Master of Ceremonies and Moderators
Irina Bokova, has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009, and was re-elected for a second term in 2013. She is the first woman and the first Eastern European to lead the Organization. She is also the co-Vice-Chair of the Broadband Commission and chair of the UN High Level Committee on Management.
She began her career at the United Nations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. Appointed in charge of political and legal affairs at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations in New York, she was a member of the Bulgarian Delegation to the UN World Conferences on Women in Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing. She was elected twice as Member of Parliament and she served as the Government’s first Secretary of European integration.
Irina was Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, Monaco and UNESCO and Personal Representative of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. She also served as Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI, 2011-2015).
Having graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, she was a Fellow at the University of Maryland (Washington) and followed an executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Ms. Bokova is on the Forbes List of the world’s most influential women for 2016.
H.E.Dr. Ali bin Nasser Alghafis
H.E.Dr. Ali bin Nasser Alghafis
Minister of labor and social development
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Minister of labor and social development, Dr Ali bin Nasser Alghafis .
Has PhD in policy analysis, research and analysis (policy of technical sciences) from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, and a master’s degree in public administration from the same University, and a Bachelor’s degree in public administration from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. He hold several positions before taking up the Ministry.
He was Deputy Governor for technical and vocational training for research and development, then Governor of the institution, then a member of the ShuraCouncil.
The Minister chairs several boards and organizations and he is a member of many committees.
H.H. Mansour Bin Saad Al-Saud
H.H. Mansour Bin Saad Al-Saud
Assistant Secretary General at King Faisal Foundation
H.H. Mansour has been occupying several positions; he is the Assistant Secretary General at King Fasial foundation as well as the designated managing director of the metal, silver and golden industries Co.Ltd. (Sharatt). He is also a member of several boards of director and Board of Control in several companies and authorities.
He used to be the manager of the credit department in the Saudi industrial development fund after climbing the hierarchical ladder of the credit management in the fund and contributed to several significant industrial projects that contributed to the national economy. He worked as well a performance analyst at Alsalam Aircraft Company directly following his graduation.
Education: Mansour Bin Saad Al-Saud holds a master’s degree in business management from Brunel University in London and a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from King Saud University in Riyadh. He also had completed several specialized courses in strategic planning, finical analysis in several vocational institutes in the Unites States, UK and others.
Princess Banderi A.R. AlFaisal
H.R.H. Princess Banderi A.R. AlFaisal
Director General King Khalid Foundation
H.R.H. Princess Banderi AbdulRahman AlFaisal has been the Director General of the King Khalid Foundation since 1999. She is a member of Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women, The ADHD Society & Support Group (AFTA), The Voice of Down Syndrome Society (Saut), and Social Charity Fund board member.
She contributed to launching several social development initiatives and programs across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has also participated in numerous conferences and forums both locally and internationally to promote the concept of strategic philanthropy.
Princess Banderi graduated with BA in English Literature from King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in, 1994, and she graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, in 1998.
Jimmy Donal Wales
Jimmy Donal Wales
Founder, Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation
Jimmy Donal Wales is a U.S. Internet entrepreneur, wiki pioneer, and technology visionary, who is best known as the Founder of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
In 2003, Mr. Wales founded the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge.
The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the “Young Global Leaders” of 2007. He is a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He serves on the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses and the non-profit organization Creative Commons. He has received an honorary doctorate from Knox College of Illinois and was presented with a Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2006.
Jimmy received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and started with the Ph.D. finance program at the University of Alabama, where he left with a Master’s.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador
Carl Lewis is an Olympian, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and the Founder of The Carl Lewis Foundation. The foundation serves as an umbrella for the many charities that Lewis supports including the College Fund (formerly known as the United Negro College Fund), The Wendy Marx Foundation (for organ donor awareness) and the UNCF Walkathon in Houston. He is also involved as a Board Member in the “Best Buddies,” program, which integrates people with special needs into society.
The American former track and field athlete won 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and 10 World Championship medals, including eight gold. His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee, “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Athlete of the Year” by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983, and 1984.
Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information, UNESCO
Eric Falt is the Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), based at its headquarters in Paris. In his role, he oversees the work of the UNESCO in the political field, in particular, relationships with Member States, and coordinates activities geared towards civil society. He also guides UNESCO’s communications and public information efforts.
