HE Bader Alasaker
Secretary General of the MiSK Foundation
Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Achim Steiner became UNDP Administrator on 19 June 2017 and will serve for a term of four years. The United Nations General Assembly confirmed his nomination on 19 April 2017, following his nomination by Secretary-General António Guterres.
As UNDP Administrator, Mr. Steiner also chairs the UN Development Group, which unites the 32 UN funds, programmes, specialised agencies and other bodies that work to support sustainable development.
Over nearly three decades, Mr. Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. He has worked tirelessly to champion sustainability, economic growth and equality for the vulnerable, and has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. Mr. Steiner has served across the United Nations system, looking at global challenges from both a humanitarian and a development perspective. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016), helping governments invest in clean technologies and renewable energy. He was also Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi. Mr. Steiner previously held other notable positions including Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams.
Mr. Steiner has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and the United States. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (MA) from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Mr. Steiner was born in Brazil and holds Brazilian and German nationality.
Michael R. Bloomberg
Founder, Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and Three-Term Mayor of the City of New York
Michael R. Bloomberg founded a financial data start-up in 1981 and built it into a global business. In 2001, he was elected mayor of New York City and served for three terms before returning to lead his company. Since leaving City Hall, he has resumed leadership of Bloomberg. His foundation focuses on public health, education, the environment, government innovation, and the arts. In 2014, Bloomberg was appointed to be the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and in 2016, he was appointed WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. Bloomberg is co-author, with Carl Pope, of Climate of Hope.
H.E. Dr. Bassem Awadallah
The Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan
Dr. Bassem I. Awadallah is the personal representative of His Majesty King Abdullah II and Jordan’s Special Envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Bank in Jordan and a member of the Board of Directors of the Arab National Bank in Saudi Arabia and of the Al Baraka Banking Group in Bahrain. A Jordanian national, he holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University. Dr. Awadallah worked in the investment banking field in the U.K. from 1986 to 1991. He then held a number of positions in Jordan, including Minister of Planning and International Cooperation (October 2001-February 2005), Minister of Finance (April 2005-June 2005), Director of the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah II (April 2006-November 2007) and Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court (November 2007- October 2008).
He is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Middle East Centre and the London School of Economics & Political Science, and he is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al Quds University in Palestine.
UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, Regional Director for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme
Mr. Mourad Wahba is the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States. He was appointed to this position by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in November of 2016, and he assumed duties in February of 2017.
Mr. Wahba has had many years of distinguished service at the United Nations and UNDP. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Haiti. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Director and Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Regional Bureau of Arab States of UNDP in New York (2013-2015), Director of the Security Office at the UNDP Bureau of Management in New York (2009-2013), UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Morocco (2006-2009), Director of United Nations Affairs at UNDP in New York (2001-2006), and Deputy Resident Representative in Guyana (1999-2001). Mr. Wahba began his career with the United Nations in 1993 as a Senior Officer in the Office of the Secretary-General.
Before joining the UN, Mr. Wahba was an Associate Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo, and a Visiting Lecturer on International Political Economy at the Institute for Diplomatic Studies at Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1987-1993).
Dr. Madeleine K. Albright
64th U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine K. Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.
Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights and promoted American trade and business, labor and environmental standards abroad.
From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of the President’s Cabinet. She is a professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Albright serves on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the secretary of defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute. In 2009, Albright was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to chair a group of experts focused on developing NATO’s New Strategic Concept.
On May 29, 2012 President Obama awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom to Dr. Albright—the nation's highest civilian honor—citing the inspiration her life is to all and that her scholarship and insight continue to make the world a better, more peaceful place. Albright is the author of five New York Times best-sellers: her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003); The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006); Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership (2008); Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (2009); and, her most recent book, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (April, 2012) in which she tells the story of her experiences and those of her family during and immediately after World War II, providing a fresh lens through which to view some of the modern era's most tumultuous years.
H.E. Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi
The Permanent Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations
H.E. Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi has been serving as the Permanent Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations since June 2011. Before that, H.E. Al-Mouallimi served as the Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, beginning in 2007. He was the Mayor of Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s second largest city, between 2001 and 2005, among numerous other leadership positions in the Government and the private sector.
H.E. Al-Mouallimi was a member of the Shoura Council (Parliament) from 1997 to 2001 and sat on the boards of several Government organisations, including the General Organization for Military Industries. His private-sector service included chairing the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and the Egyptian Finance Company.
H.E. Al-Mouallimi is the founder of the Dubai-based investment firm Dar al-Mouallimi Consulting Company and HBG Holdings, and he has a Master’s degree in management from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University.
Founder and Executive Director, African Youth Initiative Network
Victor Ochen is the founder and Executive Director of African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), a nonprofit that works with victims of brutalities suffered during the hostilities of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Government of Uganda. He is the first ever Ugandan and the youngest African to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 33 years old. He was appointed the UN Global Ambassador for Peace representing Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institution. He is one of the Global Advisors to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection.
Born and raised in the village of Abia in the Lira district of northern Uganda, Mr. Ochen’s childhood took place during the peak of the bloody conflict of the LRA, which raged in northern Uganda for more than two decades. He spent 20 years amidst violent conflict, growing up in the camps for internally displaced people and refugees. For years, Mr. Ochen and his family lived on one meal a day. He struggled to survive daily threats of abductions and forceful recruitment as child soldier, at the same time resisting temptation to avenge the grief of losing friends and family members, some of whom were still missing. While the opportunity for education was, and is still, rarely available for most children in war zones, Mr. Ochen struggled and risked his life to complete his education. With his community’s schools destroyed by war, Mr. Ochen burnt charcoal and worked laboriously throughout his teenage years to raise money for books and his education in the camps.
