Speakers 2016 - The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF)

Speakers 2016

  • H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi

    H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi

    Member of Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah

    On 25th January 1972, 9th Dhi Al-Hijja 1391 (Arafa Day) His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi became the ruler of Sharjah. His Highness is the 18th Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah in a chain of Al Qasimi Rulers since 1600 AD. He has been at the forefront of the emirate’s cultural, economic and social development and also played a significant role in promoting cultural interaction and dialogue among nations at local, regional and international levels. He is also an established historian and has published several theatrical and literary works.

    Official and Academic Positions:

    Ruler of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (1972-to present)
    Member of the Supreme Council of UAE (1972-to present)
    Minister of Education; United Arab Emirates from 1971
    President; American University of Sharjah from 1997
    President; University of Sharjah from 1997
    Visiting Professor; Cairo University; 2008
    Professor; Modern History of the Gulf; University of Sharjah; 1999
    Visiting Professor; Exeter University; 1998

    Educational Qualifications:

    Doctor of Philosophy in Political Geography of the Gulf Durham University, Durham, UK 2 July 1999
    Doctor of Philosophy with Distinction in History Exeter University; Exeter, UK 22 July 1985
    Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering, Cairo University, 1971
    Elementary and Secondary Education between Sharjah, Kuwait City and Dubai

  • H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

    H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

    Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

    His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates on the 9th of February, 2006. The ministry’s role focuses on maintaining clear political positions that support the UAE’s relationships with its regional and international partners while promoting the UAE as a regional leader in different fields. Also, as foreign minister, he focuses on establishing specialized diplomatic capabilities and encouraging political talents to address international concerns and provide distinct consular and other services in looking after UAE nationals and the issues they may face during their travels.

    He is also a member of the UAE’s National Security Council, Deputy Chairman of the UAE’s Permanent Committee on Borders, Chairman of the board of trustees of Emirates Diplomatic Academy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development(ADFD)and Board Member of the National Defense College,and Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council.
  • Rula (BibiGul) Ghani

    Rula (BibiGul) Ghani

    First Lady of Afghanistan

    Bornand raised in Lebanon, Rula Ghani holds a diploma de I’Institutd’ Etudes Politiques de Paris, France (1969), an MA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut (1974) and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University in New York(1983).

    Once back in Afghanistan, she took an interest in understanding the social problems in Kabuland concentrated on helping Aschiana, a grassroots organization focusing on the needs of the disenfranchised children in thecity.

    After the election of her husband as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in September 2014, she assumed the role of First Lady of Afghanistan. Together with a small team of colleagues, she is working to foster a positive environment in which every citizen of Afghanistan canachieve his/her potential and can take full part in the development of thecountry.
  • Her Excellency Sheikha Lubnabint Khalid Al Qasimi

    Her Excellency Sheikha Lubnabint Khalid Al Qasimi

    Minister of State for Tolerance

    Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi has been appointed as The Minister of State for Tolerance, in line with the new UAECabinet Reshuffle recently introduced in the United Arab Emirates in February 2016, whose primary mission is to promote tolerance andinstill its coreprinciples, as a fundamental value in UAEcommunity and the globe.

    Previous to her current role, Her Excellency was named in 2004as Minister of Economy as the first woman in the United Arab Emirates to hold a ministerial position.In 2008, Her Excellencycarried her role as Minister of Foreign Trade, and was tasked,2013 -2016 as Minister of International Cooperation and Development.

    In addition to her portfolio responsibilities,Sheikha Lubna holds several distinguished positionsincluding President of Zayed University, and serves on number of Boards namely,The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation,and The Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. Moreover, Her Excellency is also a member of the Governing Board of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at The National University of Singapore,and many local and international organizations.

    Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi holds a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from California State University of Chico,USA(1981), and an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the American University of Sharjah, UAE (2002). Her Excellency holdsHonorary Doctorates in Science from California State University of Chico, in Law from the University of Exeter (UK), and in Economics from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Korea) respectively. Her Excellency was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from The Lebanese American University, Lebanon
  • Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Fund
    Nobel Peace Laureate

    Malala Yousafzai is an educational campaigner from Swat Valley, Pakistan, and winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded jointly to her and Kailash Satyarthi for their work in the field of children’s rights. Born in 1997, Malala Yousafzai grew up in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan. From the age of 10, Malala has campaigned for the rights of girls to receive an education. Using a pseudonym, she wrote a blog for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule and her views on promoting education for girls. In October 2012, the then 15-year-old Malala was shot by the Taliban while traveling home from school on the bus. Malala recovered from her injuries and continues her campaign for girls’ rights. She is the co-founder of The Malala Fund, a non-profit organization whose work around the world focuses on the rights of girls to receive a free, quality 12-year education. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, the International Children’s Peace Prize, The Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award and the Sakharov Prize.
  • Kailash Satyarthi

    Kailash Satyarthi

    The Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation
    Nobel Peace Laureate

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since 1980.
    As a worldwide campaigner, he has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the Global March Against Child Labour, which is a worldwide coalition of NGOs, Teachers' Union and Trade Unions active in 140 countries. Mr. Satyarthi’s efforts led to the adoption of ILO Convention 182 on worst forms of child labour in 1999.
    In 2014, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
    Mr. Satyarthi’s efforts to end child slavery, trafficking, forced labour and violence received international support when in September 2015, he succeeded in getting child protection and welfare-related clauses included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. To achieve his vision of a world free of violence against children – a child friendly world where all children are free, safe, healthy and enrolled in a quality school, he has founded the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

  • Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka

    Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka

    UN Women
    Executive Director

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was sworn into office on 19 August 2013 and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa.

    From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, she served as Minister of Minerals and Energy from 1999 to 2005 and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government.

    Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global programme for young women. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has completed her PhD on education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

  • The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

    The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

    Department for International Development
    Secretary of State

    Priti Patel was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 14 July 2016. She was elected Conservative MP for Witham in May 2010. The Secretary of State leads the DFID ministerial team, sets the overall strategy and direction of the department.

    Priti served as Minister of State for Employment from May 2015 until July 2016. She was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from July 2014 to May 2015. In November 2013, the Prime Minister appointed Priti as the first ever UK Indian Diaspora Champion. Before becoming an MP, she worked in consultancy and worked internationally.

