Todd Schwartz is the Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He entered this position in August 2012.
Mr. Schwartz joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 1987. His overseas postings have included Germany, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Qatar, the Philippines, Kuwait (Counselor for Economic Affairs), Canada (Principal Officer in Winnipeg, Manitoba), and Iraq (Counselor for Economic Affairs). His assignments in Washington have included tours as Director for the Office of Iraq Economic Affairs, Director of the Office of Iran Affairs, and as an assessor with the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service.
Mr. Schwartz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics at the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
"Congratulations on a great effort and thank you for your support and ensuring the center stage for MSKCC!"
Ghassan Abou-Alfa, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
"It was great meeting in New York at the C3 Summit. Thank you for hosting one of the best health conferences related to the Middle East. Your efforts and organization were world class in every aspect. We are looking forward to C3 2015 in Riyadh."
Jihad Fakhreddine, Beaufort Medical FZE
"I want to thank you again for your kind invitation for our firm to be a part of the C3 HealthCare Summit. Congratulations also on your invitation to have this event in Saudi Arabia next year. I see bigger and greater things happening for your company. You deserve it!!! We made many contacts at the Summit which I think will lead to IP work for our firm."
George Likourezos, Esq., Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP
"Congratulations on a great conference. Excellent networking and lots of good information."
Nick Microulis, Stategic Health Venture Capital
"You clearly knocked the ball out of the park yesterday. Congratulations!"
Ron Bruder, Education for Employment
"Many thanks indeed for inviting me to your impressive healthcare conference on Monday. It was a full day packed with information and experts and a very helpful introduction for me to some of the complexities of the global healthcare industry.I congratulate you for successfully presenting a very ambitious and substantive show!!"
David Cripps, CLP Holdings, LLC
Thank you for including me, and it was a pleasure to meet you. The event was impressive and I look forward to next year. If anything we can do to support your efforts, please let me know, thank you.
Neil Cohen, Defense Group Inc.
"I would like to congratulate you on such a great idea. Since I am from the MENA region, and live in New York City, I found this a great opportunity to know more about the relationship between these two places."
Eng. Mohamad Wissam Akra, Graduate Student at Columbia University
"Ransel, it was great to meet you last week at the C3 US-Arab Healthcare Summit. Your program was superb, and I was very honored to participate as a panelist on the pending epidemic of diabetes in the Middle East panel. I noted that you are planning another C3 US-Arab Healthcare Summit in the fall. We would be very happy to participate again, as we have significant global capabilities, services, and programs that can help to bring real solutions to the one in three of the citizens in the Middle East who have diabetes."
John L. Brooks III, President & CEO, Joslin Diabetes
- "Many thanks for the invitation to speak at 3C US-Arab Healthcare Summit held on April 28th, 2014. I had the immense pleasure of attending this exceptional event and meeting you and many executives and leaders. I had a great time, and met some outstanding professionals. The event was exceptional in many ways; the presentations were educational, informative & the speakers were prestigious. Thanks again for your hospitality and hope to be invited back next year." Nellie S. Boma, MD, M.P.H., CPHQ, Al Rahba Hospital
Speaker Bios 2012-2014 (Subject to Change)
Todd Schwartz is the Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He entered this position in August 2012.
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to President Jimmy Carter
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor is a prominent and highly respected citizen of the United Arab Emirates. A self-made man, he is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group - one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf.
Mr. Al Habtoor is known not only for his many business achievements but also his extensive knowledge of international political affairs; his philanthropic activity; his efforts to promote peace; and the fact that he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al Habtoor's articles are available on www.khalafalhabtoor.net
He began his career as an employee of a local UAE construction firm and in 1970 established his own company, Al Habtoor Engineering. The UAE Federation, which united the seven emirates under the one flag for the first time, was founded in 1971 and this inspired him to undertake a series of innovative construction projects - all of which proved highly successful. The company later became the Al Habtoor Group and over the last 40 years it has grown with the United Arab Emirates. Today it is recognized as one of the most prominent business corporations in the region with interests not just throughout the Arab region, but around the world.
While best known for construction, it is also recognised for its luxury hotels, real estate companies, educational establishments, insurance groups, automobile dealerships, car rental, and publishing sector. Today, it employs thousands of people and continues to grow. Mr. Al Habtoor's long list of awards and achievements does not only reflect his business acumen. He believes it is his strength in the face of adversity; his willingness to take calculated risks; and the fact that he is always looking ahead, that has enabled the Al Habtoor Group to grow and diversify.
Known for his optimistic outlook and warm personality, Mr. Al Habtoor is well respected by his associates and considered a well-balanced and progressive man. An active member of society, he feels it is his civic duty to contribute to his country in any way that he can. He's also a devoted family man who loves meeting new people; enjoys acquiring knowledge; and looks forward with pleasure to each new day.
- Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group
- Chairman of Dubai National Insurance and Reinsurance Company
- Member of the Federal National Council
- Member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Chairman of the Commercial Bank of Dubai
- Member of The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
- The only non-US member of The World Board of Governors of the American United Services Organisation (USO) (1994 – 1997)
- Knighthood from the President of Lebanon (1995)
- Grand Ambassador of Eminence award from the American Biographical Institute, in recognition of professional achievements and social contribution to the UAE (2004)
- Included in the A.B.I. Leading Intellectuals of the World book, listed amongst an elite group of men and women, dedicated to making improvements in society (2005)
- Genius Laureate of the UAE from the American Biographical Institute, for 'Distinguished progression and mastery in the field of accomplished leadership', as recorded in the 500 Greatest Genius of the 21st Century (2006)
- Gold Laurels Award from ABI, for triumphant deeds based on excellence in numerous achievements in the field of accomplished leadership (2007)
- Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters from the American University College of Science and Technology in Beirut (2005)
- International Peace Prize from the United Cultural Convention of America, recognising achievements in peace and justice across political, religious and ethnic divisions.
- Appreciation awards from International Indigent Orphan Relief Organisation, Palestinian Children's Relief Fund, Al Ain Centre for Handicapped Children and Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre.
- Gulf Excellence Award of the United Arab Emirates, presented by His Highness Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa at the Gulf Excellence Forum Bahrain (2005)
- World Forum Award from the British Parliament, for efforts to build bridges between the Arab World and the West (2007)
- Businessman of the Year Award at the 2007 Arabian Business Achievement Awards in Abu Dhabi (2007)
- Sharjah Voluntary Work Award from His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah (2009)
- The American University of Cairo Honour, as a generous benefactor and in particular for funds donated to build the 'Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Football Stadium and track' (2010)
- Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Illinois College (2010)
- Honorary Member of the Phi Alpha Literary Society, a sorority which counts amongst its members the sixteenth American President, Abraham Lincoln and US Congressman, Paul Findley (May 2010)
- Outstanding Business Leadership Award from the All-Party Group on Entrepreneurship and the British Institute of Technology and E-commerce at the World High Tech Forum in London, for exceptional leadership qualities, acumen and vision (2010)
- Honour from The American University of Sharjah, in recognition of contribution to the AUS endowment fund (2011)
- The Shield of Merit Award from The United Nations, in recognition of support for the Palestinian cause (2011)
- A number of awards and medals over the years from The Red Crescent Society of the UAE, in recognition of ongoing financial support, the most recent being the prestigious 'Medal of the Red Crescent for Humanitarian Action' in July 2012.
- Lifetime Achievement Award from The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference for his contribution to the UAE's hospitality and tourism industry in May 2013.
- Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gulf Business Industry Awards in September 2013.
- His book "Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor : The Autobiography" was awarded 'Best International Book on Business and Economics' at the Sharjah International Book Fair 2013.
- India-UAE Business Icon Award from the Asian Business Leadership Forum Awards (December 2013).
Honorable Emma Hippolyte, OBE, is a Certified General Accountant CGA; and a Certified Fraud Examiner, CFE. She has acquired over 25 years experience in Public and Private Sector Auditing, Governance, Management, Finance, Social Security and Non Governmental Organizations.
Between 1987-2010 she served as Director of Audit of Saint Lucia; Consultant and Senior Auditor of The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN in Rome, Italy; member of the External Board of Auditors of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Executive Director of the National Insurance Corporation of Saint Lucia (NIC). From 2009 to 2011 she was a member of the Saint Lucia Senate.
In December 2011 she was elected a Member of Parliament representing the Gros Islet Constituency. Hon. Hippolyte currently holds the position of Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs in Saint Lucia.
Ehab Al Shihabi is the interim Chief Executive Officer of Al Jazeera America and the executive director for international operations for Al Jazeera. He has been integral in the development of Al Jazeera America. In his five years at Al Jazeera, Al Shihabi has overseen Al Jazeera’s more than 70 bureaus around the world – the largest footprint of any news gathering organization. In addition to leading the launch of Al Jazeera America, Mr. Al Shihabi has been leading the company’s recent expansion of Al Jazeera Balkans and Al Jazeera Turk.
Prior to joining Al Jazeera, Mr. Al Shihabi spent 12 years as a senior management consultant in the media practice at Arthur Andersen, Andersen Consulting and Deloitte where he led integration efforts with NBC & GE as well as Thompson & Reuters. Mr. Al Shahabi has an MBA from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He and his wife and two children live in the Washington, D.C. area.
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder Chairman, Arab International Women's Forum is well known in international government and business circles as a high-impact change agent focusing on leadership in cultural and gender issues. An economist and graduate of the American University of Beirut and Oxford University, she brings a wide range of skills and experience to her personal mission of encouraging greater cultural understanding between Arab and international communities, supporting a strong role for women in that process.
Mrs. Al Kaylani holds senior roles in several cultural and educational UK and international organisations. These include: Board Member, The Women's Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School; Advisory Board Member, The Middle East Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Advisory Board Member, The Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese American University, Beirut; Board Director, EastWest Institute and Board Member, MENA – OECD Business Council. Mrs. Al Kaylani became the first Honorary Member, the Euro Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development (2012) and serves as a Freeman of the City of London and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of World Traders.
Mrs. Al Kaylani private sector advisory roles include Director, Bridgeway Consulting (RAKUAE) Limited, Advisory Board Member, Hydromineinc. Advisory Board Member, Hildon Limited Non Executive Director Winmark Global.
Mrs. Al Kaylani received recognition as one of the Women eNews 21 Leaders for the 21 Century (2006); was included in the Muslim Power 100 Leaders in the UK listing (2007) receiving the Education Excellence Award; she is a recipient of the International Alliance for Women 2008 World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award; and was named one of the 20 leading Muslim women in the UK in The Equality & Human Rights Commission Muslim Women Lists 2009-2012 and received the United Kingdom Muslim Woman of the Year Award in 2013.
She was presented with an Award for an Outstanding Contribution as a Women Leader of Palestinian Origin and was honoured by the Qatari Businesswomen Association and presented with an Award for her contributions to the growth and development in the Arab region. She was the recipient of the Global Inspirational Leadership Award 2013 and was honoured for individual achievements as a role model and having made contributions worthy of acknowledgement towards the role of women in Emerging Economies by the Georgia General Assembly.
Mrs. Al Kaylani was included in the Power 100 List, compiled by Arabian Business Monitor and recognised on the Arabian Business Power 500 List published by Arabian Business Magazine and placed in the highest ever recording of 118 women in a list of Arab men and women leaders .Mrs Al Kaylani was Inducted in 2013 by the Centre of Economic Leadership & Development into The Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame as a distinguished achiever and symbol of female achievement globally.
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser is a Qatari diplomat and the former permanent representative of Qatar to the United Nations. Prior to this office at the United Nations, Mr. Al-Nasser had served as the ambassador to Jordan. He also worked for his country's foreign affairs department and was the President of the Sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly from 14 September 2011 to 18 September 2012.
Mr. Al-Nasser was entered to Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1971 and became Attaché at the embassy of Qatar in Beirut, Lebanon and was in office until 1974, when he became a member of Qatar's delegation to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. He resigned in 1975 to become Attaché at the Qatari embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan for a short time. Then, he was Conseiller Général at Qatar's embassy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 1975 to 1981. He returned to Doha and was a senior employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1985 as well as Deputy Foreign Minister from 1984 to 1985. He was ambassador of Qatar to Jordan from 1993 to 1998.
In 1986 he was appointed minister to Qatar's permanent mission to the United Nations. He left office in 1993 to become ambassador to Jordan. On September 11, 1998, he was appointed as both ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, then foreign minister. During his office at the United Nations, Mr. Al-Nasser has served as chairman of the delegation of Group of 77 and China; Vice-President of the General Assembly in 2002; and President of the Security Council in December 2006.
He was appointed as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations of the United Nations by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on 28 September 2012.
In June 2011 he was elected to serve as President of the General Assembly for its 66th session, beginning 13 September 2011. He took office on 13 September, saying at his opening speech that the international community had an opportunity to "define our place in this decisive moment in history" and to "prove that we have the courage, wisdom and tenacity to seek creative and visionary solutions." He also added that he was "deeply committed" to working with every member state to "build bridges for a united global partnership" citing "strong collaboration and consensus-building [as...] essential for successfully moving forward the Assembly's agenda [in] this session."
As is customary for all UNGA president, Mr. Al-Nasser suggested the theme "The role of mediation in the settlement of disputes" for the General Debate during the opening session of the General Assembly. He said that "this theme has a broad and multi-faceted nature. I expect member states to touch upon different aspects of this matter through their own experience and perspective. [The UN is currently at a] critical juncture in the history of nations."
In December 2013, Al-Nasser received the Global Thinkers Forum 2013 Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Dr. John Duke Anthony is the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and currently serves on the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and its Subcommittee on Sanctions. In 2012, he chaired and was the core lecturer in the Council's 26th Annual 10-Week University Student Summer Internship Program's Academic Seminar on Arabia and the Gulf. For the past 38 years, he has been a consultant and regular lecturer on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf for the Departments of Defense and State. He is former Chair, Near East and North Africa Program, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State as well as former Chair of the Department's Advanced Arabian Peninsula Studies Seminar. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1986, Dr. Anthony has been a frequent participant in its study groups on issues relating to the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf regions and the broader Arab and Islamic world. More recently, Dr. Anthony was elected to the Board of Advisors of the Yemen College for Middle Eastern Studies. For the Fall 2012 semester, in addition to fulfilling his duties as Council President and CEO and Adviser to the Department of State, he was appointed Dean's Chair in International Studies and Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, where he taught the Institute's first-ever course on "Politics of the Arabian Peninsula" to First (Senior) and Second (Junior) classmen.
