H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development

H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan received his education from the British Midfield School until the high secondary level. Afterwards, he joined Majdolin faculty at Oxford University-UK. H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan previously served as Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research as well as Minister of Education. He also served as Chancellor of three of the UAE's three government-sponsored institutions of higher learning: United Arab Emirates University, the Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University. Meanwhile, His Excellency was also a Chairman of several ministerial committees including the Ministerial Committee for Education and the National Committee for Workforce Planning.

Omar Alghanim, CEO, Alghanim Industries and Chairman

Omar Alghanim is the CEO, Alghanim Industries and Chairman, Board of Directors, Gulf Bank, a publicly listed bank in Kuwait. Omar has also worked as a Financial Analyst in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley, where he worked in Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Finance and Restructuring. He served as Chairman of Asiya Investments, a premier Asia-focused investment company and Founding, as well as former Advisory Board Member, of Perella Weinberg Partners based in New York.

Omar is passionate about education, youth development and entrepreneurship. He currently serves as Chairman, Board of Directors of INJAZ Kuwait, an organization that helps prepare young people with business skills to assist them in their future careers.

Omar has an undergraduate degree in business administration from Stern School of Business, New York University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School

Professor William Granara, Gordon Gray Professor of Arabic, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Director of the Moroccan Studies Program

William Granara is Gordon Gray Professor of Arabic at Harvard University where he teaches Arabic language and literature. He is currently the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and director of the Moroccan Studies Program at Harvard. In addition he is the founding director of Harvard Summer School’s program, Mediterranean Crossings: France and the Arab World) in Aix-en-Provence, France.

He studied French and Arabic at Georgetown and earned a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (1986). He has translated three Arabic novels into English, The Earthquake by Tahir Wattar (2000), Granada by Radwa Ashour (2004), and The Battle of Poitiers by Jurji Zaydan (2012). In addition to his scholarly publications on modern Arabic literature, he researches on the literature and cultures of medieval Muslim Sicily and Spain. Among his recent articles are: ” Sicilian Poets in Seville: Literary Affinities Across Political Borders“ (2013); “Fragments of the Past: Reconstructing Palermo’s Jewish Neighborhood, 973-1492” (2010); and “Rethinking Muslim Sicily’s Golden Age: Poetry and Patronage at the Fatimid Kalbid Court” (2008).

Muna Abusulayman, Co-Founder Meedan.com, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador

Muna Abusulayman has been recognized as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World consecutively from 2009 until 2013 for her award winning work in Aid, Education, Media, ethical leadership and Community Development.

Her main focus has been on addressing society's most pressing problems through her cross-sectoral work.

In her previous role as the founding Secretary-General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation (2006-2011) she implemented many global cross-sectoral solutions to projects dealing with interfaith dialogue, natural disaster relief, female empowerment, community development and poverty alleviation. She continued this philanthropic thread in her work as the first Saudi UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and 2011 UNICEF Yamen Tetanus Ambassador, as well as in her own Consulting work.

At heart an entrepreneur, she has started up several successful social enterprises and sits on the board of many of them to mentor their progress.

Best known in the Arab world for her work as Co-Host of “Kalam Nawaem,” the Arab world’s most popular and longest running TV show, she has since then entered the Social Media sphere and was named "The Most Influential Saudi on Twitter" in Nov. 2013 by Klout and Top 100 Arabs Index.

She has used her media influence to champion public and media campaigns: on: Stopping Domestic Violence in the Middle East, Literacy for Women, and also Reading as 1st Step for Child Education, Increasing Water Consumption, and Make Your Dreams A Reality.

She is a YPO member, an Aspen Institute Fellow, A Yale Global Fellow, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and was named Rising Top Talent by the European Women's Forum in 2010. She has won numerous awards for her work.

Seif Abou Zaid, CEO, Nabadat Foundation

Seif focuses on educational policy reform and education management. He is the CEO of Nabadat Foundation; a tech-powered non-profit that fosters education through unconventional methods. Abou Zaid led the foundation’s team to build Tahrir Academy (www.tahriracademy.org), the biggest education portal in the region with millions of viewers on the web. He is also a committed advocate of personal rights and freedoms, and has been heavily involved in Egyptian politics early on as the Student Union President of his university.

Seif speaks and writes frequently on issues related to Education Policy, Education Management, Strategy, Governance and Leadership. He is also a learning facilitator with a track record of more than 1000 speaking engagements and learning experiences for audiences in 8 countries.

