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Conference Committee

Carine Abi Akar - Conference Co-Chair, Vice president of HAAA

Carine Abi Akar is currently an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company where her works largely focuses on education, technology, innovation and government strategy. Prior to joining McKinsey, Carine was the founding co-manager of Edraak, the Arab region’s first nonprofit online MOOC platform in Arabic, leading the launching effort. At Edraak, Carine oversaw the development and deployment of the platform and educational content. Carine holds a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has completed projects with Daimler AG, Alstom Transport, and the Office of Naval Research. Carine is from Lebanon, and has lived in 7 different countries to date. Her passions include traveling and eating good food.

Dr. Mohammad Hajjiri - Conference Co-Chair, Healthcare Panel Captain

Mohammad Hajjiri is an interventional electrophysiologist and cardiologist who is currently the director of the laser and lead management program, associate program director of cardiology fellowship and assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, USA. Dr. Hajjiri is passionate about positive change in the Arab world through education and entrepreneurship. He is founder of H2e (Hajjiri Health for E-ducation) which employs the latest technology in virtual reality and augmented reality for healthcare education. He is also a healthcare instructor at Edraak and created the MOOC “Healthy Hearts” which had an enrollment of close to 15,000 people. Dr. Hajjiri holds an MD from Ain Shams University, with several specialties from Brown, Harvard, Tufts and NYU, where he trained with world renowned physicians like Larry Chinitz, Sylvia Priori, Charles Love and John Pastore. His hobbies are exploring good restaurants, technology and shopping at the apple store.  

Noura Al Saket - Fundraising Chair

Noura Al- Saket_photo (1)
Noura is a certified lawyer from Jordan. She is currently a senior associate with Khalifeh & Partners Lawyers, a top tier law firm operating in Jordan, with her most recent work focusing primarily on renewable energy projects. She was involved in the Kingdom’s first-ever utility scale wind project, and has since worked on a number of direct proposal solar and wind power generation projects, with experience representing both lenders and project developers.  She has recently launched a public service oriented legal awareness initiative known as “Know Your Rights” that aims to provide the public with information on some of their basic legal rights and responsibilities as citizens or denizens of Jordan. Noura also participates in an number of equal education and educational opportunity initiatives and programs targeting children and young adults; including (YARA) - Youth Association for Reality and Awareness, an organization which aims to get out-of-school kids back into the classroom. Empowering youth with the opportunity to earn an education is one of the fields Noura is most passionate about and it is her work in this field that she regards as her most important and gratifying work. Noura holds a Masters of Laws (LLM) from Harvard University and a Bachelor's degree in law from the University of Jordan.

Souad Abdelhamid - Partnership Co-Chair

Souad Abdelhamid graduated in 2014 from the Mason Fellowship, Master in Public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to the MC/MPA program she worked for more than12 years with the business advisory service arms of Andersen and Ernst and Young in Jordan, the public service arm of Bearing Point and Deloitte Consulting and international development organizations including USAID, UN, and EU funded projects. Souad is currently working as a consultant for the World Bank Group in Washington DC.
Souad is the recipient of the Kuwait Foundation Fellowship for Outstanding Leaders administered by the Middle East initiative at the Belfer centre/Harvard Kennedy School and was the chair of the Arab Caucus during her studies at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Souad also holds a Master in Management from Boston University. She has a passion for entrepreneurship and was selected with her team among the top 10 finalists of the MIT Pan Arab Business Plan Competition in 2012.

Redha Al Haidar - Partnership Co-Chair

Redha is a strategic communications and civic engagement advisor to different entities in Saudi Arabia. In adition, he is consultant to other private entities in UAE, and Kuwait. He has over 14 years of experience the in USA and KSA leading government relations campaigns and orchestrating successful outreach initiatives with a number of pubic and private agencies including SAGIA, CMA, and Attariq Communications. He is also an entrepreneur and has co-founded OPTA Statistics Middle East, [>X] Sports agency, G:Lab, and BITMAL. Redha holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Masters degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology and Honorary certificate in International Business Diplomacy from Georgetown University.

Hassan Al-Damluji - Education Panel Captain

Hassan leads the Gates Foundation’s strategy and engagement in the Middle East and North Africa, and is lead advisor on the region to Bill and Melinda Gates. He is a co-founder and board member of the $2.5B Lives & Livelihoods Fund, the largest ever truly multilateral aid initiative based in the Middle East. Hassan’s career has focused on education reform, in the UK and Arab world. He is the founding Vice-Chair of One Degree Academy, an innovative school in London, and board member of the Education for Employment Foundation, an NGO providing training and job placement for Arab youth. Hassan was named by Arabian Business as among the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40 in 2015 and 2016, and collected on behalf of the Gates Foundation the Arabian Business NGO of the Year Award in 2015 and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Award in 2016. Hassan holds a double-first class bachelor’s degree from Oxford University and a masters from Harvard, where he was awarded the Von Clemm Fellowship.

Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini - Entrepreneurship co-Captain

Abdul Mohsein
Abdul Mohsen Al Husseini is the CTO of Analytical Space, a startup out of Harvard University doing space-based laser communication via a constellation of satellites. He is also the Founder and Program Manager of Jordan's first satellite program (JY1SAT), and serves as an Initiative Consultant with the Crown Prince Foundation. With a background in Mechanical Engineering, including Master of Science from MIT, Abdul Mohsen spent three years at NASA Ames Research Center’s Mission Design Division. While working at NASA Ames, Abdul Mohsen also served as Deputy Director of the Opus Novum Foundation, a Silicon Valley non-profit whose mission is to bring together leaders from business, government and the non-profit sector based on a set of principles for mutual collaboration. Abdul Mohsen is currently an MPA Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he is an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.  

Alexandra Chen - Refugee Panel Captain

Alexandra Chen is a child protection and mental health specialist from Hong Kong working with refugees in conflict and post-conflict zones. Alexandra graduated from Harvard University (A.B., A.M.), and has worked for several years in the Middle East and Africa, most recently as mental health and psychosocial advisor to UN agencies on the Syria crisis. Prior, Alexandra has worked on child protection and trauma therapy projects in Israel-Palestine, Jordan, Ethiopia and Somalia, on education and peacebuilding in Lebanon and Iraq, and on Islamic legal reform in Egypt, among others. Currently, Alexandra is pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, studying the impact of refugee trauma on children's brain architecture and their abilities to learn. Alexandra speaks 10 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, and French.

Farah El Sherif - Politics Panel Captain

Farah was born and raised in Amman, Jordan, and is currently a 3rd year PhD student at Harvard University's Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. She focuses on the modern intellectual and legal history of West Africa and the Levant. She graduated with a degree in Culture and Politics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service where she was the honors ceremony 2009 class speaker. She received her Masters degree in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California in 2013. Farah received the "Rising Scholar" award from the International Institute for Islamic Thought in Herndon, VA, the Kenneth W. Russell Fellowship from the American Center for Oriental Research and the Alwaleed bin Talal Fellowship at Harvard University. She has presented her research at conferences in Madrid, Northwestern University, the Harvard Divinity School and the Middle East Studies Association.

Nicole Abi Esber - Entrepreneurship co-Captain

Nicole Abi-Esber is a Product Manager for Fetchr, a logistics startup that was recently named the top startup in Middle East by Forbes Magazine. At Fetchr, she focuses on the development of technology resources and specifically on their mobile application, which uses patented technology to use the GPS location of a smartphone instead of an address. With this technology, Fetchr hopes to solve the "no address" problem in the Middle East, which is hindering growth in the region. Prior to this, Nicole worked at Rocket Internet's Middle East office as an Entrepreneur in Residence. Nicole is passionate about the ability of technology and entrepreneurship to solve persistent regional problems. She holds a Masters in Arts from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and a Bachelor's degree from Tufts University. At Harvard, she was awarded a full-tuition Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, and was one of eight Harvard Students to receive the annual Presidential Public Service Fellowship in 2013. Nicole is originally Lebanese but was born and raised in the United States. She has lived and worked in several countries, including Japan, Spain, and Iran.

Mohamad Khalil Harb - Art Panel Captain

MK Harb
Mohamad Khalil Harb is a first year master of arts student at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. A native of Beirut, Lebanon, he graduated with an honors degree in Culture & Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. His research focuses on space, urbanism, and social class in the Levant. In particular he's extensively researched and written on the imagined and lived urban experience in Beirut during the post-civil-war period. A long-term resident of Doha, Qatar, MK worked for the Qatar Foundation post-graduation running a program called Zones of Conflict Zones of Peace that trained Georgetown students in conflict resolution through taking them to formerly active conflict zones. He also ran a series of educational and artistic programs aimed at strengthening the liberal arts sector in Doha, with a special focus on public high schools.

Imane Karroumi - HAAA Program Director

Imane Karroumi is the new Program Director for the Harvard Arab Alumni Association. She graduated from Harvard College in 2014 with a degree in Government and a secondary field in Economics. Imane first got involved with the HAAA through the Harvard Arab Weekend Conference, as she served as College Co-Chair and VP of Logistics while at school. During her time at Harvard, she held a number of leadership positions on campus. Some of her leadership roles include serving as the President of the Society of Arab Students and Director of International Freshman Affairs at the Freshman’s Dean Office, a Peer Advising Fellow for freshmen, as well as being the co-Founder and co-President of the Harvard College Francophone Society. Since graduation, Imane has moved to Casablanca and is a Sales Manager at Experience Morocco, a company that organizes events and high-end authentic travel for customers and corporations from the US and around the world. Imane has recently joined the WEF Global Shapers’ community and is a member of their Rabat Hub.

Hamada Zahawi - Law Panel Captain

Hamada Zahawi
Mr. Zahawi was a former International Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Department of Commerce primarily working on commercial legal reform and economic development in Iraq, Afghanistan, Eastern Europe and countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, KSA, and Qatar. Prior to joining the U.S. Government, Mr. Zahawi was in private legal practice working on project finance, international commercial transactions, and Islamic finance. Mr. Zahawi is also the co-founder of an academic consulting firm. Mr. Zahawi is currently completing his Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with an emphasis on both Management & Leadership as a Fellow with the Center for Public Leadership, and Public Private Partnerships with the Center for Business & Government. He is also the President of the Harvard Arab Student Association. Mr. Zahawi earned his J.D. from UC-Berkeley Law, and holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. from UC-Los Angeles.