  • H.E. Ambassador Inas Mekkawy

    H.E. Ambassador Inas Mekkawy

    League of Arab States
    Director of Women, Family, and Childhood Department

    H.E. Ambassador Inas Mekkawy, is a senior diplomat and Chief of the Department of Family, Women and Childhood affairs in the League of Arab States with over 25 years of experience Ms. Mekkawy has been working extensively on projects in social development, governance and women's projects for various public, private and non-governmental organizations. Inas also had a pioneering role in the establishment of the first Arab Women Summit in Cairo, and worked in the areas of gender equality and women empowerment, civic education, and human rights, cultural creativity and cultural heritage within the Arab league and in close collaboration with UNWomen, UNICEF and other regional and international institutions.
  • Helmut Kutin

    Helmut Kutin

    SOS Children’s Villages International
    Honorary President

    With a career spanning more than sixty years, Mr.Helmut Kutin, an alumni of the first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, Austria, is a truechangemaker in the lives of children worldwide. His first assignment with SOS began with the construction of the first Vietnamese SOS Children's Village of which he later preceded as the Director in 1968. Following his outstanding achievements for SOS, Mr. Kutin served as SOS Children's Villages International's Representative for Asia in 1971. Under his leadership, more than fifty SOS Children's Villages and a further fifty supporting programmes were built on this continent within the span of a few years. The resumption of SOS Children's Village work in Vietnam in 1987 and the opening of the first two SOS Children's Villages in China are a few other milestones of his career in the same year.

    In 1985, Mr. Kutin was elected as President of SOS Children's Villages International& thus became the most senior representative of SOS Children's Villages worldwide.Post his resignation as President in 2012; he was honored with the title of ‘Honorary President’ with regard to his lifelong commitment to the work at SOS Children's Villages.He has also been honored with several renowned international recognitions and awards, including the Vietnam Friendship Medal; China’s Ru Zi Nui Award; Austria’s Medal of Honor and the Luxembourg’s Commander of the Order of Merit.
  • Ziauddin Yousafzai

    Ziauddin Yousafzai

    Malala Fund

    Ziauddin is Malala’s father and co-founded the Malala Fund with his daughter and their close family friend ShizaShahid. In Pakistan, Ziauddin was an educator, running several schools. He is well-known for his outspoken support for girls’ rights to education, equality and human rights. Ziauddin is U.N. Special Adviser on Global Education and Education Attaché at Pakistan’s Consulate in Birmingham, UK.
  • Fadi Ghandour

    Fadi Ghandour

    Wamda Capital
    Chairman & CEO

    Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Capital, a Venture Capital fund that invests in technology-enabled companies in the Arab World, and the Founder & Vice Chairman of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation companies. He is also the Managing Partner of MENA Venture Investments, a seed capital investment company investing in early stage tech companies.

    Fadi is a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the Board of Endeavor Global and the Board of Trustees at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, Fadi is the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a private-sector led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion with support from the Ruwwad Micro Venture Fund, an equity-based fund providing seed capital and support for microbusinesses and micro-entrepreneurs.
  • Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

    Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

    SOC Films
    2x Academy Award Winner

    Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is a two time Academy Award and an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker. In the past 15 years, she has made over a dozen multi-award winning films in over 10 countries around the world. Her films include A Girl in the River, Song of Lahore, Peacekeepers: A Journey of a Thousand Miles and Saving Face.

    In 2012, Time Magazine included Sharmeenin their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2013, the Canadian government awarded her a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in the field of documentary films and the World Economic Forum honored her with a Crystal Award at their annual summit in Davos.
  • Hibaaq Osman

    Hibaaq Osman

    CEO and Founder

    Hibaaq Osman is the founder of Karama, a growing movement to end violence against women, and deliver sustainable, inclusive peace and democracy in the Arab region. Hibaaq has made it her mission to elevate the voices of Arab women, raise their profiles and develop their skills as peacemakers and leaders. Karama’s guiding principle is ensuring that strategies affecting women in the region are not simply responsive to the needs of women on the ground, but are led by women and real representatives of the community. The aim is to put women in the Arab region at the centre of humanitarian response, conflict prevention and resolution, and promoting women’s participation in public life. Hibaaq’s work seeks to ensure that women are not left behind in the region’s new political landscape, emphasizing the importance of building institutions and constituencies that support the sustainable advancement of women over the long term
  • Roshaneh Zafar

    Roshaneh Zafar

    Kashf Foundation
    Managing Director

    Ms. Roshaneh Zafar is a graduate of the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, USA and also holds a Masters degree in Development Economics from Yale University, USA. She has worked with the World Bank as a women-in-development associate in the water and sanitation sectors. Ms. Zafar founded Pakistan’s first specialized microfinance institution Kashf Foundation in 1996 after a chance meeting with Professor Yunus, and has also founded the Kashf Microfinance Bank in 2008. She has been representing Kashf and Pakistan on many international forums including the World Economic Forum and has been the recipient of many international and national awards, including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, one of Pakistan’s highest civilian awards. She is also on the board of other not-for profit organizations including Sahil, Women's World Banking and KarvaanKrafts, and Director on the Board of Engro Foods.
  • H.E. Ameera Abdelrahim BinKaram

    H.E. Ameera Abdelrahim BinKaram

    Deputy Chairperson

    H.E. Ameera BinKaram is at the helm of several diverse roles and is the Vice-Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women’s Council, President of the Steering committee and founding member of Friends of Cancer Patients.Other than being an environment and animal activist, she has many accolades in her name – Ameera is the recipient of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award and The International Alliance for Women, World of Difference award. She recently became the first Arab woman to graduate from Buscerius Summer School Program, and a graduate of the International Visitor Leadership Program. BinKaram is leading the way for economic, social and professional empowerment of Arab women – she is a member of Olave Baden-Powell Society that supports the mission of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scoutes, and heads the Women Chapter for The CEOs Club, the world’s oldest and largest international non-profit business association for CEOs.
  • Alizeh Iqbal Haider

    Alizeh Iqbal Haider

    Ex-Member National Assembly of Pakistan
    Human rights activist and writer

    Alizeh is an outspoken human rights activistin Pakistan, fighting for rights of women, children, labourers and religious minorities. She was elected to Pakistan’s National Assembly on special seat for women. Alizeh has worked extensively for rehabilitation of victims of domestic violence and rape, campaigned against honour killing and spearheaded initiatives for release of bonded labour and elimination of child labour. Protection of children and their right to education is a cause close to her heart. She is experienced in advising governmental and semi-governmental bodies on legislative and public policy matters. Alizeh was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, England in Year 2000 and has been a practicing lawyer for the past 16 years.
  • Dr. Veronica Magar

