Ghada Irani was born in Syria and has seen people in need over the years. This experience left an indelible mark on Mrs. Irani and instilled in her a strong desire for helping others. Over the last 15 years, Mrs. Irani has served as the Board Chair for the Southern California chapter of UNICEF USA. During her tenure, she has used her passion for helping children and her world experiences to help educate and motivate local leaders. Mrs. Irani's work with UNICEF has helped build local and national leadership, corporate partnerships, and raised millions of dollars for UNICEF USA.
In 2014, Mrs. Irani was very instrumental in helping UNICEF USA secure a $10.8MM grant from The Education Above All Foundation, Chaired by Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser of Qatar and a dear friend. Through the Foundation’s Educate A Child initiative, 586,600 out-of-school children in Syria and surrounding countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan) will receive emergency education interventions. Mrs. Irani has traveled with UNICEF to offices in Jordan and Lebanon to witness programming that supports children in and outside of the refugee camps who have been impacted by the crisis in Syria.
Additionally, Mrs. Irani has served as the Chair of The UNICEF Ball since its inception in 2005 and was honored for her work at the 2014 event as a Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award recipient. In addition to her work for UNICEF and care for the needs of Syrian refugees resettling in Southern California, Mrs. Irani provides ongoing leadership and support for a California-based effort to address the educational requirements of orphaned and underprivileged children in Lebanon as the Honorary President of the Lebanese Ladies Cultural Society. Her other current board service includes AMIDEAST, Arab American National Museum, Ford's Theatre Society in Washington D. C., The Advisory Council on the Status of Women and Human Rights in the Middle East at the Baker Institute (Rice University), The Blue Ribbon at The Music Center and Keck School of Medicine (University of Southern California) where the Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience was named in her honor.
Mrs. Irani's husband, Dr. Ray Irani, served as Chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, which has provided her with the opportunity to meet and establish relationships with many world leaders. They have six children and 11 grandchildren. Mrs. Irani and her husband reside in Los Angeles, California.