Previously, he served as Director of the Outreach Division at the United Nations Department of Public Information in New York from 2007 to 2010. From 2002 to 2007, Eric was simultaneously Director of Communications for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), based at its headquarters in Nairobi, and Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC). Throughout the 1990’s and until 2002, he served as Director of the UN Information Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan and in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Iraq, Haiti and Cambodia.
Before joining the United Nations, Eric was with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chicago and in New York.
Emerging Markets Editor, CNNMoney
John Defterios is the CNNMoney Emerging Markets Editor. In addition to his daily reporting for CNN’s main business programming, John hosts “CNN Marketplace Middle East” and “One Square Meter”.
He has more than two decades of financial news and current affairs experience. He started at CNN in New York as a correspondent on “Moneyline with Lou Dobbs”, anchored CNN’s “World Business Today”, and the top-rated US morning business program “Ahead of the Curve”. Prior to CNN, John worked for Reuters Television as European Correspondent, West Coast Correspondent and special series producer in a joint-venture with The Nightly Business Report on PBS-TV.
John is a World Economic Forum media leader and member of the Global Agenda Council on the Arab World. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Journalism and Political Economics.
Alan Kasujja is widely regarded as one of Africa’s most prominent journalists, and currently anchors the BBC World Service’s award-winning flagship global news programme, Newsday.
Alan has reported for the UK’s most influential breakfast programme, Radio 4’s Today and for BBC TV. He’s has also done a series of documentaries on Africa’s journey towards socio-economic transformation. In 2016, he hosted Uganda’s first-ever live televised Presidential Debate. He’s previously worked on radio and TV in both Kenya and Uganda, and famously hosted the East African version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Alan has participated in High Level panels around the world at The World Economic Forum, The World Bank, The Atlantic Dialogues, The Africa Development Bank, The New York Africa Forum, The Doha GOALS and many others.
He read Law at the University of London.
Justin B. Smith
Justin B. Smith
Chief Executive Officer, Bloomberg Media Group
Justin B. Smith is Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Media Group, Bloomberg L.P.’s global multi-platform media organization that comprises web, mobile, television, digital video, radio, print magazines and live events platforms. In addition to his work at Bloomberg, Justin was named to the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation Board of Directors in 2014, is a 2013 Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His philanthropic efforts include founding the Bali Purnati Center for the Arts and the Ouagadougou Education Project.
Prior to Bloomberg, Justin was President of Atlantic Media where he spearheaded a dramatic revitalization of The Atlantic and launched award-winning digital brands such as Quartz, The Atlantic Wire and Defense One. Previously, Justin served as President and Publisher of The Week magazine, where he introduced the U.S. version in 2001. Justin came to The Week from The Economist Group, where he led corporate strategy in London, Hong Kong and New York. He began his career in media at the International Herald Tribune in Paris and Hong Kong, helping to build the global newspaper’s conference business.
Justin has been recognized with a number of awards, including Advertising Age’s 2010 “Publishing Executive of the Year,” Advertising Age’s 2010 “Magazine A-List” and min’s 2010 “Most Intriguing People in Media.” He was also named to Advertising Age’s 2006 “40 Under 40” ranking.
He serves on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. from the School of Foreign Service in 1991.
President, UNESCO NGO Liaison Committee
Mr. Beaussant is President of the UNESCO NGO Liaison Committee, which is in charge of the relationship between the 350 official NGO member partners and UNESCO. He is also President of CIOFF (International Council of Organisations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art), an Official Partner of UNESCO, accredited to the UNESCO ICH Committee, as well as a member of the board of CIOFF France.
For 17 years, up until 2016, Mr. Beaussant was the Director of the Festival de Confolens (CIOFF®), an international festival for popular arts and traditions, as well as the CEO of the Festival Cultures Croisées in the Paris region. In parallel, he managed the tours for Bollywood Express, Soy de Cuba and Ballet Revolution, organised by Indigo Productions, in France and Germany.
Mr. Beaussant holds an undergraduate degree in foreign languages (English and Spanish) from the University of Limoges.
Noura Al Kaabi
Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi
Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs
Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54
Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs in February 2016. In this role, H.E. Noura Al Kaabi acts as the key link and facilitator between the Cabinet and the Federal National Council.
H.E. Noura Al Kaabi is Chair of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54, the home of media and entertainment in Abu Dhabi; Chair of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC Group) and Chair of Abu Dhabi Media Company. She is a board member of the UAE’s National Media Council, International Federal Council, Image Nation, National Archive, Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Zayed Sports Council and Young Global Leader.