Abou Zaid has a BA in Political Science and is currently an MPP Candidate at the American University in Cairo.

Nayla Al Khaja, Founder, D-SEVEN

Nayla is the founder and Director of D-SEVEN Motion Pictures and UAE's first female film Producer/Director. Her aim is to produce a slate of feature films in the Middle East.

Nayla has produced and directed four films namely: Unveiling Dubai (2004), Arabana (2006), Once (2009) and Malal (2010). Her accolades include: ‘Best Emirati Filmmaker’ at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007, ‘Emirates Woman of the Year’ in 2005, and ‘The Youngest Entrepreneur’ of the year in 2005 at the Global Businesswomen & Leader’s Summit Awards. She has served as an official juror in the feature film program headed by Abbas Kiarostami at the Middle East Film Festival in 2009 and was a jury member at the 2010 International Emmy Awards. Moreover, Nayla is currently a proud ambassador of CANON Middle East, a global leader in digital imaging products. She was announced among the top 50 most powerful personalities in Arab cinema (source: Variety Arabia, 13 Dec 2011)

Najla Al Midfa, Founder of Khayarat

Najla is Founder of Khayarat, a social enterprise that enables young Emiratis to make informed career choices and achieve success in the private sector.

In her previous role, as Senior Manager at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process: counseling entrepreneurs, evaluating business plans, and selecting ventures for financing. She also designed and led several youth-related initiatives, such as Khalifa Fund's Young Entrepreneurs Series.

Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company‘s New York office, where she worked on a range of strategy-related projects, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her previous work experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell.

An Emirati national, Najla holds an MBA from Stanford University, and is a member of the Board of Directors of United Arab Bank. She is also a board member of Sharjah Business Women Council, Young Arab Leaders (YAL), and a Founding Member of Women Corporate Directors (GCC Chapter). Najla is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative and member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.

H.E. Sheikha Zain Al Sabah, Undersecretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Kuwait

Formerly Chairperson and Managing Director of Eagle Vision Media Group KSCC, Al-Zain is a pioneering film/TV producer and social entrepreneur, and has made it her mission to provide a creative haven for talented regional film-makers. Al-Zain has produced a number of socially-charged award-winning media projects. One of her most recent co- productions, “Journey to Mecca”, has just completed a long-running showing at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, and provides worldwide workshops to raise awareness on the peaceful nature of Islam. Another co-production, “Amreeka”, deals with questions of national identity and cultural prejudice.

A vocal proponent of new sector and job creation, Al-Zain sits on the consultancy boards of a number of media and youth-charged initiatives. State-side, she oversaw completion of EVMG’s new multi-media studio complex. This all-digital facility will soon provide talented local youth with job training and employment opportunities and serve as the new headquarters for EVMG’s Youth Outreach Program, an initiative founded by Al-Zain to aid in the integration of talented Kuwaiti youth into a myriad of regional media sectors. Wanting to promote a more inclusive media industry, Al-Zain recently began efforts to raise funds for the establishment of ADASA (Artists Demanding a Storytelling Association). ADASA has now been wholly adopted by the newly formed Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Prior to heading EVMG, Al-Zain worked for ABC News’ World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, in New York City. Prior to that, she produced and directed a number of acclaimed political talk shows for KTV. A MELI fellow at the Aspen Institute, Al-Zain earned an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University; where she was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award.

HE Shaima Al Zarooni, Chief Executive Officer of the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai

HE Shaima Al Zarooni is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai. Prior to joining IHC in 2011, HE worked for the Office of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE, Ruler of Dubai. HE also worked in the Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the Ruler’s Court prior to joining the Executive Council of Dubai.

HE is a member of various local and international institutions and bodies, among which are:

1. Member of the Executive Office of UAE National Olympic Committee
2. Member of Dubai Free Zones Council
3. Member of DIHAD Scientific Advisory Board
4. Member of Humanitarian Partnership and Information Sharing Steering Committee
5. Member of External Advisory Council of the University of Wollongong in Dubai
6. Prestigious Judge on the 2013 and 2014 Hult Prize Committee
7. Sphere Project Trainer: Humanitarian Charter & Min. Standards in Humanitarian Response
8. Mentor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Student Personal Development Programme

HE received her Bachelor Degree in Business Sciences from Zayed University and two Master Degrees; one in International Business from the University of Wollongong and the other in Public Administration from the Dubai School of Government. She also graduated from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development in June 2011.

