“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” – Unknown

The Board of Trustees of Sofia University is the corporate body established by the charter with complete responsibility for the government and welfare of the University and all the interests pertaining thereto including students, faculty, staff and alumni.

In the exercise of this responsibility, the Board is guided by both WASC and ABG and the following policies:

The Board of Trustees shall carry out certain responsibilities as a Board, without delegation. These responsibilities are, in short,:

  • The selection of the President of the University
  • The determination of the major goals of the University and the approval of the policies and procedures for implementation of such goals.
  • The review and approval of the operating and capital budget of the University.
  • Such other responsibilities as law, governmental directives, or custom require the Board to act upon.

The board consists of 9 voting members: 5 independents and 4 affiliates. In addition to the voting board members, there are non-voting members from staff, faculty and deans. There are multiple committees including the Financial Plan Committee, Audit Committee, Executive Committee and Academic & Student Service Committee.

The current trustees are listed below.

 Johan Nic. Vold

Johan Nic. Vold
Managing Director, Oslo Energy Forum

Business Degree from Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

Johan Vold has a broad Board experience including former chairman of SINTEF (the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia), Gassnova (the Norwegian State Carbon Capture and Storage Company), The Nordic Investment Bank in Helsinki; and Intsok (the Norwegian Oil and Gas partners) and vice chairman of the Ethics Council of the Federation of Norwegian Enterprises. Mr. Vold is in charge of the Oslo Energy Forum. He is chair of the Board of Solveig Gas Norway A/S and Hess Norge. He undertakes selected consultancy and mentoring projects.

Vold joined Royal Dutch Shell late 1981 and had during the next 6 years leadership positions in Group Planning, London, Norske Shell and in Shell International E&P, Hague. Vold joined the Executive Committee of Statoil in 1988 and had a wide range of EVP positions during the next 12 years, including for Norwegian as well as International E&P, Oil Supply and Trading, Gas Business Development.

Mr. Vold rejoined Shell International in The Hague in the spring of 2000, was appointed MD of A/S Norske Shell in Oct 2000 and VP EP Europe in Oct 2003. Up until his retirement end May 2007, he was Vice President, Ventures Operated by Others, Shell EP Europe and Country Chair for Norway.

Johan Nic. Vold joined the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy in January 1973. He spent most of his career on Petroleum Taxation (full time secretary for the commission that developed Norway’s Petroleum Tax system), Oil and Gas Markets and International Energy Policy Issues. He represented the Ministry on the IEA Governing Board.

Marwan Jabri, PHDMarwan Jabri, Ph.D.
CEO and Founder, Neuromorphic Inc.

Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering, University of Sydney
M.S. in Physics, Université Denis Diderot (Paris VII)
B.S. in Physics, Université Denis Diderot (Paris VII)

Marwan founded Neuromorphic, focusing on systems and services in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and multimedia telecommunication. Prior to Neuromorphic, he was Vice President and head of the Video Business Unit, at OnMobile Global Ltd, the largest white-labelled mobile Music, Video and Data mobile Value Added Services (VAS) companies. He established the 3G product strategy for OnMobile and led product development and and marketing efforts that allowed OnMobile to win significant market share of 3G value added services globally. Marwan also established the IPR strategy for OnMobile an was responsible for IPR licensing and litigation.

Prior to OnMobile, Marwan was Founder, CTO and CEO at Dilithium, a leading mobile video solutions provider. Dilithium supplied over 100 mobile operators and service providers world-wide with video gateways and video applications platforms, and its video stack powers today hundreds of millions handsets, through licenses to Qualcomm, HTC, ZTE, and others. Dilithium was recipient of the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneering Award in 2010. OnMobile acquired Dilithium in October 2010.

Marwan Jabri has over twenty years experience in telecommunication, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Prior to Dilithium Networks Inc., Marwan was Gordon Moore Professor at OHSU, and Professor of Adaptive Systems at the University of Sydney, Australia. At these universities, his research interests were in the areas of multimedia telecommunication, machine vision, machine learning, and robotic sensorimotor control. His research projects were funded by NASA, NSF, ARC, among others.

Marwan was the recipient of the Australian ATERB Medal in 1992, for his contributions to artificial intelligence in the telecommunications areas. He has over 45 granted patents, 2 books, and over 150 technical papers.

maggieMaggie Tsai
Former Co-Founder and CEO of H-Line Ogilvy Communications

“Do what you love; love what you do.”

BA in English Literature and Linguistics

Maggie Tsai was co-founder and CEO of H-Line Ogilvy Communications, the largest public relations and marketing company in China. As a highly successfully and well-respected consulting firm, H-Line had a client roster including Google, Intel, GE, Ford among others, and had over 100 clients in the Bay Area.

Prior to running her own company, Maggie was Editor-in-Chief with Beijing Cultural Exchange Corporation, an Information Officer of the United Nations in Beijing, and a journalist with the English-language China Daily. She now lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and two daughters.

What about Sofia University inspired you to become a board of trustee? “I am a believer in how education can change destiny, and have always wanted to be part of the changing process. Sofia, with its heritage in the psychological study of mind, body and soul, if synergized with other subjects of studies, has a unique role to play in modern education. I believe in the promises Sofia carries.”


Jess Ghannam, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at UCSF

Dr. Jess Ghannam is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at UCSF. His research areas include evaluating the long-term health consequences of war on displaced communities and the psychological and psychiatric effects of armed conflict on children. Dr. Ghannam has developed community health clinics in the Middle East that focus on developing community-based treatment programs for families in crisis. He also founded the Institute for Global Health Psychology which is dedicated to teaching, training, and research in health psychology.