On June 21, 2000, on the occasion of his first official visit to the United States, H.M King Muhammad VI of Morocco knighted Dr. Anthony, bestowing upon him the Medal of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, the nation of Morocco's highest award for excellence. In addition to heading the National Council, consulting, lecturing, and serving as an Adjunct Faculty Member of the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management (DISAM) since 1974, Dr. Anthony has been an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies since 2006. There, he developed a course for graduate students on "Politics of the Arabian Peninsula," the first such semester-long academic course to be offered at any American university. In 2007, he was Visiting Lecturer at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. In 2008 he was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo's HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin ‘Abdalaziz Al-Sa'ud Center for American Studies.
In 1983, Dr. Anthony received DISAM's Distinguished Achievement Award, one of three granted to American Middle East specialists in the Institute's history. In March 1989, the Kappa Alpha Order's National Executive bestowed upon him its Distinguished Public Service Award for Excellence "through a strenuous and useful Life of Service to others." In 1993, he received the U.S. Department of State's Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Award, one of three awarded over a span of 25 years in recognition of his preparation of American diplomatic and defense personnel assigned to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf states. In 1994, he received the Stevens Award for Outstanding Contributions to American-Arab Understanding. In May 2008, the Rotary Club of the Nation's Capital bestowed upon him its first-ever Local Giants Leadership Award.
Dr. Anthony is the only American to have been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1969-1970). In 1971, he was cosponsored by the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State as the sole American scholar to observe at firsthand the process by which the British ceased administering the defense and foreign relations for nine Arab states lining the coastal regions of eastern Arabia and the Gulf. His long experience in Yemen led to Dr. Anthony being asked to serve as an international observer in all four of Yemen's presidential and parliamentary elections.
Dr. Anthony is the only American to have been invited to each of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Ministerial and Heads of State Summits since the GCC's inception in 1981. (The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). Since 1986 and continuing until the present, Dr. Anthony has accompanied more than 200 Members of Congress, their chiefs of staff, defense and foreign affairs advisers, and legislative and communications directors on fact-finding missions to the Arab world. From 1996 until the present, he has also served as the principal scholar-escort for delegations to various GCC countries, Egypt, and Yemen comprised of 132 officers assigned to the staff of the Commander, U.S. Central Command, including Generals J.H. Binford Peay III, Anthony C. Zinni, Tommy Franks, John P. Abizaid, David Petraeus, James Mattis, and Admiral William Fallon.
Dr. Anthony is the author of three books, the editor of a fourth, and has published more than 175 articles and essays, and five monographs dealing with America's interests and involvement in the Arab countries and the Islamic world. His best-known works are Arab States of the Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum; The Middle East: Oil, Politics, and Development (editor and co-author) and, together with J. E. Peterson, Historical and Cultural Dictionary of the Sultanate of Oman and the Emirates of Eastern Arabia. Among his more recent publications are The United Arab Emirates: Dynamics of State Formation, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), 2002; "The Future Significance of the Gulf Cooperation Council," in Global Strategic Developments: A Futuristic Vision, Abu Dhabi, UAE: ECSSR, 2012; "The Intervention in Bahrain through the Lenses of its Supporters" and "Challenges Facing NATO in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq," all four published by ECSSR in the Summer and Fall of 2011; "War with Iran: Regional Reactions and Requirements," published by Middle East Policy and the National Council on US-Arab Relations, 2008; "Strategic Dynamics of Iran-GCC Relations," in Jean-François Seznec and Mimi Kirk, eds., Industrialization in the Gulf: A Socioeconomic Revolution, New York: Routledge, 2011; and "Measuring the Iraq War 'Accomplishments' Through the Lens of Its Authors: A Preliminary Assessment": a revised and edited version of an address presented to the Axis for Peace conference held in Brussels by Voltaire Network, 2005, published by the National Council.
In addition to being the founder and chief facilitator and moderator of the Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, now in its 21st year, Dr. Anthony has been a founder, board member, and Secretary of the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee; founding President of the Middle East Educational Trust; co-founder of the Commission on Israeli-Palestinian Peace; founding President of the Society for Gulf Arab Studies; co-founder and board member of the National Commission to Commemorate the 14th Centennial of Islam; and founder and former chairman of the U.S.-Morocco Affairs Council. In 2006 he was elected Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of the International Foreign Policy Association in Washington, D.C.
After completion of his U.S. Army active duty military service, the Commonwealth of Virginia granted Dr. Anthony a four-year State Cadetship Award which allowed him to enroll at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he received his Bachelor's Degree in History. At VMI, he was elected president of his class all four years in addition to serving as president of the Corps of Cadets' Government General and Executive Committees during his First Class Year. He later earned a Master of Science Degree in Foreign Service (With Distinction) from the Edmund A. Walsh Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, in addition to holding one of three University Scholar Awards, he was inducted into the National Political Science Honor Society. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., where he held a National Defense in Foreign Language Scholarship for Arabic, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, and was appointed in 1973 to SAIS' full-time faculty while still a student. For nearly a decade, Dr. Anthony taught courses on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf States at SAIS. He has been a Visiting and Adjunct Professor at the Defense Intelligence College, the Woodrow Wilson School of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, the Universities of Pennsylvania and Texas, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and a regular lecturer at the National War College.
Dr. Anthony passed his proficiency exam in French at the Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1966. He passed his proficiency exam in Arabic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1969 following study there as well as at Princeton University and the American University in Cairo's Center for Arabic Study Abroad.
Dr. Anthony is married to Cynthia Burns McDonald, Director of the Washington, D.C. Office of the American University in Cairo, and has twin sons.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz is a Member of the International Advisory Committee of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. He was born in Riyadh to HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, President of the Arab Gulf Fund for Development (AGFUND). He is a grandson of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of modern day Saudi Arabia.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz received his early education in Saudi Arabia under his father's auspice as well as in Switzerland. He is currently in the United States for advanced study and training. To this end, he has been specializing on the confluence of technology, hospitality, and micro finance.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz has been involved in humanitarian and philanthropic efforts in Saudi Arabia and the international community. He frequently represents HRH Prince Talal at various functions and events sponsored by AGFUND. He also participates in various activities within several non-profit organizations in the United States, including the National Council as well as the Concordia Summit Leadership Council. HRH Prince Abdulaziz is a Member of Islamic Finance & The Global Economic Crisis Forum, and is the Honorary President of the Website Services and Internet Technology of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He is the Former Chairman of the Arab Open University Forum, the Transpacific Broadcast Group, and Proserve.
Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif is a career Saudi diplomat for more than 35 years. He has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in various conferences and forums and headed Saudi delegations to regional and international conferences. Before assuming his current post as Chief Representative of the League of Arab States to the United States as of February 16, 2012, he served as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Turkey, Canada, Consul in Houston-Texas, Head of Mission to Mali, and represented his country as Deputy Head of Saudi Diplomatic Missions in Venezuela, United Kingdom and the Philippines.
During his diplomatic career abroad, he wrote and published reports and articles in the media. In addition, he lectured in universities and institutes in Ankara, Houston, Caracas, London, and Ottawa on Saudi Arabia's foreign policy, the Middle East peace process, human rights in Islam, Islam and the clash of civilizations and the role of Islam in combating terrorism. During his present post in Washington, DC, he has been lecturing in various universities and participated in some think tank organizations seminars and forums in Washington, D.C. and other states.
Ambassador Al-Hussaini graduated with a Bachelor's degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, MA from the University of the Philippines and PhD in International Relations from University of Houston, Texas.
The Canadian Ottawa Life Magazine had chosen him as the second most influential personality for the year 2003 in the capital Ottawa among fifty prominent persons from the fields of media, politics, academia, science and arts.
Susan Peters has a long history in nonprofit management and development, as well as in the MENA region. Prior to rejoining ABANA in 2010, where she had previously served as Executive Director (2000-05), she was Executive Director to the Board of King's Academy, where she led strategic planning, development and policy for a new coeducational boarding school outside of Amman, Jordan. She has lived in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in Morocco, where she was assistant director of the Arabic Language Institute in Fez from 1994 to 1997.
Ms. Peters has been a development consultant to several nonprofit organizations and universities in New York City. She was a founding board member and is currently treasurer of ArteEast, a New York-based nonprofit organization that promotes the contemporary arts of the Arab world; and she serves on the boards of a private company and foundation.
A Wisconsin native, Ms. Peters holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a fellow at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo and completed language studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Middlebury College and the Arabic Language Institute in Fez.
Paul Sutphin has served as Director for the Middle East Partnership Initiative since August 2013; he provides policy and operational guidance to MEPI's Washington headquarters and to its two regional offices. He was previously U.S. Consul General in Erbil, Iraq.
A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, his most recent Washington assignment prior to MEPI was as Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs in the Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He has served as Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, UAE, where he also served on the Board of Trustees of the American School of Dubai. Other Washington postings include Deputy Director of the Office of Iraq/Political Affairs and Acting Director of the NEA Office of Regional Affairs, as well as positions dealing with Arab-Israeli peace issues, terrorism, and South Asia. He has served overseas in the United Kingdom (as liaison with the UK government on all Middle Eastern and South Asian issues); as well as in Jerusalem, Denmark and Guyana.
Born in Syracuse, NY, Mr. Sutphin is an honors graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and has a Master's degree in Strategic Studies from the National War College in Washington, D.C. He speaks Danish, French, and Arabic, and is a multiple recipient of the Department of State's Superior Honor Award. He is married to Catherine Kaputa Sutphin and has two children.
Mack Tadeu is currently Deputy Director of the Advocacy Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Advocacy Center assists US companies to expand their sales to foreign governments. The Center coordinates U.S. government resources and authority to create a level playing field on behalf of American businesses. He manages a staff of 20 professionals and monitors a database of 400+ active advocacy cases involving 150+ U.S. companies with commercial interests across the globe.
Previously, he served as the Director of Business Liaison to the U.S. Executive Director to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB.) Prior to Washington, he served as the Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. He served from 1999-2002 as Acting Regional Director for the East Asia Pacific region of the US Commercial Service (CS) in Washington, DC. He also served as the Senior Advisor of the Career Development and Assignments Division. Mr. Tadeu served as the Deputy Senior Commercial Officer for the U.S. Commercial Service, at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil from 1995-1999. Prior to arriving to Brazil, Mack was the Senior Commercial Officer in Panama for two years and Principal Commercial Officer for two and one half years at the Consulate General in Guadalajara, Mexico. His tenure in Mexico fell during the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Tadeu earned an MA in International Affairs from the School of International Service at The American University, Washington, DC. His academic concentrations were International Business and Latin American Studies. He earned a BA from Drew University, located in Madison, NJ.
Steve Lutes is Director of Middle East and North Africa Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is specifically responsible for managing the U.S.-Iraq Business Initiative and serves as its director. In this capacity, Mr. Lutes is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that promote U.S. business opportunities and investment in Iraq. He works closely with Chamber member companies and business and government leaders to advance and broaden commercial relationships between the United States and Iraq.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Lutes was the director of the Chamber's Corporate Leadership Advisory Council. He was responsible for overseeing the council which serves as a platform for midmarket business executives to share input on a range of policy issues and shape the Chamber's probusiness agenda. Mr. Lutes also successfully led the Government Withholding Relief Coalition to repeal the onerous 3% withholding tax.
Mr. Lutes came to the Chamber from the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) where he was a senior legislative affairs specialist in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. He focused on educating members of Congress on the benefits of trade and foreign direct investment and on advancing the Administration's trade agenda on Capitol Hill, including securing passage of the United StatesDominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Mr. Lutes also served as the congressional liaison to the President's Export Council and the Manufacturing Council for the Department. Previously, Mr. Lutes worked for the Republican Party in Columbus, Ohio, where he worked in conjunction with the Bush-Cheney reelection effort in Ohio through 2004, successfully directing political and grassroots strategy in central Ohio and helping turnout the largest county vote for former President George W. Bush in Ohio.
Earlier in his career, he worked on Capitol Hill for both Representative Ed Pease (R-IN) and Representative Brian Kerns (R-IN). He held a variety of positions, including press secretary, legislative director, and chief of staff. Mr. Lutes earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Public and International Affairs from Virginia Tech.
Talal M. Al Kaissi was appointed Chief of Staff & Advisor to the Commercial Counselor at the UAE Embassy's Trade & Commercial Office in November 2009. In this role, Mr. Al Kaissi manages the daily operational work of the Trade Office staff, reporting to the Commercial Counselor.
His responsibilities at the Trade & Commercial Office focus on trade and investment promotion activities on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Economy's Foreign Trade Division & The UAE Embassy in Washington DC. This entails planning and implementing promotional events such as trade missions, trade fairs, conferences, and high-level meetings or visits with the public and private sector in both countries, as well as speaking at various events and forums to the business community about trade opportunities in the UAE.
Mr. Al Kaissi and the Commercial Counselor focus on trying to further enhance and maintain the positive nature of the UAE/US bilateral trade and commercial relationship by developing and maintaining contacts with public and private entities on both sides, identifying synergies and assessing viable opportunities to facilitate agreements or transactions between the UAE and the US.
In line with the economic and commercial objectives set forth by the UAE Ministry of Economy, Mr. Al Kaissi and the Commercial Counselor promote the UAE as the preferred investment destination for US companies and individuals in the Middle East providing services and assisting UAE exporters and investors seeking US markets as well as US exporters seeking UAE and regional markets.
Rob Quartel is a former United States Federal Maritime Commissioner and an internationally recognized expert in US national maritime and transportation and homeland security policy. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of NTEL·X, based in McLean, Va.