H.E. Noura Al Kaabi is the first UAE National to be ranked on Foreign Policy magazine’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers List’. In 2014, she was named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Gulf Business Industry Awards, and one of the 20 most powerful women in global television by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016.
H.E. Noura Al Kaabi holds a B.A. in MIS from UAE University and has also completed the Executive Leadership Programme from London Business School.
Dr. Benjamin Lough is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Faculty Director of International Service at the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis. He also works as Senior Research Associate for the Center for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg.
His research interests include: civic engagement, community development, volunteerism, and non-profit management. He is lead author of the 2018 United Nations State of the Worlds Volunteerism Report, and is currently engaged in research funded by SSHRC of Canada to understand effective practices of international volunteering. Benjamin is Associate Editor of Voluntaristics Review and serves on the Board of the Building Bridges Coalition—a US-based coalition of hundreds of international volunteer-cooperation organisations. He co-leads the tripartite Global Research Agenda on Volunteering for Peace and Development in partnership with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
Prior to beginning his work at the University of Illinois, he was an independent consultant with the Department of Human and Social Services of American Samoa and the Foundation for International and Community Assistance in Armenia and the Republic of Georgia.
EXECUTIVE MANAGER, MiSK Foundation
Shaima was one of the founding members – and the first female – at MiSK Foundation, a non-profit organization that is now positively impacting thousands of young people’s lives.
Since its inception in 2011, Shaima has developed and delivered a multitude of projects including partnerships and sponsorships, and managed projects worth 20 Million SAR+ while leading teams of over 30 people to deliver impactful results.
A graduate in Business Administration with a minor in Public Administration, Shaima is the project lead for the MiSK Global Forum and she represents MiSK in the community as a young female leader in Saudi Arabia.
Brian Rusch is the Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, the international nonprofit organization started by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Since he joined the Foundation in 2015 he has worked to inspire young people to become change makers for peace and has developed educational youth programs that focus on reshaping conversations about peace, equality, and forgiveness.
Brian previously was the Deputy Executive Director for the Dalai Lama Foundation, where he specialized in developing and managing projects and curricula to guide young people on their own exploration of ethics and peace.
Throughout everything he does, Brian is guided by the South African philosophy of Ubuntu or “We are all connected. What affects one of us affects us all.”
Vice President, NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee
Patrick Gallaud is the Vice President of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee and a teacher of Contemporary History.
As well, he was tasked with several elective mandates as Secretary-General of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Association. Patrick was then named as Scientific Adviser of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and organized its first scientific congress, on the occasion of its Centennial.
He is the author of numerous articles on youth, non-formal education, and civil society. He is a member of the Writing Committee of the Association of Former UNESCO Staff Review “Link”, and cooperates regularly with the Review of contemporary culture “Etudes”.
Caroline Heptner is the Team Leader of the Grameen Creative Lab (GCL) in Paris. The GCL was founded in 2009 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and his Creative Advisor Hans Reitz and was designed to accelerate and spread the Yunus spirit of social business through communication and events on social business.
Before Caroline joined the GCL, she worked as a journalist at a number of newspapers including Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt and BILD. She also worked in the communications departments of IG Metall and Boston Consulting.
She holds a Masters Degree from the University of Hamburg.
Charles Hopkins is the UNESCO Chair holder at York University, in Toronto, Canada. His UNESCO work focuses on a network of teacher education institutions from over 70 countries that are engaged in Education 2030 and the new Sustainable Development Goals. He is a United Nations University Advisor on Education for Sustainable Development and is working with the United Nations Vocational and Technical Education Program (UNEVOC) to “green” technical and vocational education institutions. He is also the Co-Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute on ESD in Beijing and advises several ministries of education in Asia and Europe and universities and colleges in the Americas.
Prior to his current roles, he was the co-director of the Sustainability and Education Academy, at York University, Toronto, Canada, assisting ministries, faculties of education, and school districts reorient their school systems to address sustainability and global citizenship.
He has been awarded seven honorary doctorates and professorships spanning Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Dejan Bojanic is the Vice President of the European Youth Forum- the world’s biggest platform of youth organizations which represents young Europeans in international institutions such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Dejan is also an International Officer at Save the Children Youth Sweden which advocates for children’s rights and the full implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
During the second term of Ban Ki-moon’s post as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dejan served as a member of the Youth Advocacy Group of the UN Global Education First Initiative.
