Hometown: Casablanca, Morocco

Born and raised in Morocco, Maati is a recent graduate of The George Washington University. Double majoring in international affairs and economics, Maati chose to work at the Washington Institute for Business, Government, and Society as he was fascinated by the projects the Institute is undertaking and also believed it was a great fit with his fields of study. He has supported the Institute’s Coronavirus Initiative, Global Sports Program, and its Embassy Series, in addition to other initiatives.




Katherine “Kat” Manouchehri – Strategic Communications Specialist

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

A recent graduate of American University, Kat is working as a strategic communications specialist for the Washington Institute. In 2018, Kat packed her bags and moved from Louisville, Kentucky to Washington, D.C. to pursue a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, concentrating in Crisis Management and International Negotiation, at American. Prior to AU, Kat graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science. She currently resides in the heart of D.C. with her pup, Bee.



Jordan Muchnick – Policy Research Specialist

Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Jordan is a research intern at the Washington Institute. Originally from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, he is currently an undergraduate at American University majoring in Political Science. His primary focus at the Washington Institute has been developing the ‘Washington Institute Directory’, a consortium of information encompassing the network of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations active in Metropolitan Washington, D.C..




Maryum Qasim – Development Research Associate

Hometown: Islamabad, Pakistan

Maryum is a researcher in the use of UAV /drone technology and its impacts on the dynamics of modern warfare. She has conducted field research in Waziristan, Pakistan on the subject and has served as a Graduate Professional Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research to conduct policy-based research on the protocols for military drone operations. Maryum holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Politics from Connecticut College where she was a scholar at the Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts.


Yagiz Sullu – Technology Research Associate

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

Yagiz Sullu is a recent graduate of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where he earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs with a focus on international development, law, and organizations. He completed his undergraduate education at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies majoring in International Relations with a focus on Foreign Policy, Security Studies, and Europe. At the Washington Institute, he is researching the latest technology trends as well as managing the Institute’s podcasts, videos, and other social media engagements.