events/SDE
Speakers

H.E. MP. Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine

Minister of State for Administrative Reform, Lebanese care taker government

Dr. Ezzeddine is currently Minister of State for Administrative Reform in the care taker government. She has held the ministerial post since December 2016 and in May 2018, was elected MP representing the Tyre and the Zahrani governate. She chairs the Women and Child Parliamentary Committee and is a member of the environment, public health, labor and social affairs committees.

At the helm of the Ministry, Dr. Ezzeddine lead efforts of drafting both the national digital transformation strategy and the national anti-corruption strategy and its implementation plan. She has played an instrumental role in developing six solid waste management masterplans for the areas where her ministry manages solid waste management facilities.

 Dr. Ezzeddine graduated from the International College (IC) in 1981. In 1989 she graduated as a medical doctor (MD) from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She completed two residency training programs in both clinical and surgical pathology, a fellowship in cytopathology and periods of subspecialty training in the United Kingdom (the Royal Free Hospital/London, John Radcliffe Hospital/Oxford) and the United States of America (MD Anderson Cancer Center)

Dr. Ezzeddine is the owner and founder of the Medical Analysis and Pathology Laboratory (MAP) which she established in 1999 in Beirut/Lebanon.

 She has received training and participated in numerous workshops in the field of biosafety and biosecurity, and was very active in establishing the National Quality Management program for laboratories the private sector.

She is a member of the Lebanese Order of Physicians as well as many national, regional and international scientific and medical societies.

H.E. MP Sheikh Nadim Gemayel

Chairman of the ICT Committee, Lebanese Parliament

Nadim Gemayel is member of the Lebanese Parliament since 2009 representing Beirut District and Chairman of the Information and Technology Parliamentary Committee since June 2018.

His background as a lawyer and his passion for technology and the digital world drove him to lead and support new laws and policies to empower the digital sector. His focus is mainly on Cybersecurity and data privacy.

Nadim Gemayel’s strong belief in the power of Education in shaping societies, pushed him to become a prominent catalyst in enhancing the educational system in Lebanon. He actively promotes and encourages Educational Institutions to embrace a digital curriculum, in this critical stage, going into the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Nadim Gemayel is also founder of Achrafieh 2020, focused on creating accessible and environment-friendly public areas, and shaping new behaviors considering the challenges of the City.

H.E. Former Minister of Telecom & MP Nicolas Sehnaoui

Chairman, UK-Lebanon Tech Hub

Born in 1967 and married with three kids, Nicolas Sehnaoui served as the Minister of Telecommunications of the Republic of Lebanon between June 2011 and February 2014. He successfully upgraded Lebanon’s telecommunications infrastructure rolling out 3G and 4G, securing redundancy on the international connectivity, launching a national Fiber Optic Backbone and Beirut Digital District to name only a few of his accomplishments.

His efforts were crowned by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union that ranked Lebanon 1st in progress out of 157 countries in the 2012 ICT Development Index.

Prior to taking office Sehnaoui successfully managed several companies across a variety of industries. He now chairs the UK Lebanon Tech Hub that aims at creating a corridor between Lebanon and England to allow Lebanese ICT entrepreneurs to access the world supply chain through the London platform.

In May 2018 he was elected member Parliament for the Beirut 1 district.

Yasmina El Khoury Raphael

Head of Business Environment and Innovation, Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Yasmina is the Head of Business Environment and Innovation at the Prime Minister’s office. Since 2010, she has lead several investment climate reform projects, including the drafting of a number of new legislation crucial to improving the business environment in Lebanon. More recently, Yasmina has been leading an initiative on promoting startups and enabling the innovation ecosystem. Yasmina is also project director for the Project Administration Office which provides support in the implementation of EU funded programs. Prior to joining the Prime Minister’s office, Yasmina was an equity strategist at Deutsche Bank New York. Yasmina earned her MA and her MPhil in Economics from Columbia University and her BA in Economics and Mathematics from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She has taught economic courses at both Columbia University and AUB.

Ahmad Debbas

Data Scientist, Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)

Ali Zein

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Ideatolife

Ali Zein’s career has been focused on delivering solutions to clients and internal partners alike. His 14 years of experience attest to his native technology and software leadership skills, but also to his ability to adapt to all environments. For Ali, technology has always worked for the benefit of business and people, and not the other way around. Ideatolife has reaped the rewards and results brought by Ali’s cunning talents and vision.

Andre Abi Awad

Motivational Trainer, Founder of Entreprenergy

Founder Entreprenergy, the largest community of Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals in the Arab World. Connecting thousands of decision makers from different industries, including non-tech, with various opportunities

During the past 11 years, visited 20 countries as a Motivational Speaker and Trainer empowering aspiring entrepreneurs, to start their business using the Lean Methodologies, proven Business Models, and validation techniques. In addition to training and consulting for companies to grow and scale their business locally and internationally.

Founder and CEO of Digital Smarter, a company specialized in Customer Acquisition using Digital Marketing strategies. Helping companies, coaches, and service providers to increase their sales by 20% in the first 3 months, with a double bulletproof guarantee.

André Zein

CEO, TechnOrion S.A.L. Founding member and vice-president of the Lebanese Information Technology Syndicate

André Zein has over 30 years in information technology with deep expertise in financial services. He is an architect of the digital banking and payment infrastructure platforms, and a technology guru. André has prior experience in technology services with Ejada Systems (KSA), Computer Associates (USA), Ingres Ltd. (UK), CNS (UAE), MDS (Lebanon). He is also founding member and vice-president of the Lebanese Information Technology Syndicate.

