NOVEMBER 8-11, 2012


Dr. Sherif Abdelazeem

Associate Professor, The American University in Cairo, Founder & CEO, Resala NGO

Dr. Sherif Abdelazeem graduated from the College of Engineering at Cairo University in 1986. He received his PhD from Queen's University, Canada, in 1995. He returned to Egypt to teach at the college of Engineering at Cairo University. He taught several undergraduate and graduate engineering courses. He developed a course in Engineering Ethics for undergraduate engineering students. Discussions with the students during that course resulted, in 1999, in creating a student club called Resala whose mission was to spread proactivity and ethical behavior among youth. Resala club became an NGO in 2000 and the NGO has grown throughout the years to become the biggest volunteer-based organization in the Arab World, with more than 100,000 youth volunteering millions of volunteer hours during 2011 only. The activities of Resala include caring for the orphans and elderly people, sheltering street kids, serving people with special needs, donating blood, free private tutoring for needy kids, and many other activities. Dr. Abdelazeem is currently an Associate Professor at the American University in Cairo where he has developed a course called "values, activism, and the new Egypt" aiming to create a new generation of young Egyptians who can build a great post-revolution Egypt. 

Fadhel Abdelkafi

Chief Executive Officer, Tunisie Valeurs

Fadhel ABDELKEFI is a graduate of the French university of Economic Sciences « Faculté des sciences économiques de Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne ». He held over 10 years the positions of Chief Operating Officer, and Deputy General Manager, before becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Tunisie Valeurs ( in 2005. Fadhel ABDELKEFI is also the Chairman of the board of the Tunis Stock Exchange and the Chairman of the board of Integra Bourse ( in Casablanca - Morocco.


Hoda Abou-Jamra

Founding Partner, TVM Capital MENA || CEO, Boston BioCapital

Founding Partner of TVM Capital MENA, the regional healthcare private equity investment operation of TVM Capital, a US$ 1.8 billion global private equity and venture capital firm. Major responsibilities include the creation of the local operation, fundraising, and investor relations, as well as business development for the newly formed company.

CEO of Boston BioCapital, with representations in Dubai, UAE and Cambridge, MA, USA. The firm supports and connects private equity firms and limited partners in the US, Europe, and the Middle East who are interested in being active in the healthcare and life science fields either as investors or fund managers. Boston BioCapital and TVM Capital entered into a joint venture to establish TVM Capital MENA.

Founder and CEO of the non–profit “think tank” organization BioExec Institute, Inc., in Cambridge, MA, USA. Former board member of Gulf Healthcare International, Dubai, UAE, a regional healthcare services and medical laboratory company. Former manager sales, marketing, and business development in several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including Acumen Sciences, Incyte Genomics, Boiron Laboratories, and Bayer Corporation. Former member on several U.S. finance and fundraising committees, including Senator John Kerry's Campaign Finance Committee from 1998 to the year 2004 elections, the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus and the BIO Business Forum Committee and the International Subcommittee. Degree in pharmacy from the Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston. 

Mehdi Al Amine Fichtali

Director, Investment Bank boutique deNovo Corporate Advisors.

Mehdi Al Amine Fichtali shares his time between Washington DC and Dubai. In DC, he is at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), researching the economic and business challenges facing the Arab Awakening. And in Dubai, he is Director at the Investment Bank boutique deNovo Corporate Advisors.

Fichtali has a private sector professional background. He spent the last twelve years as an investment banker working for Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley before founding deNovo with his colleagues. He has long had an interest in the economic and the business world and how it interacts with the political and social spheres.

Fichtali was born and raised in Casablanca. After his graduation from HEC Paris, Europe's top business school, he pursued his education with 'Institut des Etudes Politiques' (Sciences Po) Paris where he got a Masters in International Relations, focusing on the Arab world. He spent more than ten years in Paris where he studied and started his professional career that led him to London and then to Dubai.

Throughout his career, Fichtali advised large corporations, state-owned firms, sovereign wealth funds, and governments in the Middle East and North Africa on their risk management. He had the opportunity to meet several senior officials and directors of sovereign wealth funds, and often his work took into account economic policies and social issues. Being close to these centers of power helped him understand, in each country, how the political sphere interacts with economic and social forces and uses the powerful state-owned companies as levers to shape economic development.

Just prior to coming to CCAS, Fichtali spent the last semester of 2011 at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

UAE based columnist and non-resident Fellow, Dubai School of Government

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a UAE based columnist whose columns have appeared in publications within and outside the Arab Gulf region.

His columns have appeared in The Gulf News, The National Newspaper, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, The Globe and Mail amongst others.

Sultan Al Qassemi is also non-resident Fellow at the Dubai School of Government, and an active presence on Twitter at @SultanAlQassemi.

Dr. Mussaad Al-Razouki

CEO, Kleos Healthcare Corporation

Dr. Mussaad Al-Razouki is the Chief Executive Officer at Kleos Healthcare Corporation, a Kuwaiti WLL that provides excellence in strategic planning and management for Middle East healthcare entities including investment companies, clinical service providers (i.e. hospitals), payors (i.e. insurance companies), and government regulatory bodies.

Dr. Razouki has over 10 years of experience in healthcare, shifting from a focus on excellence in clinical practice and research to the management and financing of healthcare systems. An Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon by training, Dr. Razouki has completed clinical rotations at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University Medical Center, Harlem Hospital, Cleveland University Hospital of Case Western Reserve University and Mass General Hospital of Harvard University.

In 2007, Dr. Razouki joined by the world’s largest and oldest management and strategic consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, which at the time was operating in over 100 countries across six continents with four billion dollars in revenue. Dr. Razouki was recruited from New York to the Dubai office, where he built the Middle East Healthcare Practice by leading a wide variety of projects including developing growth strategies for the GCC’s leading hospital brands, and working with the Middle East’s largest business conglomerates on upgrading their medical technology and equipment portfolios.

In addition to his work at Kleos, Dr. Razouki is a former advisor to the central Kuwaiti government where he advises senior government leaders on both healthcare and education reform as part of Kuwait’s 100 billion dollar Development Plan.

Taisir Anbar

Business Development Manager (Upstream), Shell

Taisir is a Business Development Manager at Shell, responsible for leading major deals that deliver Shell's global growth and portfolio aspirations, including acquisition and divestment of upstream assets (exploration, production and midstream) and developing and executing commercial strategies. His career focuses on strategy development and implementation (including business turnarounds), portfolio restructuring (including M&A), major deal negotiation, commercial management and post-merger integration. Taisir's experience spans several international markets (North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and China) with broad exposure to energy, supply chain, consumer and industrial sectors.