The company delivers high impact knowledge discovery solutions, risk analytics and operational decision making capabilities to a number of US government agencies, including the Departments' of Defense, Treasury, Transportation, and the US Food and Drug Administration. Its operational analytics, sophisticated business rules processing, and forward-looking predictive analysis significantly improve operational decisions in situations ranging from counter-proliferation activities to insuring food import security to chasing down missing tax collections. The company applies similar award-winning technologies to truck congestion management in difficult ports in Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Mr. Quartel's experience spans a wide range of international security, energy, transportation, shipbuilding, freight, safety and environmental regulatory matters. He has served at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Federal Energy Office during the 1973 Oil Embargo, and the US Federal Maritime Commissioner from 1990-92. As Maritime Commissioner he was the leading proponent of international liner shipping deregulation and a high-profile advocate for reform of other US maritime laws. He took an early role in 2001 in developing a public policy response to the issue of international container security, and was the first to publicly describe the concept of “pushing the borders out” via a “virtual” electronic data border that would allow government officials to profile cargoes prior to embarkation to the United States through the fusion and analysis of commercially available data with intelligence information. His company performs similar analysis on port and traffic congestion situations, with the aim of implementing technology solutions to mitigate traffic, pollution, and increase cargo movement efficiency. Mr. Qartel was the Transition Director for the US Department of Transportation for the incoming George H. W. Bush administration in 1989; was the Republican nominee in 1984 from the 11th Congressional District of Florida; and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992. He has served as a Member/Advisor to the Army Science Board on cargo logistics and RFID issues, is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has served as a a Member of the Wilson Council, and the Governor's appointee to the Southern Growth Policy Board's New Economy Workforce Council. He continues to serve on the PAC and Board of the Northern Virginia Technology Association, the largest technology Council in the country; and serves on numerous boards and advisory committees related to transportation and US homeland security policy, including Chairmanship of the US DOT's Cargo Handling Cooperative Program.
He has a degree in biology from Rice University, has served on its Alumni Board twice and today serves as a member of the Humanities Board; and has a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University's School of Organization and Management (MPPM '78), where he today sits on the SOM Alumni Board. He is married to Michela English, President of Fight for Children, a DC-based non-profit focusing on education and health risks in the District.
Danny E. Sebright was appointed in June 2008 to the position of President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, the leading advocate for building commercial relationships and expanding business opportunities between the two countries. Since 2002, Mr. Sebright held the position of Vice President at The Cohen Group, an international strategic consulting firm led by former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Mr. Sebright was responsible for new business development activities, client management, and building the firm's Middle East and India practice groups. Mr. Sebright continues to be affiliated with The Cohen Group as a Counselor.
Previously, Mr. Sebright served as the Defense Department's Director of the Policy Executive Secretariat for the global war on terrorism from 2001-2002, leading a team responsible for tracking US and coalition actions related to the war on terrorism. During this time, he also participated in oversight of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan and Operation NOBLE EAGLE, the defense of the U.S. homeland. In this capacity, he was awarded the Department of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his service to his country.
Mr. Sebright also served in the Office of the Under Secretary for Policy at DoD from 1995-2001, representing Department of Defense positions with other executive-branch policy offices. He conducted bilateral negotiations with foreign officials, including providing the Defense Department policy perspective on the Middle East Peace Process, regional arms sales, and counter-proliferation initiatives. Mr. Sebright cultivated extensive contacts with defense industry officials to coordinate and implement US foreign military sales to Israel and many other countries in the Middle East. Mr. Sebright received the Paul H. Nitze Award for Excellence in International Security Policy for his work on the Middle East Peace Process.
Mr. Sebright began his career in government in 1985 with the Defense Intelligence Agency, living and working extensively overseas in numerous countries in the Middle East, India, Asia, and Africa. Mr. Sebright is the recipient of various DIA and CIA exceptional service awards for his accomplishments. Mr. Sebright was sponsored by the Defense Department to attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he completed a year-long Mid-Career Master's Degree in Public Administration in June of 2001. He earned his BA in International Affairs from the George Washington University in 1984 and completed the coursework for a Masters in National Security Policy in 1988. Mr. Sebright speaks conversational French and basic German, Russian, Chinese and Hebrew.
Mr. Sebright resides in Washington, DC where he is active in local community, arts, and church organizations. Mr. Sebright is a member of the Dean's Alumni Leadership Council at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, of the Luther Place Memorial Church, and of the Board of Directors of the Washington Ballet
Aida Araissi founded the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce in 1997. Ms. Araissi also serves several additional strategic roles and Board positions for organizations including: The U.S. Committee for the World Petroleum Congress; the City of Houston Mayor's International Affairs and Development Council for the Middle East & North Africa (MIADC-MENA); the Houston Community College Export Academy; and the U.S. District Export Council.
She has received numerous International business advocacy awards, including twice being honored with the U.S. Commercial Services Award for Excellence in Export Promotion. Ms. Araissi speaks English, Arabic and French along with other key regional dialects. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the University of Houston.
Bill Keppler serves C3 International as a Senior Associate, promoting trade and commerce between the United States, Arab, and Middle East countries. He represents C3 with senior government officials and business leaders, both US and international, as well as helps in conceiving, developing, planning, organizing, and coordinating Summit programming, outreach and participant recruitment initiatives.
Previously, Mr. Keppler was a career Foreign Service officer where he served in many diverse positions -- both in the United States and overseas -- encompassing international trade, policy planning, press and public diplomacy, legislative affairs, protocol, executive management and administration, and, arms control. His overseas postings include Thailand, Brazil, Switzerland, Armenia, and the Philippines, as well as temporary tours of duty in more than 40 countries on six continents, including the Middle East. He had the privilege of providing direct support to three US Presidents, and served on the staff of six Secretaries of State. In 2002, he was elected and served two terms as the Chairman of the Secretary's Open Forum, promoting informed foreign policy deliberation, decision-making, and implementation. As Chairman, he served directly under the Secretary of State.
Subsequent to his diplomatic career, Mr. Keppler has served as the International Affairs Director at the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC; Director of Government Relations and Global Events at the International Road Federation; and as the President of his own consulting firm, International Solutions, Inc. His Capitol Hill experience includes service on both Senate and House Committees, and on a senior Senator's staff.
Mr. Keppler earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Government-Business Relations from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Villanova University.
Laura Lombard is the founding President and Executive Director of the Middle East & North Africa Consultants Association (MENACA). MENACA is a professional trade association of highly experienced experts doing business in the MENA region. Members range from individual consultants specializing in a specific country or sector to medium sized consulting firms with a strong MENA focus. The organization's mission is to be the premier organization facilitating cooperation and collaboration between professionals doing business in the Middle East and North Africa and supporting business development and operational efforts of our members, leading to increased business opportunities, long-term viability, and profitability.
Ms. Lombard began her regional specialty while working for the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), focusing her work on North Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. After graduating from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a regional specialty in the MENA region, she worked at The Cohen Group (TCG), a DC-based consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. At TCG, she regularly engaged in research projects, due diligence analysis, business development activities for clients in various sectors and focused on the Middle East, Latin America, and China. In addition, she had the unique opportunity to handle the firm's media portfolio.
After leaving TCG, she successfully developed her own independent consulting practice focused on providing strategic advice and insight to her clients on commercial opportunities in the MENA region. In particular, she has developed an expertise in the areas of renewable energy, infrastructure development, defense, and education. In addition to her Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Ms. Lombard has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas. She has travelled to Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey, UAE & Qatar.
Ken Dorph is a leading global expert in financial institution and financial system strengthening. Mr. Dorph began his career in Citibank and Smith Barney, and has worked with the IFC / World Bank Group. For the past twenty years, Mr. Dorph has been consulting in financial institutions worldwide, first with Booz Allen & Hamilton and more recently with his own firm, Sag Harbor Consulting. He has worked with a broad range of financial institutions developing strategy and designing and implementing risk management systems.
Mr. Dorph has a deep experience reviewing and strengthening banks and financial systems worldwide. He led the assessment of the Mexican banks' net worth after the peso collapse, and was also led a similar review in Indonesia during the Asian financial crisis. Mr. Dorph has worked as an advisor on strategy and risk management to the World Bank, the IMF, and a wide range of central banks and supervisors in Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil), Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa), Asia (Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan), and the Middle East (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE, and Yemen).
Mr. Dorph has particular expertise in the Middle East and is a popular speaker on Middle Eastern topics. He has been invited to lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, the Wharton School, the University of Michigan, the New School, and Georgetown University. He has delivered training at banks and central banks around the world. Since September 11th 2001, Mr. Dorph has been teaching an acclaimed course "Seven Keys to Understanding the Arab Middle East" that he developed, at high schools, colleges, and to the public in New York State.
Mr. Dorph has special experience in Islamic finance and has published articles on Islamic law and banking. Since 1985, when he launched the GCC's first shari'ah compliant equity portfolio, he has advised many of the region's banks and central banks and has developed strategy, written feasibility studies, and drafted governance and risk policies for several leading Islamic banks and Islamic investment companies. He advises the World Bank on Islamic finance has been invited to draft the World Bank's corporate governance guidelines for Islamic financial institutions.
Mr. Dorph has a Masters of Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, including a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School. In addition to studying in Damascus, Mr. Dorph studied at Mohammed V University in Rabat and spent three years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia. He is fluent in Arabic (standard and several dialects), Spanish, and French.
Ron Bruder is an American entrepreneur and advocate for increased youth employment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. He is the founder of Education for Employment (EFE), a network of affiliated locally-run nonprofits which create public-private partnerships with employers to train youth in technical and soft skills and place them in jobs. The network has local affiliates in Jordan, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia and capacity-building support organizations in the United States and Spain. In 2011, Mr. Bruder was named on the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Mr. Bruder began his career as a serial entrepreneur with businesses in real estate, travel, pharmaceuticals and energy. In 1977, he founded The Brookhill Group, which owns and manages properties throughout the US with a focus on creating investment partnerships to develop or redevelop shopping centers, office buildings and multi-family homes.
Mr. Bruder was an attendee at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the World Economic Forum in Tianjin in 2012, he was named a Schwab Foundation Global Social Entrepreneur for his work in founding EFE. He has served as a delegate of the Council on Foreign Relations to the Jeddah Economic Forum, and a contributor to the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. He is frequently invited to share EFE's best practices at major international conferences and has addressed audiences at the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum and the United Nations, among others.
Lisa Anderson (CASA '76) was appointed president of The American University in Cairo in January 2011. A specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Ms. Anderson served as the University's provost from 2008 to 2010. As the chief academic officer, she was responsible for shaping and implementing AUC's academic vision and building the size and quality of the faculty.
Prior to joining AUC in 2008, Ms. Anderson served as the James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations at Columbia University and is the former dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia. She also served as the chair of the political science department at the University and as the director of Columbia's Middle East Institute. Before joining Columbia, she was assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University.
Ms. Anderson is the author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia University Press, 2003), The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (Princeton University Press, 1986), editor of Transitions to Democracy (Columbia University Press, 1999) and coeditor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Columbia 1991).
Past president of the Middle East Studies Association and past chair of the board of the Social Science Research Council, Ms. Anderson is also a former member of the Council of the American Political Science Association and served on the board of the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs. She is member emerita of the board of Human Rights Watch, where she served as co-chair of Human Rights Watch/Middle East, co-chair of the International Advisory Board of the Von Humbolt Foundation and member of the International Advisory Council of the World Congress for Middle East Studies. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. Anderson holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She earned a PhD in political science from Columbia University, 1981, where she also received a certificate from the Middle East Institute. She was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from Monmouth University in 2002.
Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne implements the firm's philanthropic vision to build vibrant communities. She is responsible for investing in not-for-profit organizations, programs and solutions that address issues of workforce readiness, small business, affordable housing and financial capabilities. She is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of partner and program investments, which includes conducting due diligence, community development services, technical assistance, consulting, referrals and grants.
Previously, Mrs. Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne was Vice President, International Government Relations, managing global issues related to corporate finance and investment banking with respect to the firm's legislative and regulatory affairs.
Mrs. Jennings-O'Byrne began her career at JPMorgan Chase as an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions group. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Ms. Jennings-O'Byrne was a senior press relations manager for Sun Microsystems Computer Co. where her responsibilities included developing and implementing global publicity and market ing programs.
She is committed to the development of New York City and the potential of communities. She earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from The Wharton School of Business and masters in business administration (MBA) from The University of Michigan Business School. As part of her degree programs she studied at the National University of Singapore, the City of London Polytechnic and traveled throughout Israel on a research project for the Israeli Tourism Dept. She is proudly married to David O'Byrne and resides in New York City.
Amat Al Alim Alsoswa is a Yemeni leader and activist, who is presently a member of the 565-member Yemen Political National Dialogue. She was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Director of its Regional Bureau for Arab States, where she served from 2006-2012. In this post, Ms. Alsoswa led UNDP's 18 programme offices in the Arab region in their efforts to develop national capacities for poverty reduction, democratic governance, sustainable development, crisis prevention and recovery, and women's empowerment. She also provided regional thought leadership through the launching of two editions of the Arab Human Development Report, in 2006 and 2009. In these efforts, Ms. Alsoswa has built on decades of first-hand experience in public engagement, institution-building and governance issues in the region, in particular in her native Yemen, where she served in various leadership positions in the public and private spheres.
From 2003 to 2005, she served as Yemen's first Minister of Human Rights, developing the mandate and capacities of that institution and leading such efforts as the production of the country's first national report on human rights, the holding of televised public hearings on international reports on Yemen's human rights record, and the establishment of a human rights resource center open to the public. Prior to that post, Ms. Alsoswa served from 1997 to 1999 as Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, where she created and oversaw Mutaba'at I'elamiah, a monthly journal providing a platform for consultation and debate on media matters and the fulfillment of freedom of expression. She also served as the Chair of Yemen's first Women's National Committee from 1997 working with women's groups and other stakeholders to advance women's empowerment across the country. In addition, she served in the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2003 as Ambassador to Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Prior to public service, Ms. Alsoswa led the Yemeni Women's Union from 1989-1991, and enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a journalist, starting with radio contributions at the age of ten and culminating from 1984-1986 with the position of Deputy Director of Programmes at Sana'a TV, the most senior position as a woman in Yemeni television. Later on, she was a TV anchor in Yemen's Television where she served as a political commentator and news broadcaster. She then became Chief Editor of Mutaba'at I'elamiah Journal, a monthly magazine focusing on communications and media affairs.