Antoine Jebara

Co-Founder & CEO, Myki

Antoine is the Co-Founder & CEO of Myki where he's working on building the tools to help users regain control of their digital identity. The Myki Password Manager & Authenticator for Consumers, Enterprises and MSPs was named one of the best password managers of 2018 by PCMag and Apple.

Dr. Bijan Azad

Director, Associate Professor, Darwazah Center for Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship, AUB

Bijan Azad, is an Associate Professor at the Olayan School of Business (OSB), American University of Beirut and the Director of Samih Darwazah Center for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Azad teaches in OSB’s Executive MBA, Executive Education and MBA programs. Bijan pioneered the popular experiential Startup Acceleration Practicum graduate course at AUB (modeled after Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad). In 2016 he designed AUB’s Scale-Up Readiness Program that focuses on overcoming scale-up challenges of companies wanting to exceed $5 million revenue—supported in part by USAID. Bijan is also very active in the startup ecosystem serving as bootcamp mentor/instructor at Flat6Labs and SPEED accelerator, also as a mentor at the IM-Capital MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Bijan, in 1988 was co-founder of a successful map technology startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, GIS/Trans, was acquired later by Google Maps. In 2001 he co-founded another successful map technology startup International Land Information Systems bv (acquired by ARCADIS bv 2003), in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Prof. Bernard Ghanem

Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Visual Computing Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Bernard Ghanem is currently an Associate Professor in the CEMSE division and a theme leader at the Visual Computing Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Before that, he was a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in Singapore. His research interests lie in computer vision, machine learning, and optimization geared towards real-world applications. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2005 and his MS/PhD in from UIUC in 2010. His work has received several awards and honors, including the Henderson Graduate Award from UIUC, CSE fellowship awards from UIUC, two Best Paper Awards (CVPRW 2013 and ECCVW 2018), a two-year KAUST Seed Fund, and a Google Faculty Research Award in 2015 (still the only one from Saudi Arabia). He has co-authored more than 75 peer reviewed conference and journal papers in his field as well as two issued patents.

Visit ivul.kaust.edu.sa and www.bernardghanem.com for more details.

Bilal Ghalib

Cofounder and Head of Research and Development, Pitchworthy

Bilal Ghalib supports our collective capacity to build a more beautiful tomorrow. Since 2005 he's worked to establish collaborative spaces for innovators, across America and the Middle East. Currently he is building Pitchworthy, a set of tools and community dedicated to quantitatively developing both the personal and professional self in response to a fast changing world.

 

Christine Francis Asmar

Leadership & Culture Transformation Facilitator, Management Coach & Mentor, VIVITI Coaching & Mentoring

An inspiring Leader in her own field with a collective experience of 20 years within the world of business both locally and internationally, Christine is driven by making a difference in the lives of people she crosses path with. In her personal journey, she has developed a first-hand experience of how to lead and navigate change from within. Be - Live - Transform, is at the heart of the work she does with her clients to ensure they are living a value’s driven life to leverage impact beyond success.

Prior to becoming a coach, Christine holds a BS from New York State University and, has worked for a regional company for over 12 years in the exhibition and event industry as part of the management team. Her background has highly developed her creative skills, and her extensive experience in managing people and deadlines has increased her level of awareness, accountability as well as engaging the people she worked with towards a common vision and mission. Her comprehensive experience in business and her ability to fit in different roles as well as working with versatility has given her a competitive edge to support her clients do the same by empowering them with the right tool sets and skills to help them build their own resilience, and adaptability to change.

Christine’s qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring is from the Institute of Leadership and Management “ILM” UK which she obtained with distinction. She is a certified consultant specialized in Leadership, Culture and Change management transformation aimed to develop values driven organizations. She is also a certified Social and emotional Intelligence coach with the ISEI.  Christine has joined The Coaching Academy in 2009 as a Protégé Student to ensure her CPD (Continues Professional Development) is taking place to bring the highest value to her clients. Her extensive clients list varies from small to medium plus sized organisations. Her role as a coach, mentor and facilitator has contributed to the advancement and success her client base.

Throughout her extensive experience in the corporate environment, she has been leading and, at a later stage, coaching and mentoring Leaders and teams within organisations. She has developed a deep insight of how to optimize their value by helping them engage within their organisation, raise their awareness, understand who they are and what are their internal motivators, to stretch their capability to lead and inspire. In addition, she supports businesses and their individuals to overcome obstacles and challenges that are holding them back, consequently they become more focused and driven to achieve desired results. This is achieved by reducing their personal and collective entropy (dysfunction), to enable them to take action and improve their performance that affects the bottom line.

Besides her coaching career she is a lead facilitator with the MOWGLI Foundation with whom she facilitates mentoring programs in the MENA region. She is also a member in the Lebanese League of Women in Business (LLWB). As part of her giving back she has joined the women committee of CHANCE Association (Children Against Cancer), she also supports other NGOs through her role as a mentor to the President and is committed to mentoring 2 entrepreneurs every year. She is a wife and a mom to 2 boys and a girl, she is continuously growing and contributing.

Dr. Fouad Mrad

Senior Program Manager of Frontier Technologies, ESCWA

Professor Fouad Mrad joined the United Nations in 2009 and led the establishment of the UN ESCWA regional technology center in Amman, Jordan in 2011. He served as the founding Executive Director of the Centre till 2017. He is currently the Senior Program Manager of Frontier Technologies in ESCWA, Beirut. His main focus is to develop and facilitate the deployment of adequate policies and strategies that enable effective capturing of the benefits of rapidly changing technologies towards sustainable development in the Arab countries.  He is the science advisor and judge of the Arab world innovation TV program “Stars of Science.”