Forbes magazine named Dejan one of the most influential Europeans working with policy and advocacy.
Gérard Kabore is currently the Chief of Cabinet of the Executive Secretary of the Niger Basin Authority, an intergovernmental organization made up of nine member countries that aims to foster cooperation on managing and developing the region.
Previously, he was the Pan African Coordinator of the International Young Catholic Students which operates in thirty four countries in Africa to build capacity of more than two million young people on the continent to engage in the development process. In addition, he was one of the key advocates for the International Youth Organizations to be part of the decision-making processes in Africa.
Hayat Sindi is Founder and President of the Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity (i2institute), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She is also Co-founder and Director of Diagnostics for All, a nonprofit institution fusing biotechnology and microfluidics, dedicated to creating low-cost, easy-to-use, point-of-care diagnostics designed specifically for the 60 percent of the developing world that lives beyond the reach of urban hospitals and medical infrastructures.
Along with her scientific activities, she participated in numerous events aimed at raising the awareness of science amongst women, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World. She is also interested in the problem of brain drain. In 2010, she was the winner of the ‘Mekkah Al Mukaram’ Prize for Scientific Innovation, given by H.R.H Prince Khalid Al-Faisal. She was also named a 2011 Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society and in 2012 one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”. She became UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2012. In 2014, she received the Clinton Global Citizen Awards for her work to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people in the Middle East.
Hayat graduated with a degree in pharmacology in 1995 at King’s College, UK and earned a PhD in biotechnology from Cambridge University in 2001.
Hila Azadzoy is part of the Kiron Open Higher Education’s founding team, an innovative social start-up, which removes barriers for refugees to higher education through smart digital solutions. As the Head of Academics, Hila has shaped the continuous development of Kiron’s revolutionary academic program, developed relevant strategic partnerships and conducted substantial fundraising. Hila launched her career at Human Rights Watch, working as a professional translator, working extensively with refugees.
She holds a Master of Science in Politics, Economics and Philosophy from the University of Hamburg and a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Government from the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
Juan Pablo Celis
Juan Pablo Celis currently holds the position of Youth Representative for the United Nations Association of New York.
He is an adviser on social, cultural, and humanitarian issues for the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations and the coordinator of Outreach and Advocacy of the Youth Steering Committee for the UN DPI/NGO Youth Representatives Programme.
Previously, he has served as the Co-Chair of the Youth Subcommittee for the 66th United Nations DPI/NGO Conference on Education for Global Citizenship and has worked with educational institutions in Trento, Italy and Alexandria, Egypt designing education projects focused on innovative teaching methods. In his native country, Colombia, he was a leader for the international student organisation, AIESEC and managed the Global Community Development Program and trained young leaders for the global market.
Kamel Al-Asmar is the Founder of Nakhweh, the Arab World’s Volunteerism & Development Network. An Arab social entrepreneur with more than seven years of experience in youth engagement and impact communications, he is also the Head of Wamda’s Communications and Community Engagement.
Previously he founded Ideation Box, the leading impact communication solutions provider for organization and corporates in the region.
Kamel is one of Forbes’ 2014 “30 Under 30” Social Entrepeneurs, an Ashoka Fellow, and a 2012 recipient of the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation & Achievement in 2012.
Manyang Reath Kher
Manyang Reath Kher is the Founder of Humanity Helping Sudan Project and a respected authority on the South Sudanese refugee crisis. He spent nearly fifteen years of his childhood as a Lost Boy of Sudan.
He gained national recognition when he was awarded the VH1 “Do Something” Award in 2012 and since then has been a regular speaker at summits and special events to focus the world’s attention on the plight of Sudanese refugees. Interviews with him can be found on ABC News, CNN and Comcast Newsmakers.
Salam Abukhdrah is the Co-founder of SheCab, a project for female taxi services. She, along with three other women, started the company in 2014 in order to provide jobs for women and resist social stereotypes of what women can do.
In April of 2015, she was chosen as a Women Deliver Young Leader and she was also chosen as one of the She Entrepreneurs participants by the Swedish Institute. In June 2015, she was awarded a European Commission scholarship for the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Economic Policies in the Age of Globalisation.