Victor’s life, work and worldview are based on the principles of peace, morality and common humanity. He embodies goodness in the face of war and adversity and hopes to inspire many to turn to peaceful solutions. He sends the clear message that a person does not have to be of a certain demographic, gender, education level or race to have a strong and influential voice. Rather, he demonstrates that any youth can be the power they envision and can work with the spirit of a community to start change at any level.
UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Dr. Ashok Nigam has been serving as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2014. Prior to this appointment, he held the same post in Myanmar along with being the Humanitarian Coordinator. Dr. Nigam brings with him over 25 years of experience in the UN in various capacities including working on economic and social policies affecting children and monitoring and evaluation with UNICEF at the global and regional levels, serving as Deputy to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction) and Director for Institutional Development and Governance in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and serving as the Associate Director at the UN Development Operations Coordination Office in New York. Prior to joining UNICEF, Dr. Nigam worked with the Government of Canada on the issues of globalisation of international financial markets and regulatory mechanisms. He also worked as a management consultant with Coopers and Lybrand in London and with Price Waterhouse in the UK. Dr. Nigam holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Economics from McGill University and an M.A. and B.A. in Economics from Cambridge University in England. He is also a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
Counsellor and Founder, Families For Life
Nicola Benyahia has extensive experience in the social care sector spanning over 25 years, with a special focus on mental health provision. She is registered as a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Counsellor and has specific experience in the fields of mental health, brain injury, and the counselling of young people aged 14 to 25 years old. As a mother personally affected by the impact of violent radicalisation processes in her own family, she decided to give her own experiences a voice and recently stepped forward for other families sharing similar problems.
Following the death of her son in Syria in 2015, Ms. Benyahia founded Families For Life, a counselling organisation that aims to support families through the counter-radicalisation process. She hopes to support and empower families to combat the shame of radicalisation and provide them with a platform for their voices to be heard.
Ms. Benyahia has been featured in national and international media, such as BBC, PBS, Time Magazine, The New York Times, Alarabiya, and Good Morning Britain, on various topics related to the prevention and intervention of violent radicalisation. She continues to speak and present at various international events. Through her work. Ms. Benyahia hopes to create a humanistic understanding of violent extremism and begin to provide genuine opportunities for families to engage in future policy making.
Noura Y. Mansouri
Visiting Scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Noura Y. Mansouri is a sustainable energy enthusiast and professional. She is currently a Senior Research Associate at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, a Visiting Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Future Energy Leader at the World Energy Council. Previously, Dr. Mansouri has served as the manager of strategy and marketing at AREVA.
Dr. Mansouri earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Dar Al Hekma University, her Master of Business Administration degree in technology exploitation and management, and her Ph.D. in Clean Energy Transition from Queen Mary University of London. She published her first book, Greening the Black Gold: Saudi Arabia’s Quest for Clean Energy in 2013. Dr. Mansouri completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at MIT, and she is a recipient of the Ibn Khaldun Fellowship from the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy.
Dr. Mansouri was selected as a young scientist to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate 2017 Meeting in Economic Sciences, and she was also selected as a member of the Review Committee for the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2017. Dr. Mansouri has received the 2015 Leadership Excellence for Women Award (LEWA) under the category "Rising Stars", and she is a Board Member at Women in Clean Energy (WICE) under the Clean Energy Business Council for the Middle East and North Africa.
Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
Inspired by the exploratory research he did on the ethno-religious crisis in Jos, Nigeria, Jonah Obajeun founded the Tolerance Academy as the flagship intervention of the UN Alliance of Civilizations-funded Youth Tolerance for Peace Development Initiative (Tolerance Initiative). With the aim of establishing peacebuilding and democratic systems that empower young people to play critical roles in development issues in their communities, the Academy has had hundreds of impactful young people graduate.
Since 2016, Mr. Obajeun has served as an Extremely Together Young Leader at the Kofi Annan Foundation, where he has been advocating for education-based models that prevent violent extremism. He has been serving as an Associate Fellow of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative since 2015 and a One Young World Ambassador to Nigeria since 2016. Mr. Obajeun was also named a Finalist Fellow of the Echoing Green Fellowship in 2011.
Beyond his engagement with the Tolerance Initiative, Mr. Obajeun has served as a screening committee member for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. He joined Hedayah, an international centre for countering violent extremism based in UAE, to develop a compendium of best practices regarding the use of education as a tool to counter violent extremism. Mr. Obajeun has participated in multiple high-level panels discussing violent extremism and is a guest blogger for The Huffington Post.
Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, United Nations
Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.
Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating "Hashtag Generation", a movement for the civic and political engagement of young people in Sri Lanka, especially young women. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014, where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.
President Citi Foundation & Director Corporate Citizenship at Citi
Brandee McHale is the President of the Citi Foundation and the Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. She oversees the Citi Foundation's global grantmaking strategy and leads Citi's citizenship efforts, including volunteerism and environmental sustainability. For over three decades, Ms. McHale has dedicated her career to philanthropy and developing a forward-thinking portfolio of grant initiatives that connect low-income residents to onramps of economic opportunity and a secure financial future.
Ms. McHale is a staunch advocate for youth empowerment. Under her leadership, the Citi Foundation launched Pathways to Progress in the United States, the largest single commitment in the Foundation's 20-year history. In February 2017, the Foundation announced it would expand the initiative globally with an additional $100 million investment to help prepare 500,000 young people for today’s competitive job market.
As a member of the board of directors for Prosperity Now, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Living Cities, and America's Promise Alliance, Brandee helps chart the direction of numerous efforts to create lasting change in communities across the country.
Co-Founder, Together We Build It
Hajer Sharief was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as member of the advisory group for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, mandated by Security Council Resolution 2250. Through her work as an Extremely Together Young Leader at the Kofi Annan Foundation, she advocates for countering violent extremism. Most recently, she has been chosen to be a part of the UN Women's Group of Champions for Women, Peace & Security. In February 2017, Ms. Sharief was awarded the Student Peace Prize by the International Student Festival in Trondheim in Norway.