From 1990 to 1993, he worked for IBM magnetic storage division in Minnesota, USA. He then served as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the American University of Beirut (AUB) up until 2009.

He received his Ph.D. and MS degrees from Purdue University, Indiana; and BSc from State University of New York at Buffalo; all in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Fouad Zablith

Assistant Professor of Business Information and Decision Systems, Research on latest knowledge technologies impacting businesses, governments and educational organizations, AUB

Fouad Zablith is an Assistant Professor of Business Information and Decision Systems. Dr. Zablith's research and academic interests focus on the latest knowledge technologies that are impacting businesses, governments and educational organizations in the way they run their daily operations and activities. In addition to research, Dr. Zablith teaches Operations Research and Information Systems courses. Before that he spent around 5 years in the UK as a researcher and PhD candidate at the Knowledge Media Institute in the UK. He was involved in several EU and UK funded projects. He graduated with distinction in 2007 with an MSc in Knowledge and Data Management from the British University in Dubai and the University of Edinburgh. He holds a double major from the American University of Beirut with a BBA in Business Administration with a concentration in Operations and Information Management (2002), and a BS in Computer Science (2003). He has around 4 years of experience in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and business development.

George Awad

Communication & information Officer, UNESCO

Mr. Awad brings in an extensive experience in the field of Information and communication technology, media development at both private and public level sectors. His experience spread over the past 25 years following his graduate studies in Computer Science, applied Mathematics and communication at Sydney university – Australia.

As the Communication and Information Programme Officer at UNESCO Regional office in Beirut, Mr. Awad planned, implemented and evaluated many projects related to ICT in education, online platforms, FOSS, e-learning, media development in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

His long practical experience has contributed to his involvement in strategic planning and assessment of national, regional and international projects dealing with various donors.
Mr. Awad has also extensive experience in the implementation of projects related to Internet technologies, call centers, prepaid calling cards system, telecommunication and training development in Lebanon as well as Africa.

Eng. Grace Najjar

Managing Director, Align Management Solutions

leading people, managing processes and business technology solutions design, deployment, evaluation, supervision on implementation, alignment with the most recognized standards and best practices across a wide variety of industries, private and public sectors, and non for profit Organizations . She has managed diverse programs and complex projects including banking, government, information and communication technology ICT, construction, manufacturing and education. Engaged for over a decade as a long term/short term expert on specific missions for international funded programs (EU /World Bank/USAID/GIZ) in MENA region. Heavily involved with the Project Management Institute (pmi.org) since 2004, founding member of the PMI Lebanon chapter and assigned by PMI as Corporate Relations Manager for Southern Europe & Government relations the Middle East.

She is providing lectures in business and engineering schools in Lebanon and Europe as part of Master Programs and Executive Education programs.

She founded her own company in Beirut, Align Management Solutions in 2010, which focuses on People, Processes and Technology enablement and alignment.

Grace Najjar was featured by ITP- Arabian business she got for two consecutive years (2014 & 2015) her unsolicited nomination in the Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in the consulting and coaching sectors, awarded in November 2015 by the World Union of Arab Bankers (WUAB) , “The Leading Arab Women Influencers in Arab Economy and Banking Industry” and featured as part of Lebanese American University (LAU) - Institute for Women Studies in the Arab World.

She is nominated on the board of the Scientific Committee of the Order of Engineers and Architects in Lebanon. She is PgMP & PMP certified; she holds a Master in Engineering and in Information Systems from ESIB- USJ and a Master in Network and Telecommunications from Telecom Paris and Master Class leadership Institute Program from the PMI.

Dr. Hasan Youness

Strategic Advisor, United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Global Compact - Network Lebanon (GCNL)

Dr. Hasan Youness is specialized in international business management, educational administration, and educational leadership. Having acquired his degrees from Notre Dame University, KEDGE Business School and Saint Louis University respectively, he went on to pursue an executive CSR program at Harvard Business School Executive Education. Hasan started teaching at the university level at the age of 23 and has been teaching at five universities since then. In addition, he is also a news anchor, TV presenter, researcher, author, mentor, and trainer on a wide array of management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, CSR, and communication topics in Lebanon and abroad. In addition, he has been a Tedx speaker and guest on top TV channels in the Arab world. Despite having worked with leading companies, Hasan did not limit himself to the business sector. Rather, he has chosen to work with UNIDO and UNRWA, in addition to other NGOs. Over time, he participated in multiple national and international conferences, workshops, and competitions, and was awarded several prestigious awards for representing Lebanon on several occasions. Hasan is also the cofounder and managing partner of Insights’ for Consultancy S.A.R.L and EON Training and Development center S.A.R.L. Hasan is the author of #TrendsOfBusiness and the Strategic Advisor of Global Compact Network Lebanon.

Hayssam Hasbini

Enterprise Architect, Dar Al-Handasah

Hayssam Hasbini is an Enterprise Architect at Dar Al-Handasah with more than 20 years of experience in Information Technology sector. He leads research and development efforts in the IT department focused around digital transformation and capitalizing on the latest innovations in big data and machine learning. He has successfully engaged in the development of IT master plans, business intelligence, and decision support solutions for businesses in the professional services and public sectors. Hayssam holds a Masters degree in Software Engineering from Boston University and a Bachelor degree in Computer and Communications Engineering from AUB.