As CEO and Founder of Empowerment Through Integration, Sara is an internationally recognized advocate in the areas of disability inclusion and social entrpreneurship. Since starting ETI, she has continued her work in the social sector while also growing ETI from a summer camp to an organization that today reaches over 3000 people across Lebanon and the United States.
Sara has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2009 she was honoured with the Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award. In 2011, she was selected as a Rhodes Scholar finalist and received the Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEAS Global Challenge Award and the Margaret Freeman Bowers Award. Additionally, in 2015, she was selected as an Echoing Green Fellow and a Halcyon Incubator fellow for ETI’s innovative work. She was also selected as a Forbes “30 Under 30” Social Entrepreneurs in 2017.
Tanzila Khan is an activist in the fields of empowerment and capacity building of young and disabled people through activism and citizenship. She began her career at the age of sixteen when she published her first book to raise funds for earthquake victims. The experience evolved into an organization to cater to disabled and youth who were active in citizenship, despite having shortcomings.
During her career she has worked for organizations such as the Special Olympics, Y-peer, Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, Global Changemakers, and the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, as well as Oxfam.
As a result of her work she was awarded the Young Connector of the Future and Women Deliver fellowships.
Ahmad Ashkar is the Founder and CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation, which was named by TIME Magazine as one of the top five initiatives changing the world. The Hult Prize has been called “the Nobel Prize for Students” and its portfolio of companies includes market leaders in food security, healthcare and clean water. Ashkar specializes in entrepreneurship, innovation & strategy, new market entry and global expansion.
As a Palestinian-American, Ashkar serves as an independent advisory to the municipality of his hometown of Tulkarm, West Bank, where he is also an active entrepreneur. Most recently, he co-founded the PalestineWater Company, a public-private partnership, and he serves as an advisor or board member on several companies across the tech, defence, leisure and hospitality sectors.
An expert in youth unemployment, Ashkar has been profiled as a social innovator by Harvard Business Review and is distinguished as one of the top 40 CEOs under 40 in the Middle East by Arabian Business. He is also recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper.
Dr. Grace Mwaura
Program Associate, Climate Interactive
Grace works for Climate Interactive, supporting the global diffusion of World Climate and World Energy programs through training facilitators, facilitating simulation events, and managing the community of facilitators from around the world. She is also leading a global Multisolving research project that analyses case studies of ‘bright spots’ around the world where leaders have aligned policies and investments to produce win-wins in both climate and health.
She has previously consulted for international development agencies and worked for research institutions in Kenya and the UK. She co-founded the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) now a movement in over 30 African countries. She is a former IUCN Council Member where she supported the development of youth policies and now a Co-convener of the IUCN Taskforce on Intergenerational Partnerships for Sustainability.
Grace holds a PhD in Geography and Environment from Oxford University focusing on youth aspirations in contemporary societies. She also has an MPhil in Environmental Policy from Oxford and a Bachelors in Environmental Sciences from Kenyatta University.
Samiha Khelifa Bedioufi
Samiha Khelifa Bedioufi is an Associate Professor at the University of Sousse in Tunisia and a Researcher in territorial development at LMI Mediter at the IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement), a French research institute.
Ms. Bedioufi is a member of the Scientific Committee of IFIC, the Francophone Institute of Knowledge Management and Distance Learning.
A pioneer of distance learning in higher education in Tunisia, Ms. Bedioufi has put in place several distance learning initiatives including a MOOC on ‘Radicalization and Terrorism’ at the University of Manouba and the Arab Institute for Human Rights, in collaboration with UNESCO.
She has a Masters degree in incorporating ICT in education and training and is certified in online reputation management.
Head of Policy and Research, Institute for Strategic Dialogue
Jonathan Birdwell is Head of Policy and Research at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Director of the Strong Cities Network. He oversees and provides strategic direction on ISD’s policy maker networks, including The Strong Cities Network and the Policy Planner’s Network (PPN).
Launched in September 2015, the Strong Cities Network is the only global network of cities, municipalities and local practitioners sharing knowledge and expertise on building social cohesion and resilience to violent extremism in all its forms.
Additionally, Jonathan manages the Denmark-MENA Strong Cities Exchange Programme, an in-depth two year SCN project working with ten municipalities across Denmark, Jordan and Lebanon to build multi-stakeholder ‘Prevention Networks’ at the municipal-level.
