Exploring Leadership

ILIA Research is a project of Islamic Leadership Institue of America (ILIA), a 501c(3) nonprofit organization.

Research Mission

To explore and provide visibility into leadership, governance, management and innovation issues through a scientific Islamic lens, leading to the conceptualization and design of developmental approaches, techniques and solutions serving mankind in conformance to the Prophet's Mercy to Mankind mission.

Scope of Work

Our work includes the areas of Positive Youth Development, Organizational Development and Community Capacity Building


Ayman Nassar, Chief, Research, Academics & Programs

Founder of Islamic Leadership Institute of America (ILIA), with over 25 years of experience in enterprise architecture, enterprise and individual transformation and youth development. Over the past 20 years he has coached, taught and counseled hundreds of youth and young professionals and has been a certified mentor and coach with Big Brother Big Sister, Lutheran Social Services, Dar Al-Taqwa, Prince George’s Community College Asian, Latino, African, Native American (ALANA), New Beginnings Youth Center, Howard County Detention Center and ILIA. Ayman is a member of the Howard County Reentry Council and the Howard County Ethnic Diversity Round Table. He holds two Master degrees in electrical engineering, engineering management and systems engineering and holds certifications in half a dozen leadership areas. He has been trained in cultural competence, youth development, reentry, psychology, curriculum development and has devised over 200+ courses and programs for youth and adults. He was faculty at University of California, Prince George’s Community College, Strayer University and Howard Community College. He founded Youth Crisis Line, and provided stabilization services to hundreds of young adults.

Dr. Esraa Badr, Positive Youth Development Researcher, MD

A positive youth development researcher at Islamic Leadership institute of America. She holds a MBBCh degree from Alexandria Faculty of Medicine, Egypt with focused training in adult and child neuropsychiatry specialties combined with a neurology training in Selcuk University, Turkey. Currently she is a pediatrician at the Ministry of Health and Population, Egypt and a participant in Clinical Research Scholars Training program by Harvard Medical School. She is focused on mental health issues affecting youth as part of her postgraduate studies in the High Institute of Public Health, Egypt. Esraa is also a member of the Mental Health Research Network in Egypt and has participated in several research projects on different mental health issues. She is a writer and health promoter about mental health affairs with special interest in parenting issues. Esraa also participated in many civil work projects targeting the public awareness about mental health affairs.

Akira Funderburk, Youth Researcher

Akira Funderburk is a Project Manager at the Islamic Leadership Institute: Empowerereer & a community aid at Baltimore City Recreation & Parks. She is a Baltimore City College (High-School) alumni. After 4 - years at City, Akira received a diploma & two rewards. Akira now attends Morgan State University as an undergraduate; majoring in Psychology .

Former Researchers

  • Dr. Abdelrahman Sharaf - Reseacher, Positive Youth Development

  • Adam Ghannoum - Researcher, Islamophobia, Human Rights

  • Alawi Masud - Researcher, Human Rights

  • Doha Nassar - Researcher, Positive Youth Development & Coaching

  • Faezaan Ansari - Researcher, School to Prison Pipeline

  • Jamaria Crump - Researcher, Youth Poverty

  • Muhsen Jemal - Researcher, Human Rights (Uyghur)

  • Noah Taylor - Researcher, Mitigating COVID in Classrooms

  • Sabir Ali - Researcher, Public Policy and Advocacy

  • Razeen Khan - Researcher, Healthcare

  • Sumayah Abdel-Motagali - Researcher, Positive Youth Development

  • Yomna Nassar - Researcher, Healthcare

  • Zafir Naseem - Researcher, Mental Health

  • Zakir Zurga - Researcher, Human Rights (Palestine)


  • Dr. Salah As-Sawy

  • Dr. Ramadan Abdelbasit

Contact Us

4903 Liberty Heights Ave, Baltimore MD 21207