The Speakers

We are releasing new speakers every week on our Facebook page, in addition to posting them below. You can watch all our previous talks and panels here.

 
 
Hashim Sarkis is an architect, educator, and scholar. He is principal of Hashim Sarkis Studios (HSS), established in 1998 with offices in Boston and Beirut. He is also the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2015.   Before joining MIT, Sarkis was the Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at Harvard University. He has also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University, the American University of Beirut, and the Metropolis Program in Barcelona. The architectural and urban projects of HSS include affordable housing, houses, parks, institutional buildings, urban design, and town planning. HSS has received several awards for its projects including for the Housing of the Fishermen of Tyre, Byblos Town Hall, and the Courtower Houses.   The firm’s work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the biennales of Venice, Rotterdam, Shenzhen/Hong Kong, and Valparaiso. The work has also been published extensively, most recently in a monograph by Ness.docs. He recently was appointed curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2020 Venice Biennale.  Sarkis earned a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Master of Architecture and a PhD in Architecture from Harvard University. He is the author and editor of several books and articles on modern architecture history and theory, including Josep Lluis Sert, The Architect of Urban Design; Circa 1958, Lebanon in the Projects and Plans of Constantinos Doxiadis and Le Corbusiers Venice Hospital.

Hashim Sarkis is an architect, educator, and scholar. He is principal of Hashim Sarkis Studios (HSS), established in 1998 with offices in Boston and Beirut. He is also the Dean of the School of
Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2015.


Before joining MIT, Sarkis was the Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at Harvard University. He has also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University, the American University of Beirut, and the Metropolis Program in Barcelona.
The architectural and urban projects of HSS include affordable housing, houses, parks, institutional buildings, urban design, and town planning. HSS has received several awards for its projects including for the Housing of the Fishermen of Tyre, Byblos Town Hall, and the Courtower Houses.


The firm’s work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the biennales of Venice, Rotterdam, Shenzhen/Hong Kong, and Valparaiso. The work has also been published extensively, most recently in a monograph by Ness.docs. He recently was appointed curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2020 Venice Biennale.

Sarkis earned a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Master of Architecture and a PhD in Architecture from Harvard University. He is the author and editor of several books and articles on modern architecture history and theory, including Josep Lluis Sert, The Architect of Urban Design; Circa 1958, Lebanon in the Projects and Plans of Constantinos Doxiadis and Le Corbusiers Venice Hospital.

Hashim Sarkis

Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Mr. Naguib Sawiris founded Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) and led it to become the leading regional telecom player until the much-publicized merger deal with VEON (formerly VimpelCom Ltd.), creating the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider in April 2011.  Mr. Sawiris is Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, a holding company investing in industries that are critical to shaping the future, including energy, financial services, agri-industries, real estate development, logistics and transport.  Mr. Sawiris is Chairman of La Mancha Holding, the private natural resource investment vehicle of the Sawiris family group with equity investments in Evolution Mining, Endeavour Mining and Golden Star Resources.  Mr. Sawiris is also Chairman of Ora, a company undertaking high-end real estate developments in various prime locations around the world.  In 2015, the Sawiris family acquired a majority stake in Euronews where Mr. Sawiris is Chairman of the board. The Sawiris family also has ownership in several assets in the media business in Egypt.  At international and regional levels, Mr. Sawiris served and is serving on a number of boards, committees and councils including International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), International Advisory Board to the National Bank of Kuwait, London Stock Exchange Group’s Africa Advisory Group, External Advisory Council to the Global Institute for Advanced Study at NYU, the Boards of Trustees of Nile University (NU), the French University in Egypt (UFE), and the Arab Thought Foundation.  Mr. Sawiris is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including the “Legion d’Honneur“ (the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding services rendered to France). In July 2011 Mr. Sawiris was awarded the Honor of Commander of the Order of the “Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” (Star of Italian Solidarity). In 2006, the prestigious “Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam” award was conferred upon him by General Pervez Musharref for services rendered to the people of Pakistan in the field of telecommunication, investments and social sector work.  Mr. Sawiris holds a diploma of Mechanical Engineering with a Masters in Technical Administration from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich) and a Diploma from the German Evangelical School, Cairo, Egypt.

Mr. Naguib Sawiris founded Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) and led it to become the leading regional telecom player until the much-publicized merger deal with VEON (formerly VimpelCom Ltd.), creating the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider in April 2011.

Mr. Sawiris is Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, a holding company investing in industries that are critical to shaping the future, including energy, financial services, agri-industries, real estate development, logistics and transport.

Mr. Sawiris is Chairman of La Mancha Holding, the private natural resource investment vehicle of the Sawiris family group with equity investments in Evolution Mining, Endeavour Mining and Golden Star Resources.

Mr. Sawiris is also Chairman of Ora, a company undertaking high-end real estate developments in various prime locations around the world.

In 2015, the Sawiris family acquired a majority stake in Euronews where Mr. Sawiris is Chairman of the board. The Sawiris family also has ownership in several assets in the media business in Egypt.

At international and regional levels, Mr. Sawiris served and is serving on a number of boards, committees and councils including International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), International Advisory Board to the National Bank of Kuwait, London Stock Exchange Group’s Africa Advisory Group, External Advisory Council to the Global Institute for Advanced Study at NYU, the Boards of Trustees of Nile University (NU), the French University in Egypt (UFE), and the Arab Thought Foundation.

Mr. Sawiris is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including the “Legion d’Honneur“ (the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding services rendered to France). In July 2011 Mr. Sawiris was awarded the Honor of Commander of the Order of the “Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” (Star of Italian Solidarity). In 2006, the prestigious “Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam” award was conferred upon him by General Pervez Musharref for services rendered to the people of Pakistan in the field of telecommunication, investments and social sector work.

Mr. Sawiris holds a diploma of Mechanical Engineering with a Masters in Technical Administration from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich) and a Diploma from the German Evangelical School, Cairo, Egypt.