Previously, Jonathan was Head of the Citizenship and Political Participation Programme at the London-based think tank Demos, where he authored over 40 research and policy reports on topics including the relationship between violence terrorists and non-violent Islamist radicals (The Edge of Violence, 2010) and ‘far right’ political parties and street-based groups in Europe (The New Face of Digital Populism, 2012).
Founder and Executive Director, Sughar Foundation
Khalida Brohi, 27, is the Founder and Executive Director of Sughar Foundation USA, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing tribal and rural women opportunities to evaluate their skills and nurture their leadership skills in an environment of growth and development.
Khalida launched Sughar, meaning “skilled and confident woman” in Urdu, in 2009, in order to help provide resources to launch and sustain rural women-owned businesses, and she aims to change the lives of 1 million women in Pakistan
With her husband, David Barron she also co-founded The Chai Spot, a social enterprise based in Arizona, USA, that provides economic opportunities for woman in Pakistan.
Khalida has been named among Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship, and has received numerous awards: The inaugural Emerging Global Leader Award by Northwestern University, ANGEL Award by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the Woman of Impact Award by Women in the World Foundation, and Women Excellence Award by National Government of Pakistan. She was named Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab, one of Newsweeks’ 25 under 25 Women of Impact and 100 Women Who Matter in Pakistan.
Founder and CEO, AppLands
Nicolas Bussard is the founder and CEO of an app development company called AppLands. AppLands develops mobile apps for social communities (mostly) in Asia and in Africa. In 2012, Nicolas co-founded skilledafricans, a professional pan-African social network that helps African professionals improve their employability. Some of the latest apps for social communities developed by AppLands include communication/social network apps for Muslim communities in Africa and Asia, namely the Mourides (5+ million members worldwide) and the Tidjanes (150+ million members worldwide).
In 2004 Nicolas founded Feedzilla.com, a personal project he transformed into the world’s leading news aggregator and news widget platform. Three years later, in 2007, Nicolas successfully patented a methodology for creating online magazines.
Nicolas started his career as a university lecturer at Coventry University, England, in 1998 where he taught E-commerce and mathematics. Parallel to teaching, Nicolas worked on his Ph.D. in Information Technology and Mathematics applied to the aircraft industry. He passed his doctorate at the age of 24.
Ahmed Mater is an artist who was born into a traditional Aseeri family, in Saudi Arabia.
His most recent work delves into unofficial histories of Saudi sociopolitical life. It is concerned with the representation of traumatic events of collective historical dimensions, and the ways in which video and photography can document physical and psychological violence, that accompanies the accelerated transformation of a historically and traditionally rich place.
When he was 18, he became a founding member of Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, while simultaneously studying medicine. Ahmed co-founded the groundbreaking Edge of Arabia in 2008, and since then his work has drawn international attention, being collected by the likes of the British Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His interdisciplinary art, encompassing photography, calligraphy, painting, installation, performance and video, explores the narratives and aesthetics of Islamic culture in an era of rampant globalization, consumerism and transformation. His art is informed by his daily life as a medical doctor in Abha as well as by his traditional upbringing in Saudi Arabia.
Some of his artwork:
Muna AbuSulayman is currently the head of a consultancy that focuses on finding “Big Ideas that Work” to solve problems in Education, Gender Issues, Media, and Entrepreneurship and is a regional TV personality. Her show “Kalam Nawa’em” has been ranked number one across the Arab World for fifteen years in a row.
Muna is continuously chosen as one of the Most Influential Arabs in the World in various publications due to a unique and diverse cross-sector work experience including leading The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation until 2011and founding several CSR and media companies. Internationally recognized as an expert in Management, Education, Sustainable Development and Female Empowerment, she has spoken at the World Economic Forum, UN, and the World Bank on using innovation to alleviate poverty and building communities.
She is also known for creating five centers of Islamic Studies at Harvard, Georgetown, Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities. Other projects she has supported have focused on providing health, educational, and work opportunities to women and families through partners such as Oxfam, Deworm the World, UNCHR, and the Carter Center. She was also chosen as the first Saudi UN Goodwill Ambassador for the UNDP as well as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.
Chief of the Youth and Sports Section, UNESCO
Alexander Schischlik is currently Chief of the Youth and Sports Section at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
He joined UNESCO in 1993, where he has been overseeing international programs in a number of fields, including music and the arts, cultural industries and human rights. He has wide experience in working with civil society organizations, the business community, the media and government authorities in designing, implementing and evaluating projects that attain social value.