Ms. Sharief is currently the Project Manager for the Together We Build It organisation, which she co-founded during the war in Libya in 2011. She has since been working on supporting the democratic process in Libya by emphasizing the relevant role of women and youth in peacebuilding, conflict resolution and preventing violent extremism. In 2013, she co-initiated the 1325 Network in Libya, which is a network of diverse civil society organisations and independent activists representing more than 30 cities in Libya, working all over the country to raise grassroots awareness and encourage women and young women to play an active role in the context of peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism.
Arizza Ann S. Nocum
Overall Head, KRIS Library
Arizza Nocum is the Overall Head of KRIS Library, an organisation that seeks to use education to counter terrorism, promote peace, and reduce poverty among young people. She is presently one of the 10 young leaders from all over the world who form Extremely Together, a group of young people handpicked by the Kofi Annan Foundation to counter violent extremism on a global level. Ms. Nocum is also an ambassador for One Young World, the eminent summit for young leaders from 196 countries. Her leadership of KRIS Library has led her to receive numerous awards such as the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines and the Young Women in Public Affairs Award from Zonta International. She has also been nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World. Ms. Nocum recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines.
Founder, The Chopra Foundation
Deepak Chopra MD, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor at UCSD Medical School, Researcher, Neurology and Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Dr. Deepak Chopra also serves as the Co-Founder of Jiyo, an Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and of Columbia Business School, Columbia University.
Dr. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including 25 New York Times bestsellers. His ground breaking book, Super Genes, co-authored with Dr. Rudolph Tanzi (Harmony, November 2015) focuses on the new genetics and is revolutionising how we understand ourselves and the health of those around us. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Dr. Chopra as the #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine.
TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as "one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Founder & CEO, ATAM for Sustainable Development
Razan Alaqil is in her third year at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Foreign Policy and Relations. She is an alumna of the United States Department of State's Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program. Ms. Alaqil has completed over 500 hours of volunteer work in Saudi Arabia and the United States. Hoping to positively influence the world and show stronger Saudi representation at the UN, Ms. Alaqil was the first Saudi to represent the Kingdom at the Youth Assembly (YA) in 2016 at the United Nations, where she received the Outstanding Youth Delegate Award out of 1,000 people from 85 different countries. At the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum in 2017, Ms. Alaqil served as the head Saudi youth delegate, sharing ideas and proposing solutions from a Saudi perspective. She co-founded a non-profit called ATAM, which aims to connect Saudi youth to international opportunities, like the YA, to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ms. Alaqil is currently working to promote the SDGs in her college community, and she hopes that one day Saudi youth will be global leaders in the implementation of the SDGs.
Business Woman, Professional Stock Trader, Aerobatic Pilot & Entrepreneur
Adwa Aldakheel is a young, dynamic entrepreneur who has been trading in the financial markets since the age of 14 years old. She has won three Capital Trading Market Competitions hosted by TD Bank in the United States, and she is the author of a best-selling book in Saudi Arabia, Proven Billionaires Formula. Ms. Aldakheel is the first Saudi female aerobatic pilot and is the Saudi Women’s Squash Champion of 2008-2009. Ms. Aldakheel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, and she was awarded a place on the Dean’s List for three years of her undergraduate program. She is the CEO of Direct Influence Company (DIC) and a co-founder and stakeholder of two other companies, Though Holding and Adwa Jewels, now one of the most successful jewellery brands in Saudi Arabia.
In a recent study on the most influential people in the Arab region, Ms. Aldakheel was noted as one of three prominent individuals along with Ahmad Al Shugairi, a well-known Saudi activist and media figure. The demographics of Ms. Aldakheel’s social media follower base of over 700,000 people illustrate a dominance of ambitious individuals in the age group between 18 and 35 years old.
Vice President, Deaf Planet Soul
Zaineb Abdulla is an Iraqi-American activist living in Chicago.
As the co-founder and Vice President of Deaf Planet Soul (DPS), Ms. Abdulla serves and empowers the deaf and hard of hearing.
Through her work with DPS, Ms. Abdulla facilitates the world’s first deaf-led humanitarian aid missions, providing audiological care, hearing aids and sign language resources to refugee children in the camps of Lebanon.
Current projects also include deaf childhood literacy programming, job training for deaf adults with disabilities and self defence programs for marginalised women of all backgrounds. Ms. Abdulla works as a behavioural therapist and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Deaf Education.
Lakshitha Saji Prelis
Director, Children & Youth Programs, Search For Common Ground
Lakshitha Saji Prelis is currently the Director of Children & Youth Programs at Search for Common Ground, an organisation that provides support to youth-focused programs around the world. He is additionally the founding co-chair of the UN-Civil Society Inter-Agency Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, a group that contributed to the successful advocacy for the historic UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. Mr. Prelis has over twenty years of experience working with youth movements and youth-focused organisations in conflict and transition environments in over 35 countries across the globe.
Prior to joining Search for Common Ground, Mr. Prelis served as the founding director of the Peacebuilding & Development Institute at American University. During his eleven-plus years at American University, he co-developed training curricula exploring the nexus between peacebuilding and development. Mr. Prelis has served as an adviser to governments and governmental agencies in over a dozen countries. He has also played an advisory role to the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Ministers on youth and peacebuilding. In June 2017, Mr. Prelis received the distinguished Luxembourg Peace Prize for Outstanding Achievements in Peace Support.
Mr. Prelis obtained his Master's degree in International Peace & Conflict Resolution with a concentration in International Law from American University in Washington, DC.