Imad Kreidieh

Chairman / Director General, Ogero

A glimpse into the achievements of Imad Kreidieh

An international business professional, an inspirational leader with extensive board level experience; meet Ogero’s Chairman and General Director striving to establish a new era in Lebanese Telecommunications, Imad Kreidieh.

Having acquired specialized expertise in the development and implementation of highly effective strategies for several global mobile operators and institutions, Imad has built a solid track history in leading businesses to remarkable revenue growth and expansion.

Combining an entrepreneurial outlook, strong commercial skills, a visionary mindset and a passion for achieving objectives, Imad Kreidieh has taken on the mission of transforming his nation to the regional’s leading digital hub.

Education:

  • Dual MBA in Business Administration ESA / ESCP, 1999 – 2000
  • Masters of Arts, Monetary Economics, Northeastern University, 1984 – 1985

Dr. Jamil Chaya

Assistant Professor, Rafik Hariri University

Jamil Chaya is an Assistant professor of finance and economics at Rafik Hariri University in Lebanon. His research is based on asset valuation, financial economic models based on monetary and fiscal policy channels. His personal interests lie in economic history and the philosophical paradigms which govern economic development. He has participated in several education innovation committees and conferences. With the belief that historical trends repeat themselves and that technological innovations are augmentations of the trends, Dr. Chaya entertains that the near future is imaginable and in our modest control.

Jean-Pierre Gebara

Mayor, Municipality of Cornet chahwan, Ain Aar, Beit el Kikko, El Hbous

Jean-Pierre Gebara
Mayor of Cornet Chahwan, Ain Aar, Beit elKikko and Hbous. 
Professor of architectural design at the University of the Holy Spirit Kaslik [USEK].
Owner and CEO of GEBARACAD architectural firm.
Has a degree in architecture from the American University of Beirut, founded GEBARACAD in 1993, in 1995 started teaching Architecture at the University of the Holy Spirit Kaslik [USEK]. was a board member on the Maronite Social Fund with over 1900 Apartment built all over Lebanon. In 2005 was appointed by the Patriarch, member of the Patriarchal Economic Committee. And in 2010 was elected as President of the Municipality of Cornet Chahwan, Ain Aar, Beit elKikko and Hbous. And in 2016 Was re-elected for a second term as mayor of the above Municipality. The Municipality of Cornet Chahwan, Ain Aar, Beit elKikko and Hbous, lies in central Matn, it extends over nine million square meters and has an approximative population of 30,000 persons, with over 7000 Housing Units and 3 major schools, Saint Joseph School (2800 Student), Jesus and Mary(1500 Student) and International College, IC (800 Student).

Joseph Abikhalil

Chairman and CEO, Yellow Pages

With more than 20 years of experience in the directory publishing, database and advertising business, Mr. Joseph AbiKhalil is the Chairman & CEO of Yellow Pages Lebanon & Jordan under the umbrella of DITO Holding.

He has experience in database management, Printing processes, Media Sales, training and new Digital Business development.

Prior to his role as CEO of Yellow Pages, Mr. Abikhalil was the Managing Director at Database Management Services Algeria for Orascom Telecom subsidiary, where he successfully launched the online & Call Center directory after the management of 13 Million Subscribers. He also took several key positions at ODA (PagesJaunes France / France Telecom) for 18 years.

Leila A ABBOUD

PhD Professor of Economics-Higher Education, Managing Partner at Business Care Inc., Consultant , Business Development & Entrepreneurship

Leila Abboud is a powerful business driver whose entrepreneurial instincts and clarity of vision have carried multiple positions through continuous growth.
Qualifications
Ph.D. in Economics
Honors certification in Entrepreneurship
Experience
Leila started her first business, an Assistant at higher education, at age 22, and has been an unstoppable force ever since in Higher Education as Professor of Economics with 28+ years.
She moved into economic research, entrepreneurship for youth, and business development and then Senior-Level position as a Founder and Manager of Center For Entrepreneurship at Lebanese University in collaboration with EU, Tempus Aspire Project when she finds her greatest motivation in coaching others to perform above and beyond expectations.
Leila is an individual Consultant at UNESCO-Regional Beirut office coordinating on the Technical Programme of Entrepreneurship Training Modules (for Public, vocational and higher education); developing TOOLKIT for enhancing youth to act on unemployment; and contributing to the final report preparation and synthesis of the modules in the Arab region.
She is a vendor/contractor at UNDP for Women Empowerment Programs overall Lebanon in order to match the prospective business ideas with potential investors and financial institutions as well as match the potential entrepreneurs with the required competencies an the will to contribute.
As one of her social responsibilities Leila is a president of StartLine Foundation, www.start-line.org, that aims to identify the individuals with entrepreneurial potential and assist them in an integrated manner with information, knowledge, skills and project implementation support through tailored training workshops.
In addition to her partnership in Contracting company, Leila has recently established her own company, Business Care Inc., that assess and observe the day to day needs of business developers, salespeople, an sales managers at establishment by providing top of the notch training schemes targeting the essential requirements at money generation and business growth. Engaging top world economic forum and entrepreneurship conferences, Leila is experienced researcher who can evaluate and analyze the economic and educational issues.
 

Loubna Ibrahim

Co-Founder, Product Innovation Lead, Ideatolife

Loubna is a human centered design consultant, she started her tech career in 2014 and founded her own tech startup. 2 years later, Loubna received a UX and design thinking for tech products training from Google. Being very passionate and an advocate of the Design Thinking process, Loubna went back to become a Google Trainer for UX masterclass in 2017. Loubna co-founded the Design Thinking Lab at Ideatolife early 2018. Since then, she have given many talks and workshops in the field, mentored and advised startups as well as clients.