    Dr. Veronica Magar

    World Health Organization
    Team Leader

    Veronica Magar (Dr. Ph, MPH, MA) is the Team Leader for Gender, Equity and Human Rights at the World Health Organization (WHO). She leads a dynamic team of technical experts to support WHO programs and policies to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’. Before joining WHO, in 2013, she held the position of Executive Director of r e a c h (research and action for change), based in Delhi, India leading community-based research, policy analysis, and providing technical support. Since 2000, she has worked with UN agencies, NGOs, and governments in more than 30 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to address gender inequality and human rights. Prior to that Dr. Magar worked at international NGOs including CARE where she led work on gender mainstreaming, violence against women, research and evaluation in women’s health. Dr Magar earned her MPH and MA at UCLA and DR PH the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  • Gulalai Ismail

    Gulalai Ismail

    Aware Girls

    Gulalai Ismail is a Pashtun human rights activist and chairperson of Aware Girls from Pakistani. She established the organization Aware Girls in 2002, aiming to challenge the culture of violence and the oppression of women in the rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area in the north west of Pakistan. As well as Aware Girls, which she continues to chair, Ismail set up the Youth Peace network in 2010 to counter violent extremism and build peace; training young people in human rights and political leadership and encouraging the participation of women in politics in Pakistan. She won the 2009 Youth Action Net Fellowship and the 2013 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy; and was acknowledged as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine. Between 2010 and 2012 she was a Board Member of the Women’s Global Network on Reproductive Rights, and between 2009 and 2011 was on the Executive Committee of the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization. In August 2014 she was awarded the International Humanist of the Year Award by the International Humanist and Ethical Union at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford, England. She received 215 Common Wealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development, under the theme of Democracy and Human Rights.
  • Khaled Khalifa

    Khaled Khalifa

    Regional Representative

    Khaled Khalifa is a professional humanitarian with 20 years of experience in relief and development. He led humanitarian operations in various settings of natural disasters and complex emergencies.

    Khaled Khalifa worked in several senior managerial positions with major international organizations in a number of countries including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Libya, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and KSA.

    Khaled Khalifa holds an MA degree in English Literature & Humanities from Minia University in Egypt, an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of London, and a Project Management Diploma from Aalborg Technical School, Denmark. He is a well-known international trainer in disaster management, and a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC).

    Currently Khaled Khalifa is the Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
  • Mohammad Naciri

    Mohammad Naciri

    UN Women
    Regional Director

    Mohammad Naciri is UN Women’s Regional Director for the Arab States Region. Before being appointed director, he served as UN Women´s deputy regional director for the Arab States.

    Mohammad has extensive experience in the region and in gender and development issues. Prior to joining UN Women, Mohammad was the Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Yemen, where he supported the country in the formulation of its Gender Strategy and the Gender Responsive Budgeting process. He has worked in Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Cambodia, dealing with issues from human trafficking to ethnic cleansing.

    A national of Morocco, Mohammad holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and International Development from the Harvard University, as well as a Master's Degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford. He also has a Master's degree in Business Administration from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology in Alexandria-Egypt

  • Dr. Yamina Chakkar

    Dr. Yamina Chakkar

    Regional Director

    Dr. Yamina Chakkar leads the Middle East and North Africa Regional Support Team to provide strategic guidance and leadership for a stronger national and regional response to Fast track HIV response in the MENA region for ending AIDS by 2030.
    Dr. Chakkar has more than 25 years’ of experience working on HIV/AIDS. She joined UNAIDS as UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Togo, Benin and Mali and then she moved to headquarters as Regional Support Adviser for West and Central Africa. Prior to joining UNAIDS, Dr. Chakkar worked with WHO in charge of country support for the integration and decentralization of activities for HIV/AIDS/STDs in the Health Sector and served as a member of the WHO African Advisory Research and Health Development.

    Dr. Chakkar holds a Doctorate in Medicine and a Diploma of Medical Studies in Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology. She also has a Masters in Biomedical Tropical Sciences from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

  • Thomas R. Krift

    Thomas R. Krift

    Regional Director

    Tom Krift is Regional Director for the Middle East and Eurasia (MEE) for Save the Children International (SCI) and oversees the implementation of both development and humanitarian response programs in 19 countries.

    Just prior to his current position, Mr. Krift was the Vice President for Strategic Operations for Save the Children US based in Washington, DC. Previously, Mr. Krift was the Associate Vice President for Save the Children's programs in the United States and has also served as Country Director in Bangladesh, Russia, Palestine, Malawi, Kiribati and Tuvalu and Project Director in the Philippines.

    Mr. Krift holds an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Commerce from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. from Haverford College.

  • Luay Shabaneh

    Luay Shabaneh

    United Nations Population Fund - Arab States Regional Office
    Regional Director

    Luay Shabaneh, currently serves as Arab States Regional Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund starting May 2016. A native of Palestine, he has held a number of high-profile national and international public service positions over the last two decades in the area of official statistics, population census, population and development, monitoring and evaluation, programme management and advocacy within the UN System, in government and in the multilateral arena.

    He served as chief statistician of Palestine from 2005 until he started his UN career in 2009 with both UNDP/UNCT and UNFPA in Iraq, and the Regional Office for Arab States since 2015 as the Regional Adviser for Population Data and Policies in ASRO. Luay holds a PhD in Applied Social Statistics from Lancaster University, UK, a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Jordan and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Baghdad University.

  • Alia Al-Dalli

    Alia Al-Dalli

    SOS Children's Villages International
    Regional Director

    With a career spanning over 30 years, Ms Al-Dalli is a mark of progressive leadership in the issues of development, gender and poverty reduction. Equipped with long term experience in international NGO sector as well as government and intergovernmental agencies in the MENA region, Ms Alia has successfully headed programmesin several developing countries in the Middle East Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia with UNDP, OXFAM and others.