Founder & Director, The Bike Project
Jem Stein grew up in Oxford in the United Kingdom. Before attending university, Mr. Stein spent a year volunteering in a school for disadvantaged children in Israel. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After school, he spent two years working for a Jewish youth movement where he ran social action projects for young people across the United Kingdom. In 2012, Mr. Stein left to found a charity called The Bike Project. The Bike Project refurbishes second-hand bikes for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Since it launched in 2013, it has provided almost 3,000 bikes to refugees. In recognition of his work, Mr. Stein won the Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015. Outside of The Bike Project, Mr. Stein has been a trustee of several other charities and recently joined the board of The Family Planning Association.
Co-Founder & CEO, aKoma Media
Zain Verjee is one of the world’s most respected and recognised journalists, with 14 years of experience at CNN as an anchor, reporter and profound interviewer. Her passion for Africa has led her to create aKoma, Africa’s premier digital storytelling platform. aKoma wants to capture the diverse and creative energy of the continent and tell stories from local African perspectives. The platform launched in August of 2016 on akomanet.com. Beyond the litany of countries she has covered for work, Ms. Verjee invests her personal time and inquiry in understanding people around the world. She is Kenyan-born and passionate about Africa today.
Global Youth Policy Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme
Noëlla Richard leads the global youth portfolio in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster, and manages UNDP’s Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace (UNDP Youth-GPS), a response to both the 2030 Agenda and UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. Ms. Richard is the co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Youth & the 2030 Agenda and the former co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (2015-2016). She previously served in UNDP’s Democratic Governance Group, as Special Assistant to the Director (2013-2014) and as coordinator of the UNDP Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Public Administration. Prior to UNDP Headquarters, she worked for the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, UNESCO, the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, the French Ministry of Finance, the Paris Economic Council for Sustainable Development and the UNDP Country Office in Morocco. She was educated in France, Morocco, Spain and Argentina.
Amina J. Mohammed
Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations
Ms. Amina J. Mohammed was Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development. Prior to this, she served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating programmes worth $1 billion annually for MDG-related interventions.
She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and served on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect, 2016 African Union Reform and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project.
Ms. Mohammed began her 35-year career in the private sector with architects and engineers responsible for the project management of health, education and public sector buildings.
President, New York University
Andrew Hamilton became the 16th president of New York University in 2016. He most recently served as the vice chancellor of Oxford University, the university’s senior officer, after an academic career that took him from Princeton to the University of Pittsburgh, and then to Yale, where he was named provost. Throughout his time in academic leadership positions, he has maintained his scholarly work, including an active research laboratory, and will continue to do so at NYU.
A distinguished chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Dr. Hamilton’s scholarly work lies at the intersection of organic and biologic chemistry. He received his PhD from Cambridge University, his master’s degree from the University of British Columbia, and his undergraduate degree from Exeter University.
Executive Director & Founder, Omaha Talons
Guided by principles of solidarity and community interests, Koang Doluony founded the Omaha Talons organisation to fill a vital need for youth in the South Sudanese diaspora community in Omaha, Nebraska, home to approximately 15,000 to 20,000 South Sudanese refugees. After finishing his degree and college basketball career at Indiana State University, Mr. Doluony returned to Omaha to dedicate his life to mentoring and serving South Sudanese youth in his community. Mr. Doluony's work has been covered extensively in national media stories by Vice Sports, the Omaha World Herald, Bleacher Report, and CNN's Great Big Story. Using sports as a vehicle, Mr. Doluony advocates for education, healthy food access and empowerment of the community to advance opportunities for young people. He instills responsibility, accountability and work ethic as values that characterise his mission. Many of the young people he works with have gone on achieve incredible feats and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Although Mr. Doluony is primarily located in Omaha, his influence extends to other parts of the world in guiding young people and impacting positive change in communities.
Interfaith Activist, United Religions Initiative - Sun Devils Are Better Together
Mr. Abdullah Naif is from Medina, Saudi Arabia, and is currently a student at Arizona State University in the United States, studying criminal justice, criminology, emergency management and homeland security. Mr. Naif has been an interfaith and intercultural activist for three years. He is a member of the organisation called United Religions Initiative – Sun Devils Are Better Together and the Arizona Interfaith Network. Mr. Naif has been to more than 30 religious sites around America. He created the first Saudi Twitter account aiming to teach interfaith understanding and to bring people together from different backgrounds to share values, respect, tolerance and peace.
Bureau Chief for Al Arabiya in the United Kingdom
Rima Maktabi is a communication professional with over 15 years of experience in television. She re-joined Al Arabiya News Channel in October 2012 as a senior anchor and senior roving reporter. Since then, she has done extensive field coverage of Syria, focusing on the political, military and humanitarian aspects of the war-torn country, producing numerous news reports from Aleppo, Idlib and the Daraa provinces. She also did thorough coverage from the frontline of Mosul, Iraq, focusing on stories about the battle with ISIS. Ms. Maktabi has interviewed top leaders and decision makers throughout her career in journalism, including John Kerry, William Hague, Mahmoud Abbas, Wendy Sherman, John Wilks, Angela Merkel, Manouchehr Mottaki, Amr Moussa, Fouad Siniora, Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, David Petraeus, and many other politicians and opinion leaders.
Ms. Maktabi was honoured with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for her war coverage in July of 2006, and she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010. In 2013, Ms. Maktabi was listed as one of the top most influential international journalists in war zones.
Formerly, Ms. Maktabi worked with CNN as an anchor and reporter, covering major news stories across the Middle East, including the Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain. She was also the host of CNN's renowned show Inside the Middle East. Between 2005 and 2010, Ms. Maktabi worked with the Al Arabiya news channel as a reporter and senior anchor, hosting the 8:00 O’clock News, a daily prime time news show. She covered major events in the Middle East, the most significant of which was the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon and the Lebanese war with the Fateh el Islam militia in northern Lebanon.