Dr. Makram Bou Nassar

Executive Director, Head of payment Systems Department, Banque Du Liban

Dr. Bou Nassar has been with the Central Bank of Lebanon for the past 14 years. He is currently Executive Director, heading the Payment Systems Department. Dr. Bou Nassar is also Part-Time Professor at American University of Beirut & Lebanese American University, and President of the Social Work League. He participated as a speaker in several local and international conferences organized by the IMF, World Bank, AMF, ECB, Banque De France, Banque Du Liban and others.

Dr. Bou Nassar has a Ph.D in Economics, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom | MSc. International Money and Banking, University of Birmingham , United Kingdom | B.A Economics – American University of Beirut | B.A  Law (License Droit) – Lebanese University

 

Mehmet Ozturk

Founding Secretary General, Digit4Turkey

Currently he is chasing his dreams as Founding Secretary General at Digitalization and Industry 4.0 Association.

He graduated as Mechanical Engineer from Yıldız Technical University. Also, he had an opportunity to study as exchange student in Berlin Technical University. Also he completed his master study in Aeronautics and Aerospace Engineering.

He worked at Mercedes-Benz in Neu-Ulm, Germany. Following he had worked at Ford Otosan for 3 years as program leader. Due to his military obligation, he left the company and he was gendarmerie privat in Antalya for 6 months.

He gained valuable experience by doing research in Control and Avionics Laboratory for 1 year since February 2015 at Istanbul Technical University. He worked as “Product Manager” for industrial robotic systems at Eczacıbaşı – Lincoln Electric till November 2017.

Above all, he attaches the great importance to sustain continuous learning and improvement. Besides he is interested in disruptive technological developments for more than 8 years, he is actively following, contributing and speaking about Industry 4.0 & Digitalization since 2016.

Michel Khoury

Director, Eastwood International School

Michel’s learning journey commenced at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He, then, earned his MBA and a Master’s Degree in International Educational Development in Finance and Planning from Teachers College at Columbia University. Michel’s view on life-long learning and his commitment to better the quality of education steered him toward doctoral studies. Currently, Michel is pursuing a Doctorate in one of the most prominent curricula, Educational Leadership, at the University of Pennsylvania. The degree is a joint program between Wharton Business School and the Graduate School of Education.

Michel worked for many years in the financial sector with jobs at Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch before moving into the world of education. He, later, went on to become the Operations and Development Director for a group of private schools in Los Angeles, California. He also worked in the public and private education sector in the United States before moving back to Lebanon, his home country.

Michel's innovation and relentless desire to integrate technology in education has made Eastwood International School a pioneer in the Middle East. Michel has successfully integrated technology to the most fundamental level of the school system, the classroom.

As an Apple Professional Development Consultant and an Apple Distinguished Educator, Michel regularly gives workshops on how to better integrate technology in classroom learning environments. He has trained over 400 faculty members and administrators who now teach in Eastwood International School's iPad program and among other European schools. Michel has given educational technology workshops and teacher training to private schools in Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Mohamed K. Watfa

CEO and principal, International School of Innovation

Dr. Watfa was previously a professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and currently serves as the associate dean of research at the Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences at the Australian University in Dubai (UOWD). He was one of the youngest PhD holders to graduate from his university in the USA at the age of 24. He has won multiple awards including: the research excellence award, the teaching excellence award, and runner up in the well acclaimed ‘Stars of Science’ Inventors Contest and TV show. His research interests include Engineering and IT management, wireless sensor networks, Internet of Things (IOT), intelligent systems, smart environments, green technologies, and technology in education. He is the author of a number of books, the guest editor of a number of international journals, and the organizer of a number of international conferences. He has more than 100 journal and conference publications ranked among the top in his research domain. He is also an inventor with multiple patents and patent pending inventions that were featured in international press venues. He is currently CEO and principal of the International School of Innovation, in Lebanon.

Dr. Nader Ghazal

PM Saad Hariri Adviser for International Cooperation, Former Mayor of the City of Tripoli, President of Alfayha Union of Cities, City Council Member, University Professor, Business Consultant, Alfayha Union of Cities

Has a Ph.D., in MIS from the US (1991), in Artificial Intelligence – Expert Systems, upon which he received National Research Distinction Award from Canada. He is associate professor at the Lebanese University, he was MENA region representative for University of California Master’s degree program in Knowledge Management. He presented many papers at regional and international conferences related to ICT, SME's, QMS, and City Development from the national sustainable development perspective.

Since 1998 till now he played several advisory roles, namely; to the Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the minister of education, the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (Sharjah, UAE), the minister of Administrative Reform, and to the Director General of the Lebanese National Research Council, in the domain of S&T potential.

He has almost 30 years of experience in training and consulting on strategy development and E-government initiatives across the Arab countries. He is amongst the early bird lead trainers and consultants (since 1993) in the Arab Countries on the Implementation of the Balanced Scorecard Methodology, he discussed his critiques of the methodology with its inventors Dr. David Norton and Robert Kaplan.

He was the first mayor elected in the history of Tripoli with anonymous political leaders' consent (2010), he presided several international committees of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) organization worldwide. He was elected the Vice President of the Political Council of EuroMed Cities. He represented and delivered the Keynote speech of the secretary general of UCLG in the World Water Forum in the opening session, in South Korea 2015. In 2017, he co-launched the initiative “Tripoli – the Economy Capital of Lebanon”.

Nadim Takchi

Director of Business Development, Cambridge Blockchain

Entrepreneur with a background in finance and business, Nadim managed a Blockchain consulting and training company for financial institutions in France.