Ms. Alsoswa was also a Visiting Lecturer in the Political Science department of the University of Sana'a. Her achievements have been recognized by many national and international public and private institutions, including the Government of France, which in 2004 awarded her the rank of Officier of the Ordre National de la Légion d'honneur, and the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, which presented her the 2004 W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award.
Ms. Alsoswa holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Cairo University and an M.A. in International Communications from the American University in Washington.
Judith Barnett (Founder & CEO, The Barnett Group) Judith Barnett began The Barnett Group, LLC in 2003 to provide trade consulting services to private sector companies and government agencies, specializing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Ms. Barnett provides a one-stop shop for U.S. companies interested in creating or expanding trade and investment in the MENA. Prior to her private practice in international trade, Ms. Barnett served in the Clinton Administration, practiced as a corporate lawyer and litigator, a law professor, a writer and media expert. She is active on numerous charitable and political organizations including the Boards of Directors | Amideast, J-Street.
Ms. Barnett began her trade practice after serving in the Clinton Administration in from October 1993 to December 1998 where she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Africa and the Near East, U.S. Department of Commerce and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Development, International Trade Association. As Principal Deputy in 1993, she was responsible for the management of an Office of 400 persons and a budget of $49 million. During her tenure at Trade Development, she oversaw the only US government agency that represents industry sectors, managed 22 private sector advisory committees and established the Advocacy Center which has tracked and advocated for billions of dollars of successful tenders for US companies throughout the world.
In 1996, Ms. Barnett became the Deputy Assistant Secretary and championed programs to develop open and competitive markets throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Sahara Africa. She was responsible for activities and programs in 68 countries, including bilateral trade matters, regional projects and programs, and project advocacy for US companies. Ms. Barnett implemented and cooperated on numerous multinational conferences in the Middle East, the United States and Europe, including the 70 country member MENA Economic Summits in Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. Her responsibilities included the Gore-Mbeki and Gore-Mubarak Partnerships for Economic Growth and Development, the Taba Trade Ministers program (trade ministers of the Middle East), the Middle East North Africa Economic Summits with the World Economic Forum and the Administration's Africa Initiative.
In law practice, Ms. Barnett worked in various aspects of corporate law and litigation. She developed corporate specialties in the areas of high tech joint ventures and automotive law, as well as trial work in intellectual property rights and contract law. Ms. Barnett served for eight years as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching in the areas of legislative advocacy and legal ethics and government relations in the global marketplace.
Before entering the law profession, Ms. Barnett served in the Carter and Reagan Administrations in public affairs and speechwriting at the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Education. She has written articles for Voguemagazine, the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, theWashington Times and other publications and has been a media expert on CNN, BBC,, and numerous international television programs. Ms. Barnett lives in Washington and has one daughter, currently an appointee of the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Justice.
George Likourezos is a partner at the intellectual property law firm of Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Operations Management from Polytechnic University (now Polytechnic Institute of NYU) in 1992. He attended The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College from 1992-1995. During law school, he was the winner of prestigious Hon. William C. Conner Legal Writing Competition. He is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Courts of the States of New York and New Jersey and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Mr. Likourezos has been published in several legal journals, including the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society (JPTOS). He focuses his legal practice in protecting innovations in the following fields of technology: digital electronics and computer architecture, communication systems, speech and pattern recognition, video compression, electrical circuits and components, home automation, optical scanning and imaging, software, semiconductor devices including semiconductor manufacturing, and related electromechanical arts. He is a member of the New York Intellectual Property Law Association and on the Board of the Long Island Capital Alliance. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of several technology start-ups.
Michael Brew received a B.S., Biology, Cornell University, 1988; J.D., with distinction, Hofstra University School of Law, 1992. He was admitted to the Courts of the State of New York, U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He was associated with Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (1992-1996); Corporate Counsel, NEC USA, Inc. (1996-1999); associated with Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto (1999-2000); associated with Dilworth & Barrese (2000-2003). Mr Brew is also a member of the American Bar Association, New York Bar Association and New York Intellectual Property Law Association. He is experienced in all phases of patent and trademark prosecution and litigation, as well as unfair competition and trade secrets. Also experienced in opinions, due diligence and licensing. His fields of technology include pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, biotechnology, immunology, vaccines, medical devices, organic chemistry, adhesives, polymers, agrochemicals, cosmetic formulations, foods and paper processing.
Mohamed Elkhashab has been the CEO and President of Reach Media Inc. which is the exclusive distribution, marketing, and production arm of ART (Arab Radio & Television) in North America. He also is the founder of ART America which is a TV network designed for the Arabs living in North America and under Reach Media holds the exclusive distribution rights for many other top Arab TV networks.
Arab Radio and Television Network (Acronym: ART) is an Arabic – language television network characterized by its multitude of channels. It is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The company was founded in October 1993. ART is a private company specializing in family entertainment, including movies, music and sport. ART is common in Saudi Arabia for its exclusive sports event broadcasts, particularly the Saudi Leagues. ART produces over 6,000 live and recorded shows every year including family oriented dramas, series, plays, sports programs, music videos and documentaries. The network has the largest Arabic movie library in the Arab world and (as part of the AMC conglomerate) has been associated with leading film production studios in the Arab world for well over 30 years. ART has remained focused on providing the Arab world with a diverse and exciting spectrum of family entertainment while maintaining a commitment to providing quality viewing services and preserving the integral traditional values of Arab culture. ART broadcasts internationally, expanding its coverage to North America, Europe and Australia. ART is Available 24 hours a day in North America; ART serves Arab Americans by linking them to their homeland with programming in their own language. ART's foundation is based on the largest general entertainment library in the Arab world. In addition, ART has programming targeted to second generation Arab Americans.
Mr. Elkhashab is not only considered among the great ambassadors to the United States in enhancing Arab-US Media relations but is also a pioneer of the industry. He founded Reach Media in 1996 with the intension of bringing all the top programs from the Arab world into the homes of Arabs abroad. REACH Media has established itself to be leading marketer of products and services to not only Arab but various ethnic communities across North America. By marketing and distributing top tier foreign language TV channels on various platforms, REACH Media has developed a bond with communities it serves. That bond has evolved to the ability to market various different products to a desirable consumer base.
Mr. Elkhashab holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Alexandria and also a M.S. in construction management from PolyTech. With such a diverse background, Mr. Elkhashab continues to impact the media industry while continuing his innovations in media with diversifying viewing options. He is also now hosting a live TV Show weekly from New York to educate the Arab viewers of all the latest events happening in the Arab world and how it directly or indirectly affects them here living miles away. Through his high network of both Arabs and Americans in the media, Mr. Elkhashab offers a unique insight from the perspective of the person that has experienced both media environments.
Rahilla Zafar is co-author of the book 'Arab Women Rising' which profiles 35 women entrepreneurs from across the Middle East published by Knowledge@Wharton. Ms. Zafar also consults for education companies helping to develop new global markets in online learning. She was one of the founding directors helping launch one of the first entrepreneurship curriculums at a PK-12 school in Philadelphia that received funding from Dick Hayne, the founder of Urban Outfitters and the Nasdaq Foundation. Ms. Zafar also worked with Wharton Business School Professor Keith Weigelt to create Building Bridges to Wealth, a cross-generational financial literacy and entrepreneurship organization providing programs for inner-city communities and schools. She co-plans and leads the Ibrahim Leadership & Dialogue Middle East program organized with Queens College. Each year, the program fully funds university students from across the United States to travel to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and the UAE.
Eric Savage is a shareholder in New York City office of the largest management-side employment law firm in the U.S., consisting of fifty-three offices and approximately 1,100 attorneys. Practice encompasses litigation and arbitration (including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank whistleblower, wage and hour, restrictive covenant and other issues), employment law due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, contract drafting and review, advice and counseling, including for foreign companies coming into the U.S., preparation and review of personnel policies, both domestic and global, and management training. The firm also assists clients in pensions, benefits and employee taxes, data and employee privacy, immigration, union issues and other matters. His legal expertise includes:
- Litigation for foreign clients, including issues concerning jurisdiction of U.S. courts over foreign corporations, and litigation for U.N. Missions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
- Country editor for chapters on Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates in Littler Mendelson’s multi-volume series International Labor and Employment Laws.
Vice Chair, Middle East Law Committee, American Bar Association, International Section.
- American Bar Association International Section Rule of Law Initiative, Executive Council Member for Middle East and North Africa.
- Liaison to Dubai International Financial Center Courts, Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations from the American Bar Association, International Section
- Member, Arab Regional Forum, International Bar Association.
- Mentor, Oasis 500 (start-up incubator in Amman, Jordan).
- Member, Arab Bankers Association of North America.
- Lecturer at conferences organized by American Bar Association and International Bar Association, presented webinar on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act for U.S. – Saudi Arabian Business Council.
- Speaker at Global Entrepreneurship Summit/Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia Summit in Dubai (December 2012)
Chéma Gargouri has, over the past 18 years, developed an expertise in project design and management, micro and small business development, institutional and individual capacity building services. In her capacity as CEO of the Center for Applied Training, she has been conducting and managing training and development programs on behalf of international organizations, including USAID, FAS, MEPI at the US Department of State, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the EU. As Founder and President of TAMSS, an economic and social development NGO, she has been devoting the last 8 years to the enhancement of women and youth lives, empowering their technical, managerial and entrepreneurial skills and developing partnership to enhance the work of post revolution local NGOs.
Edward Burton was appointed President and Managing Director of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council in March 2006. In January 2013, he assumed the title of Chief Executive Officer and retained the title of President of the Council. In this position he works with the American and Saudi public and private sectors to promote the interests of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian bilateral commercial relationship. The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council was established in December 1993 to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the United States and Saudi Arabia, and to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The Council's activities include organizing trade missions, conferences, seminars and high-level networking events such as the two "U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forums" held in 2010 and 2011 in Chicago and Atlanta, the largest gatherings of Saudi and American businesses in the relationship's history. The Council also publishes updated documents including "A Business Guide to Saudi Arabia", a bi-monthly newsletter, the "U.S.-Saudi Business Brief", and specialized industry sector reports. The Council's activities are focused on highlighting the more than $1 trillion in Saudi earmarked projects and market opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Burton has counseled hundreds of Fortune 500 companies as well as small and middle tier firms in a variety of industries such construction, medical and pharmaceutical, defense & security, information technology and technical services.
Prior to joining the Business Council, Mr. Burton served as the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He managed a staff of 27 officers, commercial specialists and other local direct hire personnel serving offices in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. He was responsible for all U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) operations in Saudi Arabia and had oversight of all USFCS management, administrative and fiscal matters in the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom. He also supervised USFCS operations in Manama, Bahrain through a partnership arrangement with the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Mr. Burton was also appointed directly by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to serve as the USFCS Regional Coordinator for the agency's Iraq Reconstruction Regional Initiative.
Prior to being assigned to the Embassy in Riyadh, Mr. Burton was the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, he served former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as the State of New Jersey's International Trade Director.
Mr. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Charleston and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Dickinson School of Law. He practiced law in New Jersey with the law firm Cooper Levenson. He also received certified international trade and management training at the Thunderbird School of International Business and the Harvard Business School of Publishing.
Fuad Sahouri is the President and CEO of Sahouri Insurance and Financial, a company he established in 1970 in the
Washington DC metropolitan area. A dynamic, take-charge leader, under his leadership, Sahouri Insurance has become
the largest and most recognized insurance provider for embassies and foreign missions in the United States. Sahouri
Insurance is a well-respected insurance house, known for its exemplary customer service, and its penchant for bundling
different carriers into a single policy, a forward-thinking service he implemented. Mr. Sahouri understood the opportunity that
international relations offered the insurance industry, and tailored policies for embassies and UN missions as well as
traditional and commercial insurance across the US.
Mr. Sahouri, who emigrated from Palestine to the United States in 1963, is an avid internationalist. His interests include politics, business, philanthropy, cross-cultural understanding, and the arts. Believing that "the foundation of every state is the education of its youth," he founded the Arab AmeriCare Foundation (AAF), a US-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower young people in the Palestinian territories, through education, teaching them work skills, and instilling hope and confidence for a brighter and safer future. AAF has professional internship programs offering job placement, mentoring opportunities, and career guidance, which are all aimed at advancing the participants’ education, enhancing their future prospects, broadening their experiences and strengthening their mental and social development. In 1985, Mr. Sahouri founded the Arab American Business and Professional Association, a trade association for the Arab American community in the US.
In his efforts to advance the Middle East peace process, Mr. Sahouri has personally met with several US presidents including, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Bill Clinton. He appealed to former President George H. W. Bush to allow Palestinian goods to enter the US under the label "Made in Palestine."
In April of 1994, Mr. Sahouri facilitated the request for Generalized Services Preferences (GSP) status for the Palestinian territories between Chairman Yasser Arafat in Tunis and the executive office at the White House. He met with Chairman Arafat and advised him to request a free trade agreement between the New Palestine and the United States. Former President Bill Clinton thereafter granted Palestine the Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Sahouri also participated in several foreign policy meetings with former President Herbert Walker Bush, bringing forth crucial issues such as the economic development of the (New Palestine) West Bank and Gaza.
In 1994, Mr. Sahouri was invited to present the "Palestinian Perspective" at the World Economic Forum Conference in Davos. Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Sahouri participated in various speaking engagements in the US and in the Arab region, addressing businesses and universities, including joint efforts between the American Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce, all in the interest of promoting peace and dialogue. He also lectured at Cornell University on Arab business opportunities.
In the early 2000s, Mr. Sahouri hosted a weekly television program entitled "It's Your Business," which aired on the American Arab Network (ANA) for over two years. The show featured many topics, including international business, principles of free enterprise, politics and trade.
Mr. Sahouri is married to Mary Zayed. They have five children and 7 grandchildren.
An internationally recognized expert in energy policy and Middle East/North Africa market access, Randa Fahmy Hudome has more than twenty-five years of legal and public policy experience, including service in both the executive and legislative branches of the United States Government. In 2003, Ms. Hudome launched Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), a strategic consulting firm which provides critical advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, media organizations, and private sector entities with an interest in international business transactions and energy policy.
