Staff

STAFF AND AFFILIATES

Aziza Hasan

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Aziza Hasan, named an influencer by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is the executive director of NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership For Change. She has extensive experience in program management and coalition building. An experienced mediator and conflict transformation practitioner, she has co-facilitated with multiple groups. Aziza’s work has been featured on Ozy, Yahoo News, MSN, Public Radio’s “Speaking of Faith” with Krista Tippett, the United States Institute for Peace, Arabic Radio and Television, and the LA Times. 

Her two years of AmeriCorps service gave her hands-on experience in community organizing and group problem-solving. She earned the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” in 2006 under President George W. Bush. Aziza served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2015 to 2016, and the Executive Service Corps recognized her with the “Megan G. Cooper Leadership Award” in 2017. Aziza currently serves on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Interfaith Advisory Council and is a volunteer mediator with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.

Stacie Chaiken

Story Consultant

Stacie Chaiken facilitates group-process workshops in which NewGround Fellows and Friends of NewGround develop compelling stories for Iftar and Spotlight events. Stacie’s solo plays include The Dig, Genesis + the double helix (2017 Los Angeles Stage Raw Theatre Award), What She Left, and Looking for Louie.​ Formerly on the performance faculty of USC’s School of of Dramatic Arts and NYC’s Circle Repertory Company, Stacie runs an LA-based workshop for writers and performers called What’s the Story? and teaches Master Classes on creating powerful stuff based on personal material.

Stacie’s work has received the generous support of the Wallis Annenberg Helix Project, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Durfee Foundation; the Fulbright Foundation; University of Southern California Visions & Voices program; the California Arts Council; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; the USC Arts Initiative; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture; the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity; and the Hebrew Union College Artist in Residency program.

Maia Ferdman

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE

Maia Ferdman is a facilitator, educator, and community-builder with a specialty in intergroup relations and program management. She is passionate about building interfaith connection and supports NewGround through grant writing and facilitation.
She is also the Program Manager for the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy, a center dedicated to elevating the role of history in policymaking, and for the Abrahamic House, an organization dedicated to fighting hatred by bringing together Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Baha’i young adults to live together under one roof and plan interfaith programs. In her prior role as Human Relations Advocate for the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, Maia pursued intergroup peace-building through intentionally designed community engagement initiatives, dialogue programs, and policy reporting. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA. A native San Diegan, Maia has lived in India, Israel, and Bulgaria, and LA, and her family hails from Argentina.

Andrea Hodos

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

Andrea Hodos spent five years as NewGround’s programs co-director and now works as associate director. She has facilitated NewGround’s MAJIC high school leadership council since 2014 and the Professional Fellowship since 2016. Andrea has trained as a facilitator with Resetting the Table through its partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, is a member of the Jews of Color & Allies Leadership cohort from Dimension Educational Consulting, and is currently in Cohort 8 of Leading from Within’s Courage to Lead program. 

Andrea is also the creator of Moving Torah, a method for exploring Jewish text and Jewish story using movement, theater, and writing. Her creative project, Sinai and Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering and Recovering, initially brought her into the realm of Muslim-Jewish engagement. 

Andrea taught Jewish Studies and directed the Jewish Arts program at Milken Community High School. She has a BA in English Literature from Yale University, and a MEd from Temple University in Dance Education. She is married to Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen, and they have raised two children together in Los Angeles, Oryah and Shachar (who was in the first MAJIC cohort).

Tasneem Noor

Programs Director

Tasneem Farah Noor is the award-winning author of the best-seller The Faith Connection: Your Journey Starts with Knowing Yourself. Tasneem is the founder of Noor Enterprises: SOULful Transformations—committed to providing transformational experiences, personal development, and opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Her mission is to establish thriving, peaceful communities where conversations of faith build bridges of compassion and collaboration. Through coaching, trainings, and facilitation she helps people learn how to deepen their faith (self-trust), authentically express themselves, and take courageous action. 

Tasneem received her Masters in Education in Student Affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For over seven years, Tasneem worked within student affairs on campuses including Santa Monica College, UCLA, and Cal State University, Los Angeles. The Inter-religious Council of Los Angeles recognized Tasneem as an emerging faith leader. She is now serving as the Interfaith Minister-in-Residence with the Southern CA Diocese. As a proud NewGround alumna herself, she is honored to actively support NewGround’s mission.

Farzana Waseeq

Communications Analyst

Farzana Waseeq is a researcher with a background in community outreach. She holds a BA in International Studies and Comparative Literature and an MSc in Social Anthropology. Farzana is primarily interested in sensations of disillusionment, estrangement, and belonging, as well as on how these sensations are factored into trust-building and healing processes in heterogeneous contexts.