    Ms Al-Dalliis currently the International Director for MENA at SOS Children’s Villages International covering nine countries coordinating and implementing programmes for children without parental care and at risk of losing it. Prior to that,Ms Alia worked as the Director of the UNDP Regional Center in Cairo, where she covered a number of key issues to the region including gender, governance, environment and poverty.

  • Naser Haghamed

    Naser Haghamed

    Islamic Relief Worldwide
    Chief Executive Officer

    Naser was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) in April 2016. Since joining IRW 23 years ago, Naser has worked in numerous leadership roles, including as Director of International Programmes and as the Operations Director of the Islamic Relief Academy. Naser has over 25 years of expertise in both in the private and third sector, running company-wide operational functions, leading complex projects from inception to successful completion and making sound strategic decisions. Naser has also served on the boards of various private and third sector organisations.

    His formative teenage years were spent as a refugee. By the age of 20, Naser had lived in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt and the United Kingdom.

    As a successful leader, mentor and negotiator, Naser has travelled across 35 countries, is fluent in three languages and has rich experience in dealing with people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds.

    Naser obtained an Executive MBA with Distinction from Aston University in 2016.

  • Shamil Idriss

    Shamil Idriss

    Search for Common Ground
    President & CEO

    Shamil Idriss became the President& Chief Executive Officer of Search for Common Ground in September 2014. Prior to returning to SFCG, he was the CEO of Soliya, a pioneer in the use of new media for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange and founding member of the Exchange Coalition. In 2005 he was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a project of the Secretary-General established to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation between Western and Muslim-majority societies. He has served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum's Council of 100 Leaders and the Board of the Alliance for Peace building, and is a member of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders.
  • Kaiser Naseem

    Kaiser Naseem

    International Finance Corporation

    Kaiser is a resourceful professional with over 36 years of international experience in banking and financial sectors; he has a MBA in Finance from the Asian Institute of Management Manila and a MS in Metallurgical Engineering from Moscow Institute of Steel & Alloys.

    Kaiser was instrumental in the developing the Pakistani and Central Asian Financial Sectors through IFC assistance to the leasing, investment banking, modaraba, commercial banking and MSME sectors there.

    From 1997 he pioneered IFC’s initiatives in Central Asia for the development of the MSME sector. Kaiser has established three financial institutions in Pakistan and is also the Founder President of Pakistan’s SME Bank. Kaiser is an ardent supporter of good corporate governance and has inculcated such practices on the Company Boards that he has served. He has also been the Manager of IFC’s Pakistan Corporate Governance Program.

    Currently, Kaiser heads IFC’s Bank Advisory Services in the MENA and Central Asia region responsible for providing advisory services to the region’s banks, including promoting Shariah compliant banking products to meet the growing demand.

  • Sadaffe Abid

    Sadaffe Abid


    Sadaffe Abid is co-founder CIRCLE, a leading social enterprise that aims to build, support and develop the entrepreneurial and leadership capacity of women and youth. CIRCLE's flagship campaign, Elevate encourages male and female leaders from corporate, social sectors and government to pledge for women's advancement and increase in their economic participation. Prior to this, she managed Kashf Foundation as COO and CEO, one of Forbes Top 50 microfinance institutions which she helped grow from a pilot in two rooms to serve 300,000 women clients in Pakistan. During her tenure Kashf received the AGFUND International Prize and Grameen Trust Microfinance Excellence Award.

    Sadaffe completed her Masters at the Harvard Kennedy School, Advanced Management Program at INSEAD and her B.A. at Mount Holyoke College. She is a recipient of the Mount Holyoke Alumni Achievement Award. She has spoken at several global forums including Asia Society, Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, Microcredit Summit, TEDx INSEAD amongst others.
  • Najla Al Midfa

    Najla Al Midfa

    Sheraa - Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center
    General Manager

    Najla Al-Midfa is General Manager of Sheraa - Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center - a government entity that aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide them with a launchpad for success. She is also Founder of Khayarat, a platform that enables young Emiratis to make informed career choices.

    In her previous role, as Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing.

    Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company‘s New York office. Her experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell. Najla is a board member of United Arab Bank, and Vice-Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders. She holds an MBA from Stanford University, and is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative
  • Zeina Yazagi

    Zeina Yazagi

    Skynews Arabia
    Conference Emcee

    Zeina Yazigi is a journalist, news agency reporter, television news anchor, and television show host with Sky News Arabia. In this capacity, she hosts Bisaraha, the highly rated weekly political program on the channel.

    Prior to joining Sky News Arabia, Yazigi worked as a presenter of the political chat show, Arab Street, for Dubai Media Inc.

    In an earlier role, Yazigi’s weekly political program on Al Arabiya TV titled Tahta Al-Daw (Under the Light) proved to be a big draw and is credited with significantly increasing the channel’s viewership.Yazigi has also been associated in different capacities with regional and international media organizations including Reuters, Associated Press and CNBC. She was also listed on the 2013 most influential women in the Arab world by CEO magazine and Arabia business list, and was granted Best Arab journalist by MC International in 2013.

    Yazigi holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the Tishreen University in Syria. She also has a degree in Mass Communication with a Journalism major from the Lebanese American University.
  • Dr. Muhadditha Al Hashimi

    Dr. Muhadditha Al Hashimi

    Higher Colleges of Technology

    Executive Dean of Health Sciences & Director of Sharjah Women’s College
    Member of the Board of Trustees , University of Sharjah.
    Member of the Board of the United Arab Emirates Nursing and Midwifery Council
    Dr. Muhadditha Al Hashimi was the first Emirati woman to become a director within the federal Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)
    Doctor of Public Health, Disease Control and Epidemiology, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, USA.
    Master of Science, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA.
    Bachelor of Science, Medical Technology, University of Minnesota, USA. High distinction

  • Dr. Jawairriya Abdallah-Shahid

    Dr. Jawairriya Abdallah-Shahid

    Abu Dhabi Education Council

    As a veteran educator, Dr. Jawairriya continues to work as a trailblazer in the field by embodying her personal motto: Perfecting Excellence in Education. Her commitment remains improving student academic achievement one child at a time, and her interests include bridging the gap between male and female student achievement, Muslim student advancement in science, technology, engineering & math (STEM), and the application of international learning standards in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

    Dr. Jawairriya is author of Veiled Voices: Muhajabat in Secular Schools, an ethnographic study of six Muslim females that attended public schools in New York and North Carolina, and the impact wearing hijab had on their educational and social experiences. In addition to her passion for education, she is equally committed to interfaith dialogue and social justice, the fostering of mutual respect, religious tolerance, and a harmonious co-existence bridging the cultural divide and mainstream societies. Dr. Jawairriya Abdallah-Shahid earned her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Theory & Practice from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

  • Shatha Alhashmi

    Shatha Alhashmi

    MBR Center for Government Innovation

    Shatha Alhashmi is the Director of Mohamed Bin Rashid Government Innovation Center at thePrime Minister’s Office.

