Habibi International has primarily served the Yazidi people in the Kurdish region of Iraq. In August 2014, ISIS launched a genocide attack on the Yazidi people and perpetrated sexual slavery on the women and girls. ISIS fighters captured many Yazidi men, women and children, killed thousands of men, and forced thousands more to leave their ancient homelands. Yazidi families, widows, and orphans are now in the process of rebuilding their lives while many are still displaced, missing, or held captive by ISIS. We seek to partner in that restoration process through healthcare services, education programs, and various development projects
Habibi International is a nonprofit formed in 2017 that seeks to impact the lives of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Middle East by providing humanitarian relief and development in partnership with local churches and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). As an organization, Habibi International strives to gather like-minded individuals and churches to serve refugees and IDPs through healthcare, education, development projects, women’s ministries, and prayer ministries.
Willy Tan is one of the founders and CEO of Habibi International, a humanitarian organization seeking to serve the refugees and internally displaced in the Middle East. He graduated from Biola University and Fuller Seminary and is currently a doctoral candidate at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. He also studied leadership and management at the Drucker School of Management in Claremont, California. Prior to full-time humanitarian work, Willy spent 15 years working as a portfolio manager in the wealth management industry. He is married to Christy, a Nurse Practitioner who serves alongside him in Northern Iraq. They have 2 children, Amber and Hudson.
David Yue, M.D. serves as the Chairman of the Board and is one of the founders of Habibi International. David also serves as the Director of Health Services, leading operations for Habibi’s health related work in the Middle East. In 2015, David traveled to Turkey with Willy, after receiving a call for humanitarian aid. There, David provided medical services to Yazidi refugees in southern Turkey and his heart was broken. From that trip, Habibi International was born. David is a physician who earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester. David has been in private practice in the Los Angeles area since 1992 after completing his combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of California, Irvine. Ever since Jesus first touched his heart in college, David has been involved in volunteer activities in countries such as Mexico, Myanmar and now, Iraq. David is also married to his wife, Connie and they have one daughter.
Jerry Tzou, D.D.S. is the Dental Director of Habibi International. He has served patients in San Gabriel Valley through his private practice for thirty years. In addition, he also holds the position as the dental director of a community clinic. In the last 4 years, his heart for the underprivileged has led him on volunteer medical trips internationally to India, Nepal, Turkey and Northern Iraq. Dr. Tzou’s wife Amy and daughter Harper also serve on trips with him and share his passion for serving the refugees and the IDPs in Northern Iraq.
Peter Chiu, M.D. is the Medical Director of Habibi International. After receiving his medical degree from UC San Diego, Peter went on to complete his Internal Medicine residency and Critical Care Medicine fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Peter has been in private practice in the Los Angeles area for the last 18 years. Prior to joining Habibi International, he had participated in humanitarian work in Mexico, China and Myanmar. Peter is married to his wife, Ada, and together, they have two daughters, Olivia and Frances. As a family, they have been actively participating in various Habibi International medical and education trips for the last 2 years, serving the marginalized in the Middle East.
Kenneth Kwan is a board member of Habibi International. He has been serving as a pastor in the Los Angeles area for over 25 years and is passionate about bridging people together and helping people find purpose and hope in their lives. Kenneth networks and coordinates resources from various Christian communities to support the relief and development work for the Yazidis. His goal is to bring awareness to the Asian American community and beyond about the needs of IDPs (internally displaced persons) and refugees in Iraq and other areas of the Middle East. He and his wife, Pui Wah, have 6 children, who actively support and deeply believe in mission of Habibi International.
Stephanie Tsang is the Director of Education at Habibi International. Stephanie has spent more than 18 years in the education field and is the founder and CEO of Lights On Learning, an education center providing highly personalized tutoring in partnership with schools. She is TESOL/TEFL certified and received her Master of Education degree and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UCLA. She taught in the Los Angeles and Pasadena Unified School Districts and was also Tech Lead, Student Council Advisor, and a guiding teacher for UCLA's Teacher Education Program. In addition to public school teaching, Stephanie's past experience includes designing curriculum, teaching SAT prep, running overseas English camps, and reading 5000+ applications as a UCLA Admissions Reader.