Prior to founding FHI, Ms. Fahmy Hudome was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy. Working with the White House and the Departments of State and Commerce, she developed and implemented international energy policy. Her keen diplomatic skills became a critical factor when dealing with both producer and consumer nations as she exercised the Administration's quiet diplomacy strategy in the petroleum market. She served as the Department of Energy's representative to the Paris based International Energy Agency, where she helped coordinate strategy for international oil emergencies amongst the 26-member country organization. Ms. Hudome was also the point person at the Department of Energy for increased advocacy on behalf of American energy companies seeking business around the globe.
From 1995-2001, Ms. Hudome served as Counselor to United States Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI). During the six years she spent in the legislative branch, she was credited with shaping many pieces of legislation that affected U.S. interests abroad. She served as a key policy advisor to the Senator during his tenure on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, focusing on immigration and terrorism legislation.
Prior to her government service, Ms. Hudome was a practicing attorney with the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, where she specialized in the areas of international trade and corporate litigation. She maintains bar memberships in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the United States Court of International Trade. She received her juris doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she held the post of Administrative Editor of The Georgetown Journal of International Law.
Her expertise in international economic policy and energy has been sought by the U.S. Secretary of State, who appointed her to serve on the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and by the Secretary of Energy who appointed her to serve on the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. In 2011, Ms. Hudome was one of 20 attorneys selected nationwide for the DirectWomen Board Institute, a program designed to identify and promote qualified women lawyers to serve on corporate boards of public companies. She presently serves on the Board of Directors of SWAPSOL and Board of Advisors of TransGen Energy.
Ms. Fahmy Hudome's opinions on international diplomacy have been published in the Wall Street Journal, and she appears frequently as an expert analyst on NBC's Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and Al-Jazeera.
Randa El-Sayed Haffar is an AUB trustee since 2011 and an AUB graduate (BA '90). Ms. El-Sayed Haffar is also a director at Citi Private Bank. She previously worked for the Private Bank of Chase Manhattan Bank, Coutts Bank, and the Bank of New York. Ms. El-Sayed Haffar has been a director of the Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst Foundation since 2008 and has been involved in the Worldwide Alumni Association of AUB (WAAAUB) as a member-at-large and a member of its Strategic Planning Task Force. She is a past vice president of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the AUB Alumni Association of North America and a graduate of New York University (MPA '95).
Walid Mansour has more than 12 years of experience in venture capital and strategy & management consultancy, corporate finance and engineering in telecom, media and public sector industries. Prior to joining MEVP, Mr. Mansour was a lead associate at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants within their Middle East team, supporting the firm's implementation and growth in the region with a focus on the telecom & media sectors. Before Roland Berger, he worked as a strategy manager at the UAE's Prime Ministry executive office focusing on long term public sector strategies and implementation plans. During his stay in Dubai, he worked on setting-up entrepreneurship related programs and developing incubation in the Arab World through several Dubai based initiatives such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation. Prior to that, Mr. Mansour worked at Booz & Company as a consultant covering telecom & media and public sector industries across the region. Prior to Booz & Company, he worked as an industrial engineer in France within Altsom. In 2009, he completed Morgan Stanley's summer associate program within their investment banking M&A division in London. Mr. Mansour holds an industrial and urban planning engineering degree from Institut National des Science Appliquées de Lyon (INSA de Lyon) and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hala El Barkouky is founder and managing partner of Allied Business Consultants, based in Cairo, Egypt. Since its inception in 1996, ABC has been contracted to assist in the privatization of several Egyptian companies and conduct business-viability assessments for energy-efficiency services in Egypt, in addition to company valutations in South Korea and governmental restructuring in Bermuda.
Previously, Ms. El Barkouky worked for 18 years in banking, including nine years with Chase National Bank (later Commercial International Bank): first as unit head for tourism, airlines and petroleum; then as senior manager for marketing support and new business development; and finally as division head of the correspondent banking and trade finance division.
From 1993 to 1996, she worked with Bechtel Inc. and Arthur Anderson as group head and team leader for the mining and refractories and chemical holding companies.
Ms. El Barkouky received a BA in communications from the American University in Cairo, graduated from the Chase Manhattan Bank Credit Appraisal Course and attended the program in investment appraisal and development at the Harvard Institute for International Development. She has served as one of the few women on the Board of Directors of the very powerful Am Cham in Egypt.
Mr. Close is the CEO and Founding Partner of The Quincy Group and a specialist in U.S.-Saudi business and foreign relations. He brings over three decades of investment banking, private equity, international business development and government relations experience in the MENA region to the firm.
Mr. Close comes from a long line of educators, missionaries, diplomats, soldiers, and businessmen who have served in the Arab region since the mid-nineteenth century. He is the fourth generation of his family born in Lebanon and the fifth generation to have lived, studied and worked in the Arab world. He enjoys broad and deep relationships there in part as a result of his family's unique history in the region.
His great-uncle, Colonel William Eddy, was the director of the OSS for the Arab region during World War II before being sent to Saudi Arabia as the first US Ambassador. In that capacity, he served as the interpreter between President Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz when they met on the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal in February of 1945 – it is this meeting that is widely commemorated as the beginning of the "special relationship" between the two countries.
Mr. Close began his career in finance with Merrill Lynch where he focused on transactions in the Arab world. In the early 1990s, he began working as a strategic advisor to companies doing business in Saudi Arabia and as a private investment advisor to several high net worth Saudi families. In 2005, he took on the added responsibility of Senior Policy Advisor to HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal when he became the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
Mr. Close is a graduate of Duke University, with an AB in Political Science, magna cum laude. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).
Robert E. Michael, a globally recognized expert on Islamic Finance, is the Managing Member of Robert E. Michael & Associates PLLC, a law firm that engages in general corporate and commercial litigation representations, with a primary focus on cross-border workouts and bankruptcies, representing offshore corporate clients either with claims against, or an interest in investing in, U.S. entities in financial difficulty. He is a frequent lecturer on both the basic tenets of Islamic law and finance and the divisions among the Sunni, the Shi'a and the Salafists.
Mr. Michael is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pace University Law School, teaching "Law and Finance" to international L.L.M. candidates, primarily from Saudi Arabia, and provides annual guest lectures on Islamic Finance and International Business Transactions to the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has appeared frequently in the Saudi Arabian business press, and is the co-author of "Iflas and Chapter 11 - Classical Islamic Law and Modern Bankruptcy," in The International Lawyer. In 2010, Mr. Michael had the unique opportunity to be the first non-diplomat invited to address the Ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (then the Organization of the Islamic Conference) at the United Nations. His speech was entitled Islamic Finance in Relation to Capitalism and Socialism.
Mr. Michael, a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law; is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and, has headed a Workout/Restructure Department in a commercial bank (Manufacturers Hanover); an investment bank (Paribas Corporation); and a law firm (Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives). He was also a partner of Morrison & Foerster, based in New York City. Besides being appointed the inaugural Chair of the new Committee on Middle Eastern and North African Affairs of the New York City Bar Association, he is a Member of its Council on International Affairs and a former Chair of its Committee on Foreign and Comparative Law.
Mr. Michael is also the Chairman of the Islamic Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the oldest international law society in the world; as well as a member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America.
Hussain Qaragholi is President and Executive Director of the United States Business Council in Iraq as well as Chairman and Managing Director of Phoenix Capital Finance Limited and Phoenix Capital LLC. After graduating from Georgetown University in International Political Economy and Business Administration, Mr. Qaragholi subsequently began his career on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch, followed by Citigroup, Essdar Capital and Abu Dhabi International Bank (ADIB) before he founded Phoenix Capital in 2011.
In 2003, he initiated the Citigroup Iraq Desk and led Iraq government coverage as part of the core team that successfully restructured the USD 22 billion Saddam-era commercial claims into the debut USD 2.7 billion Iraq sovereign bond. At Essdar Capital he was advisor to the UAE and Oman sovereign governments and private royal wealth funds. As Iraq Business Head at ADIB, Mr. Qaragholi set-up Iraq's first foreign-owned standalone bank and acted as financial advisor to Iraq's first Independent Power Producer in the Kurdistan Region.
Mr. Qaragholi is President of the United States Business Council in Iraq. He is a recipient of the International Finance Review "Global Restructuring Deal of the Year" in 2006 for his work on the Saddam-era debt restructuring. He has appeared in media including the Financial Times, Platts Energy Week, and the internationally broadcast CNBC Capital Connection.
He received his Bachelors of Arts (Honors) from The College of William and Mary, a Masters of Arts (Honors) from the School of Foreign Service and an MBA – both from Georgetown University. He is a native speaker in Arabic and English.
Ponscio is a social networking site that connects and advances women entrepreneurs worldwide, helping them fulfill their potential, driving economic and social change through (1) education, (2) mentorships, and (3) access to capital – regardless of a woman’s wealth, geography, or professional experience.
Ms. Owen was also CEO of PontSalus, LLC, a firm dedicated to reducing healthcare costs and increasing access to quality healthcare, worldwide, by facilitating medical education/training, best practices, and patient services, through partnerships with the global leaders in healthcare. She was Co-Founder and President/COO of ICOP Digital, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICOP), a company that engineers and markets mobile video products for first responders.
She was the first woman appointed Kansas Secretary of Commerce (KDOC), where she led international trade, business development, and travel and tourism, for the State of Kansas. Ms. Owen has served on numerous state boards and commissions. She also served on the board of Heart to Heart International for ten years, a global humanitarian organization which delivers medicine and medical supplies to areas of need, worldwide.
In 2007, she was named one of the "Women Who Mean Business" by the Kansas City Business Journal. She studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and is a graduate of Delaware Valley College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She was selected as the Fall 2011 Thomas W. Watson Executive-in-Residence, at Delaware Valley College. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Ottawa University (Kansas) and Delaware Valley College (Pennsylvania).
Steeped on US-Iran relations and American oil diplomacy in the Persian Gulf, Dr. Cooper wrote his groundbreaking book The Oil Kings: How the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East. His latest book, scheduled for release next year, will explore the Iranian Revolution and fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. As part of his research, Dr. Cooper recently traveled to Iran to study Shia Islam in the holy city of Qom.
Previously, Dr. Cooper was employed at the United Nations and Human Rights Watch as a researcher and writer on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the organization awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. His efforts for the ICBL were featured in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post and The Economist. Eight years ago he decided to research the possible role the oil markets played in destabilizing Iran's economy on the eve of the outbreak of revolution in the late 1970s. His findings were published in the Middle East Journal, featured in the Los Angeles Times and expanded on in The Oil Kings, a book praised by critics as "a revelatory, impressive debut" and "unquestionably the best historical record of the Middle East energy crisis, and its impact on the collapse of the Shah of Iran, and the US Presidency of Richard Nixon."
Since then, Dr. Cooper has written and lectured widely for a diverse range of audiences including the Kennedy and Ford presidential libraries and US Central Command's Third Army. His views on U.S.-Iran relations and oil diplomacy have been sought out by media outlets including BBC, NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN and CNN. He is in addition a columnist (currently on hiatus) for the Guardian newspaper's Tehran Bureau web site.
Dr. Cooper was born in New Zealand and has lived in the United States, Great Britain, Greece and Thailand. He holds a PhD in the history of U.S.-Iran relations from Victoria University, a master's degree in strategic studies from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York. He is currently based in New York researching and writing his new book on the fall of the shah.
Mr. Babay founded Intrinsic Value Investment Partners (IVIP) in 2009 as a hedge fund platform. IVIP is a global investment management firm with a value oriented approach. Prior to IVIP, Mr. Babay was a Partner at Foxhill Capital Partners LLC, a distressed/event driven hedge fund founded in 2005. Mr. Babay served on Foxhill's investment committee. Prior to Foxhill, Mr. Babay spent 6 years at Lehman Brothers in various capacities including investment banking and proprietary trading. Mr. Babay was a member of Lehman's global mergers and acquisitions group from 2001 to 2003 where he completed several transactions. In 2003, Mr. Babay joined Lehman's proprietary trading desk as a senior investment analyst responsible for generating and executing trading ideas in both the debt and equity markets. Prior to Lehman Brothers, Mr. Babay worked in various managerial positions in the textile and sanitary ware industries. Mr. Babay holds a MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor of science from IHEC Institute. Mr. Babay also is on the board of directors of the Arab Bankers Association of North America. Mr. Babay is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Hala Fadel started and chairs the MIT Enterprise Forum of the pan-Arab region, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship in the Arab region, through the MIT Arab start-up competition that receives thousands of applications every year from 21 Arab countries. She is a member of the Global board of the MIT enterprise Forum, as well as a board member of the MIT enterprise Forum of Turkey. Ms. Fadel is also an Angel investor in start-up companies in the Arab world and has launched a co-working space in Beirut called co-working +961. She also started Booleo, a telecom software business, later acquired as an internal solution by a client.
Ms Fadel is currently a portfolio manager for European Equities at Comgest, a euro 16bn fund based in Paris, Dublin, Hong-Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Mumbai. She joined Comgest in 2002 and became a portfolio manager for European equities. She graduated from HEC in France in 1997 with a Masters in Financial Economics and attended the Berkeley Haas School of Business, and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan has been a successful serial entrepreneur and investor for over 20 years. She serves as Managing Partner of K6 Investments, a private investment firm she founded to invest in a wide array of industries including: financial services, technology, entertainment, luxury and real estate. K6 also advises institutional and strategic investors as they expand globally into these industries.
Previously, she was President and CEO of Proctor Investment Managers, a firm she co-founded in 2002 to take advantage of private equity investment opportunities in the traditional and alternative asset management industry. After taking Proctor from start up to success, Ms. Aboelnaga Kanaan sold the firm to National Bank of Canada in 2006 and continued as Proctor’s CEO until 2013.
Previously, Ms. Aboelnaga Kanaan was Senior Vice President at Communications Equity Associates where she expanded the principal investment activities in the US and Middle East. Prior to joining CEA, she was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Siguler Guff & Company. Previously, she held various positions at PaineWebber Investment Banking in the Leveraged Transactions and Financial Institutions Groups. She began her career at Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management.
Ms. Aboelnaga Kanaan serves on the boards of Conquest Capital Group, Peridiem Global Investors, the Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA); is a Trustee of The Chapin School in Manhattan and a member of its Finance and Investment Committee overseeing the school’s $120 million endowment. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as Golden Seeds, the largest angel networks in the United States.