Raya Ani, Founder, RAW-NYC Architects

Raya has more than 25 years of professional experience having worked in Germany, Boston and New York City for international and award-winning architectural practices. In 2010, she moved to Dubai as a design director and head of architecture. In 2011, she was nominated for the Middle-East Architect of the year Award and her work was highly commended by the jury. In 2012, she founded RAW-NYC Architects, an interdisciplinary architectural studio based in New York City and Dubai.

Raya is a member of the American Institute of Architects, a licensed Architect in the State of New York and a US Green Building Council Accredited Professional. She received her BSC in Architectural Engineering from Baghdad University with distinctions, and an MS in Architectural studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was awarded the Harvard / MIT Aga Khan Scholarship. In November 2013, she received two awards from the American Institute of Architects- Middle East for her projects in Iraq and Qatar.

Asma Chaabi, VP of Ynna Holding, Fmr. Mayor of Essaouira (Morocco)

Asma Chaabi is Vice President of the diversified group, Ynna Holding and the Founder and President of the International Women’s Forum in Morocco. Having obtained a Diploma from a London Polytechnic College and certificates from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in 1985, Asma Chaabi returned to Morocco to integrate the family business. After a few years of managerial experience, in 1998 she was made General-Director of the Az-zahraa Schools, linked to the Az-zahraa Foundation.

Since the early 90s, Asma Chaabi has actively participated in several associations, including the Arab Family Organization, the Parent’s Educational Resource Centre , as well as numerous women’s associations.

In September 2003, Asma Chaabi was elected Mayor of Essaouira, becoming the first female governor of a Moroccan city. Official functions took her around the world. Asma Chaabi is a member of the Parti du Progrès et du Socialisme
(PPS), having been previously elected into both its Central Committee and Political Bureau in 2006. She speaks and understands 6 languages (Arabic, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese).

Tarek Elmasry, Managing Director, Middle East Region, McKinsey & Company

Tarek Elmasry is the Managing Director of the Middle East Office, based in Dubai, at McKinsey Consulting. Previous to this position he led all recruiting efforts in the Midwest as Director of the Chicago office, and served clients in high tech, telecom, and consumer products. Mr. Elmasry has historically led the Telecom & High Tech practice in the Midwest. Prior to joining McKinsey, Mr. Elmasry started and ran an advertising sales company. Mr. Elmasry holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in economics from the University of Chicago and a M.B.A. from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Marketing and Finance. He is also very active in the community as a member of the Executive Club. Mr. Elmasry has been an IFYC board member since 2007.

Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex

Fadi Ghandour is the founder and vice chairman of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation companies. He is currently executive chairman of Wamda Capital, a new venture capital fund focusing on technology investments in the Arab World.

Ghandour is also the managing partner of MENA Venture Investments, a seed capital investment company investing in early-stage tech companies. He is a member of the board of Abraaj Capital, a member of the board of trustees at the American University of Beirut, and chairman of the advisory council of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) at the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (IBA).

Passionate about social entrepreneurship, Ghandour is the founder and chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a regional private sector-led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalization through youth activism, civic engagement, education, and financial inclusion through the Ruwwad Micro Venture Fund, an equity-based fund that provides seed capital for microbusinesses and micro-entrepreneurs.

Anna Grichting, Architect

Anna Grichting is an architect, urbanist and musician from Switzerland and graduated with a Doctor of Design in Urbanism from Harvard University. She has lived, practiced and studied in England, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA, and conducted research in Cyprus, Korea, Berlin and Qatar. She is interested in holistic and systems approaches to Design and her academic experience includes teaching at the Universities of Geneva and Harvard, developing an Education Initiative for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and teaching the Balkans Peace Parks Academic Expedition Summer Course. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Qatar University, where she teaches Architectural Design Studios and undergraduate and graduate courses in Sustainable Urban and Landscape Design Her fields of research and interest include Food Security and Food Urbanism in Drylands, the Urban Legacies of Mega Events, Healing Ecologies in Landscapes of Conflict and the roles of Public Art in Contemporary Space. As a musician, she has participated in multi-cultural and international projects such as Bordermeetings, Sufi Moon and Desert Bridges. She is a member of the Qatar Green Building Council Green Infrastructure Group and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security, University of Vermont, USA.