Jessica Chan is the Operations/Advancement Director at Habibi International. Jessica graduated from the University of California, Irvine and previously worked in the education sector for 10 years. Her past experience involves school administration, admissions, and teaching overseas English programs. Her passion for cross-cultural work and social justice work began in high school when she went on a volunteer medical trip to Ecuador to serve the needs of impoverished villagers. As a new mother, she wishes to raise her children in an environment that exposes them to cross-cultural experiences and humanitarian aid.
Lani Mow is the Short-term Team Coordinator at Habibi International. She is currently a student at Gateway Seminary. She was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii but lived in Baltimore for the past 5 years to complete her Bachelor's degree in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and her Master's degree in Global Disease Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through her undergraduate college church, she was able to get involved in serving people in Peru that sparked a love and passion for international social justice. She hopes that her background in public health and her experiences in Peru will be used by God to impact people, particularly to those who are marginalized.
Richard Cao is the Creative Director for Habibi-International and lead Photographer. Photography allows Richard to express his creative art and give back to the community. He spent six years designing product packaging and another six years as full-time photographer in the Los Angeles area. Currently, he works as a studio manager for a boutique visual communications company in entertainment and volunteers his time with Habibi. When he’s not in the office, he pursues his love for travel, rock climbing, snowboarding, fancy coffee and spicy food.
Connie Yue is the Director of Women's Services at Habibi International. She currently works with her husband, David, at their private practice in Cerritos, CA working on insurance claims, accounting and finance. She graduated from UT Dallas with a BS in Accounting. Connie has a deep burden to serve the female refugees in Northern Iraq. She seeks opportunities to empower local women and young girls to learn about self-care, skill development and education to improve their living situations but also to restore their self-worth. Connie has been married to David for over 27 years and has a daughter who is also involved with Habibi International.
Amy Lee received her MSW from the University of Southern California after her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She serves as the Mental Health Director for Habibi International. Amy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and families in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Previously, she was a Clinical Program Manager and Department Administrator. Amy and her husband, Eric, have two grown children, Jonathan and Rebecca. Her hobbies include gardening, reading and playing with Sandy, a miniature poodle and Skylos, a miniature golden doodle. Amy desires to follow Jesus’ command to love and serve “the least of these”.
Gloria Hsu is one of our Rehabilitation Directors. She is a pediatric occupational therapist with an advanced practice in feeding and swallowing. She is passionate about sharing the love of Christ to families in need by offering her professional services. Her calling began as a college student on a trip to Cambodia that included a visit to an orphanage. God placed a burden on her heart to work toward orphan prevention and empower families with children with disabilities. She has had the privilege of traveling with her family on short-term trips to China and Iraq. She is married to a pastor and her older son has been going on similar trips with the family since he was three years old.
Christy Tan is a Nurse Practitioner who serves as the Coordinator of Nursing Ministries and Medical Projects for Habibi International. She obtained her BSN from National Taiwan University, MSN from Cal State University Fullerton, and FNP Certificate from University of California Irvine. Christy is married to Willy and they have 2 children, Amber and Hudson.
Kaizak is an Iraqi Christian born and raised in the city of Zakho from an Armenian background. During the Iran-Iraq War, he was enlisted in the Iraqi army and was captured by Iran as a Prisoner of War (POW). He was imprisoned by Iran for 15 years. During this time, another POW miraculously gave him a portion of the Gospel of Matthew to read and from there he discovered for the first time in his life the true meaning of his Christian heritage. He was released in 1996 and in 2000 married his beautiful wife Nashua, who is also an Iraqi Christian from a Chaldean background. Since January 2016, Kaizak has been a faithful partner and supporter of Habibi’s work in Northern Iraq and serves as a Project Coordinator.
Naji is an Iraqi Yazidi born and raised in the Sinjar region. Before being forced to evacuate his ancestral homeland in August 2014 due to the genocide perpetuated by ISIS, Naji was a school principal in the city of Sununi. Fluent in Arabic and Kurdish, Naji graduated from the University of Mosul’s College of Education. He taught Biology and Sports to high school students for many years before relocating to Zakho. In January 2016, Habibi’s team got acquainted with Naji and his family. Since then, he has been faithfully serving all our short-term teams as our Logistics Coordinator. From driving our teams around to fixing the generator, and now working on improving his English, Naji is a family man and a jack of all trades.