Speakers

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Cabinet Member, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

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

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

H.E. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi

Cabinet Member and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future

His Excellency Mohammed Al Gergawi is the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future. He is the Chairman of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Mr. Al Gergawi also leads the UAE’s Federal Government Strategy. He is the Deputy Chairman of the UAE’s Ministerial Development Council as well as of the Emirates Investment Authority, the UAE Federal Government’s sovereign wealth fund. Mr. Al Gergawi is also the Chairman of the Federal Smart Government Initiative as well as the National Science, Technology and Innovation Higher Committee.

Mr. Al Gergawi sits on the Boards of the UAE University and Abu Dhabi University and the Supreme Board of the National Defence College. He is a member of the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut and is an honorary fellow of the London Business School. He is also a founder of the Dubai Autism Centre and the UAE Disabled Sports Federation and is the Vice Chairman of the Dubai Club for the Disabled.

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi

Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Higher Education

Join H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education on a journey of his career and how it brought him to his current role. His own experience underscores the importance of science, technology, and innovation in helping drive forward the UAE’s economy and global competitiveness.

As Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Higher Education H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul supervises the development of higher education and scientific research in the country. He oversees universities operating in the UAE, the implementation of higher education policies as well as ensuring the delivery of high-quality tertiary education that aligns with labor market requirements.

H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment

In addition to his role as Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi is also the UAE Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and was the Director of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi began his career with the Abu Dhabi Marine Oil Company and then moved to Masdar, where we worked on advancing renewable energy technologies and solutions. H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi played a major role in the UAE’s successful campaign in 2009 in host IRENA, the first international organization dedicated to renewable energy.

H.E. Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy

Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation

H.E. Reem Al Hashimy joined the Federal Government in 2008 as Minister of State and played a vital role in dealing with a number of foreign and vibrant issues of the UAE, including the UAE's bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, where she holds the position Director General and board representative on the higher committee of the EXPO 2020 Dubai, in preparations for this mega-event.

H.E. Al Hashimy manages the International Affairs Office of the UAE Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Additionally, she holds responsibility within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the UAE’s bilateral relations with India, Pakistan, Sub-Saharan African countries and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

H.E. Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui

Minister of State for Youth

As the UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs and the world’s youngest minister, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui is focused on representing youth issues and aspirations at the ministerial Council, setting development plans and strategies for improving youth capabilities, in addition to further utilizing their energy in various fields.

Earlier, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui worked in Private Equity at one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds. She also previously worked as a public policy analyst at the UAE Mission to the United Nations, as a Ministry Policy Analyst with the Prime Minister’s Office, as a Research Analyst at the UAE Embassy in DC, and as an Education Policy Researcher at Tamkeen (UAE Strategic Affairs Authority).

H.E. Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi

Director General, Abu Dhabi Education Council

Join H.E. Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi as he provides insight into the UAE’s geopolitical role and outlines the steps the country is taking to ensure a stable and prosperous future for the next generation of Emiratis.

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi is a member of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi and the Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) as well as the Chancellor of the UAE University. He believes that ADEC should serve Abu Dhabi national development and individual happiness. The goal of ADEC is to produce talent that generates creative ideas and knowledge. He stresses that the ADEC will strive to guide the aspiration of Abu Dhabi education to nurture dreams and talents of all students - from the very classroom where students’ learning actually takes place.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Columnist and Founder, Barjeel Art Foundation

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates.

Sultan is an MIT Media Labs Director’s Fellow. He continues both to write and tweet about the Arab world both from his home in Sharjah, as well as giving lectures internationally.

Homaid Al Shimmari

Investment Committee, Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace & Engineering Services, Mubadala


Homaid is Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace & Engineering Services, with oversight of Mubadala’s aerospace, communications technology and defense services portfolios.

Before joining Mubadala, Homaid was a Lieutenant Colonel in the UAE Armed Forces, with involvement in military aviation, maintenance, procurement and logistics.

