Noura

Noura is an idealistic though keenly pragmatic forty-year-old woman who, through a series of unlikely events, becomes the first female president of a Middle Eastern country. From her post as the Minister of Development and Planning, Noura pushed for innovation and reform after listening to leaders of the local communities and towns. She has an endless capacity to empathize, and she naturally gravitates towards the common ground when making decisions. After losing her mother at a young age, Noura’s universe revolves around her family: husband Jamal, father Hakeem and her own lively children. She is a deeply spiritual person, but guards her religious beliefs and the freedom to practice with equal sincerity.

Carmen Lebbos

Born in 1963, Lebanese actress Carmen Lebbos began with humble beginnings, and left home at the young age of 14 in hopes of finding independence. But after a short failed marriage, she moved to Beirut with her one year-old child and enrolled in the Center for Fine Arts in Beirut, where she honed her acting instincts under the tutelage of Zaid Rahbani and Yacob al Shadrawi.  By the early 1990s, she had already filled her schedule with a number of theatre, television, and cinematic projects. On screen, she starred in West Beirut in 1998, Zoro in 2005, and What Lola Wants in 2007, while more recently she has become known for her leading roles on Shahroora in 2011, in addition to Al Ikhwa and Saraya al Abdeen in 2014. Her love of dance also resulted in a turn on 2015’s Dancing with the Stars.  Carmen has continued to hone her craft by studying for a period in Paris and at the University of Oxford, and has been honored for her artistic achievements with multiple awards, most notably the Murex D’Or award for the Best Actress. 

Malik

Malik has dedicated his life to serving the President as Jabalein’s stalwart chief of staff. He privileges rationality over risk, and avoids provoking change unless a contingency plan is in place. Throughout his storied career, Malik has certainly enjoyed his share of political maneuvering, though a mid-life malaise has him questioning whether government is where he wants to stay. But with the sudden death of the President, Malik chooses to remain a loyal servant of the office of the Presidency, regardless of the occupant.

Rasheed Malhas

Juma’a Rasheed Malhas was born in Irbid, Jordan in 1967. Between acting and presenting various news programs, Malhas built on his university education with a Masters from St. Petersburg Academy for Theatre Arts in 1994. His credits include work as both an actor and director for a variety of theatre shows, and he has also taken several roles on television, most notably Al Buwasil in 2000, Imru al Qais in 2002, Bawab al Quds in 2011, and Tawq al Asfilt in 2014. Malhas has also hosted several programs on Jordanian television, most recently joining the morning show Dunia wa Dunia on Roy’a channel, in addition to his work on the channel Russia Today.
    

Maya

With her journalistic ambitions seemingly distant, Maya keeps her dreams alive by writing the popular Madam President blog. She is at once a spokesperson and critic, presenting her generation’s thoughts while reprimanding their failures. Having worked for everything in her life and been disappointed by too many, Maya struggles to accept any form of kindness. But despite life-learned cynicism, Maya remains an optimist at heart, and stakes her hopes on people’s ability to change for the better.

Rakeen Sa’ad

Rakeen’s gift for the stage appeared from a very early age. Born in 1989 in Amman, she began acting in her school’s productions, and at 10 years old she enrolled in the Center for Performing Arts to develop her talent. With her love of acting still going strong, she enrolled in Exeter University’s drama program in Britain, further developing her skills with several theatre courses in Montreal. Her first television role was in the series Bawab al Quds in 2011, and she continued with roles in a variety of local and regional productions, most notably Amr Tareekhi in 2012, Zain in 2013, and the Bedouin drama Tawq Asfilt in 2014. She most recently wrapped shooting the French/Palestinian film 3000 Nights, where she portrayed a prisoner under Israeli custody.

Rafiq

Veteran war journalist Rafiq is a stickler for professional ethics, and created the program Left, Right, and Center to hold the government responsible for their words. For Rafiq, the truth is a right, and he will follow every lead until he reaches his verdict. Though he broadcasts his thoughts nationwide, Rafiq is imprisoned by his own emotions, and the guilt of his survival (and his cameraman’s death during a war) casts a shadow over every aspect of his life. He longs for a future with Samar, but sharing his life means dealing with his darkness, something Rafiq finds too painful to confront.

Yasser al Masri

Jordanian actor Yasser al Masri was born in 1970 in Kuwait, and began his storied television career in the 1990s. Acting wasn’t actually Masri’s first love, and he studied music at the Jordanian Music Academy, taking roles in theatre and television as a hobby. But in 2007, Masri received the offer of a lifetime, and took on the titular role of Nimr in the Bedouin drama Nimr bin Edwan. The show found enormous success after its broadcast, and Masri’s place in Arabic television was forever cemented. His credits include more than 35 series, ranging from historical and Bedouin dramas to contemporary shows, the most memorable of which include Thay Qar in 2001, Akher Ayam al Yamama in 2005, Haeed Barik in 2009, and Raoud Mizin in 2014.