Ms. Aboelnaga Kanaan is a frequent speaker and commentator on asset management, private equity investing and the Arab world in forums and publications such as the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Pensions & Investments, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, HFM, FundFire and The Private Equity Analyst.
Ms. Aboelnaga Kanaan earned a B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Born in Cairo, Egypt, she now resides in New York City with her husband Sabi Kanaan and their four children.
Prior to joining Olayan in 1993, Mr. Hobson held positions at the Saudi Arabia Information Office in Washington, DC, and, from 1980 to 1990, in the Public Affairs organization of the Arabian American Oil Company (now Saudi Aramco) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
He has also been a newspaper reporter and editor, business writer, international student exchange consultant, and English teacher. His twin interests in communication and the Arab world first converged in 1970-1971, when he was a Teaching Fellow in English at International College, Beirut.
Mr. Hobson holds a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree from Yale University. He serves on the board of Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU).
Mark Jaffe is an attorney and serves as corporate counsel for the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as Treasurer for both the Business and Labor Coalition of New York and the Manhattan Borough Economic Development Corporation. In 2010, Mr. Jaffe ran for a seat on the New York State Assembly where he drew the recognition of other political leaders for his skills in economic development and and leadership in reducing taxes. He has been recognized for his work on promoting free trade agreements and advocating for small businesses. Mr. Jaffe grew up in Westchester County NY, graduated SUNY Albany cum laude, studied business and public administration and than graduated from Cardozo Law School.
Jessica Bruder teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has written for venues including Harper's Magazine; The New York Times Magazine; The Washington Post; The New York Observer; the Associated Press; The Oregonian; and, The International Herald Tribune.
She is also the author of Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man. In 1986 a pair of friends burned an eight-foot-tall effigy on Baker Beach in San Francisco in front of a small audience of twenty. Two decades later, Burning Man has now become an amazing annual extravaganza, attracting nearly forty thousand people -- and converting the ancient lakebed of Nevada's Black Rock Desert into its own bustling city that exists for one incredible week before disappearing into thin air.
Jason B. Scher received a B.S., Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics and a B.A., German Cultural Studies with a Minor in International Studies, from Binghamton University (2003); a J.D., Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Intellectual Property (2007). Admitted to the Courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2007)and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (2006). He was also an International Filing Coordinator at Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds, P.C. (2007-2008) and a Patent Paralegal at Novartis (2007); an IP Paralegal at O’Connell Law Office (2005-2007); an IP Paralegal at Salzman & Levy (2002-2003); and an Engineer at Fusco Engineering (2003). He is a member of the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. Experienced in patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and related matters, he practices in the technological fields which include mechanical, electromechanical, and medical arts with an emphasis on medical and surgical devices.
Umar Farooq has substantial experience advising clients on corporate joint ventures, conventional and Islamic finance, capital markets, intellectual property, litigation and commercial disputes. He started Farooq & Co with the primary purpose of bringing his passion for innovation and creativity to the practice of law.
Prior to starting Farooq & Co, he was the Head of Legal of an investment bank. Mr. Farooq started his legal career with the international law firm SNR Denton. He has also worked for a public interest group in Washington, D.C., dealing primarily with U.S. Congress and federal agencies. He also helped prime brokerages develop their policies and procedures in accordance with NYSE Euronext Rules.
Before practicing law, Mr. Farooq worked as a journalist with global news organizations such as CNN and the Associated Press (AP) and as a public relations specialist with the global public relations firm Weber Shandwick Worldwide.
Aaron Salzberg serves as the Special Coordinator for Water Resources at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science Affairs. He is the first person to hold this title. He is responsible for managing the development and implementation of U.S. policies on drinking water and sanitation, water resources management, and transboundary water and leads the U.S. Government's response to the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005.
Dr. Salzberg has been the lead representative or the lead water advisor for the United States at several major international events on water including the G8; the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the UN Commission on Sustainable Development; and, the World Water Forums. He also leads the Department of State's engagement on transboundary water issues in many regions throughout the world where water is, or may become a source of tension or conflict.
Dr. Salzberg earned his Ph.D. in Genetic Toxicology and a Master's degree in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and has mediated more than forty civil disputes as a mediator with the Harvard Law School. He was recently awarded the 2010 Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy for moving water from the periphery to the center of U.S. government foreign policy.
Richard ("Rick") Westerdale has over twenty years of experience in the Energy Industry. He leads and directs efforts to identify, analyze, and evaluate the strategic importance of policies in international energy affairs including governance; access to energy; use of renewables and low carbon technologies; and, increasing access to conventional energy resources. He represents the State Department in a variety of senior-level engagements and carries out official visits to advance international engagement, forge cooperation with partner-nations and establish agreements on a range of energy security policy initiatives. Mr. Westerdale maintains liaison with key stakeholders in the U.S. and foreign media and private sectors, other USG and foreign agencies, public groups, NGOs, and organizations with equities in the international arena.
Prior to his current assignment in Washington, he was responsible for providing expert commercial & technical advice, guidance, and leadership in the oil and gas sector with a specialization in Energy at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Previously, with both Westerdale Holdings and GM Ryan International, Mr. Westerdale was responsible for new business development and identifying a suite of strategic growth opportunities; then implementing an aggressive strategy for pursuit and capture.
During his tenure with ExxonMobil, he last worked within a small staff group that reported directly to the Chairman & CEO. Prior to that, he lived overseas, in the Middle East and Australia, and held multiple senior level positions. He gained extensive commercial and marketing experience by working with host governments and stewarding multi-cultural engagements. While in Abu Dhabi, his duties included initiation of commercial strategies, coordination of internal resources, and development of proposals that included competitive tender submissions as well as direct negotiations. While in Australia, Mr. Westeredale was responsible for overseeing marketing efforts into the Asia Pacific and developed the company's first equity marketing strategy for LNG. He also managed and stewarded non-operator interests within multiple Joint Ventures.
Additionally, Mr. Westerdale has held a variety of positions in ExxonMobil's downstream business which included Business Unit Manager; Support & Controls Manager; and, Operations Manager and Engineering Supervisor. These assignments provided both managerial and leadership experience including P/L responsibility, staff development and managerial oversight. His early assignments were primarily engineering related with construction, maintenance and environmental emphasis. Subsequent sales assignments broadened his knowledge of the industry and marketing, including retail sales.
Mr. Westerdale received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1991 and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Averett College in 1994. He is also a registered Professional Engineer.
Rula Shunnar has over 20 years of experience in Project Management, Private Sector Development, Entrepreneurship, and Aid Management. Ms. Shunnar joined Silatech in November 2013 to become Silatech's Country Representative for Palestine and Jordan. Ms. Shunnar holds an MBA, with concentration on International Business, from University of St. Thomas, and B.Sc. in Computer Information System from University of Houston, TX. Ms. Shunnar's extensive work in the US and International and Regional Organizations has enabled her to acquire knowledge in multicultural business and work environments, and enriched her diverse experience in several fields. While living in the US, she worked in the leading oil and gas, and petro chemical companies, where she was recognized as an expert in applying global project methodology principles.
In 2010, Ms. Shunnar was appointed by the Palestinian Authority as the Minister of National Economy Senior Advisor on Private Sector Development, International Aide, and Donor Coordination, where she was responsible for bilateral and multilateral relations with EU, USAID, UN Organizations, World Bank, GIZ and many others. During her assignment, Ms. Shunnar had established Aid Management Unit in the Ministry to manage and coordinate all funds allocated by donors through to the ministry and though it, re-initiating the Private Sector Development Working Group, which is a forum for all donors in Palestine. She has also helped formulating the strategy for MSME's for the Palestinian Economy and has led negotiation teams for significant Economic Growth, Investment Climate Improvement, and Private Sector Development projects funded by donors like World Bank, JICA, USAID, and European Commission. An entrepreneur herself, Ms. Shunnar has co-founded a start-up in Palestine to promote renewable energy solutions in the residential, commercial and Industrial sectors, and consulting services. As an expert in the private sector development, Ms. Shunnar has chaired and participated in sessions on Youth, Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, and family business in various conferences in Europe and Palestine.
Stuart Beck graduated from Harvard College in 1968 and Yale Law School in 1971. In 1977, he was retained by the Palau Political Status Commission as Chief Counsel to assist the Commission in its drive to achieve sovereignty for Palau. In that position, he worked from 1976 until 1980, negotiating and concluding with the United States the groundbreaking Hilo Agreement, and then the Compact of Free Association. These established, for the first time, Palau's right to conduct its own internal and foreign affairs, and to take its place in the community of nations.
He also participated as Counsel to the Status Commission on the several historic occasions at which it petitioned the United Nations for separate sovereignty. In 1978, at the request of the Status Commission, Ambassador Beck arranged to have the eminent Harvard Professor and former Ambassador of President Kennedy to India, John Kenneth Galbraith, become the unpaid Economic Adviser to the Status Commission. In recognition of his service to Palau, Ambassador Beck was made an honorary citizen of the Republic in 1979, by Joint Resolution of the Sixth Palau Legislature No. 1041. In 1986, Ambassador Beck co-founded Granite Broadcasting Corporation, a public company that owned and operated television stations around the US. He was President of that company until 2004. In early 2004, Ambassador Beck was asked by President Remengesau to become Palau's first Ambassador to the United Nations, and has served continuously in this position to date.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador of Palau for Oceans and Seas, and Chairman of the Fund for a Sustainable Palau, Ambassador Beck served for ten years as Palau's first Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In that capacity, he developed numerous international sustainability initiatives, including resolutions to ban deep sea bottom trawling and shark-finning. While Ambassador, Palau declared the world's first shark sanctuary, a path now followed by ten countries. He was active in persuading the Security Council to debate climate change as an issue of international peace and security and he sought the intervention of the International Court of Justice in the climate change debate. In his current role, he is helping the President of Palau to accomplish the groundbreaking closure of Palau's entire territory to industrial fishing, and he has been instrumental in the movement at the General Assembly to adopt a stand-alone sustainable development goal on oceans.
Fathi Saeed is a leader in a well-known business family in Yemen, HSA Group, which was founded by his late grandfather in 1938. He completed his undergraduate business degree in the United States in 1990 and his post-graduate degree in the UK in 2002.
He worked in the field of food manufacturing in Yemen for 12 years before transitioning to London in 2002 to work in commodity trading, and then back to Yemen in 2006 to work in banking retailing for a short period. He joined Natco (a subsidiary of HSA Group and one of the largest trading companies in Yemen) in 2008. He became Natco Holding's Managing Director two years ago, overlooking Natco's seven companies in the fields of Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Power & Renewable Energy, IT, Food Distribution and Property Developments.
Mr. Saeed is involved in many NGOs promoting entrepreneurship, Corporate Governance, and CSR through his chairmanship of the Yemeni Business Club (YBC), which is the most active business NGO in Yemen. He is also the Chairman of the Yemeni-Korean Business Council, and Board Member of the Turkish and Emirates Business Councils and the Yemen Education For Employment (YEFE). One of YEFE's first employer partners, Mr. Saeed has been one of the leading corporate figures promoting business involvement and investment in youth employment in Yemen. Since 2008, HSA has hired over 100 YEFE graduates for jobs in Yemen and abroad in Administrative, Banking, Accounting, IT, Sales, Marketing, Technical and Mechanical roles. HSA also provides financial support for YEFE's programs and operations.
Mr. Saeed attended many Executive Education Programs in Strategy, Leadership, Sales & Marketing at London Business School, Ashridge Business School, Cranfield School of Management, IMD & TUCK Business schools. He is also member of the Cancer Combat Foundation & Thalassemia Foundation. Fathi is married with 4 children.
Radwen Tekaya is a dynamic Tunisian business leader who expressed strong personal conviction around the opportunity for business to brighten the future for young Tunisians. Vistaprint has hired over 30 EFE-Tunisie alumni to support its growing Tunis-based office, which provides customer service and design support for Vistaprint’s clients in Europe. In a departure from standard recruitment practices in Tunisia, which tend to focus on cities, Vistaprint’s Tunisia office has prioritized sourcing employees from the poorer interior regions of Tunisia as a lever for enhancing economic opportunity for youth in these underserved communities.
Pamela Flaherty is a longtime Citi employee who has held various line and staff roles, including Citicorp's Senior Human Resources Officer, and Director of Citi's New York Consumer Retail business. She is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship.
Ms. Flaherty leads the Citi Foundation, whose mission is to economically empower individuals and families residing in the communities throughout the 89 countries that Citi serves. Through a "more-than-philanthropy" approach- a combination of financial support, employee engagement, and innovative grant structuring, the Foundation has been able to significantly enhance the value of the support provided to nonprofit partners and increase the long-term impact of its investments. As head of the company's Citizenship efforts, Ms. Flaherty encourages the development of activities where Citi's businesses can make a difference, including sustainability and the environment.
She is the former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University and also participates on the Boards of several non-profit organizations, including Living Cities, Colonial Williamsburg, and The Nature Conservancy Long Island Chapter. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Flaherty is an honors graduate of Smith College and holds a Masters in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Richard Wilson is President of the Saudi-US Trade Group, a U.S. registered business association active in the expansion of Saudi trade and commerce and the promotion of Saudi economic, political and social initiatives. Prior to forming the Saudi-US Trade Group, Mr. Wilson was Senior Advisor with the Committee for International Trade (CIT) within the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (2004-2009) and Executive Director of the Middle East Policy Council (1990-2004). Mr. Wilson also advises private-sector business initiatives in the GCC and MENA regions.
Mr. Wilson has a B.A. in Political Science from Davidson College and earned his M.A. in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University where he focused on economics and Middle East studies. He has also studied at the University of Yarmouk in Jordan and King Saud University in Riyadh. Mr. Wilson has more than 25 years of experience in the Middle East with particular emphasis on the Arabian Gulf. He has a deep understanding of the business, social and political environment along with high-level contacts in the public and private sector.
Jean AbiNader has spent his career promoting stronger political, strategic, and commercial relations between the US and the Arab world. He has more than three decades of leadership in public affairs, trade and investment promotion, strategic communications, and advocacy.