Alexis Ohanian

Technology entrepreneur and investor; co-founder of Reddit & Initialized Capital

Alex Ohanian is an American technology entrepreneur, activist, investor and author. He is best known for co-founding the social news website Reddit, co-founding the early stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital, helping launch the travel search website Hipmunk, and starting the social enterprise Breadpig.

In 2016, Fast Company named him one of the “Most Creative People in Business.”

Morinosuke Kawaguchi

Innovation and competitive strategy consultant, futurist, author and designer

Morinosuke is the founder and CEO of Morinoske Co. Ltd., a creative future laboratory based in Tokyo.

As Japan’s foremost futurist, he serves as a strategy advisor to the Japanese government and to some of the world’s largest multinationals. These organizations adopted Morinosuke’s future forecasting book MEGATRENDS 2014-2023 and its updated version, MEGATRENDS 2016-2025, as the base for their future strategy.

Morinosuke is among the 20 people--including two Nobel Laureates-- whose research, analysis and ideas are shaping the Japanese government's 2030 strategy. The book outlining their vision for Japan was published in December 2014.

He is the inventor of the Morinoske Subculture-driven Innovation Model, and the concept of “Gross National Talent”, which is a way to evaluate a nation or company’s “coolness” and brand value.

Heath Slawner

Strategic Communications and Leadership Speaker 

Heath Slawner’s work lies at the intersection of leadership, influence, and trust.

He is regularly invited to share his talents and insights at leading organizations around the world, including the United Nations. Many iconic brands and companies request Heath whenever they are seeking inspiration to drive change, build leadership capacity, and foster a culture of trust.

Driven by the belief that people thrive on purpose, Heath acts as leader with Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’ team. His ‘Why’ is to share ideas and connect with people so that we can build a better future.

Myron Rolle

Rhodes Scholar and former American football player  

Myron Rolle is a former NFL American football player, a Rhodes scholar and will graduate in May from medical school.

He is the founder of ‘Our Way to Health for Native Americans’—an educational childhood anti-obesity program, and runs a week-long wellness and leadership academy for foster care children in Florida. In 2011, he helped create the “Emerging Scholars Project” to help underrepresented college students become viable candidates for national fellowship opportunities.

Zonya Foco

Wellness speaker, author and entrepreneur

Known as America’s “Nutrition Leader,” Zonya Foco is an author, TV host and international speaker, committed to the fight against obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease through smart nutrition and fitness.

She hosts a half-hour show that airs in the U.S. on public television called Zonya’s Health Bites, and is the author of the best-selling cookbooks, Lickety-Split Meals and Lickety-Split Diabetic Meals.

She is a co-partner of EatRealAmerica.com, which features recipes, tutorials and coaching, all focused on real food ingredients.

Younus Al Nasser

Assistant Director General of the Smart Dubai Office

Younus Al Nasser is the Assistant Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, guiding Dubai’s citywide effort to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city by 2017. Younus Al Nasser is also the CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, part of the Smart Dubai Office, charged with overseeing the implement of the Dubai Data Initiative, the most ambitious data initiative globally, and fostering a culture of data sharing in Dubai. Prior to that, he was a Director of Projects and Security Systems in Dubai Electronic Security Centre Implementing Agile and Lean Methodologies in Project Management and member of Dubai Open Data Committee which was formed in November 2014 with a Decree from H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum to deliver Dubai Data Strategy, Dubai Data Road Map and Dubai Data Law.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti

Executive Director, National Electronic Security Authority

Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti is the Executive Director of the Talent Development and Training Academy at the National Electronic Security Authority (NESA). He joined NESA in 2013 as the Executive Director of Government Operations, where he managed both national and international government relations.

Dr. Al-Kuwaiti has published numerous studies and lectured at many conferences. He is an honorable member of Society of Engineers – UAE, IEEE Society, Golden Key National Honor Society and Computer Society.

