14th Annual Harvard Arab World Conference to be held in Dubai on Dec 6-8, 2019

Through its modern history, the Arab society has witnessed a gradual remodeling of its identity and entrenched values as a result of globalization, sequels of conflicts and politico-economic transformation. The Arab narrative echoes an aspect of disorientation/confusion between rooted identify and attempt to adapt to the new local, regional and global socio-politico-economic paradigms. Yet, the question remains; What is the next generation of Arabs doing to reframe the Arab narrative? Are we doing enough or complacent with the status quo? Are we returning to our roots, re-building a narrative on the quintessence of our Arab identify while constructing the building blocks of new disruptive economies?

The only way we can do more is by building a strong narrative that is naturally, empathetically, compelling. It is here where we need to look critically at ourselves both individually and collectively and where storytelling becomes essential. We need to re-frame the narrative to reflect the state of mind and aspirations of the new generation.

How do we do that? Who is responsible to remap, rewrite and reframe? How do we get there? The 14th Edition of HAWC will attempt to explore these hard issues and showcase some of the narratives we need to be telling.

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Head over to HAWC Schedule to see what we have planned!

About Conference

HAWC Schedule

  • Day 01 06 Dec 2019
  • Day 02 07 Dec 2019
  • Day 03 08 Dec 2019
  • Day 04 09 Dec 2019
1.30 PM
3.30 PM

Harvard Arabs in Tech Session

1.30 PM - 3.30 PM
4.30 PM
6.30 PM

Harvard Alumni Networking Session

4.30 PM - 6.30 PM
7.30 PM
8.30 PM

HAWC Awards Session

7.30 PM - 8.30 PM
8.30 PM
10.30 PM

Gala Dinner

8.30 PM - 10.30 PM
8.30 AM
9.00 AM


8.30 AM - 9.00 AM
9:00 AM
9:30 AM

Fireside Chat

Baria alamuddin, Editor in Chief of the Media Services Syndicate
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
9:30 AM
11:30 AM

Session 1: Youth at the door, Generation 3arabi!

9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
9:30 AM
10:00 AM

Session 1/ Part I: Fireside Chat - The Narrative

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
10:00 AM
10:30 AM

Session 1/ Part II: Speakers: Accomplished leaders

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
10:00 AM
10:30 AM

Light talks/ Barrier- breakers, Our New Stories!

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
10:30 AM
11:00 AM

Narrative Across two generations of leaders

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM
11:30 AM

Break 1

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
11:30 AM
12:30 PM

Session 2: Arab narrative in LITERATURE & ARTS

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
12:30 PM
1:30 PM

Lunch Entertainment, Culture Vibe

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
4:30 PM
5:00 PM

Break 2

4:30 PM 5:00 PM
5:00 PM
5:45 PM

Fire Side Chat: HBS Business Case

5:00 PM 5:45 PM
6:00 PM
7:00 PM

Session 5: The 3arabi Impact!

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
8:30 PM


8:30 PM - Midnight
10:00 AM
12:00 PM

Networking Brunch

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
10.30 AM
6.30 PM

WORKSHOP Led by Professor Timothy McCarthy

10.30 AM - 6.30 PM


Post Conference


Generation 3arabi

Hayfa Abdul Jaber

Youth at the Door Session Captain

Youth at the door, Generation 3arabi!

The current generation witnessed the trials and tribulations of the older one, but are characterized by a new fearlessness and willingness to be change agents. What is the potential for the current rising youth generation to rewrite our narrative and lead transformations in our community and in relation to how the Arab world is viewed internationally?

Where are we witnessing an awakening of the Arab Identity with the new generation?

How will Arab youth change the world in current realities we are facing, and how are our priorities and techniques any different from previous generations? Today’s youth will break stereotypes, think outside the box, and be the change makers that will bring the region forward.

What inspiration and lessons will we take from our own narratives?

How do we harness additional narratives to continue to break down barriers?

What aspects of our identities can we harness individually and as a community in order to be more resilient, satisfied, successful, and authentic?

Session 1 /Part I. 9:30 – 10:15 AM Breakout group discussions (to be designed in an interactive and dynamic way by the panel chair)

  • Discussion of challenges
  • Examples and inspirations
  • Reframing the narrative
  • Practical suggestions

Session 1/Part II. 10:15 – 10:30 AM Groups read-out back to full room

Literature & Arts

Manal Ataya

Culture Creation Session Captain

Arab narrative in LITERATURE & ARTS

Session Chair: Manal Ataya

5 minutes: Harvard professor or alumn to introduce the session on how literature and art plays a role in building narratives.

40 minutes: 3-4 writers, artists, poets, photographers, or film-makers to deliver an excerpt of their work (4-5 min excerpt / video-audio clip / slide show and 5 minutes provide insight on the work)

Speakers: Akram Miknas, Chairman of the Middle East Communications Network

15 minutes: Interactive session with the artists discussing challenges and opportunities for developing fresh and new perspectives on the Arab Narrative, for both Arab and international audiences

How do writers and content producers represent, develop and build their narrative?

How do we present highly local nuances? How is our heritage contextualized

Is it easier to tell our stories within or outside the Arab world? Is a narrative a burden?

How do we work around sensitive issues and censorship?

Session to be complemented by artist exhibition in the conference venue throughout the conference period

The region’s ECONOMIC Narrative

Ayoub Eddaira

Economic Narrative Session Captain

Where to go, How to get there?

