Professor, George Washington University
Mr. Askari is Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University. He has been on the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund, and was Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia. He has written extensively on economic development in the Middle East, Islamic economics and finance, international trade and finance, agricultural economics, oil economics and on economic sanctions, including sixteen books, six monographs, over one hundred refereed journal articles and numerous chapters in books. He has also written over two hundred opinion pieces in the NYT, WP, LAT, IHT, etc.
Tamara Cofman Wittes
Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow and the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. She served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. She was central to organizing the U.S. government’s response to the Arab awakening. Before joining the State Department, Wittes was a senior fellow in the Saban Center at Brookings, where she directed the Middle East Democracy and Development (MEDD) Project. Before joining the Saban Center in December 2003, Wittes served as Middle East specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace and previously as director of programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She also taught courses in international relations and security studies at Georgetown University.
President, Fara Group
Allen Collinsworth is a Fellow in the EastWest Institute’s Worldwide Security Initiative. He is the President and Founder of Fara Group, Inc., a frontier project management organization employing Turkey’s manufacturing base and human resources to projects in the Middle East and Central Asia. He also hosts Corridor39, a television program on geopolitical trends shaping this region’s economic development. Collinsworth is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, and received his MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MSc from the London School of Economics.
Adjunct Professor, Director of Koç University Incubation Center / CTO of Türk Telekom Group – Argela
Mr. Ergen is adjunct professor at Koç University, as well as the director of its Incubation Center. In addition, he is the Chief Technology Officer of Türk Telekom Group – Argela. Prior to his current endeavors, he was co-founder of WiChorus Inc., a Silicon Valley startup focusing on mobile broadband infrastructure. The company was founded in 2005 and acquired in 2009 by Tellabs. Before that, he was a member of National Semiconductor Labs and was named as National Semiconductor Fellow at Berkeley, where he co-founded the Distributed Sensing Lab and worked in the Intelligent Transportation Group. Mr. Ergen completed four programs at Berkeley, including a PhD in electrical engineering and an MA degree in International Studies focusing on overseas entrepreneurship models leveraging the Silicon Valley. He received his BS in electrical engineering as valedictorian from Orta Doğu Technical University. Mr. Ergen has authored three books, including an upcoming book entitled “Girişimci Ekonomi: Cesaret Ekonomisi” about entrepreneurship in Turkey (Turkish language) to be published by Koç University Publishing in 2014. He is a board member of Türk Telekom in the Networld2020 European Union Technology Platform, and the 5G Public Private Association.
Mr. Fish is a comparative political scientist who studies democracy and regime change in developing and post-communist countries, religion and politics, and constitutional systems and national legislatures. He is the author of Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence, Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics, which was the recipient of the Best Book Award of 2006, presented by the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association, and Democracy from Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution as well as the coauthor of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey and Post-communism and the Theory of Democracy.
CEO and President of the Legatum Institute
Jeffrey Gedmin is the former President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Prior to this, he served for nearly six years as Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is “to foster ‘enlightened’ leadership and open-minded dialogue.” From 1996 to 2001, Gedmin was a resident scholar and Executive Director of the American Enterprise Institute’s New Atlantic Initiative, a coalition of international institutes, politicians, leading journalists, and business executives seeking to revitalize and expand the Atlantic community of democracies. Leading supporters and participants included Václav Havel, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, and U.S. Senators Jesse Helms and Joseph Biden. Gedmin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the board of the Council for a Community of Democracies (Washington, D.C.) and the Program of Atlantic Security Studies (Prague, Czech Republic). In addition, he has taught at Georgetown University and Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.
Founder and CEO of Aramex
Fadi Ghandour is a Jordanian entrepreneur who co-founded Aramex in 1982 and has served as its CEO since. He is a Founding Partner of Maktoob.com, the world’s largest Arab online community, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 2010. Ghandour is also a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the largest private equity firm in the Middle East and South Asia, is a Founding Board Member of Endeavor Jordan, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut. Between 2003 and 2006, he was the Middle East and North Africa Area Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Ghandour is passionate about supporting entrepreneurship in the Arab world and is an active angel investor focusing on start-ups in the Middle East and North African countries.