Prior to that he co-founded and developed a crowdlending company for SMEs in France.

He graduated from the Grande Ecole program at HEC Paris, Babson College in Boston and from the USJ in economics.

Currently, Director of Business Development at Cambridge Blockchain. Cambridge Blockchain makes digital identity enterprise software to simplify the storing, sharing and validation of personal data, using the highest levels of privacy and security. Cambridge Blockchain platform allows financial institutions to meet the strictest new data privacy rules, eliminate redundant identity compliance checks and improve the customer experience.

 

Nadim Zaazaa

CEO, UK-Lebanon Tech Hub

Nadim has a broad range of experience in working with all stage startups & entrepreneurs between Beirut & London. He’s been leading the Tech Hub, an international accelerator, for four years bringing together industry, talent & venture capital to support innovation & help emerging market entrepreneurs grow globally. He built the first network of globally connected hubs for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, sector experts & lead generators with co-working spaces in Beirut, London & Dubai. He CO-Founded a digital communications agency in 2010 called The Council for Visual Affairs and 3D avatar startup, Minimoji in 2015. Nadim worked as a policy advisor to the British Embassy in Lebanon (2011-2014) & taught International Relations at the American University of Beirut (2010-2016).
 

Nagi Salloum

One of the top growth experts in Silicon Valley,, Global Full-Stack Growth Mentor for 500 Startups

Nagi Salloum is a growth expert in Silicon Valley, mentor, trainer and advisor to 300+ startups from several top global accelerators, including 500 Startups, YC, Techstars, Stanford, StartX and dozens more.  He is a Global Full-Stack Growth Mentor for 500 Startups. His clients have exited or raised an estimated $90M+ in capital.

Nagi is also a serial entrepreneur, having launched and sold several startups, currently the founder and CEO of Loomni.com, a global on-demand marketing platform based out of Silicon Valley. He’s also the lead trainer of Loomni Academy having taught more than 8,000 startups, both online and in dozens of cities around the world.

Prior to that he was the CMO at Tango, a unicorn and world’s largest video calling app. Before moving to the US, Nagi was the CMO at N2V, one of the largest tech investment group in the Middle East, the first regional marketing executive at Google handling 32 countries, and a regional brand manager at Procter and Gamble. 

Nagi holds a BE in electrical engineering from AUB, an MBA from Michael Smurfit business school in Ireland, and marketing executive education from Harvard.

Najib Choucair

Executive Director, Head of Banking Department, Banque Du Liban

Mr. Najib Choucair has been the Executive Director of the Banking Department in the Lebanese Central Bank for the past 25 years.

This includes the Public Credit Registry, the Unpaid Checks Center, Information Division, and Study Division which examines banks' applications for the establishment of new branches and other requests. Additionally the Study Division manages the offsite supervision of the financial situations of banks as well as their sources and uses of funds, cost of funds, interest revenues, and the analysis of credit granted by the depository institutions to the private and public sectors.

Mr. Choucair Has organized and participated in a number of conferences and seminars held jointly with the IMF, AMF, World Bank, EIB and IFC.

Mr. Choucair also launched initiatives to promote microcredit, lending to SME's and the establishment of Registry for movable Assets, the financial Statement Center for Corporate, Out of Court workout and Single Register for Legal Entity.

Mr. Choucair is a member of several executive committees, namely:

Banque Du Liban:

  • Open market Committee.
  • Financial Stability Committee.
  • Financial Inclusion Committee.

Arab Monetary Fund:

  • Credit Reporting Committee.
  • Financial Inclusion Committee.

Association of Banks in Lebanon:

  •  Task Force for Financial Inclusion

Oussama Berqi

Director of Engineering, Careem

Oussama Berqi is currently a Director of Engineering at Careem, looking after Data Science and Data Platforms. His role is to transform the region by bringing AI at the core of Careem products. He holds a double masters from Ecole Polytechnique-l'X and UC Berkeley.

 

Patrick El Fadl

Deputy General Manager, North Assurance

Pierre Achkar

President of Lebanese Federation for Tourism Industries, President of Lebanese Hotel Association, Mayor of Brummana District, Member of Lebanese Economic Organizations

Dean of the hospitality sector and owner of both the Printania Palace Hotel in Brummana and Monroe Hotel in Beirut Downtown, as well as management provider for the Markazia Monroe Suite Hotel; President of both the Lebanese Hotel Association and the Federation for Tourism Industries in Lebanon. A strong advocate of the revival of the tourism industry and continuously lobbies on its behalf in government and private sector environments.

Achkar Family is synonymous with Brummana and had a strong influence in the development of the city’s infrastructure. His grand-father Chahine Achkar’s initiative to establish the first Electrical plant contributed to the development of Brummana: the first Lebanese town to be lit in 1931.

His grand-father Chahine Achkar, his father George Achkar and himself, consecutively mayors of Brummana contributed to the growth of all the leisure, restaurant and cafes in Brummana, which became the major summer destination in the country, with a solid reputation reaching to the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. 

His Grand-father Chahine Achkar had built Printania Hotel in 1937 in Brummana and then his father George had built Printania Palace Hotel in 1964 in Brummana with 5 luxurious outlets designed by August Baboudaire, both of them had built a sterling name in the hospitality industry and accommodated, local and worldwide VIPs, politicians and stars.