Taisir graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Economics and Finance from Wharton and a Bsc. in Mathematics. After graduation, Taisir worked at Mercer Management Consulting for three years then attended Harvard Business School where he completed his MBA, class of 2003. Taisir joined Shell in 2003 as a Senior Management Consultant then moved to Shell China in 2006 as a Post-Merger Integration Manager. In 2008, he became responsible for commercial activities in Egypt & the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Western Iraq), including performance of existing operating units in Egypt & Syria as well as new business development activities in the region. Since 2012, Taisir has been based in the Netherlands where he is focused on driving Shell's global growth.

Dr. Thurayya Arayssi

Associate Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar

Dr. Thurayya Arayssi is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. She is also the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education where her department collaborates with WCMC-Q affiliate hospitals to restructure the residency programs to meet the ACGME- I requirements. Prior to joining WCMC-Q, she was the Program Director of Internal Medicine Residency Program and the Assistant Dean for GME at the American University of Beirut.

Dr. Arayssi has authored or coauthored more than 60 papers, abstracts and book chapters and has presented multiple seminars and lectures at regional and International conferences. Her research area of interest include Rheumatoid Arthritis , Behcet disease and International GME.

Dr. Amjad Aryan

CEO and Founder, Pharmacy1

Dr. Aryan obtained a degree in Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, USA. He continued his education through specializing in various subject areas, Retail Pharmacy Management being his area of specialization and obtained the American Board of Pharmacy from both Massachusetts and Florida in the USA. Dr. Aryan Worked for CVS pharmacies in the Boston until he moved back to Jordan to start Pharmacy 1 in 2001.

His vision is to make Pharmacy 1 the leading chain pharmacy in the MENA region. Today, Pharmacy 1 has 54 branches in Jordan, 4 in Saudi Arabia and 1 in Erbil, Iraq. Pharmacy 1 is the largest recruiter of pharmacists in Jordan and home to 600 Jordanian team members. Estimated sales in 2012 will be $70 million dollars.

An avid believer in the power of "I can" and in giving second chances, he dedicates his time to give back to society and make a difference through empowering youth and changing mindsets to promote the great potential and ability of Jordanian youth. He believes in leading by example as the only way to change. He is the founder of several initiatives; " Mish 3aib", " Step & mile" and " Mumken" focusing on decreasing unemployment rates and preparing the youth for the job market. He works by building confidences, presenting a role model and sharing experiences with the youth to unleash their potential.

He is a winner of the Jordan-Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award for the year 2010 and represented Jordan in the Monte Carlo based Ernst & Young Global Entrepreneur award for the year 2011. He was also named as Endeavor Entrepreneur of the year for the year 2009.

Besides Pharmacy1, he serves as the Chairman of the Mazaya Investment Company; Chairman of Advanced Soft; Member of the Board of Trustees at Isra’a University; Member of the Young Presidents Organization Jordan chapter; board member at INJAZ; Board member in the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration (JFDA); board member at the Health Care Accreditation Council; board member at Electronic Health Solution International ( Hakeem) and a board member in the Environment fund.

Nava Ashraf

Associate Professor, MBA Class of 1966 Faculty Research Fellow

Professor Nava Ashraf is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and co-Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action - Zambia. She is a behavioral economist whose field experiments across the world examine one of the most persistent puzzles of human behavior: what explains the gap between intention and action towards our well-being, even when we have the means to take action? Thematically, Professor Ashraf’s work explores technology adoption and women’s empowerment; understanding why nearly 13 million needless deaths persist in a world where prevention technologies are available and affordable, and how to improve health outcomes that depend largely on women’s behavior, even when they have the least power to make decisions. Professor Ashraf gleans important insights uniting economics and psychology and applying them in low-resource settings where they can have profound impact.

Professor Ashraf was born in Teheran, Iran and received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 2005.

Sahar F. Aziz

Associate Professor of Law, Texas Weslyan School of Law

Sahar F. Aziz joined the faculty of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2011 as an associate professor of law. Prior to joining Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Professor Aziz was an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where she taught national security and civil rights law. Professor Aziz served as a senior policy advisor for the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where she worked on law and policy at the intersection of national security and civil rights. Prior to joining DHS, Professor Aziz was an associate at Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLP in Washington, D.C. where she litigated class action civil rights lawsuits alleging a nationwide pattern and practice of gender discrimination in pay and promotion.

Professor Aziz began her legal career as an associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. where she conducted internal white collar crime investigations and an independent investigation on child trafficking in the Persian Gulf. Professor Aziz clerked for the Honorable Andre M. Davis on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Professor Aziz’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of national security and civil rights law with a focus on the post-9/11 era. Professor Aziz incorporates critical race theory, feminist theory, and constitutional law into her examination of the disparate impact of post-9/11 laws and public policy on ethnic, racial, and religious minority groups in the United States. Professor Aziz’s analyzes these issues in various contexts including immigration, counterterrorism, criminal justice, and civil rights litigation. Professor Aziz applies her scholarship in the American context towards her scholarship on rule of law and democracy promotion in post-revolution Egypt.

Professor Aziz has been featured on CSPAN and Al Jazeera English and published numerous commentaries on national security and civil rights issues issues on, the Houston Chronicle, the Huffington Post,,, the American Constitution Society’s blog,, The Guardian and the Christian Science Monitor. Professor Aziz has presented her work in various forums including at U.S. Congressional Briefings, the Aspen Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Bar Association.

Professor Aziz earned her J.D. and M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas. She received her B.S. from the University of Texas in Arlington. She is a board member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association.  

Prof. Kamal Badr

Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Medical Education, American University of Beirut

Dr. Badr received his MD (with Distinction) from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1980 and completed residency training at the AUB-Medical Center followed by a 4-year fellowship in nephrology at the Brigham and Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University as Assistant and then Associate Professor (1986 to 1992), and then at Emory University as Professor of Medicine, nephrology section Chief at the Atlanta VA Hospital, and Director of the Center for Glomerulonephritis (1992-2000). From 2000 till the present, Dr. Badr has been in leadership positions in medical education in Lebanon: He chaired the Department of Internal Medicine at the American University of Beirut (AUB) from 2000 until 2006, when he was named Founding Dean of the new medical school at the Lebanese American University (LAU). In 2010, after the new medical school he founded at LAU had matriculated its first two classes, he returned to AUB as Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean for Medical Education, and Director of the Vascular Medicine Program. He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1991, the Association of American Physicians in 2001, and the Lebanese Academy of Science in 2009. Dr. Badr received NIH and other grant support from 1986 to 2000 and holds three US patents. His main interests are in renal microcirculatory physiology, glomerular inflammation, hypertension, and renal vascular disease. He has published over 90 original manuscripts, 42 solicited papers and reviews, and 27 book chapters. 