He is a visiting lecturer on cybersecurity at Khalifa University and National Defense College in Abu Dhabi. He holds a Doctorate in Computer Engineering and Network Security from The George Washington University and a M.Sc. degree in Telecommunications and Computer Networks.

Carlo Ratti

Director, Senseable City Lab, MIT

Carlo Ratti is an architect and engineer by training and currently teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He is also a founding partner of the international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati. Carlo has co-authored more than 500 publications and holds several patents.

He is currently serving as co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization, and a special adviser on Urban Innovation to the President and Commissioners of the European Commission.

Andrew Perkins

Global Director, Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development

After gaining extensive knowledge in the professional development field, Andrew Perkins returned to Kaplan after 10 years to lead a new and exciting part of the business.

He has worked in this industry for more than 30 years, building genuine relationships with a diverse and always interesting client base worldwide.

Binod Shankar

Managing Director, Kaplan Genesis

Binod Shankar has more than 21 years of experience in project appraisal, audit, financial analysis, financial feasibility, valuation and real estate development.

He is an experienced finance and accounting courses trainer and has been working in the field since 1996. After working for companies like KPMG, Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young and Nakheel, he left his corporate career to set up and run the Genesis Institute in 2009 before it was acquired by Kaplan.

Fadi Ghandour

Executive Chairman of Wamda Group and Founder of Aramex

Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, an entrepreneurship ecosystem enabling organization comprised of a Venture Capital fund that invests in technology-enabled companies in the Arab world, as well as a platform of programs and networks that are created to utilize its core competencies in community development, media, and research to develop the region’s most successful and innovative startups.

Fadi is also the Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics and transportation companies.

Passionate about social entrepreneurship, Fadi is the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a private‐sector led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.

Ibrahim Tadros

Director of Special Projects, Wamda

Ibrahim works on building relationships with corporates to innovate through partnering with startups. Ibrahim began his career as a management consultant. He then supported the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Governments on innovation related projects such as the establishment of New York University Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Innovation Strategy. Ibrahim also led sales and business development at Eureeca. He holds a degree in computer science and engineering from MIT.

Nafez Dakkak

Founding CEO, Edraak

Nafez is the founding CEO of Edraak.org, an online education effort launched by the Queen Rania Foundation. Edraak aims to provide free high quality online and blended education to Arabic speakers across the region. It is the first Arabic instance of the OpenEdx platform developed by Harvard and MIT. Today, Edraak reaches over half a million registered Arabic-speaking learners across the region.

Previously, Nafez was a strategy consultant with PwC’s Education Practice working with different governments across the GCC, focusing on education to employment transitions. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community.

Mohamed Parham Al Awadhi

Filmmaker, entrepreneur, musician and adventurer

Mohamed Parham Al Awadhi is an award-winning Emirati filmmaker, entrepreneur, musician and adventurer.

He's is the producer and host of the award-winning travel series, Peeta Planet, which is broadcasted to 50 million homes around the world and has been filmed in over twenty-four countries spanning six continents.

Mohamed is also the founder of Qissa, an all-Emirati communication and design agency that helps government organizations build loyal communities, as well as the founder and CEO of Headlight, a content management software program.

Mohammed Saeed Harib

Founder, FREEJ and Chairman, Lammtara Art Production

Mohammed Saeed Harib is the Chairman of Lammtara Art Production and the creator of stage shows, feature films and

gaming apps.

Shortly after founding Lammtara in 2005, Mohammed started production of FREEJ, a hugely popular 3D animated TV series that features caricatures of Emirati grandmothers. FREEJ was voted by Dubai One viewers as the number one TV show and the first season received the Special Country Award at the Hamburg Animation Awards in 2007.

Mohammed is recognized as a pioneer of creative talent in the UAE. In 2007, he received the Emerging UAE Talent Award at the Dubai International Film Festival, he won Young CEO of the Year in 2008 from CEO Middle East magazine, and he was recognized as one of the World’s Most Influential Arabs from 2008 to 2012 by Arabian Business magazine.

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