Confirmed Panelists

With the September workshop approaching very quickly, we wanted to formally announce all of that panelists that we have confirmed thus far!

This post will be updated as more panelists have been confirmed.

Wael Aburida

Panel 6: Higher Education, the Case for the GCC

Wael Aburida has over twenty years of experience in private equity, mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, and executive management. Wael is the Chairman of Halo Investment Management and serves as an officer or Board Director of several high growth companies across both the developed and developing markets.

Previously, he was Chief Investment Officer and head of Private Equity & Real Estate Investments for the MENA region for PineBridge Investments, the $90 Billion global investment management firm based in New York. Prior to PineBridge, Wael led the private equity and strategic investment activities for Abu Dhabi-based Waha Capital. Before coming to the GCC, he was responsible for leading strategic investment activities for Intel Corporation, where he was Director of the Global Mergers & Acquisitions group with Intel Capital. Wael holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and BA from Lake Forest College.

Dr. Michèle Aerden

Keynote Speaker, Day One

Dr. Michèle Aerden is the first woman to be elected president of the World Dental Federation (FDI), an organization that represents over one million dentists in 134 countries, from 2005 until 2007. As president of this organisation, she focused heavily on projects in the developing world, working closely with the World Health Organisation(WHO). One of Michèle’s main priorities as FDI President was the integration of dental health with overall medical health, and one of her proudest achievements was to lobby successfully at the WHO General Assembly for a resolution to recognisethis.


Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi

Panel 6: Higher Education, the Case for the GCC

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimiis a member of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi and the Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) as well as the Chancellor of the UAE University. He served as the Advisor to the UAE Minister of Education. Dr. Al Nuaimihas also held other academic, research and administrative positions in the University and the College of Education where he has lectured in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction Department. He holds a Ph.D. from Imam Mohammed Bin SaoudUniversity, Saudi Arabia; a M.Sc. from Portland State University, USA; and a B.Sc. from Portland State University, USA. He has published widely in numerous scientific journals (most recently in International Journal of STEM Education) and participated in many regional and international conferences.

Dr. Abdalla Altayer

Panel 6: Higher Education, the Case for the GCC

Dr. Abdalla Altayer is Chief Advisor and Director General of the Cabinet at the Organisationof Islmamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia. He is highly equipped with information and extensive expertise in handling domestic and international affairs, specifically national security and international strategic relations with Saudi Arabia. He effectively managed and oversaw the educational and academic affairs in the Saudi cultural attachés abroad. He is the Chairman of Gulf Futures Center, a Think Tank focusing on GCC states, its politics, security and development. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Leeds and held the CEO position at the Center for Saudi Studies in Washington DC.

Dominic Barton

Panel 5: Building Bridges

Dominic Barton is the global managing partner of McKinsey. He is based in London and leads the firm’s focus on the future of capitalism and the role business leadership can play in creating long-term social and economic value. Before becoming managing partner, Dominic served as McKinsey’s chairman in Asia from 2004 to 2009. He also headed McKinsey’s office in Korea from 2000 to 2004.

Dominic is the chair of the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and the chair of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council. He is also a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a Rhodes trustee, an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and a board member of FCLT Global (Focusing Capital on the Long Term). Dominic has authored more than 80 articles and has co-authored several more. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA Honors in economics and studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford University.

Dr. Andrew Bowen

Moderator, Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

Dr. Andrew Bowen is a managing director at Therao, a senior advisor at Greenmantle and member of the advisory board for the Qatar-America Institute. Andrew has also served as a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Global Fellow of the Middle East Program at The Wilson Center, a Senior Fellow and Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for National Interest, and Director of the Levant Program for the James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy of Rice University.  He  has co-authored four papers, including “Rethinking U.S. Strategy in the Middle East” and “Geopolitical Developments in Iraq and Syria and its Impact on Global Oil and Gas Markets”. Andrew received both his PhD. in International Security in the Middle East and his MsCin International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science and received his BA in Political Science from Rice University.

Dan Choon

Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

Dan Choon is Founder and Director of Cycle, a private equity fund investing in sustainable technology. Dan is Cycle’s visionary, strategist, cooperation enhancer and company builder. He leads the strategy and corporate development of Cycle and takes care of portfolio development and strategic cooperations. Mr. Choon is also the founder of Dyan, a Luxembourg and Hong Kong based family office specialized on sourcing off-market direct investment opportunities in Europe and Asia. Before, Dan co-founded Venionaire Investment GmbH, a Venture Capital Fund based in Vienna investing in high-tech startup companies in Europe. Before that, Dan worked as a technology M&A specialist with Ganzfeld, a company that he founded, performing technical due diligence and IT consulting, developing technology investment strategies for international customers and analyzing technology investment opportunities in Europe and selecting and evaluating the most promising.