Freddie Baz

Group Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Director, Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group

Freddie Baz joined the Bank in 1991 as advisor to the Chairman and founded the Secretariat for Planning and Development at the Bank. As the Group Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Director of the Bank, he now has overall authority over the finance and accounting, MIS and budgeting functions throughout the Group, and is responsible for the development of the Group strategy. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Audi Saradar France sa, a fully owned subsidiary of Bank Audi. Furthermore, Freddie Baz is the Managing Director of Bankdata Financial Services WLL which publishes Bilanbanques, the only reference in Lebanon that provides an extensive structural analysis of all banks located in Lebanon.

Freddie Baz holds a State PhD degree in Economics from the University of Paris I (Panthéon – Sorbonne).

Fathi Baja

Libyan academic and a member of the National Transitional Council

Fatih Baja, is a Libyan academic and a member of the National Transitional Council in charge of political affairs and representing Benghazi. Baja attended Cairo University, Northeastern University, then Mohammed V University in Morocco, where he earned a PhD in political science at Mohammed V University. He taught at Garyounis University. He wrote the manifesto adopted by leaders to outline the basic goals of the 2011 Libyan civil war: democracy and national unity. Baja represents the city of Benghazi on the National Transitional Council of Libya. He is also the member of the council in charge of political affairs, and as such heads the Political Affairs Advisory Committee. In this role, he has had direct contact with leaders and representatives from the Libya Contact Group. He has stated that council members have studied the De-Ba'athification of Iraq and the aftermath of dissolution of the Soviet Eastern Bloc and wish to avoid similar disorder and purging of policemen and officials in Tripoli and other cities. He has also worked to assure foreign leaders that rivalries will not erupt within the council and that the transition will be democratic.

Dr. Peter Barss

Clinical Professor, The University of British Columbia

Peter’s health career began in international health for low-income countries, Angola and Papua New Guinea, as a physician and surgeon. His interest in injury epidemiology and prevention developed in the Pacific Islands where he initiated research on falls and falling objects associated with subsistence tree agriculture as well as hazards related to the natural environment. Later specialization in public health in the United States and Canada focused on injury epidemiology and prevention.

Based in public health at McGill University, University of Montreal, and the Canadian Arctic, Dr. Barss worked with national and provincial organizations including Red Cross, Coast Guard, Coroners, and Health Canada to develop the first national injury surveillance system in Canada, involving research-based prevention of water-related injury. With Oxford University Press, he published the book Injury Prevention – Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Policy: An International View.

Dr. Barss has eight years of university research and teaching of public health for medical students in the Middle East at the United Arab Emirates University. He is the author of the chapter on injury in the book Public Health in the Arab World for Cambridge University Press. Dr. Barss is currently a medical health officer with the Interior Health Authority of British Columbia and Clinical Professor with the UBC School of Population and Public Health. He is also a Fellow in Community Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a Fellow in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine of the American College of Preventive Medicine. Awards that Dr. Barss received include a national citation from the Canadian Red Cross for the many lives saved by research-based prevention of water-related injuries, and the Canadian Marine Safety Award for 2009 from Transport Canada to the Red Cross for boating and cold immersion safety research and prevention spanning two decades. 

Sunjeev Bery

Advocacy Director, MENA, Amnesty International USA

Sunjeev Bery serves as Advocacy Director for Middle East North Africa issues at Amnesty International USA. He lobbies US officials, diplomats, and officeholders regarding human rights concerns across the MENA region. His commentaries on US foreign policy and human rights have appeared in a range of U.S. newspapers and publications. Previously, Sanjeev served as a regional director for the American Civil Liberties Union, where his work included advocacy on post-9/11 security policies. Sanjeev holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Harvard Public Service Fellow.  

David Coady

Deputy Division Chief of the Expenditure Policy Division at the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD), IMF

David Coady is Deputy Division Chief of the Expenditure Policy Division at the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF. Prior to that, he was a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and a lecturer in economics in the University of London. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics in 1992. His research interests include public economics, and he has worked extensively on policy issues related to the efficiency and distributional implications of indirect tax and public sector pricing reforms, and the evaluation of safety net programs. His research has been published in leading economic journals, including the Economic Journal, Economica, Review of Income and Wealth, International Tax and Public Finance, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, World Bank Research Observer, and World Development. 

Tawik S. Diab

Managing Director | PICO International Petroleum

Tawfik is Managing Director of PICO International Petroleum (PIP), the leading independent Egyptian exploration and production company with operations in Egypt, Mexico and Romania and an internationally recognized specialization in redeveloping mature fields. PIP is the largest locally-headquartered E&P company in Egypt with daily production in excess of 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Tawfik joined PIP in 2003 with a mandate to transform what at the time was a minor player in the Egyptian E&P market. Under his leadership, PIP has expanded its operations onshore and offshore to increase its reserves and production ten-fold, emerging as a leader in the redevelopment of oil and gas fields and winning concessions in both Mexico and Romania.

Tawfik joined PICO Group as an investment / portfolio manager at its investment arm, PICO Investments, in 1999 and was made Managing Director of the firm in 2001. The following year, he moved to PICO Energy, a leading provider of integrated oilfield services in Egypt and the Gulf of Mexico, as Business Development Manager. He joined sister company PIP as Managing Director in 2003.

A member of the Board of Directors of Al-Ahly for Development and Investments (a private equity firm investing in financial services) and Cairo Financial Holding (an Egypt-based investment bank), Tawfik is also a member of the Egyptian Junior Business Association, the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, (where he was vice-chairman of the Energy Committee) and the Young Presidents Organization.

Tawfik is a graduate of the American University in Cairo, where he earned a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

Ishac Diwan

Lecturer in Public Policy, Center for International Development

Ishac Diwan is Lecturer in Public Policy and the director for Africa and the Middle East at the growth lab of the Center for International Development. Diwan received his PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught international finance at NYUs Business School from 1984-87. In 1987, he joined the World Bank in the Research Complex, where he focused on international finance, trade, and macroeconomics. In 1992, with the coming of the Oslo Agreements, Diwan joined the Banks Middle East department, first as the country economist for the West Bank and Gaza and later as a regional economist. He contributed to the Economic Research Forum and the Mediterranean Development Forum. Most recently, Diwan lived in Addis Abeba (2002-07) and Accra (2007-11), as the Banks Country Director for Ethiopia and Sudan first, and then for Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Diwan led several ambitious initiatives, such as Ethiopias Productive Safety Net, Ethiopias Protection of Basic Services Program, and in West Africa, initiatives to support commercial agriculture, natural resources development, and jobs for the youth. Diwan will be directing the Africa Growth Project from the CID, and the Economic and Political Transformation group at the ERF.