Naguib Sawiris

Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding

Rama applies 25 years of technical and communications experience to her passion: social development for Arab youth. She runs Chakaki Consulting in addition to the VIP.fund, a venture philanthropy fund investing in youth programs and technology startups. Rama also oversees all operations for edSeed, her philanthropic crowdfunding platform for refugee students seeking funding and mentorship for higher education.   Currently, Rama serves on the board of the Syrian International Business Association. She’s a founding member of Arab Women in Computing and the first regional Women Angel investment Network (WAIN) and also served on the board of TechWadi, PCRF, PACES, The Impact HUB – UAE , Challenge to Change and Nakhweh.  Previously, Rama was a principal with Turn8, a Tech Venture Capital Fund. She also ran Baraka Ventures, investing in a portfolio of social impact and tech startups. Among the portfolio were BarakaBits, the first Middle East social publisher and news media focused on a positive narrative from the Middle East and B Street Advisors, a communications agency managing PR for causes in the Middle East.  Some notable projects include working for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid as a Social Impact Strategy Advisor. Rama also acted as a Communications Advisor to the World Bank Group, UAE Ministry of Labor and Kuwait Ministry of Finance. Rama was also a Content Strategy Advisor for Etisalat UAE after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Eastnets, a leading global provider of compliance and payments solutions for the Financial Services industry for two years.   In 2000 Rama co-founded a startup that received $60 Million in funding to buildout data-centers in Washington, D.C. Prior to that Rama served as a director of product development at Cable and Wireless serving fortune 100 clients.  In addition to a certificate in Designing for Social Systems from Stanford University, Rama holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Rama applies 25 years of technical and communications experience to her passion: social development for Arab youth. She runs Chakaki Consulting in addition to the VIP.fund, a venture philanthropy fund investing in youth programs and technology startups. Rama also oversees all operations for edSeed, her philanthropic crowdfunding platform for refugee students seeking funding and mentorship for higher education.

Currently, Rama serves on the board of the Syrian International Business Association. She’s a founding member of Arab Women in Computing and the first regional Women Angel investment Network (WAIN) and also served on the board of TechWadi, PCRF, PACES, The Impact HUB – UAE , Challenge to Change and Nakhweh.

Previously, Rama was a principal with Turn8, a Tech Venture Capital Fund. She also ran Baraka Ventures, investing in a portfolio of social impact and tech startups. Among the portfolio were BarakaBits, the first Middle East social publisher and news media focused on a positive narrative from the Middle East and B Street Advisors, a communications agency managing PR for causes in the Middle East.

Some notable projects include working for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid as a Social Impact Strategy Advisor. Rama also acted as a Communications Advisor to the World Bank Group, UAE Ministry of Labor and Kuwait Ministry of Finance. Rama was also a Content Strategy Advisor for Etisalat UAE after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Eastnets, a leading global provider of compliance and payments solutions for the Financial Services industry for two years.

In 2000 Rama co-founded a startup that received $60 Million in funding to buildout data-centers in Washington, D.C. Prior to that Rama served as a director of product development at Cable and Wireless serving fortune 100 clients.

In addition to a certificate in Designing for Social Systems from Stanford University, Rama holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Rama Chakaki

VIP.fund Co-founder

Elissa Freiha is an entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, women’s rights advocate and founder of Womena, a platform promoting female inclusion in the Middle East’s innovation economy. As a prominent speaker on women's involvement in entrepreneurship and active angel investor with over 30 investments between North America and MENA, Elissa has been frequently recognized in various media outlets, appearing on BBC’s 30under30, Forbes Middle East’s “50 Business Leaders Inspiring The UAE”, and Arabian Business’ “100 World’s Most Influential Arabs”, “100 Most Powerful Arab Women”, “100 Most Influential Arabs under 40” and "Investor of the Year 2017." Prior to co-founding WOMENA, Elissa has previously worked in marketing, sales, and events in entertainment and media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, the city in which she was born and raised. She is an Emirati of Lebanese and American descent.

Elissa Freiha is an entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, women’s rights advocate and founder of Womena, a platform promoting female inclusion in the Middle East’s innovation economy.
As a prominent speaker on women's involvement in entrepreneurship and active angel investor with over 30 investments between North America and MENA, Elissa has been frequently recognized in various media outlets, appearing on BBC’s 30under30, Forbes Middle East’s “50 Business Leaders Inspiring The UAE”, and Arabian Business’ “100 World’s Most Influential Arabs”, “100 Most Powerful Arab Women”, “100 Most Influential Arabs under 40” and "Investor of the Year 2017."
Prior to co-founding WOMENA, Elissa has previously worked in marketing, sales, and events in entertainment and media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, the city in which she was born and raised. She is an Emirati of Lebanese and American descent.

Elissa Freiha

Founder and Bosslady at Womena

Mr. Mustapha H. Madi serves as Director of Planning, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture for Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners). An exceptional industry veteran with over 21 years of experience, Mr. Madi joined Dar in 2005, became Head of Department in 2011, and was promoted to Director one year later.   In his present capacity, he oversees five design offices with over 175 professionals and directs a wide range of multi-scale and multi-disciplinary projects undertaken by the Firm across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America. His extensive portfolio comprises national and regional plans; housing strategies; industrial and airport cities; tourism, leisure, entertainment, and waterfront developments; mixed-use complexes; and soft infill interventions.   Mr. Madi also maintains an active research agenda on the industry’s latest trends, including sustainability in design and the smart city approach to urban planning. As a result, the designs he oversees are characterized by innovation, boldness, and exceptional forward thinking.   Mr. Madi holds Master of Urban Design and Bachelor of Architecture degrees, both from the American University of Beirut. His professional affiliations include: the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) as a LEED Green Associate, Federation of Arab Engineers, American Planning Association, Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM), and the Saudi Council of Engineers.

Mr. Mustapha H. Madi serves as Director of Planning, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture for Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners). An exceptional industry veteran with over 21 years of experience, Mr. Madi joined Dar in 2005, became Head of Department in 2011, and was promoted to Director one year later.


In his present capacity, he oversees five design offices with over 175 professionals and directs a wide range of multi-scale and multi-disciplinary projects undertaken by the Firm across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America. His extensive portfolio comprises national and regional plans; housing strategies; industrial and airport cities; tourism, leisure, entertainment, and waterfront developments; mixed-use complexes; and soft infill interventions.


Mr. Madi also maintains an active research agenda on the industry’s latest trends, including sustainability in design and the smart city approach to urban planning. As a result, the designs he oversees are characterized by innovation, boldness, and exceptional forward thinking.


Mr. Madi holds Master of Urban Design and Bachelor of Architecture degrees, both from the American University of Beirut. His professional affiliations include: the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) as a LEED Green Associate, Federation of Arab Engineers, American Planning Association, Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM), and the Saudi Council of Engineers.

Mustapha Madi

Director of Planning, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture for Dar Al-Handasah

Munther A. Dahleh received his Ph.D. degree from Rice University, Houston, TX, in 1987 in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since then, he has been with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), MIT, Cambridge, MA, where he is now the William A. Coolidge Professor of EECS. He is the founding director of the newly formed MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS).  Dr. Dahleh is interested in Networked Systems with applications to Social and Economic Networks, financial networks, Transportation Networks, Neural Networks, and the Power Grid. Specifically, he focuses on the development of foundational theory necessary to understand, monitor, and control systemic risk in interconnected systems. His work draws from various fields including algorithmic game theory, optimal control, distributed online optimization, information theory, and distributed learning. His collaborations include faculty from all five schools at MIT.