In 1993, Pierre Achkar accomplished the extension and the refurbishing of the Printania Palace. Capitalizing on a legacy and reputation in the hospitality business in Lebanon with technical Know-how, in 2000, he decided to expand the family business to the capital Beirut, as a result he established an institutional company the “Monroe Hotel”, the first hotel in Solidere, a four-star hotel and in 2004, the Markazia Monroe Suites, a new concept of Suite Hotel, the second hospitality business in Solidere.

Raffoul Raffoul

AGM, COO, Byblos Bank - MBA, CPA, CIA

Raffoul has more than 25 years of financial experience and has assumed leading positions in several organizations. Raffoul currently holds the position of Assistant General Manager at Byblos Bank responsible for Organizational support, Operations, and Technology for the whole of Byblos Bank Group.

Previously he was the head of Group Internal audit at Byblos Bank for 8 years and audit manager at Ernst and Young Beirut Office.

Raffoul lectured in auditing and financial accounting at the American University of Beirut for over 10 years. He also was the first president and founder of the IIA Lebanon chapter. And one of the founding members of the CIO Lebanon Association.

Raffoul currently is heading the Operations and Technical Committee of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and is playing a leading role in several digitization projects in the country.

Raffoul holds an MBA degree from the American University of Beirut and a CPA from Massachusetts, USA.

Ramy Boujawdeh

Deputy GM of Berytech, and Program director of Agrytech

Ramy Boujawdeh is the Deputy GM of Berytech, leading the Incubation and Entrepreneurship Business Development arm that supports Innovative Lebanese Startups and SMEs, providing Business Support, Mentorship, Coaching, Hosting, Networking and Internationalization and part of Innovation and Entrepreneurship regional programs. He is behind the Agri-Food Innovation Hub: Agrytech Program, focused on sustainable future using tech and innovation. Between 2000 & 2014, Ramy amassed a diversified knowledge in the fields of change management, quality management, operations, as he filled roles in General and Regional Management in Operations, Quality and Change Management in different industries across 3 continents. He is keen on mobilizing his knowledge and connections to the best interest of the people he supports. He advises startups in Lebanon and is an Angel Investor with SEEDERS. Since his return to Lebanon Ramy has been active supporting social causes such as education, agriculture, environment, gender equity and economic development in rural areas. Ramy is also the Vice President of a Lebanese NGO, Rural Entrepreneurs, a Board member on The UNDP’s Together towards Sustainable Development [T2SD] and an Ambassador for the Global Compact Network Lebanon focusing on the SDG #9.  He is also a member of the council of representatives at the order of Engineers and Architects. Ramy holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering from AUB, and a master’s degree in Business Management and Economics.

Ruba Mourad

Partner and director of learning experience design, Kashida

Ruba is a 14 year award winning veteran in the content development and learning experience design industry. Through her tenure working at one of the elite Middle Eastern eLearning companies and starting up Kashida, Ruba has worked on a variety of educational and commercial projects involving education. When asked what her favorite task is in eLearning space, her typical response is that she loves to create order out of ill-defined work and to push the boundaries to really tap into learners’ innate desire to learn. This is especially important in the education environment where definitions are constantly shifting as technology and educational innovations are rapidly changing. In 2011, Ruba cofounded Kashida, aiming to offer innovative learning solutions to give everyone the opportunity to learn simply. Currently, Ruba continues to be part of Kashida’s leadership team, as lead learning experience designer and researcher.

 

Sa’di Awienat

Chief Digital Officer, GE Power

Sa’di is the Chief Digital Officer of GE’s Power business in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, based in GE’s regional headquarters in Dubai, UAE. At the intersection of IoT + Energy + Cloud + BigData + Predictive Analytics, Sa’di is a thought leader of the digital transformation of the power industry. He leads a team of talented digital and energy professionals, who are engaging with GE’s customers in the power and utilities industry to drive new thinking about running traditional business, and to apply new business models based on digital capabilities that allow customers to enhance profitability, reduce operational cost, and create new outcomes.

Sa’di has extensive experience across various business/technical domains and constantly participating as keynote speaker in technology conferences, national events, and symposiums to share thought leadership about IT industry and the cutting-edge technologies and to present complex concepts in a way that business leader can easily abstract.

He holds an MBA Degree and Bachelor Degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering, played different roles and witnessed (in 360-degree) the ICT industry from the actual perceptive of the different stakeholders: Consultant (System Integrator Manager at Accenture), Customer (CIO at Qatar Foundation), Vendor (CTO at EMC), and Startup (CDO at GE Power Digital) with a unique mix of Functional-Technical-Management competencies.

Salah Awad

Beirut Lead, Facebook DevCircle

Salah has an overall 12 years of experience in software development, 4 years of experience in technical and functional product management in a multinational company, Murex Systems, and 2 years of experience in business development and marketing.

He was selected as Facebook Developers Circle Lead in 2017 and is currently leading a community of more than 1600 developers, for whom he organizes regular events on monthly basis to help them shape their technical/soft skills and therefore get better opportunities mainly in the country and abroad.

He believes that the main key to success is the  person’s ability to keep learning on daily basis to cope with market change and methodologies updates in all fields, so this is what he has been doing even before graduation and seeing the reward, he decided to empower other developers to do the same as part of their self-development journey.

Salim SHEHADEH

Programme Specialist for Technical and Vocational Education, UNESCO

Holds a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering (Electronics) from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), USA, holds B.Sc. (Physics/Math) from the United Arab University, UAE. Currently the Programme Specialist for TVET/ESD, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, Beirut, Lebanon.

Previously as; Chief TVET & Youth at UNRWA, HQ (Amman), and as Training Officer, UNAMID, Darfur, Sudan. Electronics Lecturer, Center Coordinator and Program Coordinator at Al-Musanaa Technical Industrial College, Sultanate of Oman and as Head of Technical Education, Lecturer at SCS Business and Technical Institutes, New York, New Jersey, USA.

