Our People - Polyphony
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Our People

Creating meaningful social change in one of the most volatile regions in the world calls for visionary leadership, innovative methods and a deep commitment to young people—qualities that define the people behind Polyphony.


Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar

Co-founder, Polyphony
Executive Director, Polyphony Education

A visionary champion for youth and community development and a gifted violinist, Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar has led and inspired people from all walks of life across Israel, Europe and the U.S. He performed with and was a spokesperson for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for a decade.


In 2006, Nabeel gave up his music career and returned to his hometown, the Arab-Israeli city of Nazareth, to answer the need he saw in the community for quality music programming. He founded and led the Barenboim-Said Conservatory there. As his efforts expanded, he co-founded Polyphony in 2012, and the Conservatory was renamed after the organization.


Having begun his violin studies at age eight, he graduated from Tel Aviv University in both physics and music, and completed his master’s at the Hochschule fur Musik, in Rostock, Germany.


For his groundbreaking work, Nabeel has been honored with the Yoko Ono Award for Courage in the Arts.

Carrie Sackett

Executive Director, Polyphony Foundation

Carrie Sackett is a seasoned businesswoman and community organizer, who has invested her talents and passion for changing the world in pioneering organizations. She has raised tens of millions of dollars for innovative international youth development nonprofits, notably as Executive Director of Boys’ & Girls’ Town of Italy, and at the All Stars Project and Development Aid from People to People. Her corporate career in change management, strategic communications and sales took her to leadership roles at Bloomberg L.P., Deloitte and Standard & Poor’s. Carrie received her M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and a B.A. from Duke University.

Carrie Sackett, Executive Director, Polyphony Foundation

Craig Cogut

Chairman of the Board, Polyphony Foundation
Co-founder, Polyphony

Craig Cogut is a well-respected entrepreneur. Looking for a humanistic way to contribute to a better future for all of Israel, Craig partnered with Nabeel to shape a new approach for bringing Arabs and Jews together. He saw the potential of music to be a common language through which people raised in an environment of mistrust, and even hatred, could come together and build something new—a new kind of community.


Craig is the Founder and Managing Partner of Pegasus Capital Advisors. He serves on the Board of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability.


He is also a Trustee of Brown University, Chairman of the External Advisory Board of the Brown University-Veterans Administration Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine and Chairman of The Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University. He graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School.

Board of Directors

Craig Cogut
Pegasus Capital Advisors


Deborah Cogut


Seth Novatt


Bart Breinin

Rachel Breinin


Gahl Burt


Timothy Jessell
Greenberg Traurig


Helen W. Nitkin
HB Nitkin


Terry Tamminen
Seventh Generation Advisors, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation


Carlos Tome
Tarisio Auctions LLC

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