Ms. Maktabi started her career in media in her home country, Lebanon. In 1996, when she was a Communication Arts student at Lebanese American University, Ms. Maktabi started working with Lebanese Future TV, where she spent 10 years and established her career in journalism covering and anchoring the news and hosting a political show for youth.
Director of Programs & Development, Elman Peace Centre
Ilwad Elman is the Director of Programs & Development at the Elman Peace Centre in Somalia. She is responsible for designing and overseeing the organisation’s programs, which address a range of issues, including human rights, gender justice, protection of civilians, peace and security, and social entrepreneurship.
Ms. Elman returned from Canada to Somalia in 2010 and has remained there ever since, co-founding the first rape crisis centre for survivors of rape, designing interventions aimed at security sector reform to create an inclusive space for women in peacebuilding, and developing Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programs for child soldiers and adults defecting from armed groups for their socio-economic empowerment, rehabilitation and reintegration.
In addition to her role at Elman Peace, Ms. Elman leads various humanitarian coordination groups in Somalia and is also an advocate for the Kofi Annan Foundation’s latest initiative, Extremely Together. She has been Somalia’s One Young World Ambassador since 2013 & the Country Representative for Youth to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Ms. Elman was honoured with the 2015 Gleitsman International Activist Award from Harvard University, the 2016 Right the Wrongs Award from Oxfam America, the 2016 Young African Woman of the Year award and the 2017 BET Global Good Star Award.
Artist, Misk Art Institution
Physician turned artist, Ahmed Mater is one of the most significant cultural voices documenting and scrutinising the realities of contemporary Saudi Arabia. Forging an ongoing, complex mapping of the Kingdom, his practice synthesises and documents collective memories to uncover and record unofficial histories. The temporal and physical breadths of his research-led inquiries are sharpened by the incisive gaze of his conceptual works. With this scope, Dr. Mater imagines and forecasts possible prognoses for a land of unprecedented religious, social, economic and political influence.
Dr. Mater is a cultural producer at the forefront of the Middle East cultural sector. He is a director of projects, on both global and local platforms, that engage with how societal forms of action can tangibly influence a wider civil sphere. In this way, Dr. Mater is internationally recognised for facilitating art practices, cultural production and understanding through the creative industries. From 2003 to date, Dr. Mater has directed multiple major projects and worked with institutions including the Smithsonian, the New Museum, the United Nations, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Centre Pompidou. Dr. Mater brings a dynamic and energetic consideration of cross-cultural and intersectional dialogues, through an innate understanding of the creative process, rooted in a Saudi Arabian vernacular. Within his initiatives, Dr. Mater harnesses a deep consideration of education. Taking art and culture as their nexus, the programmes encourage exchange, feeding into every profession and cutting across racial, cultural, social and economic barriers, to promote a culture of awareness and acceptance.
Countering Violent Extremism Advocate, Kofi Annan Foundation and the Extremely Together Programme
Fatima Zaman is currently a Countering Violent Extremism Advocate at the Extremely Together Programme of the Kofi Annan Foundation. She has been a leader in policy work relating to violent extremism, terrorism and faith-related matters. Her work involves advising key stakeholders on countering violent extremism (CVE), both within and beyond the education sector. She has previously worked directly with local communities and women's groups both in Europe and across Africa, delivering prevention programmes. She has extensive knowledge and experience working in the CVE field at the local, regional and national levels. Ms. Zaman has expertise on evidence-based counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policy. In 2017, she helped write and design the first ever youth-led countering violent extremism tool-kit and guide, a practical resource to empower youth across the world to actively prevent violent extremism. Alongside this, she pioneered the first ever CVE Roadshow across the United Kingdom. Ms. Zaman has a keen interest in counter-narratives that seek to dispel, discredit and destroy the narrative employed by extremists. She strongly advocates for engagement and dialogue around matters of faith.
Ahmed Badr is a writer, social entrepreneur, poet and former refugee from Iraq.
When he was eight years-old, Mr. Badr's home in Baghdad was bombed by militia troops. He and his family relocated to Syria as refugees for two and a half years before receiving approval to move to the United States. Mr. Badr founded Narratio, a global platform for youth empowerment through creative expression.
Narratio publishes works of art from all over the globe, and hosts workshops centred on the power of storytelling and creativity. This past summer, Mr. Badr began working with the UN Migration Agency as the host of the “TOGETHER” podcast, which is centred on the stories of migrant and refugee youth across the world. With work featured by SAP, the United Nations, Instagram, NPR, Global Citizen and others, Mr. Badr explores the intersection of creativity, the refugee experience and youth empowerment. Mr. Badr is a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University, where he is a Fellow at the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.
Architect & Artist, Pickard Chilton Architects, Mohamad Hafez Art
A Syrian Muslim artist and architect, Mohamad Hafez was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern United States. Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him, Hafez’s art reflects the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint and scrap metal. Using his architectural skills, Hafez creates surrealistic Middle Eastern streetscapes that are architectural in their appearance yet politically charged in their content.
Responding to the atrocities of the Syrian war, Hafez’s recent work depicts cities besieged by civil war to capture the magnitude of the devastation and to expose the fragility of human life. However, in deliberate contrast to the violence of war, his art imbues a subtle hopefulness through its deliberate incorporation of verses from the Holy Quran. At the core of Hafez’s work, the verses offer a distinct contrast between the stark pessimistic reality of destruction and the optimistic hope of a bright future. Scenes reiterate narratives from the Qur’an to affirm that, even during the darkest of times, patience is necessary for the blossoming of life and that, eventually, justice will prevail.
His artwork has recently been featured in four highly acclaimed exhibitions and profiled on Connecticut Public Radio and in The New Yorker.