Session Chair: Ayoub Eddaira

Moderator: Kamal Shehadi, Etisalat International’s Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer

Speakers: Mahmoud Mohiedin- Senior VP World Bank group- TBC

The Arab world needs to figure out how to unleash its economic potential. Across this diverse region, we have had some success stories, yet with extreme challenges.

- What is the narrative that supports rising sector competitiveness, national economic development, a greater role for the private sector and an economy that works for everyone?

- What growth prospects does our region have?

- How do the socio political dynamics in the region dictate the economic narrative?

- How can economic powerhouses be developed?

- Are our economies able to integrate competitively with global value chains?

- Should protectionism be embraced or challenged?

- Where are the opportunities to leapfrog – ignoring the typical development pathway and starting a new?

Let’s Debate/ Interactive with audience: 60 minutes

Disruptive Technologies

Cyrus Hodes

Disruptive Technologies Session Captain

Part I. 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Fire-Side Chat on Disruptive Technologies

Moderator: Cyrus Hodes

Discussion to include current examples of successful deployment of disruptive technologies globally and in the region, potential applications, current leaders in the field particularly from Harvard and the Arab world.

How can the Arab region change their narrative through disruptive technologies?

Can the Arab region be the hub for disruptive technologies?

How can these new technologies help advance the Arab world narrative?

Can the Arab world claim the future and place itself among the leading hubs for disruptive technologies?

Session 4/PArt II. 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Light Talks to showcase Disruptive Applications

Participants (4):

Bashar Kilani, Region Executive, Gulf Countries & Levant, IBM Middle East

Sameer Areff, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Middle East South- TBC

Practitioner, innovators developing disruptive technologies applications in the Arab World, Governmental Initiatives and National Programs, for AI and Blockchain Capacity Building

Moderator: Cyrus Hodes, Disruptive Technologies Session Chair

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Round table discussions In these roundtable discussions, three interactive sessions including speakers and initiative leaders will discuss re-shaping the Arab narrative in technology, through light talks. Each session will have 20 tables; Total 100 attendees Sessions to be introduced by facilitators, who then prompt and support table discussions. Session can be organized around current challenges or another interactive tool that encourages participants to share and engage at the tables, brainstorm and develop ideas, and then report back/vote at the end of the session.

Session Captain: Nour Nicholas

Cyrus Hodes

Disruptive Technologies Session Captain

Round tables A:

Session Co-Chairs: Cyrus Hodes and Ruma Samdani AI and Blockchain Facilitators: AI industry leader/practitioner, blockchain product developer. There are several high-impact AI & Blockchain use cases being implemented in solving practical issues on the ground. These are used to mobilize training, incubation, investment, and changing the narrative.

- Could AI help deliver services and match targeted assistance to the large refugee populations, currently impinging on economies of several Arab countries?

Nour Nicholas

Session Captain on Disruptive Technologies (Blockchain and AI)

Round tables B:

Session Chair: Nour Nicholas

- How can the region develop leadership in blockchain?

- What other capabilities will we develop and harness as we seek to build expertise in disruptive technologies

- Could blockchain resolve issue of digital payments and become national currency in countries such as Palestine?

- Could blockchain provide secure benefits to refugees who can’t access mainstream national services, and enable greater traceability?

Session Captain: Cyrus Hode

Fadi Siam

Smart Cites Session Captain

Smart Cities Round Table C

Session Chair: Fadi Siam

Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities Facilitator: Chief technology officer from a leading city; smart city lead from UAE or Saudi ( Smart Dubai, NEOM)

- What are the innovations that can help government, business, and society run more efficiently and deliver products and services in entirely innovative new ways?

- What are concrete innovations being introduced in leading global cities including in the Arab world?

- How can we drive real change to affect our daily lives and serious challenges using technology?

Session Captain: Fadi Siam

Round table D: Aerospace Facilitator: Astronaut or head of space program Space exploration is both an end and a means. Arabs have always been infatuated by space, and it has been engraved in their culture and history.

- What is the potential for Arab-led space programs?

- How can the region develop leadership in aerospace?

What other capabilities will we develop and harness as we seek to build cutting-edgespace programs

The 3arabi Impact!

The 3arabi Innovation! Initiative at HAWC 2019 will identify and support alumni-led projects that impact the Arab world, regardless of sector or country, including social enterprises or NGOs, stand-alone initiatives, and initiatives spearheaded by alumni as part of their daily jobs. HAAA aims to provide a platform for alumni to share their initiative with the wider community and create opportunities to mobilize support from fellow alumni, students and relevant stakeholders to implement initiatives that are most liked by the community.

Three innovative finalists will be matched with an Advisory Panel comprised of experts that will provide mentorship and advice to help the innovator develop a concrete action plan to take their initiative to the next level – through investment, commercialization, scale up, team-building, strategic partnerships, or other aspects that are appropriate for the initiative. The projects will be presented to the audience in a dedicated, interactive session of HAWC 2019.

In this session, the finalists will present their concept and engage the room to discuss its potential and gather insights to help take it to the next level.



The 3arabi Impact Initiative by HAAA aims at identifying and supporting implementation of projects that impact the Arab world, regardless of sector or country

Dr Iman Bibars

Vice President and Global Diaspora leader of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public Regional Director of Ashoka Arab World

Shatha Al Hashmi

Director of the Mohamed Bin Rashid Government Innovation Center Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future

Ahmad Saleh

Partner, Head of Patents & Designs (R&D and Innovations)- Al Tamimi & Company

Bilal Rabah Al Sugheyer

Investment Officer International Finance Corporation (IFC) Financial Institution Group

Khaled Talhouni

Managing Partner at Wamda Capital

View 3ARABI Impact

Our Team


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