    Shatha has over a decade of experience in Policy and Strategy development. Previously she held couple of roles with the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, such as the Strategy and Performance manager, and special projects head. Shatha also spent over 5 years at The Executive Office where she held various roles within the Economic Intelligence Unit and the Chairman’s Office.

    Shatha is interested in innovation in the public sector, social entrepreneurship and is passionate about youth development. She is also an entrepreneur, a mentor for aHarvard University student, a Harvard Graduate School of Education ambassador and a certified couch from Henley.

    She holds a Bachelors degree from Zayed University, and Masters degrees fromOklahoma State and Harvard University. Shatha is also a recipient of the prestigious H.H. Mohamed Bin Zayed Scholarship, a member of Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society, and the Business School Advisory Council at Zayed University.

  • Dr. Fadila Grine

    Dr. Fadila Grine

    The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

    Fadila Grine Is a Director Of Social &Family Affairs at the Department of Cultural, social and Family Issues OIC , previously a visiting Associate Professor at University Malaya, at the Department of Islamic History and Civilization. Fadila obtained her Masters in Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage from the International Islamic University and her PhD Degree in Islamic culture and civilization from the Academy of Islamic Studies, University Malaya, Malaysia. She published various papers in her field. She was the Head of research and publication and Also the Head of the International Bureau of Consultancy and Training, Academy of Islamic Studies, University Malaya. She is a life Coach, a certified family counselor, and a consultant of marriage, Parenting and Muslim family Issues. Fadila is an expert in Islamic though and culture, Islamic development and leadership. She has worked as a cultural consultant with the Edmonton Public School Board, Alberta, Canada, conducted variety of workshops and trainings on Marriage, Parenting, education, Quality in research and publications and different issues.
  • Brigitte Khair-Mountain

    Brigitte Khair-Mountain

    Humanitarian Leadership Academy
    Middle East Director

    Brigitte Khair-Mountain is the Director of the Middle East Centre of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy. She was the founder and director of ‘Transform Lives Consulting’ at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. She was also an Advisor on Foreign Aid for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She wasHead of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Regional Hub for the GCC based in Abu Dhabi. Brigitte worked in the United Nations in various agencies and capacities and is and experienced and seasoned multilingual professional with a diverse international experience and a specialization in the humanitarian, development and knowledge management fields.

    Brigitte has a solid knowledge of aid in its different aspects from a government, civil society and international organisation perspective with a solid knowledge of the Gulf region in particular, the Arab region as a whole as well as the world of international cooperation.
  • Shainoor Khoja

    Shainoor Khoja

    Mercy Corps

    Shainoor Khoja is a global change maker and a serial entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of Better Business Enterprise (BBE), a consultancy firm, she drives impact through designing innovative sustainable solutions in emerging and developed markets to address the needs of base of the pyramid populations. Shainoor works with international development agencies. She is the Gulf Regional Advisor for Mercy Corps where she raises awareness around Mercy Corps’ work globally and builds strategic partnerships in the region. Shainoor was the Managing Director Roshan Community at Afghanistan’s #1 mobile operator, Roshan for a decade.

    As a champion for social impact, Shainoor was awarded the 2016 Lewis Institute Community Changemaker Award from Babson College. Given her years of experience, she is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with up and coming entrepreneurs who are navigating the social impact space. Shainoor sits on several boards and committees such as the International Development Research Center Canada (IDRC), Canada World Youth, Arab Excellence, UAE University, and she is a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College.

  • Anthony Keedi

    Anthony Keedi


    Anthony Keedi is a psychologist who works for Abaad (Arabic for "dimensions"), a gender equality NGO in Lebanon. He runs the engaging men and boys programme. He has also worked in conflict resolution and with Iraqi and Syrian refugees to raising awareness of gender-based violence.

    Anthony calls himself a “reformed macho man,” and for good reason. The Beirut-based gender equality activist was feeling oppressed by his society’s definition of masculinity. He saw that within its culture, men are not only expected to be the heads of their households, and to approach challenging issues with aggression, they are also expected to be infallibly tough.Seeking to change the way men treat women and what society finds acceptable as “masculine behavior,” Keedi now serves as the Engaging Men Program Manager at the ABAAD Resource Center for Gender Equality in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Ngoné Diop

    Ngoné Diop

    Senior Gender Advisor

    Ms. NgonéDiop is currently the Chief of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Ms. Diop is an economist and gender expert with 19 years of experience and a proven track record in economic policy planning and management; engendering development; engendering poverty reduction strategies, economic/macroeconomic policies and public finance. Prior to joining UNECA, NgoneDiop led the Poverty, Growth and MDG Cluster at the UNDP Gender Team, Bureau for Development Policy in New York, USA.

    Ms. Diop served as Advisor, Economist/macroeconomist, Researcher in various regional and international organizations including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the World Bank, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). She is currently a board member of the Agency for Cooperation on Research and Development (ACORD), an international NGO which works to promote economic and social justice across Africa.
  • Khalid AL Khudair

    Khalid AL Khudair

    Founder & CEO

    Khalid AL Khudair Is a social entrepreneur, writer, founder and CEO. He established Glowork; a women empowerment organization that has created thousands of jobs for women. This led Glowork to be awarded the Best innovation globally for job creation by the United Nation, ILO (International Labour Organization) and World Bank. He is an Ashoka Fellow, and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum. In March 2014 Khalid was elected to become a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum for his work in social entrepreneurship. Previously he held the role of COO- Markets at KPMG in Saudi, Kuwait and Jordan which helped him secure an expertise insight into all the key aspects of strategic and successful marketing and operations. Khalid managed to lead the firms he worked with to over 30 key awards which were aligned to the firm's overall corporate goals and strategy. In 2013 Khalid led Glowork to an investment of over 16M USD to expand its current operations into different verticals.
  • Mariam Farag