Nadine Hani, Senior Business Presenter, Al Arabiya

Nadine Hani is an anchor for Al Arabiya News Channel based in Dubai, where she presents and co-produces the financial news programs "Al Aswaq Al Arabiya", the highest rated business news shows on Arab television.

She has also covered and reported from major international events and conferences, including the IMF and World Bank annual meetings, and the World Economic Forum Annual Meetings in Davos since 2008. Nadine is often asked to moderate high profile conferences such as the panels at the World Economic Forum. She wrote a weekly column for Lebanese newspaper Annahar.

Nadine Hani joined Al Arabiya in 2005 from CNBC Arabiya in Dubai, where she worked as a business news anchor, as well as hosting a personal finance show.

Previously she worked as a Private banking consultant for 2 international banks in Lebanon, ABN AMRO Bank and BNP Paribas, advising high net worth individuals on investment alternatives. She started her career in media presenting a daily summary of business news at MTV (Murr TV) in Lebanon, while working as a private banker, pioneering stock markets\' coverage in the Arab world. A Procter & Gamble scholarship winner, Nadine graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Masters degree in Business Administration (with emphasis on finance).


Dr. Khaled Ismail, Founder and CEO of SySDSoft

Dr. Khaled Ismail is the Founder and CEO of SySDSoft, a company focused on the design of wireless communication system modems. In March 2011, SySDSoft has been acquired by Intel. Dr. Ismail became thereafter the Managing Director of Intel Mobile Communications. Dr. Ismail is also the Chairman of Kiangel, and angel investment fund focused on early stage startups in Egypt. The fund has already invested in 8 companies in the past 18 months, and continues to look for additional opportunities, while mentoring and supporting the existing companies. Dr. Ismail was the Chairman of Endeavor Egypt from 2011-2014. Endeavor is a global not-for-profit organization supporting high-impact entrepreneurs in developing countries. He was board member of Orascom Telecom (2004-2011) and board member of the IT Industry Development Authority (2009-2012). Between 2005 and 2007, Dr. Ismail was the Senior Advisor of the Egyptian Minister of CIT, responsible for Technology Development. Dr. Ismail was VP of Engineering of Ellipsis Digital Systems in Carlsbad, CA (2000-2002), and General Manager of Ellipsis Egypt. Between 1989 and 1997, Dr. Ismail was with IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in NY. He is the recipient of the IBM Invention Achievement Award and the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 1997 and 1995, respectively. Dr. Ismail received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1989. He is an IEEE Fellow since 1997 and has published over 160 papers in international journals and holds 22 US patents. Dr. Ismail is married and has two children, and is fluent in Arabic, German, English and French.

Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman; Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and Gulf Film Festival (GFF)

Abdulhamid Juma was part of the initial team that founded the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2004, and was appointed Chairman in 2006.

In helping to establish DIFF as the world-class event it is today, Abdulhamid was guided by the belief that through the language of film and art, cultural divides could be narrowed and bridged with tolerance and understanding. His involvement with independent Arab and GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) cinema led to him becoming a driving force behind the Gulf Film Festival, an annual event that showcases the best in regional cinema to a local and international audience under his Chairmanship.

His business insight has been as central to his success as his cultural outlook. Prior to his appointment, Juma served as Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Media City (DMC). He currently sits on the board of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai Media Incorporated and is also the Deputy Director General of Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA). He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a certificate in General Management from Harvard Business School.

Per-Ola Karlsson, Senior Partner, Booz & Co.

Based in Dubai, Per-Ola Karlsson is a Senior Partner with 27 years of consulting experience. His main areas of expertise include strategy formulation, organization development, corporate center design and governance. In addition, he frequently supports companies in the areas of change management and people capabilities. Mr. Karlsson previously led the Firm’s Organization, Change and Leadership practice on both a European and global basis. He has extensively served clients across Europe and the Middle East within energy & utilities, telecommunications, transportation and automotive/manufacturing. He has also served investment companies and private equity firms extensively.

In addition to his firm-wide roles, Mr. Karlsson led Booz & Company’s activities in the Nordic and previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of Booz & Company, and the Managing Director of Global Practices as well as the Firm’s European business.