Munther A. Dahleh received his Ph.D. degree from Rice University, Houston, TX, in 1987 in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since then, he has been with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), MIT, Cambridge, MA, where he is now the William A. Coolidge Professor of EECS. He is the founding director of the newly formed MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS).

Dr. Dahleh is interested in Networked Systems with applications to Social and Economic Networks, financial networks, Transportation Networks, Neural Networks, and the Power Grid. Specifically, he focuses on the development of foundational theory necessary to understand, monitor, and control systemic risk in interconnected systems. His work draws from various fields including algorithmic game theory, optimal control, distributed online optimization, information theory, and distributed learning. His collaborations include faculty from all five schools at MIT.

Munther Dahleh

Director of the Institute of Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) at MIT

Hisham is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at HOF Capital, a global VC firm backed by 70 business leaders across 21 countries. At HOF, he focuses on consumer tech and AI-enabled enterprise software. Hisham led investments in many of today’s category leaders, including Uber, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), and Drive.ai. He’s also a Co-Founder and Board Member of FoundersMENA, which aims to develop the infrastructure for a thriving innovation ecosystem in the MENA region. Previously, Hisham was on the investment team at ERA, an early stage fund and technology accelerator in New York. Hisham holds a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Boston University.

Hisham is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at HOF Capital, a global VC firm backed by 70 business leaders across 21 countries. At HOF, he focuses on consumer tech and AI-enabled enterprise software. Hisham led investments in many of today’s category leaders, including Uber, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), and Drive.ai. He’s also a Co-Founder and Board Member of FoundersMENA, which aims to develop the infrastructure for a thriving innovation ecosystem in the MENA region. Previously, Hisham was on the investment team at ERA, an early stage fund and technology accelerator in New York. Hisham holds a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Boston University.

Hisham Elhaddad

Co-Founder and Managing Partner at HOF Capital

Layal is an impact serial entrepreneur; she's currently President & CEO at Moubarmij - مبرمج an e-learning platform that teaches programming via Arabic video tutorials. Layal also works, advises and mentors many local and international startups and is active in the entrepreneurship scene in Lebanon and globally. She is also the community leader for Techstars programs from Startup Weekend Beirut and Startup Digest Beirut, a volunteer-based global initiative that aims at start-up creation and entrepreneur education.  Layal served on the Executive Board of the Internet Society (ISOC) Lebanon Chapter as Head of the Fundraising Committee, and the Treasurer of the Board for three years, AMENDS at Stanford president of the class of 2017 and Global Hub Coordinator Lebanon for AMENDS at Stanford.  Layal currently is the Regional CEM at the Middle East Bureau for the Internet Society.

Layal is an impact serial entrepreneur; she's currently President & CEO at Moubarmij - مبرمج an e-learning platform that teaches programming via Arabic video tutorials. Layal also works, advises and mentors many local and international startups and is active in the entrepreneurship scene in Lebanon and globally. She is also the community leader for Techstars programs from Startup Weekend Beirut and Startup Digest Beirut, a volunteer-based global initiative that aims at start-up creation and entrepreneur education.
Layal served on the Executive Board of the Internet Society (ISOC) Lebanon Chapter as Head of the Fundraising Committee, and the Treasurer of the Board for three years, AMENDS at Stanford president of the class of 2017 and Global Hub Coordinator Lebanon for AMENDS at Stanford.

Layal currently is the Regional CEM at the Middle East Bureau for the Internet Society.

Layal Jebran

President & CEO at Moubarmij.com

Mostafa Kandil is Co-founder and CEO of Swvl, one of the fastest growing ridesharing companies in the world. Swvl is building a private mass transport system for the middle class in emerging markets starting with Egypt. Previously, Mostafa was a Market Launcher at Careem working with the team to launch cities in Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. Mostafa was recently listed as Forbes 30 under 30.

Mostafa Kandil is Co-founder and CEO of Swvl, one of the fastest growing ridesharing companies in the world. Swvl is building a private mass transport system for the middle class in emerging markets starting with Egypt. Previously, Mostafa was a Market Launcher at Careem working with the team to launch cities in Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. Mostafa was recently listed as Forbes 30 under 30.

Mostafa Kandil

Co-founder and CEO at Swvl

Iman Oubou is a Moroccan-American self-made entrepreneur, published scientist and former beauty queen (Miss New York US 2015 and 2nd Runner Up at the 2015 Miss United States pageant) on a mission to change the women's media landscape.  Through her diverse experience with business, pageantry and STEM, Iman noticed gender disparities in the workforce and an omnipresent bias across printed and digital media representation of women which inspired her to launch SWAAY, a digital platform highlighting stories of female leaders challenging the status-quo, and championing the voices of female change-makers through substantive and inspiring, non-clickbait content.  Her podcast, Women Who SWAAY, which was syndicated by media conglomerate, Westwood One, was number 2 on iTunes in 2015, and was ranked in the top 5 best podcasts for women entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine.  Iman was named by CIO Magazine the number one “Female Entrepreneur to Watch” in 2018 and recently became the first ever “Visage Du Maroc” of 2018 (which translates to Face of Morocco), a new initiative uplifting female voices in Morocco and across the Middle East. in 2018, Iman had the honors to be one of 2018's keynote speakers at Harvard Women In Business as well as be part of the first ever all-female judge panel at Miss Universe.

Iman Oubou is a Moroccan-American self-made entrepreneur, published scientist and former beauty queen (Miss New York US 2015 and 2nd Runner Up at the 2015 Miss United States pageant) on a mission to change the women's media landscape.

Through her diverse experience with business, pageantry and STEM, Iman noticed gender disparities in the workforce and an omnipresent bias across printed and digital media representation of women which inspired her to launch SWAAY, a digital platform highlighting stories of female leaders challenging the status-quo, and championing the voices of female change-makers through substantive and inspiring, non-clickbait content.

Her podcast, Women Who SWAAY, which was syndicated by media conglomerate, Westwood One, was number 2 on iTunes in 2015, and was ranked in the top 5 best podcasts for women entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine.

Iman was named by CIO Magazine the number one “Female Entrepreneur to Watch” in 2018 and recently became the first ever “Visage Du Maroc” of 2018 (which translates to Face of Morocco), a new initiative uplifting female voices in Morocco and across the Middle East. in 2018, Iman had the honors to be one of 2018's keynote speakers at Harvard Women In Business as well as be part of the first ever all-female judge panel at Miss Universe.

