Website Loader


 *The below represents a partial list of confirmed speakers. Please visit this page for updates in the weeks leading up to the conference.  

Plenary 1: Building Arab Healthcare: Sustainable delivery of quality care

Healthcare continues to remain one of the most pressing challenges in the Arab world with discrepancies across the various countries. “Arab Guidelines” in treatment and management of diseases do not truly exist, and there is an inconsistent adoption of International guidelines. However, several successful stories have been seen in the private sector of some Arab countries. Building Arab Healthcare will discusses methods of delivering consistent quality care for all, investment in healthcare, cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, training of physicians, and contribution to the world medical literature through research. The panel will also discuss importance and techniques of establishing an Arab medical taskforce.


Diana Tannous, Chief Dietitian Clemeanceau Medical Clinic



H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Al-Sheyyab​​, Minister of Health for Jordan

Yasser Akkaoui​​, Corporate Governance Activist and Publisher

Dr. Najwa Khury, Professor Emeritus, Jordan University

Salma Jaouni, CEO, Healthcare Accreditation Association

Dr. Walid Tohme, Partner, Strategy&

Plenary 2: The Future of Arab Diplomacy

How can diplomacy in the Arab World effectively offer solutions to conflicts in our present day and for days to come? Veteran diplomats will offer their views, solutions and insights on building a wholesome vision for the future of diplomacy in the Arab world, and practical ways in which diplomacy can continue to be a space of constructive bridge-building and cross-cultural communication..


H.E. Nabil Sharif, Former Media Minister


H.E Lakhdar Brahimi, United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria, Previous Minister of Foreign Affair in Algeira

H.E. Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Previous Minsiter of Foreign Affairs of Jordan

Ambassador Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Former Libyan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Founder of Kalam Research and Media

Panel 1A: Building Arab Education: Preparing our youth for the jobs of the future

In every Arab country, the challenge of ensuring high-value employment for all young people is a top priority. This panel will focus on priority sectors in the host country, Jordan, looking at how this huge challenge can be met over the next 5-10 years. Speakers will bring experience from the top of government, the delivery of education, efforts to match young people with jobs and of course the voice of employers themselves. The session will focus on Jordan in order to allow a targeted discussion that can lead to concrete outcomes. At the same time, it is hoped that this case study will provide ideas that are applicable to many countries across the region. 


Dirk Schmautzer, Partner at McKinsey & Company


H.E. Omar Al Razzaz, Minister of Education, Jordan

Hana Habayeb, Director of Developer Experience, Microsoft

Ghadeer Khuffash, CEO, Education for Employment, Jordan

Aiman Mazahreh, CEO,STS

Panel 1B: Building after Conflict

With 57 active conflicts around the world, the emphasis of policymakers is often on ending the violence - but seldom on the reconstruction. But this is where the challenge really lies. From fighters demobilization, to building institutions capable of delivering for a population that had endured the duress of war, to developing a national private sector capable of absorbing unemployment, especially for displaced populations. This panel gathers experts from across the public, private and non-profit sectors who will share their first-hand experience on building after conflict, in a way commensurate with the hopes and aspirations of resilient nations.


Dana Erekat, Senior Researcher, Birzeit University,Former Head of Aid Management & Coordination Directorate at Ministry of Planning, Palestine


Nima ElmiFormer Advisor, Government of Somaliland

Gustavo Gonzalez, United Nations Development Coordinator for the Syria crisis, UNDP

Ahmed Hanandeh, CEO, Zain Jordan

Chaker Khazaal, STEP Group Editor in Chief

Panel 2A: Fostering a Sustainable Middle East from the Ground Up: Commercial Law Reform to Ensure Private Sector Growth

Over-dependency on the region’s natural resources has left many nations susceptible to external market shocks. To this end, there is a concerted need to encourage private sector growth by supporting local industries (SMEs), budding entrepreneurs, and international companies. Yet one of the principal inhibitors for such growth is a weak legal framework to support critical areas including starting up a business, gaining access to capital, enforcing contracts and assuaging the fear of failure through bankruptcy laws. Indeed, a lack of strong, modern and comprehensive commercial laws and processes can stifle the growth of the private sector, dissuade would-be investors who lack protections, and undermine trade opportunities locally and internationally. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators, the Middle East as a region ranks 116 (of 189) in doing business, with the weakest areas in commercial law. Accordingly, businessmen, bureaucrats, students, and regular citizens should learn how a strong legal system will serve to diversify economies, spur innovation, employ more citizens (especially youth (18-29)), and help resolve social issues, with the ultimate goal of collectively fostering long-term regional economic stability from the ground up. 