Richard K. Lyons
Dean, Haas School of Business
Richard K. Lyons became the Bank of America Dean of the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, in July 2008. He is a graduate of the school’s undergraduate business program. Prior to becoming dean, Lyons served as the chief learning officer at Goldman Sachs in New York, where he was responsible for leadership development among the firm’s managing directors. His academic research has
explored currency markets, a focus reflected in his book “The Microstructure Approach to Exchange Rates” (MIT Press). Recently, his research has taken a quite different tack, namely, exploring the links between leadership and innovation in organizations. These links are of strategic importance to the Haas School’s approach to developing business leaders. Dean Lyons is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His past consulting relationships include the Federal Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and Citibank. In 1998 Lyons received UC Berkeley’s highest teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Chief Strategy Advisor, King Khalid Foundation
Natasha Matic has been responsible for developing and implementing the King Khalid Foundation’s strategy to strengthen and promote innovative and sustainable solutions for social and economic development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2008. Natasha is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Ibtikar Business Solutions, an international consultancy specializing in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. Natasha’s consulting relationships include the Olayan Group, the Skoll Foundation, the GAVI Alliance and others. Prior to 2008, she served as the Chief of Party and Co-Director for the US-based Academy for Educational Development in Qatar. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of the technology start-up, OPEN, where she developed and executed innovative technology applications for sustainable development. Natasha is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Global Donors Forum and the Arab Foundation’s Forum. She holds a degree in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School and a Ph.D. in Economic and Political studies from Boston University.
Head of Consulting at Manaar Energy
Robin is one of the leading experts on Middle East energy strategy and economics. Head of Consulting at Manaar Energy in Dubai, and previously with Shell and Dubai state companies, he works on bringing investment and modern technology and commercial practices to the region’s energy industry. His books ‘The Myth of the Oil Crisis’ and ‘Capturing Carbon’ and current media work deal with the geopolitics of energy, transforming energy wealth into sustainable and diversified economic growth, misleading paradigms of resource depletion, and solutions to climate change. His particular focus is on the Gulf, including Iran and Iraq. He speaks Arabic and Farsi.
Professor of Islamic History, Harvard
Roy Mottahedeh joined Harvard’s history department faculty as Professor of Islamic History in 1986, and has served as director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He was appointed Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University in 2006. Professor Mottahedeh’s major work is on the social and intellectual history of the Islamic Middle East. His publications include Loyalty and Leadership in Early Islamic Society (1980), the Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran (1985), and Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence (2003). He is currently working on a book on the Shia of Iraq.
Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Vali R. Nasr is Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is a specialist on Middle East politics and political Islam, and has worked extensively on political and social developments in the Muslim World with a focus on the relation of religion to politics, social change, and democratization. Dr. Nasr is the author of six books, including Forces of Fortune: the Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What it Means for Our World (2009) and The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future (2006) and the author of numerous articles in academic journals and encyclopedias. His works have been translated into several languages. Dr. Nasr has briefed the White House, the Congress, the U.S. Department of State, the National Security Council, and the U.S. Department of Defense on Middle East issues.
Professor & Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley
Robert Price is Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Berkeley. His research and teaching fields include comparative politics and African affairs, with a special emphasis on South Africa. He is the author of Society and Bureaucracy in Contemporary Ghana (1975), U.S. Foreign Policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa: National Interest and Global Strategy (1979), The Apartheid Regime: Political Power and Racial Domination (co-editor, 1980), and The Apartheid State in Crisis (1991), as well as a variety of journal articles and book chapters dealing with the new African state, U.S. foreign policy towards Africa, and political change in South Africa.