Mr. Abinader has developed, designed, and managed strategic communications and advocacy programs across key sectors for US and international clients. Programs range from international venues such as World Fairs and trade and investment conferences to bilateral efforts such as trade delegations, promotional and special events, and B2B contacts. His company, Jean AbiNader/international advisory services, pioneered the use of high visibility special events in the Washington, DC area for brand marketing as part of advocacy campaigns. email@example.com
At the Moroccan American Center, Mr. AbiNader works to encourage US business relations with Morocco and full utilization of the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He has led a graduate seminar in international marketing issues at Georgetown University; continues to lecture on issues related to economic development and global competition; has visited more than 40 countries on various assignments; and, writes articles and makes presentations on issues related to his interests and experience in international trade and public affairs. His weekly blogs can be found at www.moroccoonthemove.com or www.jeanabinader.com. His master's degree and post-graduate study are in International Affairs and Organizational Communications.
Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros assumed the office of President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council, in March of 2000, after a 36-year career in the United States Foreign Service. Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963 and, prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the State of Qatar, served in a variety of positions including Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political Officer in Amman; and Charge d'affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic and Commercial Counselor in Damascus.
During these periods he earned four Superior Honor Awards. In 1990 he was accorded the personal rank of Minister Counselor. In 1992 he received both the President’s Meritorious Service Award for career officials and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem honored Ambassador Theros with the honor of Knight Commander Order of the Holy Sepulcher. In 1999 His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani awarded Ambassador Theros Qatar’s Order of Merit.
Immediately before his appointment to Qatar in 1995, Ambassador Theros served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. He speaks Spanish, Arabic and Greek fluently.
In addition to his duties as President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council, Ambassador Theros has the following affiliations:
- Member of the Board of Directors, Middle East Policy Council (elected 2010)
- Council of Foreign Relations, Member
- Representative to USA of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
- Arab American Bankers Association of America, Member
- Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member
- American Academy of Diplomacy, Member
Ambassador Theros was born in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended public schools in Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963 and has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Before, joining University of Chicago Medicine, E.M. Williams-Lopez served as Strategic Advisor for hospitals in the US and abroad in the areas of coordinated care, patient experience, and new market development, before joining UCM.
Mr. Williams-Lopez worked with Medpoint Health Partners and their clients around the globe, consulting in different aspects multinational and multicultural hospital management. Clients included University of California San Diego, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Dupont Hospital for Children.
From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Williams-Lopez led several high-profile, innovative projects within Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. He was in charge of developing strategies, and their implementation, to diversify the customer base of Hopkins at home and abroad. Mr. Williams-Lopez conceived and launched Hopkins’ first Cultural Competency curriculum, as well as the first formal Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a program aimed at securing the loyalty of Hopkins’ patients and referring physicians through a unique combination of operational coordinated care and traditional marketing. This CRM program allowed Hopkins to double its number of out-of-town patients in only three years. He was also part of the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, an internal think-tank that develops patient-centered and safety programs.
Other initiatives in his portfolio included medical interpretation improvement, as well as physician-focused educational programs, such as JHM Interactive. Before joining Hopkins in July of 2001, Mr. Williams-Lopez had accumulated extensive experience as an international consultant and journalist.
Prior to his chairmanship, Dr. Paushter served as the Department's Vice Chairman of Clinical Operations, a position he fulfilled upon his arrival in 2005. He has also served the Department of Radiology as the Section Chief of Abdominal Imaging and as the Quality Chair.
Dr. Paushter is recognized throughout the University of Chicago Medical Center for his efforts in each position his has held. An acknowledged leader in clinical radiology operations, frequently sought out as a consultant to hospitals and industry, he brought to our medical center experiences that bridge academic radiology and clinical radiology expertise. Over the past seven years, he has been a key driver in improving radiology services as experienced by patients, faculty, and staff.
Mike Brown is responsible for the development of off campus clinical ventures including hospital partnerships, freestanding facility development and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Brown is also responsible for oversight of UCM's international program which includes patient services, interpretation and knowledge export services.
Prior to joining UCM, he served in a number of leadership roles within MD Anderson Cancer Center's Center for Global Oncology and its successor the MD Anderson Cancer Network. While at MD Anderson, he worked on projects across five continents advising organizations on the establishment of world-class cancer programs.
A native of Detroit, Mr. Brown is a graduate of Oakland University where he received a bachelor's degree in history and political science and Tulane University where he received a master's degree in healthcare administration. He is a member of a number of professional societies including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.
An award winning Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Mr. Ayoub is currently the Lead Design Principal of HDR's Manhattan Office. His design portfolio demonstrates his ability to understand and capture the mission and spirit of a wide variety of organizations and translate these qualities into meaningful architecture which have been recognized through various design awards.
Seamlessly guiding his clients through an often complex project, Mr. Ayoub is the Lead Designer of the Award Winning Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Healthpoint Medical Complex; Advocate Christ Medical Centre's new Outpatient Care and Research Pavilion; and, the Communication Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) Long Term offices in Ottawa, Canada. At present, Mr. Ayoub is the Lead Design Principal of several medical cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including, King Faisal Medical City and King Saud Medical City.
Mr. Ayoub was awarded the "Forty under 40", rising star by Building Design + Construction in 2011, for design leadership in the industry.
Henri Asseily is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist in internet startups. In 1996 he co-founded BizRate.com, one of the world's largest and best-known consumer feedback platforms, surveying tens of millions of buyers each year and providing store ratings and customer feedback to help hundreds of millions of online shoppers buy more confidently. In 1999, he expanded the platform to online comparison shopping and created Shopzilla which was acquired in 2005 by E.W. Scripps for over $500 million.
A 20-year veteran of the Internet, Mr Asseily invests and mentors companies in sectors as broad as online media, digital intelligence gathering and green industries. He is interested in cross-disciplinary fields and disruptive, or better yet, reconstructive technologies. Mr Asseily is currently launching Leap Ventures, the first late stage Internet Startup fund for Lebanon supported by the Lebanese Central Bank, after having been an active angel investor in startups for many years.
Mr Asseily holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Wharton School, and a double Bachelor in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
David Rose is an investor in startup technology companies and founder of New York Angels, an early-stage technology investment group. A serial entrepreneur, he is CEO of Gust (formerly known as Angelsoft), which operates a collaboration platform for early stage angel investing and Managing Partner of Rose Tech Ventures, a venture fund focused on Internet-based business.
Mr. Rose was involved in the early development of the Silicon Alley technology community in New York, including working with pre-Internet era online data services and founding Ex Machina, a computer software company; The Computer Classroom, an early personal computer training company; and AirMedia, an early wireless Internet information network.
Additionally, he founded and ran a technology incubator in New York City and is a founding member of the Space Angels Network, an international investing group. In 2005, BusinessWeek magazine included an article titled 'The Pitch Coach' about his pitch coaching sessions for entrepreneurs seeking funding from venture capitalists and angel investors. Mr. Rose is an Associate Founder of Singularity University, the post-graduate program in accelerating technologies, and founded and chaired its Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economics track.
Mr. Rose attended New York City public schools and Horace Mann High School. He received his BA in Urban Affairs from Yale University in 1979, his MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School in 1983 and an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology.
In 2014, he wrote the book Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money, to give guidance to investors considering investments in startups.
Christine T. Quigley is admitted to practice before the Courts of the State of New York and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts. Christine is also a licensed customs broker.
Ms. Quigley focuses her practice on regulatory compliance, commercial transactions and commercial litigation. She advises commercial clients of all sizes across a wide variety of industry sectors regarding international trade, customs, corporate and business law and works closely with them to develop compliance programs uniquely tailored to their needs. Ms. Quigley also assists business owners and shareholders in negotiating and drafting shareholder agreements, supply and distribution agreements, asset purchase and joint venture agreements, and in resolving shareholder disputes.
In addition to her experience as a commercial law practitioner, she was previously associated with a prominent bankruptcy law firm, served as in-house counsel for a multinational public corporation in the automotive aftermarket industry, and acted as a regulatory compliance professional in the aviation industry.
Ms. Quigley graduated summa cum laude from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2007. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association's International Section and sits on the Advisory Board of the Nassau Academy of Law, the teaching arm of the Nassau County Bar Association. Ms. Quigley also teaches as an adjunct professor of law at Touro Law and in the undergraduate program at SUNY College at Old Westbury.
Katie Blot leads a team of over 1,000 educators, technologists, management consultants and call center staff who work directly with institutions to meet the emerging needs of their learners, grow their online capabilities and establish institutional processes for the future of education. She also leads Blackboard's content strategy, where she works to greatly enhance the student and faculty experience in the evolving world of digital content.
Before joining Blackboard in 2008, Ms. Blot served as the chief information officer for Federal Student Financial Aid at the U.S. Department of Education, where she was responsible for promoting the effective use of technology, deploying technology investments, and integrating technology architecture and standards. Prior to that, she was the deputy general manager for the Application, School Eligibility and Delivery Services Unit, responsible for processing over 14 million student applications for federal student financial aid and delivering over $60 billion in Title IV programs through approximately 6,200 postsecondary institutions. She has also served at BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) in its higher education group where she advised hundreds of schools on the effective delivery of student services.
Ms. Blot has almost 20 years of experience in the education industry and is considered an expert on topics, such as "STEM Education and the Power of Technology," "Achieving Learning Outcomes in a Changing Education Landscape" and "What's Next for Education: The New Course Ecosystem." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Lisa Saacks is in charge of all business development and strategic partnership efforts globally. Before joining Gust, Ms. Saacks held senior positions in the financial and media worlds. Most recently, she was VP of Strategic Partnerships at SecondMarket, the marketplace for alternative investments, where she also created and managed Alchemy Magazine, a publication on the alternative asset class. The launch came on the heels of her previous tenure as VP, International Publisher at the financial media organization, The Deal LLC, where she ran the firm's custom media and events division. She began her career in finance at the European-based Creditanstalt Investment Bank. While there she worked on project finance, M&A and PE deals in Eastern and Central Europe.
Ms. Saacks holds a Masters in International Finance from Columbia's School of International Affairs and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Michigan.
Peter Ford joined the Gulftainer Group of companies as its Global COO in September of 2013. Prior to this, he was with the AP Moller-Maersk group and most recently held the role of CEO of Salalah Port.
Mr. Ford began his career as a project freight forwarder before holding a number of managerial and executive positions within APM Terminals. These included the positions of Chief Operating Officer for the European Region, Head of New Product Development project, Managing Director of APM Terminals Jamaica and General Manager of APM Terminals Oakland.
A highly accomplished executive, Mr. Ford has a successful record of improving business results through strategy development, productivity enhancements, and the elimination of waste. His experience in rolling out LEAN Six Sigma cultures and matching the internal performance drivers with customer service level requirements has resulted in significantly increased staff accountability and customer satisfaction.
Throughout his career, Mr. Ford has completed a number of management and leadership courses at esteemed Universities including: Harvard (Negotiations) in the United States; University of Michigan (Labour Negotiations) in the United States; IMD (Executive development) Switzerland; University of Phoenix (MBA) in the United States; United States Merchant Marine Academy (Bs) in the United States
Specialist subjects: Executive Leadership, Ports and Logistics, Union Behaviour, efficiency, cost cutting, LEAN, Six Sigma
Graham Macmillan is responsible for leading Citi Foundation's international portfolio while developing and managing key thought-leadership and innovation investments. Previously, he managed the Foundation's Microfinance and Enterprise Development portfolios.
Prior to Citi, Mr. Macmillan was Senior Director of VisionSpring, an award-winning social enterprise selling consumer products to promote economic development, and a Director of Business Development at Helen Keller International, a leading international non-governmental organization.
Mr. Macmillan is the 2014 inaugural recipient of the Magis Global Changemaker Award from Santa Clara University. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He received his BA from Colby College, MSc from NYU Wagner, and MBA through a joint program at NYU Stern, London School of Economics and HEC Paris School of Management.
Dr. Samar Alsaggaf has served as academic lecturer and physician with a specialization in anatomy, embryology, histology, and a particular expertise in the development of the nervous system. Moreover, Dr. Alsaggaf is a recipient of a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Saint Joseph University and has been voted as one of the most influential leaders. She is also a recipient of the International Dental Education Award from New York University. During the course of her tenure, Dr. Alsaggaf has been named, “The Mother of Saudi Students,” by Saudi students in the United States. She is also a recipient of many awards from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. In her current position at SACM, she was voted as best director of the year in 2011 and 2012.
Dr. Husam H. Balkhy, is a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgery. He specializes in the treatment of coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, atrial fibrillation and other cardiac diseases, using robotic and less invasive techniques in order to reduce pain, disability, and recovery time. Through education, he empowers his patients to take an active and informed role in their care. Dr. Balkhy is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world with extensive experience in performing robotic totally endoscopic beating heart coronary bypass grafting (TECAB). He also has a large experience with robotic mitral valve surgery, and robotic atrial fibrillation surgery as well as minimally invasive (port access) aortic valve surgery.
Dr. Balkhy has served as the primary investigator on several innovative studies designed to improve robotic assisted cardiac surgery. He has contributed to the development of coronary anastomotic connectors, and has the world's largest experience in the use of these devices that eliminate the need for large incisions and sutures during coronary surgery. He actively trains other physicians on how to use these devices.
An accomplished author, Dr. Balkhy has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, as well as several book chapters on robotic cardiothoracic surgery. He frequently is invited to speak at national and international conferences and scientific meetings and has proctored robotic cardiac surgical procedures all over the world. In addition, Dr. Balkhy is a founding member of the Robotic Revascularization Society. He attended medical school and internship at King Abdulaziz University College of Medicine & Allied Sciences, Saudi Arabia and did his residency at Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston (general surgery).
David Hoidal received his Masters in Health Administration at the University of Missouri - Columbia. His professional career has included leadership positions within both the proprietary and not for profit healthcare arenas; including specialty hospitals, community med/surg facilities, and large academic health systems.