Prior to joining the firm, Per-Ola worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Per-Ola has an M.B.A. from INSEAD, France, an M.Sc. in systems engineering from Case Western Reserve University, USA, and an M.Sc. in engineering physics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

Per-Ola has a strong passion for nature around the world and all it has to offer. He spends much of his free time in the Stockholm archipelago where he enjoys fishing, boating and other water sports with his family and friends.

Gerald Lawless, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

As President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group, Gerald Lawless has helped establish Jumeirah as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. He joined the company in 1997 after a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, which culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East.

Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, after the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel to an eager travelling public, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group. Jumeirah currently has 22 properties under management in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Maldives, Shanghai, Istanbul, Baku, Frankfurt, London, Mallorca and Rome, with a robust pipeline of new openings planned, especially in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, each offering the promise of STAY DIFFERENT™.

Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island in the U.S.A., and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chairman – Corporate Governance of the World Travel and Tourism Council; member of the Global Agenda Council for Aviation, Travel and Tourism of the World Economic Forum; fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; member of the Advisory Group of the Global Irish Forum; member of the Dubai Holding Executive Committee and member of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates National Development Programme. Mr. Lawless also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, is a former Non-Executive Director and member of the Board of NASDAQ Dubai and Travelodge.

Omar Maani, Jordanian engineer

Omar Maani is a Jordanian engineer, businessman and the former Mayor of Amman, serving from 2006-2011. Maani came to the mayoral office directly from the private sector, where, for twenty five years he had managed Maani Ventures, a Jordanian industrial and engineering group of companies.As mayor, he was mandated with the creation of a strategic plan to accommodate the rapid growth and development of Amman, which had grown from a small town of a few thousand people in the early 20th century to a capital city inhabited by over 2.5 million people in 2005. The 'Amman Plan', as the master-plan that Maani has overseen has been officially known, dealt with the future metropolitan growth of Amman, the intensification of the urban fabric inside the existing urban envelope, the protection of urban heritage and the formulation of high-rise building regulations that are sensitive to Amman's hilly nature and topography.The Amman Plan process eventually led to the creation of the Amman Institute, an independent organisation that is responsible for the ongoing planning of Amman as well as providing planning advisory services for other cities in Jordan and the region. Maani obtained his B.Sc in Civil Engineering from the University of Birmingham, and his M.Sc. in Construction Management, from the University of Southern California.

Abdullah Mando, Co-Founder, UTURN

Abdullah Mando is the co-founder and Executive Producer of UTURN, an online network (of 14 million members) that creates and distributes local and entertaining content, targeting the Saudi youth. Abdullah's vision is to stimulate and nourish thought through mass media.

In the first 2 years at UTURN, as the first CEO of the company, he architectured the company’s vision and established the foundations of the organization. Under his leadership UTURN sparked the new media industry in Saudi Arabia and has created a hub for talents and content creators in the region. His academic background enabled him to put the company on the right track to success, balancing between content creation and business aspirations. As the company grew larger, Abdullah took over the Executive Producer’s post where he would serve UTURN best, and pursue his passion for creating content for the masses. As the EP, he is in charge of creating and sustaining all UTURN shows such as 3al6ayer, Eysh Elly, wsm, Takki, and Fe2 Fala.

Before UTURN, Abdullah was an undergrad in Montreal, Canada, where he majored in Film from the The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and Business from the John Molson School of Business. In his final year, Anmar Fathaldin, a co-founder, invited him for dinner and the rest, as they say, is history.

Cyrus Patell, Professor of English, and previous Associate Dean of Humanities, NYU Abu Dhabi

Cyrus Patell is a Professor of English, and previous Associate Dean of Humanities for NYU Abu Dhabi. His recent scholarship and teaching has centered on the theory and practice of cosmopolitanism, as well as on the literature and culture of New York City. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Undergraduate Honors for the English Department.

At NYU Abu Dhabi, Patell teaches a variety of courses including "Foundations of Literature I & II," "The Cosmopolitan Imagination," "Speculative Fiction," "Classic American Literature," and "Global Shakespeare." He is presently developing a course on literary representations of modern global cities, based on his CAS undergraduate course "Writing New York" (co-taught with Bryan Waterman), which will be taught across NYU's portal campuses.

Recent publications include The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York City (co-edited with Bryan Waterman) and The Rolling Stones' Some Girls (Continuum). A new study, Marginal, Emergent, Cosmopolitan: An Introduction to U.S. Emergent Literatures after 1968, is forthcoming from NYU Press. Patell is presently at work on a manuscript entitled "Cosmopolitanism and the Literary Imagination" and is co-editing (with Deborah Lindsay Williams) volume eight of the twelve-volume Oxford History of the Novel in English (general editor Patrick Parrinder) on the American novel after 1940.