Born in Austria, he holds a Master degree in Economics and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Vienna.
Sarah Toumi is a Tunisian entrepreneur, who has worked on reversing desertification in her home country.
After she returned to Tunisia in 2012, she founded of the Acacias for All project, which sought to fight the ongoing desertification of the country. Unable to fund the project as a young woman through traditional banking channels, she crowdfunded for money, gaining 3,000 Euros to start her project.
While living in Paris in 2008, Sarah founded Dream, a networking scheme and incubator for environmental students. In 2011, together with Hatem Mahbouli and Asma Mansour, Toumi founded the Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship, dedicated to making social entrepreneurship a basis for the Tunisian economy.
For her work on Acacias for All, she was named as the only Arab or African person on the list of Forbes 30 entrepreneurs under 30 for 2016. The project has subsequently been called 1milliontrees4Tunisia, with Sara becoming one of 30 winners of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2016; the first time any Tunisian had won the prize.
Founder & President of Positive Planet
Jacques Attali is the Founder and President of Positive Planet, a Paris-based organisation that has supported over 10 million people through microfinance in more than 40 countries around the world.
He was the Special Adviser to French President François Mitterrand during 10 years. Jacques has founded 4 International Institutions : Action contre la faim, Eureka, EBDR and Positive Planet.
Mr. Attali has written more than 1,000 op-eds in the French magazine l’Express as well as 68 books, sold in 7 million copies and translated in to 22 languages. He has conducted several orchestras over the world (Paris, Grenoble, London, Jerusalem, Shanghai, Astana, Montreal).
Alexandru Coica (Moldova)
Manager, External Relations, World Scout Bureau Global Support Center
Alexandru Coica is the Manager for External Relations within World Organization of the Scout Movement.
Since 2011, Alexandru has been elected as a member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, taking active part in designing participatory youth policies at the European level. In 2015, he was elected the Chair of the European Youth Forum’s Consultative Body on Membership Applications.
Hammam Nasser Juraied
Hammam Nasser Juraied
Executive General Manager, EKHAA Orphans Foundation
Hammam is the Executive General Manager of Ekhaa Orphans Foundation, which he joined in December 2015. In his role, he manages 10 branches of the Foundation around the Kingdom, taking care of 2055 orphans with unknown parents.
From 2011 to 2015, he was the Manager of Princess Al Anood Center for Youth Development which aims to promote youth volunteerism and works to enhance young people’s contribution to society. Before that he served three years as the Director of the Youth Committee in King Abdul-Aziz Centre for National dialogue. In addition, Hammam has produced three documentary movies for different youth groups on subjects such as positive impact and change in society as well as voluntary work.
He is member of the Saudi youth Strategic Plan Council and AL Ghad Forum, which was the first forum in the Kingdom focused on youth issues. He is also a member of the National Centre for youth studies.
Leon Löwentraut, is an artist who is regarded as an international shooting star of the art scene. His single exhibitions in Singapore, New York, London, Basel and Berlin were sold out within minutes. His works have a distinctive style with an instantaneous recognition factor, inspired by artists like Picasso or Basquiat. This style makes the Leon one of the most in-demand young artists in the world.
Leon serves as an example for young people, helping them to believe in their dreams and visions, showing that they can realize and live them. He is a young artist and visionary, who fully committed himself to painting at the age of seven, is an example of the impact that young people can have, an example of the topic of this year’s NGO-Forum, “Youth and their Social Impact”.
Some of his artwork:
Marie Boucard serves as the 3rd Representative of BPW International to UNESCO. She previously worked at UNESCO, at the UN Women French National Committee and in non-profit organizations involved in women’s rights,
Founder, Tech Pills Productions Est
Faisal Alsaif is the Founder of Tech Pills Productions Est. and has over twelve years of experience in the media industry.
He has presented multiple TV shows, and is the producer and presenter of one of the biggest online tech channels in the Middle East with over 110 million views. Faisal has won the HHS Mohammed Bin Rashid Award as the Top Technology Influencer.