    Mariam Farag

    MBC Group
    Head of CSR

    Mariam Farag is leading the CSR program at MBC Group, which is responsible for driving its corporate responsibility vision and strategy in the region& globally. Farag brings to MBC Group over 16 years of experience working in the fields of social development, humanitarian relief, communication, corporate & social responsibility in the MENA region. Prior to joining MBC Group, Farag was developingstrategic partnerships and community outreachprograms at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), aligning with AUS strategic goals in the UAE and the GCC region. In addition, Farag leadthe Partnerships & CSRdepartment for the Community Development Authority, Dubai Government. In 1999, after receiving her master’s degree, Farag started her career with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), where she managed a nationwide campaign focusing on the social and economic empowerment of female heads of households in 22 governorates in Egypt. After the campaign, Farag joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)part of the International Protection Legal team.
  • Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini

    Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini

    International Civil Society Action Network
    Founder & Executive Director

    Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of ICAN. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and between 2005-14, she was a Research Associate and Senior Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies. In 2011, she was the first Senior Expert on Gender and Inclusion on the UN’s Mediation Standby Team.

    Between 2002 and 2005, as Director of the Women Waging Peace Policy Commission, Ms. Anderlini led ground breaking field research on women’s contributions. Since 2005, she has also provided strategic guidance and training to key UN agencies, the UK government and NGOs worldwide, including leading a UNFPA/UNDP needs assessment into Maoist cantonment sites in Nepal. Between 2008 – 2010, Ms. Anderlini was Lead Consultant for a 10-country UNDP global initiative on “Gender, Community Security and Social Cohesion”. She has served on the Advisory Board of the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), and was appointed to the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) on Resolution 1325, chaired by Mary Robinson in 2010. In 2013, she was appointed to the Working Group on Gender and Inclusion of the Sustainable Development Network for the post-2015 agenda.
  • Dr. Gamal Serour

    Dr. Gamal Serour

    Al Azhar University

    Dr. Gamal Serour, is the Director of the International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research at Al-Azhar University. Serour, an Egyptian, who was President of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) from 2009-2012. He joined the FIGO Ethics Committee in 1994 and became Chair in 2003.
  • Enshrah Ahmed

    Enshrah Ahmed

    UNFPA Arab States Regional Office

    Ms. Enshrah Ahmed is UNFPA Arab States Regional Gender, Human Rights and Culture Adviser. She holds M.Sc. on Gender and Development from London School of Economics. She haswritten both published and unpublished papers / reports on various gender issues including a recent paper titled “CEDAW and ICPD Programme of Action in the Arab States: A Review”. Moreover, she held the position of Gender Unit Chief At two UN missions; Sierra Leone and Lebanon. Furthermore, she was the Deputy Regional Director for UNIFEM Arab States Regional office in Amman.Besides, she held various posts with UK based international organizations such Amnesty International.
    Ms. Ahmed’s focus is on issues that are related to women empowerment and gender equality particularly on gender based violence and she worked extensively on women, peace and security issues both in Africa and the Middle East.

    Ms. Enshrah Ahmed is a British citizen who is originally from Sudan and lives with herhusband and daughter.
  • Noura Selim

    Noura Selim

    Sawiris Foundation

    Noura Selim is the Executive Director of the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development. Prior to that, Noura worked at McKinsey & Company in New York, Dubai and Cairo. At McKinsey, Noura served public and private sector clients, particularly on health care and education topics. Her healthcare work spans the pharmaceutical space as well as public payors and providers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, while her education work spans K-12 and technical and vocational training and education in the Middle East. Prior to McKinsey, Noura worked as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Pennsylvania's Engineering school.

    Noura holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Noura currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association and Treasurer of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF,) representing the Sawiris Foundation on the AFF Board of Directors.
  • Dr. Marwa Sharafeldin

    Dr. Marwa Sharafeldin


    Dr. Marwa Sharafeldin has a PhD in Law from the University of Oxford. Her research covers Islamic law, international human rights law, civil society and women’s rights. She is a board member of the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. She serves on several other advisory boards of international organizations such as the Global Fund for Women and the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW). Dr. Sharafeldin is also co-founder of the Network for Women’s Rights Organisations and of the Young Arab Feminist Network, as well as NGOs such as Fat’hetKheir and Nahdet el-Mahrousa in Egypt. Since the start of the Egyptian revolution she has been involved in several women’s groups and activities to advocate for better women’s human rights in the Egyptian transitional process and the ensuing constitutional-drafting processes. Dr. Sharafeldin has published several academic articles and chapters, and she also writes in some of the widely circulated Egyptian daily newspapers such as Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Shorouk.
  • Mehrinaz El Awady

    Mehrinaz El Awady


    Mehrinaz El Awady is the Director of the ESCWA Centre for Women in Beirut. Previously, she served as ESCWA Senior SWAP Coordinator in charge of mainstreaming gender within the organization. She has a long record in development organization and management at the grassroots and the policy levels. Prior to her career as an International Civil Servant, she was the Youth and Women Regional Advisor for Save the Children, where she conducted research, situation analysis and proposal development on gender related and human rights issues in the Arab world. Before joining Save the Children, El Awady worked for several International Development organizations such as Education Development Center, Center for Development and Population Activities, and Care International. She holds a bachelor in Economics from Cairo University, a Masters in International Development from the American University in Cairo, and a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Leeds, UK.
  • Dr Shereen El Feki

    Dr Shereen El Feki


    Dr Shereen El Feki is the author of Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (Penguin Random House, 2013), and an expert on the complex interplay of sexuality, politics, economics and religion in the Middle East and North Africa. As a Senior Fellow with Promundo, Shereen is currently leading the International Men and Gender Equality Survey Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA), a ground-breaking study of men, masculinities and gender roles in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Territories. Shereen is also a Professor of Global Practice at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Co-Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Hub at the Joint Learning Initiative for Faith and Local Communities.
  • Elissa Freiha

    Elissa Freiha


    Elissa Freiha learned how to confidently be an angel investor by investing with and getting mentored by her peers. The experience inspired her to co-found Womena platform to empower other women to do the same. She oversees marketing, business development, sales, events, and member satisfaction, having previously worked in these fields in publishing, F&B, and entertainment. She was included in Arabian Business “The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015“. She received her Bachelors in Communications from the American University of Paris. She is Emirati of Lebanese and American descent and speaks English, Arabic, French, and Spanish fluently.
  • Burcu Gunduz Masalaci