Bishara Doumani

Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Brown University

Beshara Doumani is a faculty fellow at the Institue as well as Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of the Middle East Studies Program, which is currently in an accelerated phase of expansion.

Doumani focuses on the history of social groups, places, and time periods that have been silenced or erased by conventional scholarship on the early modern and modern Middle East. He helped pioneer the fields of Middle East family history and the social history of the Palestinians. His forthcoming book, The Rightful Beneficiaries: A Social History of Family Life in Ottoman Syria, 1660-1860, questions assumptions about Arab and Muslim families by revealing and then seeking to explain dramatic regional differences in the organization of family life within the same cultural zone. He is also the editor of Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender. His first book, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 < 1900/dp/0520203704> uses local sources such as family papers and legal records to tell an intimate and textured story of the transformation of Palestinian society during the Ottoman period.

Doumani is a public intellectual who writes on current events in the Middle East, on the ethics of knowledge production, and on the relationship between culture and politics. He is editor of Academic Freedom After September 11 <> , and recently led a team that produced a strategic plan for the establishment of a Palestinian museum. Doumani comes to Brown after fourteen years at the University of California, Berkeley, but he is no stranger to the East Coast. He received his PhD from Georgetown University, and was first tenured at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ahmed El Alfi

Founder, Sawari Ventures

Ahmed El Alfi, a veteran investor with over 25 years of experience in top executive and management positions, is the founder Sawari Ventures a Cairo based Venture Capital firm. Mr. El Alfi founded Sawari Ventures in 2010, aiming to help transform the Egyptian and MENA region economies through the creation of sustainable, high impact businesses. Over the past 2 years, Sawari Ventures invested in a number of promising entrepreneurs, including SilMinds, which offers innovative solutions for Decimal Floating Point Arithmetic (DFPA) hardware acceleration based on their patent-pending technologies; Kngine, a next generation search engine and personal assistant; and vimov, with its flagship product, Weather HD, the top-paid weather application for the iPad. Sawari Ventures I (SVI) is the company’s USD50 million early and growth-stage fund investing in technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) in Egypt and the MENA region.

In 2011, Sawari Ventures created and funded Flat6Labs, its own startup accelerator. Flat6Labs is an innovative investment approach that is based upon immersing startup entrepreneurs into the real-world challenges of creating and managing sustainable enterprises, while being supported by a dedicated staff, mentorship team and educational courses provided by The American University in Cairo (AUC). Since its launch, Flat6Labs has hosted and funded a total of 18 companies over 3 cycles.

Prior to Sawari Ventures, upon his relocation to Cairo during 2006, Mr. El Alfi served as the CEO of EFG-Hermes Private Equity.

Mr. El Alfi has extensive experience in creating and nurturing early stage companies, as well as structuring international M&A transactions. His investment track record includes the execution of numerous successful transactions in technology, Internet, healthcare and financial services at various stages of development. He has executed many rewarding exits including several IPO’s on the NASDAQ. His current international portfolio includes Triporati, an innovative online travel recommendation company, Pacific Toxicology, a leading Toxicology laboratory in the US as well as Politear a listening platform for campaigns, elected officials and corporations.

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Waqf Endowment. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, the Advisory Board of Claremont Graduate School of Religion, as well as several for profit corporate boards. He is also an avid collector of Islamic coins.

Abdalla ElEbiary

Managing Director, Citadel Capital

Before joining Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and North Africa with US$ 8.3 billion in investments under control, in February 2006, Mr. ElEbiary was a banker with the Investment Banking Division at Merrill Lynch & Co., where he participated in merger and acquisition transactions in addition to public and private financing, including the comprehensive financing of telecom and media companies such as Clearwire and Valor Communications Group. Previously, he was Business Analysis Manager at the Corporate Finance Department of the MeadWestvaco Corporation. He sits on the boards of Citadel Capital platform companies including Nile River Transportation Company (NRTC), ASEC Cement and Gozour. Mr. ElEbiary holds a BA in Economics from the American University in Cairo and an MBA from Columbia University in New York. 

Mourad Ezzine

Education Sector Manager, Human Development Department in the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank

Mourad Ezzine is the Education Sector Manager, Human Development Department in the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. He joined the World Bank in 1992 and worked on human development issues and the linkages between education and economic development, in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Before joining the Bank, he was Director of Planning and Information Systems in the Tunisian Ministry of Education and held management-level positions in a Tunisian private development bank. Mr. Ezzine holds a post-graduate degree in economics and statistics from the Ecole Nationale des Statistiques et de l’Administration Economique in Paris, a Master’s degree in development economics from the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Maîtrise in Mathematics from the University of Sciences of Tunis.  

Azza Fahmy

Founder, Azza Fahmy Jewelry

Since 1969, Azza Fahmy initiated her journey towards being one of the most esteemed jewellery designers in the region. Dedication and hardwork has won her international recognition. With boutiques across the region Azza Fahmy boasts a diverse client list attracting jewellery connoisseurs from around the world. Ms. Azza Fahmy has a BA in Interior Design and started as an apprentice in Khan El Khalili, Egypt’s ancient jewellery quarter, learning with one of the craft’s most respected masters. Azza Fahmy was the first woman to train with masters in the jewellery quarter in Khan El Khalili where she learnt ancient techniques and began perfecting her own designs. In 1981 Azza Fahmy opened her first store and seven years later this had increased to six in Egypt. She now has a further ten across the Middle East & UAE together with a number of stores within stores and retail presence in places such as Harvey Nichols in Dubai, plus, a substantial export business. Azza opened her factory complete with design studio in 2002. Celebrated as Egypt’s newest luxury multi-national brand, Azza Fahmy, set her sights on Europe and in 2006 began a collaboration with leading British fashion designer, Julien Macdonald. The creative duo designed a 20 piece bespoke hand crafted jewellery collection for his London Fashion Week Show in 2007. In 2010, Azza Fahmy joined forces with one of UK's hottest fashion design talents "Preen" – Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, creating the exclusive 'Azza Fahmy for Preen' collection launched at Preen’s catwalk show during New York Fashion Week in February 2010. In 2011, Azza Fahmy created a Bespoke Hajj capsule collection for the 2012 British Museum Hajj Exhibition known as “Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam". Ms. Azza has initiated several corporate social responsibility initiatives, including Nubre, established with the purpose of raising awareness on heritage and local culture of contemporary jewelry design, creating a rich network of designers, experts, and students from Egypt and Europe, as well as the Azza Fahmy Foundation and the Azza Fahmy Design Institute.  