He has been recognized as one of the top 25 turnaround CEOs in the US and has held senior level positions domestically as well as internationally. Notably as CEO for the University of Alabama Birmingham Health System, consisting of seven hospitals and a managed care company, and as CEO for Al Rahba Hospital, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins International in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Robert Starbuck heads the build out and development of Migrate Business Services' operations, partnerships and investments. Since 2010, Migrate has been rolling out innovative Business Ecosystems to power global business flows and drive development programs. Migrate operates in the Middle East, North Africa, the United States and Europe.
In addition, as Chief Executive Officer of PanBuck Ltd–the advisory and business development firm which created Migrate, Mr. Starbuck has been very active in Middle East forums focusing on the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as job creation. Prior to Migrate, Mr. Starbuck held senior executive positions in global financial institutions, leading the setup of new business lines and managing treasury departments on a global basis. The institutions were Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich, Greenwich NatWest in London, Merrill Lynch in New York and Nomura Securities in Tokyo.
Currently residing in Amman, he is an American citizen and earned a degree in Economics from the Harvard University 1984.
Mohammed Barakat assumed his position as Director at the US-Qatar Business Council, Washington DC office in June 2013. In this position, he works with the public and private sectors to promote new and expanded business relations between U.S. and Qatari companies. In addition, he is involved and manages wide range of activities in programs, advisory services, market research, and member services. He also provides business and cultural advisory services to both US and Qatari companies.
Prior to joining The US-Qatar Business Council, Mr. Barakat was a business strategy advisor at the US-Saudi Business Council (2011-2013) where he provided business and strategy advisory services to both US and Saudi companies across different industries to facilitate trade and investment between both countries. Earlier in his career, he worked in business development for a major Qatari holding group headquarters expanding their international partnership and business portfolio (2008-2011). He also worked in the United Arab Emirates as a marketing manager for a major construction and engineering group (2006-2008).
Previously, and under different capacities, Mr. Barakat developed strategic business plans and provided political and economic analysis, social analysis, and security analysis for several companies and organization in Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and the United States (2004-2006).
He currently resides in Washington DC where he is actively involved with the Middle Eastern business and cultural community.
Fareed Osman is Chairman of the Antigravity Group, a holdings firm with interests in mining and minerals, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and cutting edge biomedical technologies. A chemical and biomedical systems engineer, he has been a consultant and strategic advisor to several Fortune 100 private firms as well as a subject matter expert to defense and national security firms. He has advised many global brands over his engineering career including UPS , General Electric, Toyota, BMW, and a host of biomedical and internet start-ups.
Mr. Osman is actively involved in project work for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency); Department of Homeland Security; the Intelligence Community; the aerospace industry including design and support of "hard" language translation programs for SOCOM/Special Operations forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has successfully led mergers and acquisitions of defense and national security firms with total post M&A values approaching $4 Billion.
For the past 13 years he has also been advising successive US administrations on US policy and economic strategy towards Afghanistan. With the total cost of the Afghan war at $900 Billion to date, and $300 Billion spent in 2012 thru 2014 alone, Mr. Osman has been articulating a strategy for post 2014 transition. He has been calling on Congress for reform of the Department of State and USAID's approach to international development through more efficient use of the annual budget of $50 Billion.
Mr. Osman's involvement in Afghanistan spans a broad spectrum of sectors from defense; FMS (foreign military sales); international development; and national security including human intelligence, telecommunications and cyber-security to work on state building, anti-corruption and accountability systems. He is a recognized expert on governance, international justice systems and has presented prescriptions for strengthening rule of law to the World Justice Project, United Nations and US Congress.
Born in Afghanistan and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii since age 9, Mr. Osman has been voted as one of the Top 40/Under 40 "Next-Gen Global Asian Leaders." He is the founder of the Sharbat Gula Justice Center, which focuses on women's rights in Afghanistan and provides legal advocacy for victims of gender apartheid in addition to building schools for young girls.
Michael Sahouri plays a crucial role in establishing new business opportunities, while overseeing the day to day operations of several divisions. After spending two years in the family business, he joined the Guardian Life Insurance as a Financial Representative specializing in helping clients protect their financial future. During his career with the Guardian, his commitment to excellence ranked him among the company's top financial representatives nationwide.
He returned to Sahouri Insurance in 2004 and restructured the Employee Benefits and Life Insurance department. Shortly after, Mr. Sahouri immediately channeled his creativity towards streamlining processes, implementing technologies, hiring and training teams to revitalize every department with best practice models. In addition, he also designed and established new divisions and niche-markets to strengthen and diversify the company's business model. As a result, Sahouri Insurance has become a respected full service, all-lines insurance resource for clients all over the world.
Mr. Sahouri has redesigned, applied and maintained a work environment and service culture that meets the company's vision towards sustainable growth. The "Sahouri Client-First" service promise has resulted in a 95% client retention rate and 25% revenue growth each year. More importantly, Sahouri earned the "Best Place to Work" by Business Insurance.
As a businessman with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Sahouri has earned multiple recognitions among the industry's most prominent organizations. Since 2002, he has been a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an association of the world's top insurance and financial service professionals. In addition, Sahouri Insurance has earned many industry awards from leading risk management journals and insurance organizations.
Dr. Razouki has over 10 years of experience in social entrepreneurship with a focus on healthcare, education and e-commerce, shifting from an excellence in clinical practice and research to the management and financing of healthcare and education systems. A graduate of Columbia Business School, Dr. Razouki is the first ever Arab national to receive an MBA with a focus on Healthcare Management and Finance. An Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon by training, Dr. Razouki has completed clinical rotations at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University Medical Center, Harlem Hospital, Cleveland University Hospital of Case Western Reserve University and Mass General Hospital of Harvard University.
In 2007, Dr. Razouki joined the world's largest and oldest strategic consulting firms, Booz Allen Hamilton, which at the time was operating in over 100 countries across six continents with four billion dollars in revenue. Dr Razouki concurrently founded Ebtikarat Education Corporation in Jeddah with three other Columbia Business School alumni with the intention of enhancing the level of education in the Arab world. Ebtikarat has since developed three separate platforms including an Admission Consulting Services, a Test Preparation Service and a Professional Enhancement Service. One of the Ebtikarat brands, MBAArabia has the distinction of hosting the first ever GMAT preparatory course (and first mixed gender course) in Saudi. Ebtikarat's most recent venture, iQodorat.com, is the firms first foray into the local test prep market and provides proprietary high quality courses to high school students.
In 2011, Dr. Razouki and his partners completed the purchase of a Kuwait based healthcare development company, which was rebranded as Kleos Healthcare. Today, Kleos is widely recognized as a regional thought leader on Middle East healthcare, with a variety of projects in its pipeline ranging from developing a Medical Takaful Insurance company to working on a 750 million USD government PPP. He is its Chief Executive.
In 2012, Dr. Razouki Co-Founded Dubai based Glambox.me, one of the region's leading e-commerce platforms that has just completed a ~1.4mn USD Series A funding round with notable MENA VC firms including STC Ventures, MBC Ventures and R&R ventures. Although Dr. Razouki maintains no active executive or governance role in the company, he remains close to the Glambox founding team and their expansion plans.
In 2013, Dr. Razouki Co-Founded Gulf Technologies Company in Kuwait which launched the MENA region's first online direct appointment booking website and application; www.AbiDoc.com. Today, AbiDoc is Kuwait's largest network of private doctors, clinics and hospitals and is leading the way for mHealth and Health IT adoption across the MENA region with its development of cloud based (and mobile) technologies. In Q2 of 2014, AbiDoc closed a Series A investment round of 1.7 mn USD from a strategic Saudi Investor.
Dr. Razouki is also a former advisor to the central Kuwaiti government where he worked with senior government leaders on Healthcare, Education and Entrepreneurial reforms as part of Kuwait's 100 billion dollar Development Plan.
Mohamed Malouche is the board chairman of the largest Tunisian professional diaspora organization in the US, as well as a board member and the treasurer of the $100M Tunisian American Enterprise Fund, a fund established by the US government to support the post revolution economic transition with a particular focus on Tunisian SME's and entrepreneurs.
In 2002, he founded Promo Tunisia, an advisory firm supporting US companies seeking to expand in North Africa.
One of the key objectives of the organization is to foster further economic ties, cooperation and exchanges between the US and Tunisia through conferences where Tunisia's value proposition is detailed. They also conduct programs, such as the organizations's 200k handicraft export program and 250k mentorship program, to foster young entrepreneurs in Tunisia.
Mr. Malouche has been providing economic counsel to governmental actions related to innovation and entrepreneurship, in particular a US-Tunisia partnership for the promotion of technology innovation, and several programs to enhance young Tunisian entrepreneurs' soft skills. He is a frequent speaker in numerous US-Tunisia conferences including the State Department, Clinton Global Initiative, the Doha forum, several universities and think tanks and in media such as CNN or NPR.
Mr. Malouche holds an MBA from Telecom Paris in France and a Masters in Telecommunications from Michigan State University. He has been a management consultant the past 16 years as a Principal at American Management Syatems Inc. until 2006 and is currently with Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the media relations specialist of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the largest Arab civil rights organization in the United States. She is the founding editor-in-chief and CEO of MuslimGirl, a blog and non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to raising the place of Muslim women in Western society.
Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh was a student leader and media representative of the #NoRice movement at Rutgers University, a series of protests against the Iraq War, that forced former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to rescind her commencement speech invitation in May 2014.
Previously the opinions editor of The Daily Targum, she is currently a Huffington Post blogger and a Middle East analyst for Atlantic Council. She has conducted several independent studies in the Middle East during the Arab Spring and specializes in the use of social media in Arab youth movements. She has consulted Arab government officials on bettering relations with Arab youth.
Al-Khatahtbeh is a regular speaker on American political and social issues, Middle East foreign policy, human rights, and women's empowerment. She has spoken at numerous events from TEDx to the United Nations Plaza to university campuses.
Al-Khatahtbeh graduated from Rutgers University in May 2014 with degrees in political science and Middle Eastern studies and certificates in international relations and women's studies. She is a Lloyd Gardner Fellow and Women's Leadership Scholar at the Institute of Women's Leadership.
Wided Fakraoui is a 24 year old from the central Tunisian town of Kasserine, a flashpoint in the Tunisian Revolution due to its high unemployment rates. After completing her Business English degree at Tunis University in 2012, Ms. Fakraoui searched for a job for over a year until she was hired by Vistaprint, a global supplier of small business marketing materials. Through a partnership between Vistaprint and Education For Employment (EFE), she learned the skills she needed to integrate into Vistaprint's global workforce and provide telephone and email support to European clients as a Customer CARE Representative. Ms. Fakraoui plans to pursue a Master's degree in English, and aspires to launch her own business in the long-term.
Dr. Morgan moved to New York in year 2000 and graduated from New York University with a doctoral degree in 2005. In 2003, he started and operated his own business St. Mark's World which
today is considered one of the most successful and largest healthcare staffing firms in New York State.
He then started American Pulse, a television show, as a platform for communication between the American officials and the Egyptian media hoping to form a common language and overcome miscommunications when they happen. Intended to be a platform to help Egypt, American Pulse has many episodes produced to create a positive atmosphere regarding current issues in Egypt like sexual harassment, terrorism, poverty, bilateral negativity to help mitigate the scope and attack with respect to current problems.
By forming new channels of communications and targeting the common interests between Egypt and USA, and emphasizing the need of the USA to have strong allies in the Middle East, American Pulse is opening the door for productive discussion to counter regional and divisive misconceptions between the US and Arab world.
Mr. Potter has been a guest speaker at financial events in the Arab region and the United States. His contacts throughout the Arab world and the United States are with the top global financial institutions; high net worth families; and, government representatives, including several Sovereign Wealth Funds. He is currently licensed with a Series 7, Series 66 and Series 3.
The founder and Managing Director of COPARA, he continues to build a rewarding career spanning three decades, and multiple industries, including many noteworthy achievements. His abilities to lead, strategize, develop business and maintain relationships have all contributed to his success.
Most recently, Mr. Potter founded C3 Summit LLC. The mission of C3 Summit, as noted on its website http://www.c3-summit.com is to ensure that both US and Arab businesses grow and prosper by providing unique and valuable commerce opportunities. By creating a global forum for both the US and the Arab world to explore private sector growth and employment generation, C3 Summit will encourage each region to open new opportunities on the commercial front to enhance the welfare of freer trade.
Prior to founding C3 Summit, Mr. Potter has been marketing financial instruments in the Arab region under the umbrella of Copara. He personally negotiated with Value Line the international distribution rights regarding both terms and conditions. In less than 11 months, Mr. Potter established several funds. One funded and managed by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (the 50th strongest bank in the world). He also was successful in marketing a high yield fund for Thomson Reuters with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The other, The National Investor, a top boutique investment banking house located in Dubai. He was also responsible for engaging with the Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Invest AD) an assignment to incorporate a quantitative ranking system, with a $30 million GCC/MENA fund, managed by Invest AD.
Morgan Stanley recognized the value of Mr. Potter's experience and relationships and, in 2007, they invited him to join the firm. Until December of 2010, Mr. Potter served as a Senior Partner on their Private Wealth Management team responsible for identifying viable business opportunities among high net worth clients, families, hedge funds and foundations. His introductions had been a cornerstone of the team's success producing more than $250 million of net new assets in 36 months. In 1992, Mr. Potter founded Kinloch Marketing and occupied the role of CEO until 2007. Kinloch designed and brought to market sales lead generation and management systems for the Insurance, Banking and Energy industries. Kinloch's success was a direct result of his leadership and a network he established with senior executives of Fortune 1000 companies.
In 1990, his previous achievements were recognized by Flair Communications and he was asked to run their NY office. He merged R.N. Potter Associates with Flair's New York office and built that regional office in to the largest of their five domestic offices, leaving in 1992 to establish Kinloch Marketing. He formed R.N. Potter Associates in 1984, a marketing and sales organization, which he headed until 1989. During that time, Mr. Potter personally initiated, negotiated and developed one of the largest independent contracts for advertising billboards with the Penn Central Corporation.
In 1980, Mr. Potter, together with a partner, started On Line Media, an innovative supermarket ad company. Within three years, they took On Line Media public, raising capital and watching the stock soar. Upon selling his shares of On Line Media in 1984, he formed R.N. Potter Associates. Mr. Potter, a graduate of Syracuse University, has six children and, with his wife, lives in East Hampton, NY.