Philanthropist, Co-Host of Kalam Nawa'em, MBC
Muna AbuSulayman, an Arab media icon, is continuously chosen as one of the most influential Arab women in the world, due to her unique and diverse cross-sector work experience outside of her media-related work. She is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and became the First UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for Saudi Arabia in 2006. Her award-winning show Kalam Nawa’em, “Softly Speaking” in English, is the longest running Arabic program in the world. The show looks at creating positive social change for youth and families while tackling many of the region’s complex taboos.
While leading the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the world, she focused on creating and supporting centres and programmes that bridged the gap between the West and Islam. Other projects focused on providing health resources, educational opportunities and work opportunities to women and youth. Since leaving the foundation, Ms. AbuSulayman has launched a consultancy focusing on finding “Big Ideas that Work” to solve problems in the realms of education, gender issues, media, and entrepreneurship.
As a result of increasing regional crises, she has spearheaded several initiatives to raise awareness for refugees. She sits on the MENA UNHCR Advisory Council as well as the World Humanitarian Summit MENA Committee.
Senior International Correspondent for CNN, President & Co-Founder of INARA
Arwa Damon is a senior international correspondent at CNN based in the Istanbul bureau. As one of the network's Middle East specialists, Ms. Damon frequently reports from conflict zones across the Middle East and North Africa region, often focusing her work on humanitarian stories. Ms. Damon's coverage has latterly focused on the fierce fighting in Iraq between militant Islamist group ISIS and the Iraqi national army and associated paramilitary groups. A recipient of the International Women's Media Foundation's 2014 Courage in Journalism Award, Ms. Damon has also extensively covered the bloody civil war in Syria and the deepening humanitarian crisis that has spread across the region in its wake. Before moving to Istanbul, Ms. Damon was based at CNN's Beirut bureau and was part of the network's team covering the Arab Spring. For her work reporting on the popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya, Ms. Damon was awarded Emmy for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story, as well as a Peabody Award.
In 2015, Ms. Damon launched a non-profit organization, The International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance (INARA), based on her personal experience in war zones and war-torn nations. INARA focuses on building a network of logistical support and medical care to help children who have fallen through the cracks and need lifesaving or life altering medical treatment.
Before joining CNN, Ms. Damon spent three years covering Iraq and the Middle East as a freelance producer for various news organisations including Feature Story News (PBS) and CNN. Damon graduated with honors from Skidmore College in New York with a double major in French and Biology and a minor in International Affairs.
Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
Bjørn Ihler is an activist and technologist working internationally to build thriving communities by tackling hatred, conflict and violent extremism. His work is influenced by his experiences as a survivor of the attack on Utøya Island in Norway in 2011. After surviving, Mr. Ihler went on a journey meeting former extremists, families of extremists and others who could give insight into the processes of radicalisation, trying to understand how someone could become a terrorist. As most of the people he met were ex-members of extremist movements, Mr. Ihler’s focus shifted to understanding the processes of deradicalisation.
Mr. Ihler's understanding of both radicalisation and deradicalisation now informs his work in prevention and his efforts to lead people out of extremist movements by using innovative theories, social work, media and technology. Political activism and work against violence and hatred have always been among Mr. Ihler's core interests. Mr. Ihler is currently involved in several projects, including film productions, data-driven start-ups, traditional community work, and the building of new and creative narratives that promote and build on his work regarding human rights, peace and productivity.
Anchor, "Bloomberg Daybreak Americas," Bloomberg
Alix Steel is the co-anchor of "Bloomberg Daybreak Americas" on Bloomberg Television, weekdays from 7-10am ET. She covers global markets, economic news and commodities across Bloomberg's multiple digital platforms. Ms. Steel has interviewed diverse figures, such as former Congressman Ron Paul, a variety of CEOs, including Lynn Good of Duke Energy, John Chambers of Cisco, Noel Biderman of AshleyMadison, and Jim Rogers, the former Duke Energy CEO, investors like Carson Block and Steve Forbes, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and many more.
Prior to joining Bloomberg in February 2012, Ms. Steel was a Senior Multimedia reporter, anchor and producer for TheStreet, where she focused on global markets as well as commodities. Steel also co-anchored a live trading show, "Morning Call," for TheStreet and T3Live.com. She is a multiple SABEW Award nominee.
Ms. Steel graduated cum laude from Northwestern University, earning her Bachelor's degree in Communications. She additionally studied business journalism at New York University.
Deputy Executive Director (Management) & Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Population Fund
Ms. Laura Londén brings to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, over 28 years of progressive inter-agency experience at both headquarters and field duty stations with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has served the United Nations system in several headquarters and field duty stations including Amman, Freetown, Dili, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Geneva, Vienna, Jerusalem and New York.
Ms. Londén holds a Master’s degree in Political Sciences (Public Law and Administration) from the University of Åbo Akademi in Finland.
Actress & Media Personality, Founder & Managing Director, NH Prima International Sdn Bhd
Neelofa Mohd Noor is a successful actress, television host and entrepreneur in Malaysia. She has been in the entertainment industry for seven years, beginning her career by winning a teen pageant, Dewi Remaja, in 2010. She has acted in several movies, hosted popular TV shows and produced her own reality TV show. In 2016, she starred as the main role in the TV series Suri Hati Mr Pilot, which then became the highest-rated show of all time in Malaysia, with 5.2 million viewers. She has a strong presence on social media with 5 million followers on Instagram. She is also the first hijab-wearing ambassador appointed by international brands such as Swarovski, Lancôme and Titan. As a successful entrepreneur, she started Lofa Shoes in 2009, BellaVita in 2012 and Naelofar Abaya and Lofalens in 2014 and then went on to be the founder and director of Naelofar Hijab, one of the most successful brands in Malaysia, with BBC reporting that the brand earned a staggering RM50 million in sales in 2015, just a year after it kicked off. She recently spoke at the Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia in Manila on issues related to women. She is a strong advocate of women, youth and entrepreneurship. She hopes to build a social enterprise in the near future to help develop a more sustainable economy.