Wael Fakharany

Regional Director, Google North Africa

Wael Fakharany occupies the position of the regional director of Google Egypt & North Africa with an experience that extends for more than 23 years in the technology field. Wael presides over the creation, and execution of the business strategies and operations management in Google throughout Egypt and the Middle East.

His occupational duties include aiding in the creation of a suitable Internet ecosystem, as well as collaborating with the biggest organizations and entities in order to further develop the Internet ecosystem in the region; this is in addition to his work on developing advertisement content and spread in the region.

Wael also has the ability to discuss a myriad of topics and issues in depth in relation to the initiatives of the private sector in start up markets, the development of start-ups, and developing the capabilities of young entrepreneurs in the Arab region via the use of advanced technology and through encouraging innovation. 

Dr. Fatima Ghaddar

Resident Physician in Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center

Dr. Fatima Ghaddar earned her MD degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB) Faculty of Medicine and has recently joined the residency program in Internal Medicine at the AUB Medical Center. Dr. Ghaddar has a six-year experience in medical education, first as a medical student and then as a post-doctoral trainee in medical education.

In medical school, she assumed multiple leadership positions in a medical student organization specialized in medical education, during which she coordinated the organization of initiatives that promoted the development of the undergraduate medical curriculum at AUB and that advocated active medical student involvement in their own education.

After her graduation, Dr. Ghaddar completed two years of training at the Medical Education Unit at AUB as the first post-doctoral medical education trainee. Throughout her training, she participated in spearheading the restructuring of the first two years of the undergraduate medical curriculum at AUB, published research work in medical education, and attended multiple international and regional conferences on medical education.

Dr. Ghaddar plans to pursue a career that merges both clinical practice and key involvement in medical education.  

Dr. David E. Golan

Dean for Graduate Education, Harvard Medical School

David E. Golan, MD, PhD became the first Dean for Graduate Education at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in November 2008. He is a professor in the HMS Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, where his laboratory applies biophysical and cell-imaging methodologies to the study of membrane-targeted proteins in blood cells and in the vascular endothelium. He is also the George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at HMS and Physician in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he sees patients as a practicing hematologist and clinician-teacher. He is a founding Scholar of the Academy at Harvard Medical School.

After earning his AB summa cum laude in chemistry at Harvard College, Dr. Golan received the PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and the MD degree from Yale University, followed by clinical training in internal medicine and hematology at BWH.

Dr. Golan founded and directed the core course in pharmacology in the New Pathway curriculum at HMS from 1989 to 2006. He currently co-directs basic and translational pharmacology courses in the Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine PhD Program and the Scholars in Clinical Science Master’s Program at HMS. The courses’ guiding principle is that drug mechanisms are best understood in the context of the physiological, biochemical, and pathophysiological pathways on which the drugs act. By translating this principle into his course design, Dr. Golan has provided thousands of Harvard students with a foundation for lifelong learning. Dr. Golan is Editor-in-Chief of Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy, 1st Edition (2005), 2nd Edition (2008), and 3rd Edition (2011), and co-editor of the Principles of Pharmacology Workbook (2008), which are authored with the same guiding principle.

Dr. Golan is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and a recipient of a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He has received the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges and ten awards for excellence in teaching from Harvard Medical School.

In his role as Dean for Graduate Education, Dr. Golan works closely with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the Dean for Medical Education to create a new educational environment at HMS that brings together graduate students, medical students, trainees, and faculty in shared education and research activities throughout the broad spectrum of biomedical investigation at Harvard. He directs the Program in Graduate Education, which brings together leaders of graduate education at HMS, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He also chairs the HMS Division of Medical Sciences, directs the Harvard Catalyst Graduate and Undergraduate Research Education Program, and coordinates the design, development, implementation, and oversight of the master's degree programs at HMS.

Dr. Golan also serves as Special Advisor to the Dean on global programs at HMS. In this role, he works with HMS and Harvard University in strategizing and designing the School's global education programs and research collaborations.

William Kerr

Associate Professor of Business Administration, Marvin Bower Fellow

William Kerr is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School. Bill teaches Launching Global Ventures for second-year MBA students; Launching New Ventures and Owners, Presidents and Managers for executive students; and Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship for doctoral students. Bill was previously co-chair of the first-year course The Entrepreneurial Manager at HBS. He has received Harvard's Distinction in Teaching award and was designated the HBS Marvin Bower Fellow.

Bill's research focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation. One research strand examines the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in US technology development and commercialization, as well as the subsequent diffusion of new innovations to the immigrants’ home countries. A second research strand considers agglomeration and entrepreneurship, with special interest in how government policies aid or hinder the entry of new firms, cluster formation, and growth. A final interest area is entrepreneurial finance and angel investments.

Bill is a Research Fellow of the NBER and Bank of Finland, has received several awards for his research papers, and serves on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals. Bill has worked extensively with the World Bank, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and the National Science Foundation. Bill received his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT and his B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Bill has worked with firms worldwide. Past projects include business plan development for start-up ventures in Hong Kong, establishing a corporate entrepreneurship and CVC unit within a Korean chaebol, and evaluating the acquisition of early-stage communications companies for a US multinational entering the Asian market. He also advised the governments of South Africa and Singapore on the economic benefits from telecom market deregulation. 

Sahar Hashmi

PhD candidate at Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT

Sahar Hashmi, SDM '09, is a medical doctor who came to the System Design and Management (SDM) program, which is co-sponsored by MIT Sloan and the MIT School of Engineering, to pursue her passion for research, and her ultimate goal of improving the health care system by focusing on better tools for measuring patient outcome. Sahar, who is also a PhD student in MIT's Engineering Systems Division (ESD), in which SDM resides, attended medical school in Pakistan. After graduation, she started doing research at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Malek Jandali

Composer & Pianist

Born in Germany to Syrian parents in 1972, award-winning composer and pianist, Malek Jandali, is recognized as a leading figure in today's piano world. His outstanding recordings and extensive concert tours receive abundantly glowing praise. His musical career as a concert pianist began in 1988 after winning the first prize at the National Young Artists’ competition followed by the 1997 “Outstanding Musical Performer Award” in the United States.

A prolific composer, Malek’s works have received critical acclaim in major newspapers throughout Europe and North America. His works have been performed with several leading orchestras around the world such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra. He has been a frequent guest on National Public Radio (NPR), BBC, Radio France Musique and was featured on CNN, PBS, Al Jazeera, Al Arabyia, and France 2 TV.