Senior Vice President MENA – INJAZ Al Arab
As Senior Vice-President of MENA for Junior Achievement Worldwide, Soraya Salti has the mandate to mobilize private sectors and ministries of education across the Arab World to join forces to create a new generation of business-oriented youth and entrepreneurs. Salti worked for two years at Jordan’s Ministry of Planning on the innovative Competitiveness Team, assisting Harvard’s Michael Porter to apply his model to strengthen the country’s economic development. She then joined Northwestern University’s international Kellogg executive MBA programme. Prior to that, she ran the monitoring/evaluation unit of a US$ 15 million programme that strengthened small and medium-sized industries at Jordan US Business Partnership, before which she was an economic researcher at ESCWA, the UN Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia. She is on the board of Young Arab Leaders Jordan, Queen Rania’s Awards for Excellence in Education, and the Business Development Center, and is the winner for the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of Jordan.
CEO of Emirates Foundation
Clare Woodcraft-Scott is responsible for driving Emirates Foundation’s vision of supporting youth development in the country. She brings over 20 years of experience working in the field of sustainable development in the Middle East and Africa as a development practitioner, a journalist and a corporate executive specializing in sustainability, social investment and reputation management. Prior to joining Emirates Foundation, Woodcraft-Scott was Deputy Director of Shell Foundation, working on building social enterprises to help address global development challenges. In this role she worked to build the LEAD Africa Fellowship Program that focused on building leadership skills across the continent and also contributed to the Foundation’s ten year assessment report Enterprise Solutions to Scale. Prior to this, Woodcraft-Scott worked as the Regional Director of Communications for Royal Dutch Shell in the Middle East and North Africa managing the oil major’s social investment portfolio in the region and addressing issues related to sustainability. She earlier headed Visa International’s public affairs arm in emerging markets (Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) that saw her working closely with governments and financial sectors in Africa and the Middle East looking at the role of electronic payments in economic development. Woodcraft-Scott is a fluent Arabic speaker holding a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and French from Salford University in the UK and a Masters in Development from the London School of Economics.
Visiting Scholar, Stanford University (Professor, Sharif University of Technology)
Yahya Tabesh is a visiting scholar at Stanford University and distinguished faculty of the Sharif University of Technology (Tehran, Iran). Yahya served as the chairman of the department of Mathematical Sciences at Sharif for several years. He was also director of Math and Computer Olympiads in Iran. A pioneer in developing math house and schoolnet, he is also responsible for developing mathematics text-books and curriculum for thousands of students in the field who went on to become highly successful entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley. Dr. Tabesh also served as director of the Computing Center at Sharif University. He also did research in computational linguistics and was a leader in helping develop Farsi under the Unicode standard.
Dr. Tabesh won the Erdos international award in 2010 for his sustained and distinguished contribution to the enrichment of math education. Dr. Tabesh is also co-founder of seven startups which developed innovative technologies.
Chairman and CEO of the Istanbul Stock Exchange
Dr. İbrahim M. Turhan is Chairman & CEO of Borsa İstanbul, the sole exchange of Turkey, combining the former Istanbul Stock Exchange, the Istanbul Gold Exchange, and the Derivatives Exchange of Turkey under one umbrella. Previously, he served as a lecturer at various universities in Istanbul. Dr. Turhan has published numerous articles on financial economics, macroeconomics, and political economics in both Turkish and English publications. He has served as managing editor and editor-in-chief of several journals on banking, finance, and finance technology. Dr. Turhan also served as board member of the general assembly and the monetary policy committee and also as deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. He was also a member of the advisory board of the contemporary Turkish studies department at the London School of Economics’ European Institute. Dr. Turhan is President of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS), Board of Directors member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), and member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the International Monetary System. Mr. Turhan is also a member of the Leaders’ Circle as well as the Advisory Board of the Global Economic Symposium organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Dr. Turhan holds an undergraduate degree from Boğaziçi University and an MA in International Banking and a PhD from Marmara University.