Vice President of the Youth CIOFF® Council
Nikos Papapesios is the Vice President of the Youth CIOFF® Council responsible for the cultural affairs of the Youth and a member of CIOFF®’s Cultural Commission. He holds a MSc Geoinformatics degree from University of Salzburg-Austria and a Bachelor in Geoinformatics & Surveying from the Technical Educational Institute of Central Macedonia-Greece. He is a member of International Cartographic Association.
Head, National Energy Sector, Legambiente
Katiuscia is an expert in energy issues and member of the board of directors at Legambiente Onlus.
Since 2006 she has been in the Energy Office of Legambiente as its Head. Qualified in the field of renewable energy, efficiency, climate change and fossil fuel, Katiuscia was responsible for compiling the dossier Comuni Rinnovabili (Renewable Energy municipalities) and Stop Sussidi alle Fonti Fossili (Stop Subsidies for Fossil fuel).
Associate Project Officer, Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, Culture Sector, UNESCO
Léonie Evers is the Associate Project Officer in the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit of UNESCO’s Culture Sector. Her work focuses on ensuring the effectiveness of UNESCO’s role in coordinating international cultural emergency response and assisting Member States to prepare for and deal with emergency situations.
She holds a Master degree in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
Coordinating Committee International Voluntary Service
Rocio Ruete is the Coordinator of the Subir al Sur IVS program, part of the Fundación SES, where she is in charge of the induction and training of mid- to long-term volunteers. As of November 2016 Rocio was elected to be part of the Executive Committee of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) as a focal point for the Americas.
Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Manager, Endeavor Saudi
Hanouf Alajmi is the Entrepreneurs Selection and She has over 10 years of experience working in information technology and business consulting with multinational flagship companies.
Prior to joining Endeavor in 2016, Hanouf spent two years at Pearson Education in the United States where she was the Lead Quality Assurance Consultant for Pearson’s mega projects.
She started her career at Oracle Saudi Arabia where she was the first Saudi female to join the technology consulting team. In 2009, she was appointed as the leader of the Oracle Women Leadership program (OWL) and was been responsible for coaching and mentoring new hires and junior staff.
Hanouf received her MBA in Entrepreneurship from Suffolk University in Boston, USA and BSc of Computer Information Systems from Prince Sultan University in Riyadh.
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Development, Deputy Ministry of Social Development.
Dr. Al-dini is the Deputy Minister of Social Development in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development. He worked previously as a consultant of development for the Minister of Social Affairs. He was also the director of the Centre of Excellency for Developing Non-Profit Organizations in King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals.
Dr. Al-dini has a long experience in establishing and managing supporting institutions of NGO. He supervised the foundation of ” Centre of Social Impact Measurement for Non-profit Sector” which is established by a strategic partnership between the Charitable foundations of Sulaiman Al-rajhi, Abdulrahman Al-rajhi, Hamad Al-husaini and Salem Bin Mahfouz.
He also supervised the foundation of Pro Bono Project which aims to establish an infrastructure of engaging skilled volunteers from the private sector in building non-profit sector. Moreover, he supervised founding Rakeen Company for consulting and building capabilities.
Dr. Al-dini is also a founder of many awards which encourage initiatives and volunteering, and a consultant for many voluntary institutions and organizations.
Al-dini earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in the United States in 2005. He attended many specialized workshops and programmes in non-profit organizations. He is a credited consultant in the British Programme of Quality Assurance in Voluntary Sector (PQASSO).
National Digitalization Office Head,
Mandate transforming Saudi to a Digitalized Nation
Ministry of Economic and Planning
In her role as Executive Director, Developer Experience & Digital Innovation, Deemah AlYahya is responsible for empowering developers, the individuals and the businesses and improving their skills and capabilities to invent innovative technology solutions that contribute to the developer community in the Kingdom. She was the first Saudi female to land an executive position at Microsoft following her role as the Professional Development Resource Manager.
Deemah started as a Software Engineer – Web Development at the Saudi American Bank (2003 – 2005). Later, she supervised business development at TADAWUL as the first Saudi female to hold the Senior Software Engineer – Web Development and e-Business Development Analyst positions (2005 – 2011).
She then moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the first Saudi female reaching an executive level as the e-Services Manager (2011 – 2012).
Deemah has taken the initiative to launch and lead several initiatives that focus on enabling women in the IT Industry, and enhancing their skills to meet the highest standards of the Saudi labor market. She founded the Women Spark Initiative, which aims at enhancing the woman’s role and contributions in the IT field.
She holds a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from KSU.