Patell received his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. He blogs regularly at http://www.patell.org andhttp://www.ahistoryofnewyork.com.

Samiha S. Peterson, Distinguished Professor and Interim Dean for the Graduate School of Education, The American University of Cairo

Samiha Sidhom Peterson is a distinguished professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education. She embarked on exploring the potential of establishing a new graduate school of education in 2007, which was authorized by Board of Trustees of The American University in Cairo in February 2009, and by the Supreme Council of Universities and the Ministry of Higher Education in September 2009. Previously, Peterson served as Overby Distinguished Professor Chair at St. Olaf College. In addition to a teaching career with focus on Sociology, the Arab world, development, and gender, she served in various administrative roles including associate dean for the social and applied science faculty, chair of the sociology/anthropology department, director of the Middle East Studies Program, director of Women Studies, and Field Supervisor for the Off Campus Global Semester. Peterson’s faculty career at St. Olaf was between 1972-2009. Peterson also served as special policy advisor to three Ministers of education between 1989 and 2004. The first three years involved a full-time, USAID-supported appointment related to the Education For All initiative and Egypt’s Education Reform Strategy. She continued her work as Special Advisor in conjunction with her teaching career from 1991-2004. In her capacity as Special Policy Advisor she worked with numerous Bilateral and Multilateral development agencies including USAID, ODA, JICA, UNICEF, UNESCO. UNDP, UNFPA, World Bank, the German Development Agency, the Dutch Development Agency, League of Arab States, Canadian Development Agency, and the Nine Most Populous Countries. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, she has authored over 150 position papers on education and development in Egypt.

Dr Nasser H. Saidi, President, Nasser Saidi & Associates

Dr Nasser H. Saidi is the Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates and acts as adviser to governments, central banks and regulators. He is adviser and board member to multi-national and regional companies. He is Deputy Chairman of Eureeca Capital, a crowd-investing platform. He is the former Chief Economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from 2006 to September 2012, where as an executive he helped build & promote the centre and its strategic development and developed the links with governments, central banks, international organisations, international banks & financial institutions and international financial centres. Dr Saidi is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Hawkamah-Institute for Corporate Governance and the Mudara Institute of Directors, 2006-2012.

Dr Saidi is Chairman of the regional Clean Energy Business Council, promoting clean energy solutions and policies in the MENA countries. He is a member of the IMF’s Regional Advisory Group for MENA and Co-Chair of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) MENA Corporate Governance Working Group.

In 2013, he was named among the 50 most Influential Arabs in the World by The Middle East magazine, for the fourth consecutive year and named among the 500 Most Powerful Arabs in the world by Arabian Business for the second consecutive year.

Dr Saidi was the Minister of Economy and Trade and Minister of Industry of Lebanon between 1998 and 2000. He was the First Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon for two successive mandates, 1993-1998 and 1998-2003. He was a Member of the UN Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP) for two mandates over the period 2000-2006, a position to which he was appointed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his personal capacity.

Prior to his public career, Dr Saidi pursued a career as an academic, serving as a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics in the University of Chicago, the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva, CH), and the Université de Genève. He also served as a lecturer at the American University of Beirut and the Université St. Joseph in Beirut.

Dr Saidi holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester in the USA, a M.Sc. from University College, London University and a B.A. from the American University of Beirut.

Ahmed Bin Shabib, Co-founder of Brownbook Magazine

Ahmed Bin Shabib is the co-founder of Brownbook Magazine, a publication highlighting the values and subjects relevant to the greater Middle East. Brownbook is a leading publication about the Middle East in the world.

Ahmed is also the founder of Shelter, a grassroots community space that incubates ideas. These ideas are in the form of start-up businesses, cultural and humanitarian events and dialogues. Today, Shelter houses over 42 businesses and has become a meeting point for both entrepreneurs and thinkers.

Ahmed studied at Suffolk University, Boston (USA) and the American College in London. He holds a bachelor in management and is a regular speaker and participant at educational institutions with a focus on entrepreneurship

Deena Shakir, New Business Development Manager, Google; Director, TechWadi

A new business development manager at Google, Deena currently leads partnerships in the health vertical for Helpouts. She previously managed strategic partnerships for Google.org, focused on civic innovation and gender equity, where she was responsible for managing a multi-million dollar deal and investment portfolio. 