    Burcu Gunduz Masalaci

    Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV)

    Burcu Gunduz Masalaci, Director of the Institutional Development, is responsible for research, advocacy, strategic planning and international relations in Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV)since 2015. She received her BS and MS degreesfrom Middle East Technical University, Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She started her career in civil society, working on the social impact assessment and monitoring-evaluation of development projects. In 2008, she joined the Istanbul Private Sector Office of the United NationsDevelopment Program. From 2008 to 2010, she managed the Life plus Youth Program on behalf of the programpartners Coca-Cola Turkey and UNDP. During 2010-2015, she worked in the largest company group of Turkey, Koc Holding, as the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. She was responsible for the CSR and sustainability strategy of Koc Holding as well as the design of the Group’s social development projects.
  • Nicolla Hewitt

    Nicolla Hewitt

    Girl Rising

    Nicolla Hewitt currently serves as Middle East Advisor for Girl Rising, a global movement that places the awareness and action for girl to be educated. Her clients have included HRH The Prince of Wales for his “Turquoise Mountain” foundation for the preservation of Islamic art and economic empowerment in Afghanistan; Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite; and the non-profit Vital Voices Global Partnership founded by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which helps women in over 130 countries.

    Prior to devoting her time to non-profit work, Nicolla spent over 25 years as award winning US network news producer at ABC, CBS and NBC News. She was based in London, Jerusalem and Amman. She was responsible for producing interviews with Presidents, Heads of State, and high profile individuals. Among those interviewed: President Clinton, President Carter, and President George W. Bush; US Secretaries of State Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton. World leaders interviewed include Yasser Arafat, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, as well as King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan; and the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
  • Vivian Thabet

    Vivian Thabet

    CARE International

    Vivian Thabet is currently the Women Rights Program Director at CARE international in Egypt. She is a senior gender and management expert with over 20 years of working experience in the field of Management, Women’s Rights, and Advocacy in non -governmental sector.

    She is leading the implementation of CARE’s long term vision for poor and marginalized women and girls in Egypt through building strong and productive partnerships with government, civil society organizations, and youth lead organizations.

    Before her incumbency as Women Right Program Director, Vivian held several positions at CARE and other non-for profit organizations. Her previous role was Project Manager of a National program called “Freedom from Violence” implemented by CARE Egypt.

    She obtained an MBA from Nicosia University in Cyprus in 2014, and a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from the Faculty of Commerce in Cairo University, Egypt.
  • Kawtar Zerouali

    Kawtar Zerouali


    Ms. Kawtar Zerouali (Morocco) is currently managing the first UNDP Regional Programme on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Arab region UNDP regional hub in Amman, Jordan. Kawtar was the Regional Programme Manager of the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future programme led by the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV). She supported both UNV and UNDP global youth strategies and provided technical assistance to many countries in the region to develop their national youth strategies. Before that, Kawtar served as a Specialist on National Dialogue/Civil Society Strengthening supporting the Constitutional Process, Parliamentary Development and National Dialogue programme with UNDP Tunisia, and also served as a Portfolio Manager for the Arab States within the Development Division at UNV HQs in Bonn, Germany. Kawtar has a solid mix of development experience in several countries including Yemen, Bangladesh, Lebanon and the USA with the UN system, World Bank and Mosaic Foundation focusing on good governance, youth inclusiveness, community centered projects, gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • Beatrice Cernuta

    Beatrice Cernuta


    Beatrice Cernuta is the Director of Strategy and Operations at Tarbia, a Dubai-based investment and management company active in the education sector and owned by the Daud Group and the Belhasa Group, two long-established regional conglomerates. Tarbia operates in a number of education sub-sectors and to date it has established partnerships with Busy Bees Childcare, the largest nursery group in the UK and one of the largest globally, and the Riverston Group, a leading provider of therapy and educational services for children with special educational needs. Beatrice joined Tarbia from Parthenon, the strategy consulting unit within the Ernst&Young Group, where she focused on both private and public sector education projects across emerging markets with a focus on the Middle East.

    Prior to joining Parthenon, she had started her career teaching at Eton College in England. Beatrice holds a BA and a Masters from Oxford University.
  • Sara Zeiger

    Sara Zeiger


    Sara Zeiger is a Senior Research Analyst at Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She has worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and was a Head Teaching Fellow for the Harvard Extension School where she taught courses on Middle Eastern politics.

  • Rose Zergani

    Rose Zergani

    Alghanim Industries

    Rose Zergani is the Senior Manager of Talent Management and Diversity at Alghanim Industries - one of the largest, privately-owned companies in the Gulf region. A diverse, multi-national company with more than 30 businesses across40 countries, Alghanim Industries is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

    Rose is responsible for the development and integration of the company’s diversity strategy for developing and retaining diverse talent, fostering an inclusive work environment and ensuring management accountability. Since assuming the role, the team has established a framework of policy and practices that have advanced Alghanim Industries’ recognition as one of the top companies for diversity in the region.

    Prior to joining Alghanim Industries,Rose worked at several prominent companies such as JPMorgan Private Bank and Akin Gump Hauser and Feld LLP.
  • Asmaa Kuftaro

    Asmaa Kuftaro

    Syrian Women's Advisory Board

    Asmaa Kuftaro is member of the Women's Advisory board to the UN envoy for political process and peace-building in Syria. The Women’s Advisory Board (WAB) to the Special Envoy was established on 1 February 2016 with the support of UN Women. The WAB, comprised of 12 diverse Syrian women civil society representatives, is responsible for articulating Syrian women’s concerns, ideas and suggestions, by consulting as widely and as broadly as possible with Syrian women’s organizations and initiatives. The Women’s Advisory Board will engage and consult with women’s and civil society organizations regularly to bring views, expertise and solutions to the process. They will advise the Office of the Special Envoy on how to enhance the inclusion of diverse women and women’s organizations in the peace process. She established Syrian Islamic forum and worked through it in the field of civil society for women's and children's rights and the empowerment of women and the promotion of language of dialogue and peace in Damascus. She received a bachelor of Islamic science Sharia Faculty of Da'wa in Beirut and has worked in education for religious instruction field in Damascus schools and also had worked as a supervisor at the Ministry of Awqaf and religious teaching in Damascus.
  • Lena Karlsson