Iman Oubou

Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SWAAY Media

Pedro Ortiz is an experienced planner and manager of metropolitan issues. The explosive growth is a challenge many metropolises around the world have to face on interrelated issues as Transport, Housing, Development Governance, Environment, Social, Economic, Infrastructures, etc. Many are the problems Metropolises are facing and little knowledge is around to handle these problems. It is a new phenomenon: it requires new knowledge, new approaches and new management procedures. Pedro Ortiz is one of the very few professionals around the world with extensive experience in this issue.  He was in charge of the Metropolitan Plan of Madrid 1996 and had to integrate Environment, Transport, Economic activities, Social facilities and Housing, under the scope of Governance. He knows about how all these issues work together and how they have to interact to result in positive development in equilibrium for the metropolis.

Pedro Ortiz is an experienced planner and manager of metropolitan issues. The explosive growth is a challenge many metropolises around the world have to face on interrelated issues as Transport, Housing, Development Governance, Environment, Social, Economic, Infrastructures, etc. Many are the problems Metropolises are facing and little knowledge is around to handle these problems. It is a new phenomenon: it requires new knowledge, new approaches and new management procedures. Pedro Ortiz is one of the very few professionals around the world with extensive experience in this issue.

He was in charge of the Metropolitan Plan of Madrid 1996 and had to integrate Environment, Transport, Economic activities, Social facilities and Housing, under the scope of Governance. He knows about how all these issues work together and how they have to interact to result in positive development in equilibrium for the metropolis.

Pedro B. Ortiz

Senior Fellow, Marron Institute of Urban Management at NYU

Yazan has over 9 years financial services experience at top management consultancies such as Oliver Wyman and Deloitte. In 2017, he founded Jibrel Network, a blockchain and smart contract development company aimed at leveraging distributed ledger technology to build the financial networks of the future.

Yazan has over 9 years financial services experience at top management consultancies such as Oliver Wyman and Deloitte. In 2017, he founded Jibrel Network, a blockchain and smart contract development company aimed at leveraging distributed ledger technology to build the financial networks of the future.

Yazan Barghuthi

CEO of Jibrel Network

Dr. Rouba Mhaissen is a Syrian-Lebanese economist, community mobiliser, and development practitioner who works on development issues in the MENA region, particularly forced migration and the Syrian refugee crisis. She is the Founder and Director of Sawa for Development and Aid (founded in 2011), a Civil Society Organisation that supports Syrian refugees in Lebanon and IPDs in Syria, and Sawa Foundation UK (founded in 2016), that supports forced migrants in Europe and the Middle East. She has been involved in local and international campaigning, advocacy and lobbying efforts on Syria since 2011.  She received her BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut (AUB), her MSc in Development from the London School of Economics (LSE), and an MPhil/PhD in Gender and Economic Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She also holds two degrees in Exponential technologies from Singularity University (Silicon Valley). She has taught at SOAS and is currently a Lecturer in Development at the AUB.  She is the recipient of numerous awards of which Queen Elizabeth Award (2011), the FCO Marsh Award for Peacemaking and Peacekeeping (2016), The AUB Most Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), and the Forbes 30Under30 for Policy and Law (2017).

Dr. Rouba Mhaissen is a Syrian-Lebanese economist, community mobiliser, and development practitioner who works on development issues in the MENA region, particularly forced migration and the Syrian refugee crisis. She is the Founder and Director of Sawa for Development and Aid (founded in 2011), a Civil Society Organisation that supports Syrian refugees in Lebanon and IPDs in Syria, and Sawa Foundation UK (founded in 2016), that supports forced migrants in Europe and the Middle East. She has been involved in local and international campaigning, advocacy and lobbying efforts on Syria since 2011.

She received her BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut (AUB), her MSc in Development from the London School of Economics (LSE), and an MPhil/PhD in Gender and Economic Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She also holds two degrees in Exponential technologies from Singularity University (Silicon Valley). She has taught at SOAS and is currently a Lecturer in Development at the AUB.

She is the recipient of numerous awards of which Queen Elizabeth Award (2011), the FCO Marsh Award for Peacemaking and Peacekeeping (2016), The AUB Most Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), and the Forbes 30Under30 for Policy and Law (2017).

Rouba Mhaissen

Founder & Director at Sawa for Development and Aid

Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan is a senior research scientist at Saudi Aramco. She has an academic and industrial background with more than 19 years of experience in chemistry and related applications. She was an Assistant Professor with the Chemistry Department of Dammam University before joining Saudi Aramco in 2011.   Dr. Abeer has been awarded the Woman of the Year Award for Oil and Gas and Petrochemicals in the Middle East for 2017-2018 as well as other local, regional and international awards. She was selected among the top 100 elite figures in Global Energy by the British Petroleum Economist magazine. Abeer is a project leader at Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Aramco Global Research Centers in US and MIT.   Dr. Olayan is a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Material Science and Engineering (DMSE) at MIT. She taught a course related to empowering science in oil and gas industry at MIT. Dr. Olayan holds an executive certificate on innovation and Strategy from MIT Sloan School of Management.  Dr. Abeer also served on the Board of Directors at the American Chemical Society - Saudi Arabia section as a first female member in 2010. Abeer is the authored number of publications and has several filed patents.

Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan is a senior research scientist at Saudi Aramco. She has an academic and industrial background with more than 19 years of experience in chemistry and related applications. She was an Assistant Professor with the Chemistry Department of Dammam University before joining Saudi Aramco in 2011.


Dr. Abeer has been awarded the Woman of the Year Award for Oil and Gas and Petrochemicals in the Middle East for 2017-2018 as well as other local, regional and international awards. She was selected among the top 100 elite figures in Global Energy by the British Petroleum Economist magazine.
Abeer is a project leader at Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Aramco Global Research Centers in US and MIT.


Dr. Olayan is a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Material Science and Engineering (DMSE) at MIT. She taught a course related to empowering science in oil and gas industry at MIT. Dr. Olayan holds an executive certificate on innovation and Strategy from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dr. Abeer also served on the Board of Directors at the American Chemical Society - Saudi Arabia section as a first female member in 2010. Abeer is the authored number of publications and has several filed patents.

Abeer Al-Olayan

Petroleum Scientist at Saudi Aramco &MIT Research Fellow

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Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT

Hamdi is the Head of Levant & Qatar for Uber in the Middle East.   He joined Uber in 2015 to manage launch operations in Jordan, establishing a strong presence and engaging in policy negotiations that helped in bringing progressive ride-sharing regulations. Today, Hamdi looks over operations in Levant and Qatar, and expansions across the MENA region.   Prior to joining Uber, Hamdi founded his own startup in food and beverage, and introduced the concept of organized retail on a local neighborhood level in Jordan, before selling the business in 2016.  In addition to that, Hamdi is a founding board member of the Jordanian Entrepreneurship & Innovation association, with a focus on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, he also mentors and advises several tech startups.  Hamdi holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from King’s College in London, and a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Economics & Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hamdi is the Head of Levant & Qatar for Uber in the Middle East.