Prior to joining Google, Deena spent three years working for the Obama administration--as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of Secretary Clinton and previously at USAID's Global Development Alliance.

At the State Department, Deena served as a Senior Partnerships Advisor and the inter-agency's lead on diaspora engagement. She was the lead architect in the founding, management, and scaling of The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance and The Secretary's Global Diaspora Forum. 

Deena has previously worked with The Aspen Institute's (through an Aga Khan Fellowship) and the Global Philanthropy Forum. She also covered the White House for BBC News and was the Lead Anchor for a bilingual news show on Al Arabiya. Trilingual in Arabic, French, and English, she has worked and studied in the UAE, Egypt, and France.

Deena holds a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard College and an MA from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She delivered the 2008 Harvard Class Day speech, "From Baghdad to Boston: Dropping the Global H-Bomb." 

Deena has served on the Board of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association, where she led their effort to recruit students from the Arab world and launched their first public service fellowship. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Tech Wadi, The Abraham Path Initiative, the Harvard Alumni Association, the Arab Film Festival, and the Asian University for Women.

Dina Sherif, Co-Founder of the social enterprise Ahead of the Curve

Dina Sherif is Co-Founder of the social enterprise Ahead of the Curve and currently acts as a Senior Advisor for Civic Engagement to Silatech. Prior to that she was the Associate Director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement based at the American University in Cairo since the time of its establishment in 2006 until 2012. She has several years of experience in working with the private sector with regards to developing more responsible management practices and in developing strategic social investment programs. Ms. Sherif has also worked very closely with civil society organizations, in particular foundations, to create more effective programing that will lead to social change. During her time as the Deputy Director of Projects at Financial Technical Consulting Services, a consultancy firm that specializes in rural development in sub-Saharan Africa, Dina travelled extensively throughout Africa where she gained wide spread experience in rural and community development.

Ms. Sherif’s overall experience has led her to be qualified in sustainability management (including economic, environmental and social performance of organizations), strategic philanthropy, youth civic engagement, project management, strategic planning, the design of public awareness campaigns, monitoring and evaluation, program design, organizational capacity building and socio-economic research. Over Ms. Sherif’s fifteen years of experience, her work has been applied to the following areas: environment, education, women’s empowerment, youth development, socially responsible business, food security, agricultural development, public health, service learning and strategic philanthropy.

Further to the above, she is currently Chairperson of the Board of the Arab Foundations Forum, based out of Amman, Jordan; a board member of the Alashanek ya Baladi Association (For You My Country) in Egypt, and a member of the Advisory board of Nakhweh based out of Jordan.

Ms. Sherif is co –editor and contributing author of the book: From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy and has further contributed to a number of key publications in the area of civic engagement and responsible business.

Ms. Sherif holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Development Studies, both acquired from the American University in Cairo and is currently working on a PhD in Philanthropy Studies at Indiana University Purdue in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Sherif was recently named one of Trust America’s top 100 thought leaders on responsible business practice in Europe and the Middle East.

Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, Du

Sultan’s drive and acute business acumen has earned him several industry accolades.

To name a few:

• Ranked 8 in Arabian Business’ 2013 ‘top 50 executives in the UAE’ list.
• ranks 54 in ‘500 Most Powerful Arabs in the World’ list (2013)
• Recognized as one of the \'30 Most Influential People in the GCC’ according to Business Pioneer Magazine (2012)
• Selected as one of the most powerful executives in the telecoms industry on GTBPower100 List in both 2010 and 2011
• Named the CEO of the Year – Telecommunications, at the 4th CEO Middle East Awards (2011)
• Master Class CEO of the Year, organized by the GCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2010)
• MEComs Lifetime Achievement (2009)
• MENA Cristal Media Man of the Year for his wealthy contribution to the world of digital media and content (2008)
• Man of the Year award from the Professional Electronic Information Services Community in France (1996)
• The Best Web Site - Legal Product from the American Information Association (1996)
• CEO Osman Sultan was a guest icon and speaker at the Emirates NBD Global Business series
• ‘Top Executive Management in the Arab World 2012’ award
• Innovator of the year award at the Gulf Business Industry awards 2012


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