Bassem

Bassem is a career politician and staunch isolationist in his worldview. As Speaker of the Assembly, he has bequeathed favors to many of Jabalein’s most powerful, and can call in his debts whenever the situation requires. He sees no reason for globalization, as he and his cronies have benefitted nicely from the status quo. Bassem respects and fears President Sa’ad in equal measure, for her political savvy just might win her the country’s heart.

Aqef Nijem

Art has always run in Aqef Nijem’s family, and all of his seven brothers have gone on to pursue acting in one form or another. Born in 1960, Aqef began his own career at the Academy of Arts in Cairo, and after his graduation in 1984, he went on to star in nearly 30 works of both television and theatre. In 1984, he joined the cast of Tiyoor bila Ijnaha, and followed that performance with a series of roles in historical, Bedouin, and contemporary dramas, including al Hajaj in 2003, Dua’a ala Abwab Jahnam in 2006, Hub fi Hide Park in 2009, Balqais in 2009, and al Husun wa al Hussein in 2011.

Samar

With values rooted in tradition, Samar is torn between the demands of her professional and family life. Her brightly colored scarves make her stand out in a field of suits, but Samar is determined to succeed while upholding her religious convictions. It’s a fine balance she must strike, and charting her own course through society can be exhausting. In private moments, Samar longs for companionship, though her relationship with journalist Rafiq jeopardizes her job and her standing with her family. Ultimately, Samar wants to find her own happiness, and she won’t sacrifice her career, nor her beliefs, to find it.

Nazli Ruwwas

Nazli Ruwwas, born in 1977 in Damascus, learned her craft at the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts’ acting department, where she met her current husband Gilal Shamut, with whom she has two children, Lia and Tia. Throughout her career, she has taken on varied roles, moving from a forceful leader of the household to a deeply defeated wife in Gilsat al Nisa’iyya. She is known for her work on Matlub Rajal and in 2011, in addition her most recent roles in Banat al A’ilah, Itiham, and Qalm Hamra.

Jamal

Noura’s perfect complement, Jamal is a self-assured university professor who specializes in toxicology and unconditional spousal support. Jamal is difficult to ruffle, and remains unfazed by what he sees as life’s natural ups and downs. He is devoted to the happiness of his wife and their nine-year-old son Adam, and is more than content to stay in the background if it means that the people he loves will shine. An intellectual at the core, Jamal is likely to be found in the lab writing up his latest discovery, or playing the newest space invader video game with his son.

Hakeem Harb

Hakeem Harb was born in a small village outside of Nablus in 1966, but at only a year old, Harb’s family moved to Zarqa, Jordan following the 1967 Six Day War, where he spent the rest of his adolescence. In the mid 1980s, Harb enrolled in Yarmouk University’s Faculty of Arts to study acting and film production, and upon graduating, he found his way to Amman to act and direct a number of theatre and television projects. Among his most notable series are al Ameen wa al Ma’mun in 2006, Abu Ja’afar al Mansour in 2007, and Awda Abu Tayeh in 2008. In recognition of his contribution to theatre, Harb became the Director of Arts and Heritage at the Jordanian Ministry of Culture, in addition to chairing the Jordanian Theatre Festival. His work has also garnered him much critical acclaim, including the White Sea Theatre Prize for the best director and best show in 1997, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Carthage Theatre Days in 2009.

Omar

Omar is Jadal café’s resident musical entertainment, and one of Maya’s oldest and most laid back friends. He brushes off most of life’s indignities, though his lyrics reveal his frustrations, couched as they are in humor and sarcasm. He is easy on the eyes, his smirk capable of charming the gloom off anyone’s face. And while Omar is generally occupied with the daily struggle for money, he is always willing to lend a hand, particularly for the curly haired woman in his life. He can be found teaching guitar lessons, serving coffee, delivering food, or basically anything that will pay his rent.

Emad Mohtaseb

Emad Mohtaseb got his first major acting role in 2013 with the Jordanian social comedy Zain, though he has been behind the camera since his days in university. Emad was born in Amman in 1982, and was raised by his grandfather as an only child. He has always hopped between artistic endeavors, and after a stint studying music, he began working in set decoration for films like Zero Dark Thirty, Last Days on Mars, and The Cut. After continually appearing as an extra on the sketch comedy program Bath Bayakha, the production team recommended him for Zain’s brother, and he immediately took to the craft. Following Madam President, Emad has returned behind the scenes to write his first television show about crime and police in the Middle East, and though he continues to switch between roles, Emad will always remain a dedicated fan of the blues.