Jandali is the first Arab musician to arrange the oldest music notation in the world, which was featured in his 2008 album “Echoes from Ugarit”. He was the recipient of the 2011 “Freedom of Expression” award in Los Angeles for his song “Watani Ana – I am my Homeland”, as well as his activism in the Arab Spring movement for human rights and democracy. In 2012, he was recognized in New York City with the Arab-American Cultural Achievement Award.

His latest album "Emessa - Homs" includes original compositions recorded with The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. The music was inspired by the people of Syria and their noble quest for freedom and human rights.

Jandali’s diverse career remains truly international, as he continues to captivate audiences in concerts throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East at such prestigious venues as Lafayette Park at the White House, The Kennedy Center, The Royal Conservatory of Toronto, The Music Institute of Chicago, St. John’s Smith Square in London, The Damascus Opera House, The Cairo Opera House, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and Wiener Konzerthaus among others.

Malek currently resides in Atlanta and is a member of The Recording Academy
and The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His music is published by Soul b Music and can be found on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and at Virgin Megastores worldwide.

Amer Lahham

Director of Market Development, Yahoo!

Amer Lahham is Director of Market Development at Yahoo! where he structures strategic partnerships between Yahoo! and MENA's largest advertisers and develops Yahoo!'s entry strategies into new emerging markets.  Prior to that he was a management consultant with Booz and Company, specialized in offline and digital media,where he served many flagship media clients in the region. Prior to that Amer spent six years in Silicon Valley where he implemented enterprise IT solutions that optimize supply chain management and financial reporting for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies, working for Accenture and other smaller consultancies.  Amer has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA from Harvard Business School (2006).  Prior to joining HAAA, Amer volunteered on a number of boards and organizations, including the board of the Young Alumni Association of the University of California at Berkeley. While at Harvard, Amer was an officer of the HBS MENA club.  He currently lives in Dubai with his wife Maya. 

Tarek Masoud

Associate professor of public policy, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government

Tarek Masoud is an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. A political scientist and Middle East specialist, his research focuses on political development in countries that are poor and unfree. He is particularly interested in the processes by which governments become more accountable to, representative of, and responsive to the needs of their people. He is the author of a forthcoming book on Islamic political parties, andis the co-editor of Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics(Cambridge, 2004) and Order, Conflict, and Violence (Cambridge, 2008), and his articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of Democracy, Middle Eastern Law and Governance,Foreign Policy, and the International Journal of Middle East Studies, among others.

In 2009, Masoud was named a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics. He is also the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation. Masoud holds an AB with honors from Brown and received his Ph.D in political science with distinction from Yale in 2008. 

Dr. Michael Matly

Principal, Montreux Equity Partners

Dr. Matly is a Principal at Montreux Equity Partners bringing significant experience in the health services and digital health sectors. Before joining Montreux, Dr. Matly led Business Development and New Ventures at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. Dr. Matly’s responsibilities included new venture incubation as well as new product development for Mayo Clinic’s consumer product offerings. In addition, Dr. Matly led the development of a new funding and partnership initiative that linked cutting-edge digital health start-ups with Mayo Clinic. Dr. Matly built strategic initiatives between Mayo Clinic and Fortune 100 companies from the retail, payer, technology, communications, and food/nutrition sectors.

Dr. Matly is a founding advisor to Rock Health, a leading digital health incubator based in San Francisco. He has served as an advisor to a number of digital health and health services companies as well as investment funds. Dr. Matly brings extensive operational experience as the co-founder and CEO of HAYATI Healthcare, a Middle East patient financing company.

Dr. Matly completed his M.D. from the Mayo Clinic, M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and B.S. from Cornell University.

Walt Mayo

SVP, International Expansion

Walt Mayo joined Endeavor in November 2010 as Senior Vice President of International Expansion, where he leads Endeavor’s mission to achieve global scale. Walt has held a variety of international positions in both the public and private sector. He came to Endeavor after 12 years with Dell, managing business units in Southern Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. In his most recent assignment with Dell, Walt led Dell’s consumer business in Asia and expanded its presence across the key emerging markets of China, India, and South East Asia. Prior to Dell, Walt served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State, with overseas assignments in Bolivia, Pakistan, and Cuba, and domestic assignments to the National Security Council Staff, U.S. House of Representatives, and Department of State.

Walt received a B.A. from Harvard University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.  

Noel Maurer

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Noel Maurer is an associate professor at the Harvard Business School in the Business, Government and the International Economy (BGIE) unit. Maurer earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1997. Between 1998 and 2004 he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at ITAM, a university in Mexico City. Maurer also worked at an NGO dedicated to helping small rural communities in Chiapas find new business opportunities for their inhabitants. He joined the Business School faculty in 2004.

Maurer’s primary research interest is on how governments protect (or fail to protect) property rights and how do private actors defend their property rights against predatory governments or in the face of political instability? Maurer’s first two books, The Power and the Money and The Politics of Property Rights (the second co-authored with Stephen Haber and Armando Razo) examined how Mexican politicians and private actors created mechanisms that enabled investors to protect their property rights by transferring rents to third parties upon whom the government depended for political support. Maurer’s third book, Mexico Since 1980 (co-authored with Herb Klein, Kevin Middlebrook and Stephen Haber) asked why Mexico’s authoritarian government collapsed in the 1980s and 1990s. It also asks how Mexico’s transition to democracy affected the business environment. What did democracy change and what did it not?

He is currently researching the history of the U.S. government's attempts to protect American investors when they venture outside the United States. He is also working on further developing a course on the politics and economics of the energy business. One of the areas of focus is “The Myth of the Resource Curse”: The so-called "resource curse" hypothesis argues that plentiful natural resources distort political systems and lead countries to be worse off in the long run. While it is certainly possible to squander a mining or oil boom, however, there are few cases in which a country appears to have been worse off than it would have been with less abundant natural resources.

Mabrouka Mbarek

Member of the Tunisian constituent Assembly  

Born into a family originally from Bir Ali Ben Khalifa in the governorate of Sfax, Ms. Mabrouka M’Barek studied law and management in France. She continued her studies at the Reims Business School, focusing on management in the Arab World. After a first experience in Yemen, she moved to the United States to begin a career as an auditor specializing in financial control, information systems security, risk management and fraud prevention. Mabrouka left the for profit sector to dedicate her work with humanitarian NGOs and human rights based civil societies in the Middle East. Besides being responsible for the relation of the party to the media, Mabrouka’s contribution to the Congress for the Republic is a draft of an open government initiative in Tunisia. She has made of open government her signature project.

