Joe Samara

Joe Samara’s retirement from the Project Rozana Australia Board is noted with sadness. Joe was a founding member and elder statesman of the Board and a powerful voice for the Palestinian community.

In recent years he made his mark as an international businessman, particularly by engaging Australian companies with Arab markets, notably Saudi Arabia. Born in Palestine, he served with the British Army’s Arab Legion from 1953 to 1970, before retiring as a lieutenant-colonel. He arrived in Australia in 1972 with his Australian-born wife, Diane. Joe worked with McDonalds for four years, opening and operating restaurants throughout Victoria.

He then managed the first refugee camp in Bangladesh after the war between India and Pakistan, before returning to Australia to work with Austrade and the Victorian Department of Innovation to assist companies access Middle East markets, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Oman and Syria. He lived in the region from 1984 to 2004.

Joe’s passion for the needs of marginalised communities, particularly for vulnerable children, has been evident throughout his long and distinguished life. A role with Project Rozana was a natural extension of his extensive communal work.

Ron Finkel AM, President of Project Rozana Australia and Chair of Project Rozana International said…

Joe was someone I constantly referred to as we built the Project Rozana family. His experience in the Middle East has given me important insights into needs and possibilities in the region that we are beginning to leverage for the benefit of Project Rozana. Joe is a man beloved by many and a true ‘mensch’. I will miss his wise counsel.