Hamada Zahawi, International Attorney Advisor


Tarek Hajjiri, Senior Vice President, Dubai International Financial Center

Omar Obeidat, Head of Intellectual Property, Partner, Tamimi

Sharif Zu'bi, Senior Partner, Zu'bi Legal Advocates and Legal Consultants

Rasha Manna, Managing Director of Endeavor

Panel 2B: Unlocking the Talents of Refugees

It is easy to forget that refugees are not voluntary humanitarian burdens but architects, engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and artists, chefs, scientists, and inventors whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted suddenly by war. Many are exceptionally talented and with years of experience, not to mention a keen willingness to work and earnest desire to contribute to their new communities. In a context where refugees are often forbidden from working and barred from being productive with dignity, the difference between treating refugees as a "burden" or as a rich societal resource is, then, that of providing the right opportunities and legal support -- solutions that are not far beyond our collective grasp. This panel features remarkable change makers who, through education, entrepreneurship, technology, artistry, and even food, are harnessing the talent of refugees around the world and enriching cities and communities worldwide, setting an example for a more integrated, cosmopolitan world.


Alexandra Chen, EdM, PhD Candidate, Harvard University


Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, JD, Human Rights Barrister, Social Enterprise Project (SEP Jordan)

Zeina Saab, Founder, Nawaya Network

Mary Louise Cohen, JD, Founder, Talent Beyond Boundaries

Nadi Chemali, EatOffbeat, New York

Panel 3A: Tasawurat: Arab Art at a Time of Turmoil

A region historically known as a crossroads of culture and aesthetic expression, the Arab World has had a long artistic canon ranging from fine art, to architecture, to modernism. With the region witnessing increasing turmoil and instability due to war and conflict, Arab artists find themselves at a time of great importance in terms of the work they create. This panel aims at contextualizing their art and attempts to answer the question of art post conflict and the potential inability to escape the “conflict” motif.




Ibi Ibrahim, Renowned Yemeni Interdisciplinary artist

Tammam Azzam, Renowned Syrian Artist

Souad Massi, Algerian Singer

Special Session: The Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Arab World

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. This presentation explores the way in which this shift will affect the topics most relevant to the Arab world today. What is the future of energy, when the price of oil has dropped significantly? What is the future of social inclusion, when refugees make up significant percentages of many Arab countries? How are startups driving a change in the rate of youth unemployment, when it is currently the highest in the world? Drawing from his experience at the World Economic Forum, Khaled will discuss these changes and others while also highlighting bright spots in the region. The presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A.


Khaled Kteily, Lead, Middle East North Africa at the World Economic Forum

Panel 3B: Entrepreneurship: Vehicle for Change, or Just a Buzzword?

Entrepreneurship in general, and technology startups in particular, are hailed as the agents of change, and disruptors of traditional industries. Increasing numbers of Harvard graduates are seeking careers in the technology industry, surpassing the more traditional career paths of finance and consulting. What does this mean for the region? Can technology enable the Middle East to "leapfrog" and accelerate development? How does the Middle East compare when it comes to technology and talent? Can business models other than copy-cat models from the West succeed in the region? Join us as industry experts from the startup and venture capital community debate these topics.


Elissa Freiha


Emile Cubeisy, Founder and Managing Partner, Silicon Badia

Sharif El-Badawi, Partner, Silicon 500 Startups

Ankur Shah, Careem

Hossam Shobokshi, Found Partner, Saraya Capital