He joined Uber in 2015 to manage launch operations in Jordan, establishing a strong presence and engaging in policy negotiations that helped in bringing progressive ride-sharing regulations. Today, Hamdi looks over operations in Levant and Qatar, and expansions across the MENA region.

Prior to joining Uber, Hamdi founded his own startup in food and beverage, and introduced the concept of organized retail on a local neighborhood level in Jordan, before selling the business in 2016.

In addition to that, Hamdi is a founding board member of the Jordanian Entrepreneurship & Innovation association, with a focus on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, he also mentors and advises several tech startups.

Hamdi holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from King’s College in London, and a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Economics & Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hamdi Tabbaa

Head of Levant & Qatar at Uber Middle East

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Hazem Zureiqat

Partner and Associate Director of Transportation at Engicon

Jeff S. Shamma is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Director of the Center of Excellence for NEOM Research at KAUST. Shamma received a Ph.D. in systems science and engineering from MIT in 1988. He has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California, Los Angeles, and was the Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems & Control in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. Shamma is a Fellow of the IEEE and the International Federation of Automatic Control, and a recipient of the NSF Young Investigator Award, AACC Donald P. Eckman Award, and the Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lecture Award. Shamma is currently the deputy editor-in-chief for the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Control Systems Society.

Jeff S. Shamma is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Director of the Center of Excellence for NEOM Research at KAUST. Shamma received a Ph.D. in systems science and engineering from MIT in 1988. He has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California, Los Angeles, and was the Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems & Control in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. Shamma is a Fellow of the IEEE and the International Federation of Automatic Control, and a recipient of the NSF Young Investigator Award, AACC Donald P. Eckman Award, and the Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lecture Award. Shamma is currently the deputy editor-in-chief for the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Control Systems Society.

Jeff Shamma

Professor and Chair of Electrical Engineering at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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Markus Elkatsha

Urbanist, Researcher, Rocketeer at the MIT Media Lab City Science Group

Sally Itani is a Lebanese architect who graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut in 2018. She is a founding member of the NGO Architects for Change and a UNAOC Young Peacebuilder, and has been focusing her work and research on using architecture and urban design as a tool for positive social impact to empower the youth and marginalized communities. She runs the kids’ program at Architects for Change, and is currently developing a project on community- based architecture in impoverished villages in Lebanon. She also works with the architect Mohammad Hamaouie and is performing research on traditional architecture and urbanism in Arab-Islamic cities and the impact modernism has had on these cities.

Sally Itani is a Lebanese architect who graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut in 2018. She is a founding member of the NGO Architects for Change and a UNAOC Young Peacebuilder, and has been focusing her work and research on using architecture and urban design as a tool for positive social impact to empower the youth and marginalized communities. She runs the kids’ program at Architects for Change, and is currently developing a project on community- based architecture in impoverished villages in Lebanon. She also works with the architect Mohammad Hamaouie and is performing research on traditional architecture and urbanism in Arab-Islamic cities and the impact modernism has had on these cities.

Sally Itani

Co-founder @ Architects for Change

Karim is an award winning sustainability consultant based in London. Over the past two decades he has helped create sustainable buildings and urban environments across four continents, and has advised design and engineering practices, management consultancies, and think tanks.    He is also the founder and coordinator of Carboun, an advocacy initiative promoting sustainability in Middle Eastern cities. His project and research interests include developing sustainable, resilient, and smart cities, and assessing the role of policy, urban planning, building design, and urban mobility in reducing the impact of cities on resources and the environment.

Karim is an award winning sustainability consultant based in London. Over the past two decades he has helped create sustainable buildings and urban environments across four continents, and has advised design and engineering practices, management consultancies, and think tanks.

He is also the founder and coordinator of Carboun, an advocacy initiative promoting sustainability in Middle Eastern cities. His project and research interests include developing sustainable, resilient, and smart cities, and assessing the role of policy, urban planning, building design, and urban mobility in reducing the impact of cities on resources and the environment.

Karim Elgendy

Lead Sustainability Consultant at Dar Al-Handasah & Founder of Carboun

Dr. Sofiane Abbar is a Senior Software Engineer and Researcher at Qatar Computing Research Institute. He is leading the Urban Computing activity at QCRI with a specific focus on using AI and data-driven techniques to tackle big urban challenges related to mapping road networks, traffic congestion, mobility, air pollution, and resilience. He has initiated several projects with key entities from the public sector (e.g., Ministry of Transport and Communication and Smart Qatar Initiative), private sector (e.g. Karwa Taxi, Qatar Mobility Innovations Center), as well as academia (e.g. MIT Boston.)  Dr. Abbar has authored and co-authored over 40 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and conferences, and has deployed several large-scale and real-time systems for road network inference from GPS traces, map updating from satellite images, in-traffic routing, and recommender engines for news. He acts as PC is several international conferences such as ACM CHI, AAAI ICWSM, and ACM CIKM. Dr. Sofiane Abbar earned his PhD from University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France in collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. He graduated as a CS Engineer from Ecole Superieur d’Informatique (ex. INI, Algiers) in 2006.

Dr. Sofiane Abbar is a Senior Software Engineer and Researcher at Qatar Computing Research Institute. He is leading the Urban Computing activity at QCRI with a specific focus on using AI and data-driven techniques to tackle big urban challenges related to mapping road networks, traffic congestion, mobility, air pollution, and resilience. He has initiated several projects with key entities from the public sector (e.g., Ministry of Transport and Communication and Smart Qatar Initiative), private sector (e.g. Karwa Taxi, Qatar Mobility Innovations Center), as well as academia (e.g. MIT Boston.)

Dr. Abbar has authored and co-authored over 40 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and conferences, and has deployed several large-scale and real-time systems for road network inference from GPS traces, map updating from satellite images, in-traffic routing, and recommender engines for news. He acts as PC is several international conferences such as ACM CHI, AAAI ICWSM, and ACM CIKM. Dr. Sofiane Abbar earned his PhD from University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France in collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. He graduated as a CS Engineer from Ecole Superieur d’Informatique (ex. INI, Algiers) in 2006.