Riyaad Minty

Head of Social Media, Al Jazeera

Riyaad Minty leads the Al Jazeera Media Network’s Social Media initiatives. As part of the Network’s New Media team, he ensures that all the channels within the Al Jazeera Network have a presence and are part of the conversation across social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other Social Media platforms. Riyaad was part of the team that produced Al Jazeera’s English Emmy nominated coverage of the 2008 US Presidential Election (International Digital Emmy 2009).

Most recently his work has focused on the use of citizen media for crisis reporting, with a particular focus on the Arab Spring (2011/12), the Iranian Elections (2009) and the War on Gaza (2008/9). He has been a proponent of open source and empowering communities through projects like Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository.

At 28, Riyaad has been recognized as a global leader in the field of social media. He has presented his social media strategy at leading media conferences around the world and is regularly interviewed by global media on the role of citizen media in times of crisis.

Prior to joining Al Jazeera, Riyaad co-founded Future Technologies, a South African company that focused on mobile content production, aggregation and distribution. 

Ronaldo Mouchawar


Ronaldo is the co-founder and CEO of, which has grown to be the largest online retailer and marketplace in the Arab world. Recently acquired the private shopping club as well as invested in; which offers sporting goods and apparel online.

Ronaldo Mouchawar holds a Master's degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

He has accumulative 15 years of experience in technology, and business management. He served as a technical and systems consultant with EDS in the US. In 2000, he spearheaded a consulting company that managed numerous, web and e-commerce projects in the Arab world. In 2005, he launched the first online marketplace for the Arab world

Walid Musallam

Private Investor

Until March 2012, Walid Musallam was a Partner and Managing Director with the Carlyle Group and head of its Middle East, North Africa & Turkey buyout fund which he started. Prior to joining Carlyle in 2006, he was CEO of Abu Dhabi Investment Company, a large financial institution involved in private equity and financial services. Before that he was the CEO of Middle East Capital Group, an investment banking and private equity firm based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to that, Mr. Musallam was Managing Director of Infrastructure Finance Group, a Washington DC based boutique financial advisory firm specialized in the structuring and financing of private infrastructure investments in emerging markets. Before that, he was responsible for debt and equity investments in infrastructure at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Prior to IFC, Mr. Musallam was Vice President with Lehman Brothers in New York.

Mr. Musallam received his MBA from Columbia University, MS from Stanford University and BS from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Imraan Munshi

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Dr. Imraan Munshi is a Partner in the Middle East Office of McKinsey & Company. He has more than 12 years of consulting experience focusing on clients in Africa and across the Middle East.

Imraan has led over 40 healthcare engagements and he has gained valuable experience across the healthcare sector including the transformation of a national emergency medical services provider, the design and implementation of a medical devices registration and licensing strategy, the design of strategies to address the talent gap, managing the integration of leading global clinical services providers into the Middle East and the establishment of a pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster. He also led the development of an innovative disease based approach to healthcare reform (in partnership with a global pharmaco) which was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2011.

Imraan holds an MD and MBA from the University of Witwatersrand and a Fellowship in Ophthalmology from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. He is also a member of the Royal Colleges of Medicine in the UK.

Dr. Jumana Odeh

Founder, Palestinian Happy Child Center

A pediatrician and a public health expert, Jumana Odeh is an acknowledged health leader in the Palestinian Occupied Territory. Dr. Odeh founded ‘The Palestinian Happy Child Centre’ (PHCC) in 1994. She was also a founding member of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, the Palestinian Emergency Medical Service Council, the International Federation of Health & Human Rights (IFHHRO), and Juzoor Foundation for Health & Social Development. Odeh is currently a consultant with the Palestinian Ministry of Health on national policy programs. She has also been a child health advisor at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in London since 2004. She has a fellowship position at Harvard School of Public Health – Harvard University for the years 2012- 2013.

Dr. Odeh has extensive experiences working as a team leader/pediatrician in the Palestinian Lands. She has also been involved in multiple humanitarian projects and opportunities. Dr. Odeh’s experiences include volunteering as a primary health pediatrician and project manager for the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, a well respected grassroots organization which focuses on the delivery of medical services to hard-to-reach West Bank villages and communities. Dr. Odeh also cooperated with the UNICEF in their national programming to improve the quality of medical care given to Palestinian children.

Dr. Odeh has participated as an expert at more than 100 international workshops and conferences, and in numerous “evidence based” studies of the psychological impact of military occupation on children. She is a writer for the International Herald Tribune and for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, and Al-Quds Newspaper. She also writes for the Lancet & the British Medical Journal “BMJ”. Dr. Odeh received the 2008 World of Children Award. Odeh is married with two daughters. 

Peter Olson

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Peter Olson is Senior Lecturer of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School. He graduated from Harvard College in 1972 (magna cum laude in History), Harvard Law School in 1976 (cum laude), and Harvard Business School in 1976. He worked as an attorney for three years, in commercial and investment banking for nine years, and for the international media group Bertelsmann for twenty years; from 2001 to 2008 he was a member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann; from 1998 to 2008 he was the Chairman and CEO of Random House, the world's largest trade book publisher. From 2000 to 2001 he was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Vienna.  

Pradeep Ramamurthy

Vice President , Abraaj Capital

Pradeep joined Abraaj in March 2012 after a career in public service at USAID, the White House, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Most recently, Pradeep was Deputy Counselor to the USAID Administrator where he helped oversee USAID’s partnerships with the private sector and the Development Innovation Ventures Fund among other efforts. From 2009-2011, Pradeep served as the first-ever Senior Director for Global Engagement at the White House – a position created by President Obama to “drive comprehensive engagement policies that leverage diplomacy, communications, international development and assistance, and domestic engagement and outreach.” From 2004-2009, Pradeep served in a number of policy and analysis positions with the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a past editor of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, served as a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, and was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Pradeep has a B.Sc. in International Politics from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Fernando M. Reimers

Ford Foundation Professor of International Education

Fernando Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of the International Education Policy Program at of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Graduate School of Education. He is also an Affiliate Faculty at the Harvard Law School and teaches at the Harvard Extension School.

His research focuses on educational innovation, global education and on the impact of policy, leadership, curriculum and professional development on the quality and relevancy of education to develop twenty first century skills and expand opportunity for socially disadvantaged children and youth. He has designed and led a number of innovative graduate and executive leadership education programs and curricula and recently led the design of The World Course, a Global Studies Curriculum for the Avenues School. He recently conducted an evaluation of Injaz Al-Arab, a program to develop entrepreneurial skills of youth in the Middle East.