Co-Founder & CEO, Tasamy for Social Entrepreneurship
Lujain AlUbaid is the co-founder and CEO of Tasamy for Social Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit dedicated to establishing an ecosystem and a safe haven for social entrepreneurs in the region. Previously honoured by HRH King Salman for her various volunteering activities conducted during her tenure at AlGhad forum, an esteemed national youth development-focused organisation in which she was a founding member of the strategic planning team. Born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a background in finance, she diversified her knowledge by participating in the Harvard Business school Women Executive Leadership Program, as well as Columbia Business School’s Executive Education Program for Non-profit Organizations. She is also an Acumen Global Fellow, and she worked as the Chief Strategy Officer for Ignis Careers in Hyderabad, India. A CEDPA Alumna, She has been representing the social entrepreneurship field in the region at several national and international conferences, forums, and summits.
Head of Communications & Public Information, UNHCR
Melissa Fleming is the Head of Communications and the Chief Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working to draw attention, drive empathy and generate support for the world’s 65 million refugees and displaced people. She uses strategic communications to reach target audiences that include media, public, governments and refugees themselves. She leads global media outreach and campaigns, and operates a multi-media news and feature service. From October 2016 to April 2017, she served as Senior Advisor to UN Secretary General António Guterres on his Transition Team.
A leader in social media engagement, she encourages front-line staff to bear witness through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To garner support for a humanitarian cause, she believes communications must not only inform but also generate empathy and stir action. Her TED talk, Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive has been viewed over one million times around the world and has been subtitled in 28 languages. Over 1.5 million people watched her second TED talk about an extraordinary young Syrian woman who, with the baby she saved, was one of the only survivors of a boat wreck that killed 500 refugees, including her fiancé. Ms. Fleming wrote a book on the story, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea.
Prior to UNHCR, she served eight years as Spokesperson and Head of Press & Public Information at the International Atomic Energy Agency during the period that the organisation made headlines for its inspection work in Iraq, Iran and North Korea and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. For six years before that, she headed the Press & Information team at the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. She holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a B.A. from Oberlin College. Ms. Fleming began her career as a journalist, then worked as a public affairs specialist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Director, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information
Mr. Maher Nasser serves as the Director of the Department of Public Information’s Outreach Division, which fosters dialogue with global constituencies such as academia, civil society, the entertainment industry, educators and students to encourage support for the ideals and activities of the United Nations.
Mr. Nasser has more than 29 years of work experience in the United Nations system, most of which has been in the field of communications, advocacy and public information. He has served in various capacities with Department of Public Information, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Gaza, Jerusalem, Amman, Cairo, Vienna and New York.
He joined the Department of Public Information in 2006 as Director of the UN Information Centre in Cairo and then served as Director of the UN Information Service in Vienna from 2008 to 2011. From April to August 2012, and from August 2014 to February 2015, he was Acting Head of the Department of Public Information, and from April 2017 to August 2017 he was the Acting Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.
Born in 1962, Mr. Nasser is Palestinian and speaks English and Arabic. He is married with three children.
Co-Founder & CEO, News Deeply
Lara Setrakian is the co-founder and CEO of News Deeply, a start-up that creates news platforms and builds passionate communities centred on the biggest issues and trends of our time. Her team's inaugural site, Syria Deeply, launched in 2012 and won the Excellence in Online Journalism Award from the National Press Foundation. The team went on to launch Ebola Deeply, Water Deeply, Arctic Deeply, Refugees Deeply and the Women & Girls Hub; the model is now expanding to cover new topics in environment, public health, geopolitics and social impact. Each site brings together reporters and editors with specialized experience in the subjects they cover, augmented by a network of experts who share their insights and perspectives.
For her work in building this model, Fast Company named Ms. Setrakian one of the “Most Creative People in Business,” while Inc Magazine called her one of “8 Women Who Could Own the Future.” Before launching News Deeply, Ms. Setrakian was the Middle East correspondent for ABC News and Bloomberg Television. Ms. Setrakian is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been featured in Mashable, TechCrunch, TIME Magazine, the Guardian, Marie Claire, the New York Times and on MSNBC, NPR and CNN.
Co-Founder & President, We Care Act
Eric Li is the president and co-founder of We Care Act, a non-profit organisation that focuses on the involvement of youth in disaster relief, environmental issues, and education. He founded We Care Act in 2008, along with his two older sisters, after the devastating Sichuan Earthquake in China. WCA started as a small family effort when Mr. Li and his sisters would go around the neighbourhood, door-to-door, asking for donations, but since then, the organisation has raised over $240,000 in funds and in-kind donations and has helped more than 40,000 people in need around the world. Currently, WCA is working on LiFT, Life Initiative for Technology, a project designed to refurbish and recycle electronics in order to help the less fortunate.
Mr. Li lives in Pearland, Texas and is in 11th grade at Glenda Dawson High School. He is a 2016 President’s Environmental Youth Awardee and a 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Service National Honouree. He is passionate about helping as many people as he can, whether that be through donating to the local Salvation Army red bucket during Christmas-time or teaching children the best way to reduce e-waste, a growing issue in today’s society.
