Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian
Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a regional
office in Israel named the Ima Foundation. She is the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian
Center for Israel Studies at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The Center is housed in
the International Institute at UCLA to provide a systematic and academic study of contemporary
In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) appointed Sharon as its new Senior Vice President
in International Affairs. Sharon served in this role for five years, acting as chief diplomat and policy
maker of ADL, meeting with heads of state, foreign ministers, and leaders of Jewish communities
across the globe. She was responsible for ADL’s work fighting antisemitism and racial hatred
globally. She also oversaw ADL’s Israel office.
Sharon’s interests are reflected in the myriad of organizations she devotes her time, talent, and
energy to. Having left her executive position at ADL, she now serves as a member of ADL’s
national board of directors, a trustee of the board of Freedom House, is a member of the Council
of Foreign Relations (CFR), Chairs the board of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at
UCLA, and sits on the Board of Governors of University of Haifa in Israel.
Her undergraduate studies took place at the University of Southern California (USC), double
majoring in Journalism and International Relations. She went on to receive her master’s and
Doctor of Philosophy degrees also from USC in the field of Political Science, specializing in
Political Economy and Economic Development in newly industrialized countries.
As a Jewish Iranian-American academic, a philanthropist and policy analyst, Sharon brings her
skills and energy to issue areas as diverse as fighting antisemitism and racial hatred, democratic
backsliding and its intersection with rising antisemitism; she is active in the Israeli democracy
protection movement and impact driven education enrichment investments; and is an advocate
for democracy and freedom for the people of Iran, especially women and girls targeted as a result
of the protest movement.
She is the daughter of Younes and Soraya Nazarian and has three siblings, David, Shulamit and
Sam. She is an integral member of Nazarian Enterprises, a thriving family investment office with
a diverse portfolio of holdings across a broad spectrum of industries, including real estate,
hospitality, manufacturing, technology, and clean energy. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles
with her husband and three children