Sally Hammoud

Communication and Media Lecturer, Executive Director, LAU & RHU and Loyac

Sally Hammoud is a PhD candidate in Communication & Media Studies, a TedX Dornbirn Speaker, an NLP Certified Practitioner, and a Member of the Arab Association for Communication and Media Studies.

She lectures at multiple universities as  Lebansese American University and Rafik Hariri University. Sally is also a consultant for various educational institutions locally and internationally. She is a strategic community leader bridging between educational institutions, civil society and professional organizations. She is currently the Executive Director at LOYAC Lebanon. Sustainable education is her top priority.

Sarah Abdallah

Founder & CEO, Libro

Sarah Abdallah has graduated as a computer and telecommunications engineer from Saint Joseph University in 2011. She has six years of experience in the technical consultancy sector at Murex Systems company and five years of volunteering experience with more than six social organizations working on women and youth empowerment.

Sarah was elected as a youth advisory council member at the US embassy in Beirut for two consecutive years (2015 2016). She was selected as a youth leader by the Swedish institute of Alexandria in 2016. During the same year, she was selected to participate in Techwomen exchange program where she spent her five weeks mentorship period at LinkedIn San Francisco. She was selected as well as a  global shaper part of the World Economic Forum early 2017.

She started teaching professional branding at Saint Joseph University on March 2017 and founded a social enterprise named LIBRO whose mission is to turn youth challenges into opportunities.

LIBRO provides training, orientation & recruitment services for youth & companies in STEAM field. Its aim is to help youth in landing their dream job that fits their potentials and aspirations.

She is currently co-leading Facebook Developers Circle: Beirut as well, a community with more than 1600 active software developers for whom she and her co-lead organized more than 20 events in the last year, covering technical & human skills training, hands-on sessions and networking events to connect developers with roles models in the technology fields.

Stephanie Abi Abdallah

Programs Director, Beirut Digital District

Stephanie currently serves as Beirut Digital District’s Programs Director leading BDD’s thought leadership and ecosystem enabling programs around technology and innovation as well as all community management platforms and processes. She is an experienced manager in strategic design, corporate development and business transformation for both the private and public sector with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry for 8 years with Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co).  Stephanie holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor’s in Computer & Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Tabet A. Tabet

Chief Underwriting Officer, North Assurance

Toufic Gebran

Media Personality, Founding Member & Spokesperson, The Lebanese IT Syndicate

Toufic Gebran is a media personality, a multi-platform media expert, producer, moderator, and host; specialized in the fields of technology, telecom, and entrepreneurship. He has produced and hosted different types of TV shows on LBCI, Ch4 UAE, Abu Dhabi TV and Alhurra TV/MBN in the USA.

Awarded the Golden Medal and the First Rank in broadcasting from Studio El Fan 1992 on LBCI; Toufic Gebran is well known by launching the First Arabic Technology TV show in the Middle East in 1999 by hosting and producing “Click” for Abu Dhabi TV.

Living in the US from 2003 to 2017 he is involved in the technology and telecommunication scene and the entrepreneurship ecosystem in America & around the world by hosting & producing “iTechShow” for Alhurra TV in the US for 14 years, covering and reporting on the major global tech & entrepreneurship events in Silicon Valley, around the US, and around the globe, hosting key figures and featuring multinational companies highlighting their latest innovations in ICT.

He is a founding member and the spokesperson for the Lebanese IT Syndicate. He is a certified mentor for entrepreneurs and startups; he attended several training courses and workshops. He earns several certifications from the American Management Association (AMA).

Toufic Gebran holds a Bachelor's Degree in Interior Architecture and a Master of Business Administration - MBA in Marketing. 

Dr. Yousif Asfour

Chief Information Officer, American University of Beirut

Dr. Yousif Asfour is an experienced CIO and technology executive with more than 30 years of experience in the US and Middle East. Dr. Asfour has successfully helped several organizations in the higher education, government, transportation, technology and finance sectors build and sustain their competitive advantage by leading high performing IT teams through the design, implementation, deployment and operations of innovative products, services, applications & infrastructure.

Dr. Asfour is based in Beirut, Lebanon where he is currently serving as the Chief Information Officer at the American University of Beirut where he is leading the digital transformation of the information technology department into a strategic partner with the academic units.

Dr. Asfour is currently also the president of the CIO Lebanon Association and played a key leadership role in establishing TechCARE, the Lebanese National Research and Education Network (NREN).

Prior to AUB,  Dr. Asfour served as the founding Chief Information Officer for New York University Abu Dhabi and Associate Vice President, Global Technology Services  for New York University where he led the design of the new campus, and the design, implementation and operations of IT services.

Dr. Asfour has also served as chairman of the IT department at the American University in Dubai where he led revamping the curriculum and getting it accredited by SACS and the UAE Ministry of Higher Education, and as Director of the Injazat Institute, where he founded an executive leadership consulting and development subsidiary of Injazat Data Systems.

Dr. Asfour has also held several executive leadership positions with a number of US-based technology companies, including Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering at Inflow - a managed services start up; Vice President of Engineering at dbDoctor - a software development company, and several consulting and engineering positions at Symmetrix, Sapient and Digital Equipment Corporation.

Dr. Asfour received a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. in cognitive and neural systems from Boston University. In addition to several publications in professional journals, Dr. Asfour also holds a patent related to fast data transfer for multi-processor systems.