Kowthar Alarbash was a board member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts until June 2017. Currently, she is a member of the Saudi Journalists Association and a board member of “Fn Ftn” initiative by the Ministry of Culture and Arts. She is a writer for Al Jazeera. In 2016, Ms. Alarbash received the Almuftaha Award for her efforts in promoting national unity. She was also selected as the most influential person in 2015 and 2016 according to the statistics of numerous media organisations and channels. In 2016, Ms. Alarbash was selected as the best Arab political writer. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture in Egypt, Ms. Alarbash was honoured for being one of the Arab pioneers among opinion columnists in 2016. In 2016, she also received a Gulf Innovators role by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
Special Correspondent, NBC News
Tom Brokaw has spent his entire distinguished journalism career with NBC News, beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of sixties counterculture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign.
From Los Angeles, Mr. Brokaw went to Washington, D.C. as the White House correspondent during Watergate and as the principal back up for John Chancellor as anchor of NBC Nightly News. New York and the TODAY show followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 campaign when his close friend and colleague Tim Russert died. In addition to his daily newsgathering responsibilities, Mr. Brokaw reported on more than thirty documentaries covering subjects ranging from AIDS, Los Angeles gangs, race, education, medicine, immigration and global warming.
He has an impressive list of firsts: the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama, and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down, which earned him The Order of Merit from the German government, along with many other instances.
In 1998 Mr. Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with six other books, including Boom! and, most recently, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope. He is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers.
Mr. Brokaw has won every major award in his craft, including Peabody, Duponts, Emmys and lifetime achievement recognition. In the spring of 2016, Mr. Brokaw was awarded the coveted Legion of Honor by the French government for his extensive reporting on World War II. In November of 2014, Mr. Brokaw was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest civilian award given to those who made “meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Organising Partner, UN Major Group of Children and Youth
Aashish Khullar is one of the Organising Partners (OPs) of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth. This is the formal engagement mechanism for young people in UN processes. His work centres around youth-led advocacy on a range of issues at the UN, including creating enabling environments for the effective and meaningful participation of diverse groups of youth in policy design, implementation, monitoring, and follow-up and review at all levels.
More specifically, he has been involved in facilitating youth engagement in deliberations on a range of issues associated with a broad understanding of sustainable development in several avenues. These include intergovernmental negotiations, multi-stakeholder processes and thematic policy development tracks. These include frameworks like the SDGs, Financing for Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction, Technology Facilitation, etc.
He has a graduate degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, and has carried out associated field work, specially focused on the engagement of communities (focus on youth) in people-led peace and conflict resolution processes in Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, Costa Rica, India and the US.
He is currently pursuing further studies in policy frameworks for a greater inclusion of the environmental dimension into economic analysis and the engagement of stakeholder groups in the process.
Anchor, Erin Burnett OutFront, CNN
Erin Burnett is anchor of Erin Burnett OutFront, a dynamic nightly news program that provides in-depth analysis of global headlines, compelling newsmaker interviews, and lively debates on the day's top issues. Erin Burnett OutFront airs weeknights on CNN at 7 Eastern.
Burnett also anchors a weekly show, Erin Burnett OutFront International on CNN International and serves as the network's Chief Business and Economic Correspondent.
During her tenure at CNN, Burnett has covered countless breaking news stories, including the Paris and Brussels terror attacks. She has also reported from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Israel and across Africa and Asia – bringing untold stories to life. Her investigative report on terror funding identified a Qatari financier whom the U.S. Treasury Department subsequently officially designated a global terrorist. Burnett's reporting on U.S. national security issues also includes on-the-ground coverage of the rise of Al Qaeda in North Africa and a one-hour documentary titled "The Truth About Benghazi." Domestically, she covered the 2012 and 2016 U.S. presidential elections, traveling the country to report from the ground and interviewing major candidates.
Burnett joined CNN from CNBC where she anchored two flagship programs daily and contributed to Meet the Press. During her tenure at CNBC/NBC News, Burnett traveled the world, including broadcasting from Cairo during the Egyptian revolution and from Nigeria after the attempted terror bombing of a Detroit-bound jet. Burnett also produced and anchored documentaries on India, Russia, Iraq, Dubai and Africa.
Advisor to MiSK and Chief Commercial Officer at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)
Fahd Hamidaddin serves as the Advisor to MiSK and the Chief Commercial Officer at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), leading customer relationships and key government and corporate partnerships. Under Mr. Hamidaddin’s leadership, KAEC has become an iconic business and lifestyle brand, appealing to diverse stakeholders, including visitors, residents, investors, partners and government ministries. Mr. Hamidaddin has established KAEC as a nexus of thought leadership around urban development, strategic brand development and entrepreneurship. He has championed and led a comprehensive initiative to enhance customer experiences at every city touchpoint. Moreover, Mr. Hamidaddin has strengthened KAEC’s strategic partnerships with key government ministries to align the interests of the city and the nation. Mr. Hamidaddin’s leadership has been instrumental in driving sales to exceed targets for four consecutive years.
Aerospace Engineer and Founder, Mishaal Aerospace
Mishaal Ashemimry is a Saudi-American Aerospace Engineer, who was born in the US and spent a few years of her early life in Saudi Arabia, where she became fascinated with space at the age of six while gazing at the stars in the Unayzah desert. To feed her curiosity, she decided to learn how to build space vehicles that would enable her to explore space and take her there one day.
Currently, Ms. Ashemimry is a consultant in her field. In 2010, while based in Miami, Florida, Ms. Ashemimry founded Mishaal Aerospace at the age of 26 in the hopes of pursuing her ultimate dream of building rockets. Ms. Ashemimry previously worked for Raytheon Missile Systems’ Aerodynamics Department and contributed to twenty-two different rocket programs. Her professional experience and areas of expertise include aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing, vehicle design, predictive simulation and analysis and rocket stage-separation analysis, with a strong focus on computational tool development.
Ms. Ashemimry earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Aerospace Engineering and in Applied Mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, and a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, also from Florida Institute of Technology. Her academic specialisations included experimental and analytical aerodynamics, rocket design and nuclear thermal propulsion.