Sofiane Abbar

Senior Software Engineer and Researcher at Qatar Computing Research Institute

A Syrian tech and media entrepreneur. He began his career as a digital marketer in London in 2009 where he has worked across multiple marketing and media departments in both small and large companies and as a consultant.  In 2012, Malaz launched his start-up Arageek.com, an award winning and now one of the most visited Arabic content publishing platforms focused on technology, science, art and education.

A Syrian tech and media entrepreneur. He began his career as a digital marketer in London in 2009 where he has worked across multiple marketing and media departments in both small and large companies and as a consultant.

In 2012, Malaz launched his start-up Arageek.com, an award winning and now one of the most visited Arabic content publishing platforms focused on technology, science, art and education.

Malaz Madani

Founder of Arageek.com

Dr. Siqi Zheng is the Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor at Center for Real Estate, and Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( http://siqizheng.mit.edu  ). She established MIT China Future City Lab ( https://cfclab.mit.edu/  ) and is the faculty director of her Lab ( http://news.mit.edu/2018/faculty-profile-siqi-zheng-0703  ). Prof. Zheng is the current President of Asian Real Estate Society (2018-2019). She is the Associated Editor of China Economic Review, Journal of Economic Surveys, and is on the editorial board of Journal of Housing Economics and International Real Estate Review. Prof. Zheng’s field of specialization is urban and environmental economics, with a special focus on China, including the economics of green cities, the economics of new cities, transportation infrastructure, network and urban vibrancy. She published in many peer reviewed English journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, and the Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Economic Geography, European Economic Review, Journal of Urban Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Transportation Research Part A, Environment and Planning A, Ecological Economics, Journal of Regional Science, Real Estate Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. A book she has co-authored with Matthew Kahn, Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China (Princeton University Press) was published in 2016. She has also published more than 100 papers and two books in Chinese. Dr. Zheng has completed or been undertaking research projects granted or entrusted by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, among others. She received her Ph.D. in urban development and real estate from Tsinghua University in 2005, and did her post-doc research at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Prior to coming to MIT, she was a professor and the director of Hang Lung Center for Real Estate at Tsinghua University, China, where she still holds an adjunct professor position now.

Dr. Siqi Zheng is the Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor at Center for Real Estate, and Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (http://siqizheng.mit.edu ). She established MIT China Future City Lab (https://cfclab.mit.edu/ ) and is the faculty director of her Lab (http://news.mit.edu/2018/faculty-profile-siqi-zheng-0703 ). Prof. Zheng is the current President of Asian Real Estate Society (2018-2019). She is the Associated Editor of China Economic Review, Journal of Economic Surveys, and is on the editorial board of Journal of Housing Economics and International Real Estate Review. Prof. Zheng’s field of specialization is urban and environmental economics, with a special focus on China, including the economics of green cities, the economics of new cities, transportation infrastructure, network and urban vibrancy. She published in many peer reviewed English journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, and the Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Economic Geography, European Economic Review, Journal of Urban Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Transportation Research Part A, Environment and Planning A, Ecological Economics, Journal of Regional Science, Real Estate Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. A book she has co-authored with Matthew Kahn, Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China (Princeton University Press) was published in 2016. She has also published more than 100 papers and two books in Chinese. Dr. Zheng has completed or been undertaking research projects granted or entrusted by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, among others. She received her Ph.D. in urban development and real estate from Tsinghua University in 2005, and did her post-doc research at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Prior to coming to MIT, she was a professor and the director of Hang Lung Center for Real Estate at Tsinghua University, China, where she still holds an adjunct professor position now.

Siqi Zheng

Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor and Faculty Director of China Future City Lab at MIT SA+P

Meanwhile, as a prominent figure on social media and numerous other platforms, Salameh is an ardent environmental activist, driven by the belief that development and sustainability should always go hand-in-hand. In addition to engaging with the public directly, he has given talks and lectures at several notable institutions including TED talks, McGill University, University of Jordan, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan Engineers Association. Hanna completed both his bachelors and master’s degree in Architecture at McGill University in Canada.

Meanwhile, as a prominent figure on social media and numerous other platforms, Salameh is an ardent environmental activist, driven by the belief that development and sustainability should always go hand-in-hand. In addition to engaging with the public directly, he has given talks and lectures at several notable institutions including TED talks, McGill University, University of Jordan, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan Engineers Association. Hanna completed both his bachelors and master’s degree in Architecture at McGill University in Canada.

Hanna Salameh

Founder & Design Director at Hanna Salameh Design

Jessica Wolff is an urban planner and researcher whose work focuses on inclusive city planning for refugees and internally displaced persons. She is currently a consultant for the International Rescue Committee where she co-authored Urban Refuge: How Cities are Building Inclusive Communities ( rescue.org/cities ). This global report analyzes best practices in city policies for displaced persons and immigrants and presents recommendations for more effective collaboration between local government, the private sector and humanitarian organizations.  Jessica received her Master in City Planning degree from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning where her studies focused on land use planning and spatial analysis in the context of urban displacement. Her thesis research was awarded the 2017 USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Graduate Student Fellowship in Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements. Jessica’s research has been presented at USAID, InterAction’s Shelter & Settlements Working Group and the Inter-University Committee on International Migration. Previously, she served as a Community Economic Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and earned her B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Tufts University.

Jessica Wolff is an urban planner and researcher whose work focuses on inclusive city planning for refugees and internally displaced persons. She is currently a consultant for the International Rescue Committee where she co-authored Urban Refuge: How Cities are Building Inclusive Communities (rescue.org/cities). This global report analyzes best practices in city policies for displaced persons and immigrants and presents recommendations for more effective collaboration between local government, the private sector and humanitarian organizations.

Jessica received her Master in City Planning degree from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning where her studies focused on land use planning and spatial analysis in the context of urban displacement. Her thesis research was awarded the 2017 USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Graduate Student Fellowship in Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements. Jessica’s research has been presented at USAID, InterAction’s Shelter & Settlements Working Group and the Inter-University Committee on International Migration. Previously, she served as a Community Economic Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and earned her B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Tufts University.

Jessica Wolff

Urban Planning & Research Consultant

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Moe Ghashim

CEO of KeyCash

Malik Al-Abdeh is Programme Manager for Iraq and Syria at the Brussels-based European Institute of Peace (EIP). He develops and implements private mediation initiatives in support of international efforts to end the civil war in Syria and stabilise post-ISIS Iraq. Malik is well versed in the field of ‘Track II diplomacy’, an approach involving dialogue between non-government officials – having worked under one of its pioneers, former EIP Executive Director Martin Griffiths, currently serving as United Nations Envoy to Yemen. With eight years of experience as a journalist covering the Middle East, Malik brings first-hand insight into the challenges facing peace-building in today’s multidimensional conflicts.