    Lena Karlsson

    UN Women

    Lena Karlsson is the Programme Manager for the UN Women’s Regional Programme, Men and Women for Gender Equality. The programme aims to strengthen gender equality in the region through building the capacity of youth lead and other civil society organizations and by developing community based approaches with a focus on engaging boys and men in gender equality. The Program is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

    Lena is a business economist with a Master’s Degree in Aid and Development and with significant global experience in women´s and children’s rights. Her professional experience consists of 25 years of progressively responsible positions in Europe, Africa and Asia, for UN agencies (UNICEF and ILO) and international NGOs on programming, organizational development, community mobilization, research, advocacy and capacity building in various management and leadership positions. Before joining UN Women, Lena was Save the Children´s Global Director of Child Protection.
  • Alison Davidian

    Alison Davidian

    UN Women

    Alison Davidian is a Policy Specialist with the Peace and Security Section at UN Women in New York. Her portfolio areas also include transitional justice and preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism. Previous to this, she worked as a Transitional Justice Specialist with UN Women in Uganda. She has worked for 10 years on access to justice, gender and refugee issues for organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equality Now in Zambia, UNDP Somalia, and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Australia.
  • Meg Jones

    Meg Jones

    UN Women

    Meg is Chief Economic Empowerment at UN Women, responsible for a global team focused on job creation and income generation for women through, inter alia, engendering macro-economic policy, strengthening economic institutions and developing private and public sector partnerships to deliver inclusive sustainable development.

    2008 - 2015Meg was Women and Trade Programme Manager at the International Trade Centre (a joint agency of the United Nations and WTO), responsible for the design and implementation of the multi year, multi million dollar programme to increase the economic benefits women derive from trade. Meg has also worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, prior to which she was on the Australian delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

    Meg was awarded 'Woman of the Year' in 2013 by the Organisation of Women in International Trade; and a ‘World of Difference’ award in 2012 by The International Alliance of Women for her contribution to women's economic empowerment. Meg holds a Master of International Studies and a Bachelor of Economics having studied in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands.
  • Leigh Tomppert

    Leigh Tomppert

    UN Women

    Leigh Tomppert is a Programme Specialist on women, peace and security with UN Women’s Regional Office for the Arab States in Cairo. She has also worked as a Policy Specialist with UN Women in the New York Headquarters, working on issues of women’s economic empowerment, women’s human rights and women’s leadership and gender-responsive governance. Prior to UN Women, Ms. Tomppert worked for the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women in the Dominican Republic and has worked with various human rights organizations in Mexico and the United States.

  • Manal Benkirane

    Manal Benkirane

    UN Women

    Manal Benkirane is a Programme Specialist at the Regional Office for Arab States, she leads the ProgrammeManagement Unit and acts as the office focal point for the Violence Against Women portfolio.

    Manal had worked previously with UNFPA, where she was the Reproductive Health Officer in Morocco, coordinating the office collaboration with partners on Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Adolescents and Youth health, Gender Based Violence and Humanitarian preparedness.

    Prior to UNFPA, Manal had worked on Youth, stigma and discrimination and HIV/AIDS with focus on women’s vulnerabilities and gender differences in the MENA region. She had also served as a consultant on Youth and HIV related issues for regional and international organizations, including UNAIDS, IDLO and the Ford Foundation. She also worked as a medical practitioner in Morocco. Manal is a Medical Doctor from Morocco, she holds Master of Public Health from the American University in Beirut.
  • May Ali Babiker

    May Ali Babiker

    UN Women

    May Ali Babiker is theRegional Economic Empowerment Adviser, UN Women-Regional Office for Arab States, leading the economic empowerment work in the region with a focus on knowledge management and programme development. She is a gender economist with 16 years of experience working on a range of development interventions including: poverty dynamics, gender equality and inclusive growth, civil society engagement, gender mainstreaming in policies, strategies and programs, labor and employment, community mobilization and capacity development with extensive expertise of working in fragile and conflict affected situations in Africa and the Middle East. Before joining UN WOMEN, Babiker worked for the African Development Bank, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Ahfad University for Women: The Institute of Women, Gender &Development Studies.

  • Hind Alowais

    Hind Alowais

    UN Women

    Before taking up a position at UN Women as a Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships, Hind Alowais was the senior gender advisor at the UAE mission to the UN, developing a strategy of engagement with the UN and other partners on the issue. Ms Alowais also initiated the UAE Women Peace and Security Initiative in Partnership with UN Women and Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security.

    Concurrently, Ms Alowais was the Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in New York. She has worked on key security files such as the Syria conflict, Combatting Piracy in Somalia and disarmament issues. Ms Alowais worked for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs for almost 15 years.

    Ms. Alowais holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Lebanese American University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree at NYU’s Steinhart School of Culture Education.

  • Emad Karim

    Emad Karim

    UN Women

    Emad Karim has more than 10 years of experience and academic background in designing and managing youth programs and technology-based solutions for development. He obtained an M.A in Educational Communication & Technology from New York University and Microsoft certification as a professional and solution developer. His experiences and skills are drawn from the small villages in Egypt to the UN headquarter in New York in international non-profit organizations, for-profit corporations, as well as academic institutions. Emad has been working globally as a capacity building expert for UN Women, the League of Arab States, the World Bank, UNESCO, ILO, the British Council, and the Anna Lindh Foundation. He facilitates regional and global workshops and forums to engage youth in gender equality, global policies, and decision-making process. Karim is an awarded photographer and the author of the iSurvive: Disasters, Revolution, and Control 2.0 a book proposing development of an online reporting solution that facilitates information collection, verification, and sharing during natural and human-based crisis.
  • Abanoub Awny

    Abanoub Awny

    Specialist UX/UI Designer

    Abanoub is a I Saw Harassment volunteer since June 2014, He works as a Software User Experience and User Interface Engineer. He participated in nearly 26 street tours for fighting sexual harassment in the area of Cairo Midtown, and women International day conference in Alexandria, Egypt also leaded 6 street tours. He also developed Windows phone application called “التحرش ضد” to help Egyptian women report streets sexual crimes.

    “I saw harassment” Initiative is a pressure group that works on monitoring, documenting sexual harassment crimes against women in public places and help survivor girls recover from such crimes.