New Chair for LAAF as founding member steps down after 20 years

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), has appointed a new Chair after founding member, Taher Qassim MBE, announced he is to step down after a 20-year tenure.

Former Vice Chair, Mustapha Koriba, takes up the position from the start of the 2019 programme, with Taher remaining a committed and active member of the board of trustees.

Taher revealed he was to step down from his long-held role following LAAF’s successful 20th anniversary festival in 2018. The decision was taken to allow the public health practitioner to focus more time on vital health projects including the Yemen Special Interests Group (Yemen SIG), chaired by Dr. Ann Hoskins within the Faculty of Public Health UK.

The newly established organisation will contribute to the rebuilding of the country’s health system, which has been destroyed by the four-year war in Yemen, along with more than half of its health facilities. Taher will also be working on a significant project, currently in development, that is using mobile technology to address cholera, which has affected more than a million people.

Taher said: “Standing down as LAAF Chair was a very difficult decision to make. The board, the artists we work with, our staff and volunteers are like a family and I have worked with many of them for a long time.

“However, the time felt right, with the organisation in a stronger position than ever. Following our 20th anniversary festival last year we received excellent feedback from Arts Council England (ACE) and we have secured funding for the next four years.

“What’s more it has a stable and dedicated board, committed staff members and under Mustapha’s leadership I am confident that the festival will continue to grow.

“His deep understanding of the festival and its boundless potential, combined with his international expertise and ability to communicate with and motivate people from all walks of life, will be invaluable to LAAF in the next phase of its evolution.”