Malik Al-Abdeh is Programme Manager for Iraq and Syria at the Brussels-based European Institute of Peace (EIP). He develops and implements private mediation initiatives in support of international efforts to end the civil war in Syria and stabilise post-ISIS Iraq. Malik is well versed in the field of ‘Track II diplomacy’, an approach involving dialogue between non-government officials – having worked under one of its pioneers, former EIP Executive Director Martin Griffiths, currently serving as United Nations Envoy to Yemen. With eight years of experience as a journalist covering the Middle East, Malik brings first-hand insight into the challenges facing peace-building in today’s multidimensional conflicts.

Malik Al-Abdeh

Program Manager at the European Institute of Peace

Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini is the Founding CTO of Analytical Space, a Boston-based startup building a constellation of data relay satellites power by laser communication.   Analytical Space has been named by Fast Company as one of the world's Most Innovative Companies for 2019, and by the World Economic Forum as one of the Arab world's top 100 startups in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.   He is also the Founder of Jordan's first satellite program (JY1-SAT), and previously served as a Consultant with the Crown Prince Foundation.  With a background in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, Abdul Mohsen spent three years at NASA Ames’s Mission Design Division, and two years at Draper Laboratory's Strategic and Space Guidance and Control Group.   Abdul Mohsen currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He also holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini is the Founding CTO of Analytical Space, a Boston-based startup building a constellation of data relay satellites power by laser communication.

Analytical Space has been named by Fast Company as one of the world's Most Innovative Companies for 2019, and by the World Economic Forum as one of the Arab world's top 100 startups in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He is also the Founder of Jordan's first satellite program (JY1-SAT), and previously served as a Consultant with the Crown Prince Foundation.
With a background in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, Abdul Mohsen spent three years at NASA Ames’s Mission Design Division, and two years at Draper Laboratory's Strategic and Space Guidance and Control Group.

Abdul Mohsen currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He also holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Abdul Mohsen Al-Husseini

Co-founder and CTO at Analytical Space

Rida is a Doctoral Student in Urban Information Systems at MIT. Her work focuses on the interactions between emerging technologies and informal urban labor markets. In her research she uses novel datasets and spatial analytics to understand the dynamics of informal economic systems at a more nuanced, granular level, especially as they adapt to the changing city. Past research has included using satellite imagery to study displacement of street markets in Mexico City, utilizing a mix of administrative datasets to map inequitable policing of sidewalk vending in New York City, and conducting spatial and economic analyses of food halls in Singapore.  She is currently part of the MIT CREATE ( https://www.create.mit.edu/ ) team seeking to build more inclusive urban spaces for marginalized, small scale retailers in Boston and Durban. She received her Masters in City Planning from MIT and BSc in Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Rida is a Doctoral Student in Urban Information Systems at MIT. Her work focuses on the interactions between emerging technologies and informal urban labor markets. In her research she uses novel datasets and spatial analytics to understand the dynamics of informal economic systems at a more nuanced, granular level, especially as they adapt to the changing city. Past research has included using satellite imagery to study displacement of street markets in Mexico City, utilizing a mix of administrative datasets to map inequitable policing of sidewalk vending in New York City, and conducting spatial and economic analyses of food halls in Singapore.

She is currently part of the MIT CREATE (https://www.create.mit.edu/) team seeking to build more inclusive urban spaces for marginalized, small scale retailers in Boston and Durban. She received her Masters in City Planning from MIT and BSc in Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Rida Qadri

PhD Candidate, MIT Urban Information Systems

Marwan Abou Dib is a Founding Partner of Tekuma Frenchman Urban Design and CEO of Tekuma Inc. out of MIT, a venture dedicated towards urban innovation in designing future cities. Marwan's vision is to pioneer a new model of a global city in the digital age. His passion for city-making stems from having witnessed the rapid transformation of Dubai at an early age and the renaissance of post-war Beirut.  With dual master degrees in architecture and real estate development from MIT, Marwan's goal is to bridge academia with industry to increase deployment of urban innovation in future cities, especially towards emerging markets. His research focuses at the intersection of real estate, design and technology where his work in collaboration with Prof. Dennis Frenchman and MIT laboratories continues to globally influence and impact the way we engage with new models of urbanism.  Marwan's background experience has positioned him as a top 10 innovator under the age of 35 by MIT Technology Review magazine, Forbes 30 under 30 in the Middle East and was a featured speaker with the United Nations, McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group.

Marwan Abou Dib is a Founding Partner of Tekuma Frenchman Urban Design and CEO of Tekuma Inc. out of MIT, a venture dedicated towards urban innovation in designing future cities. Marwan's vision is to pioneer a new model of a global city in the digital age. His passion for city-making stems from having witnessed the rapid transformation of Dubai at an early age and the renaissance of post-war Beirut.

With dual master degrees in architecture and real estate development from MIT, Marwan's goal is to bridge academia with industry to increase deployment of urban innovation in future cities, especially towards emerging markets. His research focuses at the intersection of real estate, design and technology where his work in collaboration with Prof. Dennis Frenchman and MIT laboratories continues to globally influence and impact the way we engage with new models of urbanism.

Marwan's background experience has positioned him as a top 10 innovator under the age of 35 by MIT Technology Review magazine, Forbes 30 under 30 in the Middle East and was a featured speaker with the United Nations, McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group.

Marwan Aboudib

Co-founder and CEO at Tekuma

Fouad Maksoud is a chemical engineer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He received his MSc in Chemical and Petroleum engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2016. Soon after graduation, he participated in stars of science competition, an initiative by Qatar Foundation, across the MENA region. He won the Arab world best innovator award in 2017, where his innovative idea competed with top young Arab scientists. He invented an electrospinning machine with more than 1000 nozzles for producing nanofibrous membranes and coating other textiles. The fabricated membranes have been used in many applications such as waterproof breathable and antibacterial fabrics, air and water filtration, oil-water separation, tissue engineering, and drug delivery, one nanofiber at a time!

Fouad Maksoud is a chemical engineer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He received his MSc in Chemical and Petroleum engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2016. Soon after graduation, he participated in stars of science competition, an initiative by Qatar Foundation, across the MENA region. He won the Arab world best innovator award in 2017, where his innovative idea competed with top young Arab scientists. He invented an electrospinning machine with more than 1000 nozzles for producing nanofibrous membranes and coating other textiles. The fabricated membranes have been used in many applications such as waterproof breathable and antibacterial fabrics, air and water filtration, oil-water separation, tissue engineering, and drug delivery, one nanofiber at a time!