Hakeem

Noura’s father Hakeem is a career diplomat, and a reliable font of wisdom from his years of unending contemplation. He never truly recovered from the loss of his wife nearly forty years ago, and though he runs through the motions of happiness, Hakeem is both unwilling and unable to pay attention to his own wellbeing. He suffers from a latent heart condition, though his love for his daughter carries him through the day. Ultimately Hakeem lives for his family’s future, and only rests when their hearts are at peace.

Ghassan Mashini

Ghassan al Mashini was born in 1952 into an artistic family, and he followed in the footsteps of his father Ishaq al Mashini, and brothers Osama and Nabeel. After his first acting experience towards the end of the 1960s, he decided to dive into the field and moved to Cairo to enroll in the Higher Institute for Theatre Arts. After finishing his studies, he went on to portray many famous characters in television, most notably “Abu al Khal” in the series Abu Awad, and “Amru” in Manahal. Mashini was also one of the pioneers of dubbing in the Arabic world, and has brought to life many of the most adored cartoon characters through his extensive voiceover work.
  

General Nejim

Jabalein’s hard-line neighbor to the north, General Najem is a stalwart member of the old guard, and subscribes to the Machiavellian school of power. Control is the General’s first language, and he maintains a tight grip over everything in his domain, including Jabalein’s water reserves. Najem expects his longstanding privileges with Jabalein to remain intact, and he has the resources to ensure that is exactly what transpires. Over his storied career in power, Najem has been accused of overlooking human rights, charges he vehemently denies.

Zuhair Nubani

Born in 1951, Zuhair Nubani has played a lot of evil characters, and has become the much beloved “Wicked of the Screen,” in Arabic television, to the complete contradiction of his real-life character. His illustrious career is as long as it is diverse, spanning a number of theatre productions to more than 30 television shows across genres, though he found particular success in historical and Bedouin dramas. Nubani made his on screen debut in the early 1970s with a small role in the Syrian drama Sah al Nowm, and carved his name into Jordanian, Gulf, and regional television through works such as al ‘Alm Nour in 1984, Imru al Qais in 2002, al Marabutun wa al Andalus in 2005, Khaled bin al Waleed in 2006, and Wadhaha wa bin Aajlan in 2007. Nubani has been awarded numerous honors for his on screen portrayals, perhaps most significantly the King Hussein Medal of Excellence, bestowed upon him by King Abdullah bin Hussein II in 2007.

Sara

Sara is the happiest outcome of Noura’s turbulent first marriage, and has inherited much of her mother’s tenacity, though wrapped in the self-doubt of a fifteen year old. Growing up as a politicians’ daughter, Sara doesn’t always recognize her privilege, and sometimes conflates her life with that of the majority. Her relationship with step-father Jamal is pleasant, even friendly, but she longs for her father Ziad’s affection, and would give anything just to hold his attention. Sara struggles with her life in the spotlight, and mostly just longs for the anonymity of normalcy.

Umniah

Umniah Samir Wahbeh’s role in Madam President was her first experience in the world of acting. Umniah was born in 1996, and at 19 years old, she is in her second year at The Hashemite University, where she studies international relations. She is classically trained as a pianist, and has been recognized by her school for her excellence in music, in addition to her participation in several school productions. In her free time, Umniah enjoys swimming, and she is looking forward to her next foray into theatre, even if its only with her friends.

Adam

A buoyant tumble of curiosity and enthusiasm, Noura’s nine-year-old son Adam is the source of the family’s entertainment and occasional bewilderment. His love of all things dinosaur keeps him occupied. Though Adam mostly lives in his own world, he has a way of saying what everyone else is thinking, and finds the crux of the most complicated adult problems. His hyper activity makes reading a challenge, and after his grandfather discovers his dyslexia, Adam’s enthusiasm dims little.

Mohammed Ola Abu Rahma

Mohammed Ola Abu Rahma’s role in Madame President was his first foray into acting, and the beginning of his journey to become a filmmaker. At only 10 years old, he has appeared in several television commercials in Amman, and his family continues to support his growing ambitions. With his trusty Handicam at his side, Rahma often films his own short stories inspired by his life and friends, and can also be found playing football, video games, and drawing. Further exploring creative fields, Rahma’s painting won Best Illustration in Amman’s citywide art competition in 2013.
  

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