Dr. Ghannam is also a consultant with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve and other international NGO’s that work with torture survivors. Locally he works to promote and enhance the health and wellness of refugee, displaced, and immigrant populations from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia and has established a community-based Mental Health Treatment Programs to support these communities.

At UCSF Dr. Ghannam develops culturally competency training programs for staff, students and faculty working with patients from the Middle East. He has served on the Chancellor’s Council of Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion and is the faculty co-chair of the UCSF Center for Community Engagement. He works with medical students and residents across disciplines to promote and enhance clinical and research skills.

Dr. Ghannam specializes in working with chronic illness, including chronic pain and cancer. He also works and does research in the area of Global Health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Ghannam is also a Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) for the State of California. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and completed his Post-Doctoral training at Stanford University.


Jochen Kleinknecht, Ph.D.
Head of Business Operations in GSO at Linkedin

Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University 
Executive Program from Stanford Business School

Dr. Jochen Kleinknecht is a results & impact driven strategy executive with outstanding communication and analytical skills. He has demonstrated success in leading teams and managing projects in High Tech, Private Equity, and other industries.

Unique combination of deep expertise in high tech and breadth of experiences across all corporate functions in high-tech/semi-conductors, bio-tech, industrial goods, and consumer goods

Extremely strong analytical and interpersonal skills. Proven ability to translate data into business insights, develop disruptive strategies, and driving them to operational impact.

He is currently the head of Business Operations in GSO at Linkedin. He was a VP of Corporation Strategy at Netapp. Before that he was a VP of Strategy & Planning at Juniper Networks. He was a Partner at B Street Caputal LLC and Principal at The Boston Consulting Group.

His specialties include Strategy; Corporate Finance; Portfolio Analysis; Strategic Due Diligence; TSR analysis; Private Equity; Pricing; Change Management; Big Data/Business analytics, etc.

He graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D in Management Science & Engineering and Executive Program from Stanford GSB.

liz liQiaoyun (Liz) Li, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Sofia University, FPC.

Ph.D. in Computer Science from joint program at Wuhan University China and Keio University Tokyo Japan
IEM, Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University

A proven leader and educator, Dr. Liz Li brings 25 years of industry and academic expertise to her role. Before Sofia, she has experience as Dean of Faculty, Chief Academic Officer, WASC Accreditation Liaison Officer, and head of the Academic Quality Control Committee. Dr. Li was a founding Vice President as well as Professor at the International Software School of Wuhan University.​ She was a Lecturer in Computer Science at Wuhan University in early years.

During her professional career, Dr. Li has worked in various positions at high-tech companies. Beginning in 1996, Dr. Li worked at Sony as a Professional Researcher, after which she shifted to Senior Manager and Chief Software Architect of Strategic Office until 2004. Dr. Li was also the Chair of International Conference Technologies of Object-oriented Language and Systems, USA in 1998 and 1999.

In 2005, Dr. Li joined Motorola Inc. was Principal Architect and then the Director of Engineering. She directed her department until 2008 where she began her position as Executive VP of Marketing at McNair Technologies Corporation.​

Victor DongSheng (Victor) Dong
Real Estate Management

“Find potential value and get things done”
MS in Computer Engineering, Syracuse University, USA
BS in Electrical Engineering, Huazhong University, China

CEO and Founder of Happy Ocean LLC

Mr. Dong has run Happy Ocean, LLC as a CEO and Founder since 2010 and grew the company from scratch to a successful Real Estate development company.

Sheng (aka Victor) Dong received his master degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University in 1994. He had been working as staff engineer in Sony Corporation for past 18 years (till May 2015) and he holds several US patents under his name. He is also a very senior Real Estate Management actively working in San Francisco and Bay area.   He recognized business opportunity in real estate investment, formed a team of investors, contractors and realtors, his real estate renovations not only impress buyers with their beauties but also generate very high  annual revenue for years and great returns for investors.

What about Sofia University inspired you to become a board of trustee?
“The high spiritual value that benefits all levels of people on transpersonal psychology globally and a potential of becoming a great university in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

Neema MoravejiNeema Moraveji, Ph.D.
CEO and Co-Founder, Spire

Ph.D. in Calming Technologies, Stanford University
M.S. in Human Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University’s HCI Institute
B.S. in Computer Science, University of Maryland at College Park’s HCILab

Neema has run the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University since 2007. Calm Technologies attempts to reduce the stress of their users by inducing cognitive, affective, and physiological calm

He is also the co-founder of Spire, which is the world’s first wearable technology that tracks how you breathe in real-time – in addition to how you move. It provides value for you throughout the day – even at work, on your commute, and at home.

Neema teaches “d.compress: Designing Calm” at Stanford’s Design School from 2011 and his work has been covered in the NY Times, WSJ, NPR, and others. Prior to Stanford he led the Asia Center for Interaction Design at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing.

Robert HuRobert Hu
ASIC Architect and Technical Leader at Apple Inc

MS in Electrical Engineering, China Science Academy


Robert was a director of Cable/Satellite receiver SOC ASIC Architectu at Montage Technology Corp., which went IPO in 2013. Earlier, He led ASIC design as a director of Chinese Terrastal Digital TV modulation standard at Legend Silicon Corp., as a Sr. manager at Sigma Designs, Inc. Robert also founded ActiveDesigns Corp., which was acquired by Sigma Designs in 15 months.

Robert has defined and designed SOC ASIC for multiple IPhone/IPad generations and brings more than 20 years of experience to Apple.