Fouad Maksoud

Arab World Best Innovator at Stars of Science Season 9

Sébastien Karim Mannai is a postdoctoral associate at MIT. He obtained 2 Masters in Applied Mathematics and Quantum Physics from Ecole Centrale Paris and Université Paris XI in France before moving to Boston to obtain his PhD in Aerospace at MIT.  Sébastien is the inventor of the technology behind Acoustic Wells, a young IoT startup that leverage a novel sensor and advance algorithms for the Oil and gas Industry. Sébastien is developing the company’s strategy and the physics behind the hardware.

Sébastien Karim Mannai is a postdoctoral associate at MIT. He obtained 2 Masters in Applied Mathematics and Quantum Physics from Ecole Centrale Paris and Université Paris XI in France before moving to Boston to obtain his PhD in Aerospace at MIT.

Sébastien is the inventor of the technology behind Acoustic Wells, a young IoT startup that leverage a novel sensor and advance algorithms for the Oil and gas Industry. Sébastien is developing the company’s strategy and the physics behind the hardware.

Sebastien Mannai

Founder and CEO of Acoustic Wells

Haya Odeh is the designer and co-founder of Repl.it -- the world's leading online coding platform. She's passionate about building a welcoming community for programmers to develop and launch their careers. Although she's not a developer, she's not afraid of reimagining an ideal beginner-friendly development environment, that's why the platform has grown to serve millions of users. Coming from a background designing for non-profits and educators, she brings a user-focused and empathetic approach to product design.

Haya Odeh is the designer and co-founder of Repl.it -- the world's leading online coding platform. She's passionate about building a welcoming community for programmers to develop and launch their careers. Although she's not a developer, she's not afraid of reimagining an ideal beginner-friendly development environment, that's why the platform has grown to serve millions of users. Coming from a background designing for non-profits and educators, she brings a user-focused and empathetic approach to product design.

Hayah Odeh

Co-founder at Repl.it

Amjad Masad is co-founder and CEO at Repl.it -- the world's leading online coding platform. Amjad has dedicated his career to making programming more accessible. Starting with Codecademy, where he was a founding engineer, he helped build the platform that introduced tens of millions of people to coding. Afterward, he joined Facebook to lead the JavaScript Infrastructure team to build and maintain developer tools like React.js. With Repl.it, he's now focused on building collaborative developer tools that lower the barriers to entry for building and shipping software.

Amjad Masad is co-founder and CEO at Repl.it -- the world's leading online coding platform. Amjad has dedicated his career to making programming more accessible. Starting with Codecademy, where he was a founding engineer, he helped build the platform that introduced tens of millions of people to coding. Afterward, he joined Facebook to lead the JavaScript Infrastructure team to build and maintain developer tools like React.js. With Repl.it, he's now focused on building collaborative developer tools that lower the barriers to entry for building and shipping software.

Amjad Masad

Co-founder at Repl.it

Faris was studying Chemical Engineering before dropping out to pursue a career in his new found passion of Software Engineering. He started off as technical support engineer in Jordan, Faris was expressing his love for software by attempting to and successfully automating most of the work done by the technical support team. He then moved on to build custom solutions for small to medium size companies and some larger companies later on. Faris joined Repl.it as a founding engineer when Amjad and Haya decided to build it out. Nowadays he mostly works on the IDE and development experience of our users.

Faris was studying Chemical Engineering before dropping out to pursue a career in his new found passion of Software Engineering. He started off as technical support engineer in Jordan, Faris was expressing his love for software by attempting to and successfully automating most of the work done by the technical support team. He then moved on to build custom solutions for small to medium size companies and some larger companies later on. Faris joined Repl.it as a founding engineer when Amjad and Haya decided to build it out. Nowadays he mostly works on the IDE and development experience of our users.

Faris Masad

Co-founder @ Repl.it

Tarek completed his undergraduate and masters studies in Computer Science and Mathematics at MIT. He’s is the co-founder and CEO of Kalshi, a platform that allows users to bet on anything, with anyone, and that was part of the winter 2019 Y Combinator batch. Originally from Lebanon, Tarek enjoys skiing, traveling and reading.

Tarek completed his undergraduate and masters studies in Computer Science and Mathematics at MIT. He’s is the co-founder and CEO of Kalshi, a platform that allows users to bet on anything, with anyone, and that was part of the winter 2019 Y Combinator batch. Originally from Lebanon, Tarek enjoys skiing, traveling and reading.

Tarek Mansour

Co-founder and CEO @ Kalshi

 
Mashael Al-Sabah is a scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). Before that, Mashael was an assistant professor at the computer science and engineering department at Qatar University. Her research interests lie in the area network security and privacy enhancing technologies, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology. She has published papers that were featured in various magazines such as Wired and New Scientist, and was awarded the Education Excellence Day Platinum Award for PhD holders category in Qatar for year 2014. Mashael obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in 2013, and later spent 16 months at MIT as a visiting scientist.

Mashael Al-Sabah is a scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). Before that, Mashael was an assistant professor at the computer science and engineering department at Qatar University. Her research interests lie in the area network security and privacy enhancing technologies, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology. She has published papers that were featured in various magazines such as Wired and New Scientist, and was awarded the Education Excellence Day Platinum Award for PhD holders category in Qatar for year 2014. Mashael obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in 2013, and later spent 16 months at MIT as a visiting scientist.

Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini is the Founding CTO of Analytical Space, a Boston-based startup building a constellation of data relay satellites power by laser communication. Analytical Space has been named by Fast Company as one of the world's Most Innovative Companies for 2019, and by the World Economic Forum as one of the Arab world's top 100 startups in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He is also the Founder of Jordan's first satellite program (JY1-SAT), and previously served as a Consultant with the Crown Prince Foundation. With a background in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, Abdul Mohsen spent three years at NASA Ames’s Mission Design Division, and two years at Draper Laboratory's Strategic and Space Guidance and Control Group. Abdul Mohsen currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He also holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini is the Founding CTO of Analytical Space, a Boston-based startup building a constellation of data relay satellites power by laser communication. Analytical Space has been named by Fast Company as one of the world's Most Innovative Companies for 2019, and by the World Economic Forum as one of the Arab world's top 100 startups in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He is also the Founder of Jordan's first satellite program (JY1-SAT), and previously served as a Consultant with the Crown Prince Foundation. With a background in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, Abdul Mohsen spent three years at NASA Ames’s Mission Design Division, and two years at Draper Laboratory's Strategic and Space Guidance and Control Group. Abdul Mohsen currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He also holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Mashael Alsabah

Scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute

Abdulazaz Al-Homaid

Research associate at the Qatar Computing Research Institute