events/SDE
Speakers

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mehmet Ozturk

Founding Secretary General, Digit4Turkey

He is entrepreneur, engineer, designer, consultant, futurist, researcher and a fresh writer. Also, he is curious, diligent, passionate, creative, productive and value creator. 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. Above all, he attaches the great importance to sustain continuous learning and improvement.

He graduated as Mechanical Engineer and Naval Engineer (double major) from Yildiz Technical University. Also, he had an opportunity to study as exchange student in Berlin Technical University, following it he worked at Mercedes-Benz in Neu-Ulm, Germany. After he came back to Turkey, he had worked at Ford Otosan for 3 years. Due to his military obligation, he left the company and he was Gendermarie 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 also completed his master study in Aeronautics and Aerospace Engineering in 2017. He worked as “Product Manager” for robotic systems at Eczacibasi – Lincoln Electric till November 2017.

Currently he is chasing his dreams as Founding Secretary General at Digitalization and Industry 4.0 Association (Digit4Turkey).

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.

 

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.

Sally Hammoud

Executive Director, LOYAC

Sally Hammoud is the Executive Director at LOYAC Lebanon, and a Communication and Media academic lecturing at multiple universities. Sally is also a consultant for various educational institutions. She is a strategic community leader bridging between educational institutions, civil society and professional organizations. Sustainable education is her top priority. Sally is also a Communications Studies lecturer at Lebanese American University and Rafik Hariri University. She is also 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.

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.

Toufic Gebran

Media Personality, Producer & Broadcaster, specialized in Technology and Entrepreneurship, Gebran Group sarl

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. 

Yasmina 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.