Dr. Shadi S Saleh

Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the American University of Beirut (AUB)

Shadi Saleh is an Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Prior to joining AUB,

Dr. Saleh served as a professor of Health Management and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany where he also was the Director of Certificate Programs and the MD/MPH program.

Dr. Saleh areas of expertise are in health care financing, financial performance of health care institutions, quality of care measurements, building a business case for enhancing quality, and health sector planning. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and commissioned reports and is a recipient of multiple teaching awards. Dr. Saleh serves as World Bank, WHO and UN consultant for health systems assessment and strengthening projects.

Dr. Saleh has served in different roles in medical research centers and health care consulting firms (General Director, steering committees and advisory boards) in the MENA Region and the US. He currently serves on the National Committee on Compulsory Health Insurance and Emergency Social Protection Implementation Support Project Committee in Lebanon funded by the World Bank.

Dr. Saleh holds a PhD in Health Management and Policy (minor in health care finance) from the University of Iowa and an MPH and a BS (health services administration) from AUB.

Christopher Schroeder

CEO, || Entrepreneur and investor in interactive technologies and social communications

Christopher M. Schroeder is a Washington D.C. and New York City based internet entrepreneur and early stage investor. He was formerly co-founder and CEO of HealthCentral, one of the largest social and content platforms in health and wellness in the US, sold in January; and he was CEO of washingonpost.newsweek interactive. He has been an active supporter of and writer and speaker on start-ups in the United States and emerging growth markets -- with particular focus on the Middle East. He advises and invests
a series of US internet start-ups and venture capital funds, and sits on the board of advisors of The American University of Cairo School of Business, the Jordanian incubator Oasis500 and Middle East online entrepreneur network Wamda. He is writing a book on start-ups in the Arab World, Arab Springboard -- How start-ups are creating a new Middle East -- to be
published by MacMillan/Palgrave in the spring of 2013. 

Ahmad Tawil

Consulting Manager, The Monitor Group

Ahmad Tawil is a consulting manager at the Monitor group, a multinational management consulting firm that specializes in providing consultation services to the senior management of organizations and governments in a variety of management areas, including strategy, innovation, organization and leadership, economic development and security, and marketing and pricing.

For the past ten years Ahmad held various strategic and operational roles, and worked across the value chain, designing and executing cross functional, cross geography, corporate strategy and change initiatives throughout the health care continuum.

Ahmad’s most recent work focuses on new product positioning and commercialization, new commercial models and market access strategies with clients that include four of the largest global pharmaceuticals companies. Within the MENA region, he has led engagements with the health authorities of the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the ministry of health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and multiple private health organizations on issues of strategy, policy and patient access.

Ahmad holds an MBA from the University of Texas-Austin, an MS in Biotechnology from the University of North Texas, and a BS in Biology from the American University of Beirut. Ahmad resides in Boston with his wife Maria and their young son Adam.

Dr. Garrett Vygantas

Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, NewBridge Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Vygantas spearheaded the efforts in establishing NewBridge late 2007 shortly after joining Burrill & Company's Venture Group where he was a Director and an Entrepreneur-In-Residence. He raised over $16MM in Series A & B financing rounds for NewBridge and led the efforts to in-licensed the Company's first Oncology and Metabolic Disease Therapeutics. Dr. Vygantas has since joined NewBridge team as a full time in the capacity of VP Strategy & Business Development and is responsible for identifying, evaluating, negotiating and executing business development opportunities, and leading corporate planning activities.

Before joining Burrill, Garrett was with Genentech's (NYSE: DNA) Market Planning Group involved in the commercialization and launch of Lucentis for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, and prior to that he served on Cowen's Healthcare Investment Banking Group (NASDAQ: COWN) and at EntreMed in Business Development (NASDAQ: ENDM).

Garrett was a Board Observer on Nora Therapeutics, Proventys, and ProteoGenix and Ikano Therapeutics. He is a Co-Instructor at UCSF's Center for BioEntrepreneurship's "Idea to IPO" curriculum and has advised in the formation of numerous start-up biotech companies. Dr. Vygantas completed his Transitional Residency at the University of Pennsylvania and holds MD & MBA degrees from Georgetown University, as well as a B.S. in Biochemistry from Boston College. Garrett is also a member of the Kauffman Fellows Program from the Center for Venture Education. 

Tahani Salah

Performer, Poet, and Activist

Tahani Salah is a performer, poet, and activist based in Brooklyn, New York. She currently serves as a youth outreach coordinator and Board Member with Urban Word NYC. She is also a member of the Nuyorican Slam Team. Tahani has also been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She is passionate about peace and activism and carries that into the classroom as a high school educator, showing how life creates art and using it all as a tool of expression.

Tahani has also lent her talents to the cause of She has a wide variety of work experience from the United Nations to non-profits like Family International Support Team. As an artist dedicated to bringing light and solutions to communities where people’s voices have been silenced, Tahani has performed at a number of the world’s famous stages including the Apollo Theatre in New York City to universities in South Africa and Germany and Canada. She is a graduate of Columbia University and The forth-coming author of Poetry Rest the Mic.


Massachusetts-based group of talented musicians

LAYAALI is a Massachusetts-based group of talented musicians whose love and dedication to Arabic music have earned them wide acclaim from both ethnomusicologists and audiences at sold-out performances throughout the U.S. and internationally. The ensemble is committed to performing the traditional music of the Arab world and to preserving the rich legacy of Arabic culture through soulful vocals, hypnotic instrumental improvisations, electrifying percussion, and faithful renditions and recordings of master works.

LAYAALI’s mission is to increase the awareness of Arabic music and culture through concerts, recordings, workshops and lectures. The musicians, who come from four Arab countries – Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco -- include: Jamal Sinno (qanun and vocals), Muhammed Mejaour (nay and percussion), Kareem Roustom (oud), and Michel Moushabeck (tabla, riqq, daff).

Members of the ensemble have performed at major international concert halls (London’s Peacock Theatre, Singapore’s Victoria Theatre, Paris’s La Salle Gaveaux), at museums (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Porter-Phelps Museum), at colleges and universities (Yale University, Boston University, Harvard University, Hampshire College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Georgetown University, Rutgers University, and many others), at world music festivals (Balkan Night, Boston International Festival), at notable music halls (Club Passim, The Iron Horse) and at church concerts nationwide.

“LAYAALI has been a stand-up hit at Hampshire College for many years. They bring to every performance a contagious love of their repertoire and a deep understanding of the traditions and cultures from which it springs. Their artistry, enthusiasm and humor combine to make their performances uniquely memorable.”

– Robert Meagher, Professor of Ancient Studies, Hampshire College


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