Tessy de Nassau

Moderator, Panel 5: Building Bridges

Tessy de Nassau is a co-founder of Professors Without Borders. She holds an M.Sc. in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS and is a fellow at the center for Global Health Security at Chatham House. She has extensive experience in informal and formal diplomacy as well as public representation. Tessy has worked as an ambassador for UNAIDS (Global Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls) and has been appointed patron to UNA-UK. Tessy spent five years in the military, during which she was deployed in Kosovo as a peacekeeper and detached to the Luxembourg Commission and Embassy both in Geneva and London. Tessy actively promotes a number of issues, including global health and women’s rights. She received the Woman of the Decade award from the Women Economic Forum in January 2017 and the Humanities medal for spreading humanistic ideas worldwide. Tessy leads Prowibo’smarketing campaigns. She also contributes to the development of partnerships with schools and organizations and has taught a class in Diplomacy and International Organizations in the Sierra Leone Summer School.

Bernhard Dedenbach

Panel 5: Building Bridges

Bernhard Dedenbach is the founder of strategic HR advisory company, BD Associates S.A. and of the international network Partners to Leaders. He has been in senior management positions for more than twenty years and served on the management of a global executive search firm where he oversaw Asset and Wealth Management. Bernard is an expert in board services and corporate governance. Prior to joining the executive search industry, he worked in wealth management and started his career with German industrial giant Krupp. Bernard holds a degree from the European Bank Academy. He graduated from Bonn University, with a Master’s degree in modern languages and literature. He also studied in Paris and Siena. He is a Member of the European Council of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) and chairs the association’s European Membership Committee.

Sallyann Della Casa

Panel 1: Skills for the 21st Century Job Market

Sallyann Della Casa is the Lead Skills Hacker at GLEAC, an APP with a patent pending method bridging behavioral psychometrics, 21st-century skill development and A.I. to help ‘us’ become more human.

She also is the Founder of the Growing Leaders Foundation which delivers 21st-century skills to at risk students in schools and universities across the Mena region and Caribbean. She began her career as a corporate lawyer in the US. Sallyann has a very diverse educational background and holds a doctorate, degrees and certifications in Law, Urban Planning, French and Italian and Organizational Behavior from Harvard University, University of Miami, St Thomas University and Franklin College.

H.E. Professor Hussain Diab

Panel 3: Academic Innovations

H.E. Professor Hassan Diab is currently Vice President at American University of Beirut (AUB) and a Professor of Computer Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, AUB. He has over 150 publications in internationally refereed journals and conferences and has supervised 80 research projects. He is a registered Chartered Engineer in the Engineering Council, UK, and a registered Chartered Professional Engineer in the National Professional Engineers Register, Australia. He is Fellow of IET (UK), IEAust(Australia) & Senior Member in IEEE (USA).He received over 30 national/international awards and was invited for inclusion in over 40 international biographies with over 100 citations including Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in Science & Engineering, and Outstanding People of the 21st Century, as well as honorary membership on boards of several biographical institutions.

Paola Diana

Moderator, Panel 2: Students of Generation Z

Paola Diana is an entrepreneur, bestselling author and philanthropist. She is the Founder and Chairman of Diana Group, leader in the recruitment and lifestyle management sector, through its subsidiaries: Sigillus, Nanny & Butler and SupremePA, which have been recognised in The Spear’s 500 as one of London’s most influential service providers for high net worth individuals. Paola has also established herself as one of the leading lights in the literary world as a result of her bestselling book: ‘Saving the World. Women: the XXI’s Century Factor for Change’. Paola regularly speaks at conferences and she contributes regularly to TV and radio in the UK and Italy.


Frank Floessel

Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

Frank Floessel is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He holds a master degree in electrical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, where he cofounded his first venture, a student run Junior Enterprise. After graduating he started his next company, a Swiss-based human resource and customer care company with 600 employees. After hiring a CEO in 2013 he spent time investing and exploring in the Swiss Fintech industry until, in 2015, he exited his company after 17 years.Following the exit, Frank joined the family office network AskTheCircleas partner and CEO until December 2017. Currently he is working on automated trading algorithms for crypto currencies and is raising capital for his hedge fund.

Dr. Claire Gordon

Panel 3: Academic Innovations

Dr. Claire Gordon has been working as a Teaching Fellow in East European Politics at the European Institute of LSE since 2003 and prior to that as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Government. She holds a MSc from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham and a D.Philfrom St Antony’s College, Oxford University on ‘The Politics of Economic Policy-Making in the Soviet Union from 1988-1991’. Her research interests include the EU’s eastward enlargement, minority policy and the role of conditionality; conflict management in post-communist states and the role of international organisations; and processes of democratisationin Central and Eastern Europe. She is a member of the non-resident Senior Research Associate Network at the European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg and a member of the Steering Board of the Regional Research Promotion Programme for the Western Balkans at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Piers Hedley

Panel 5: Building Bridges

Piers Hedley currently sits on the Boards of Advisors for Professors Without Borders. He has a background in corporate finance and has been working since 1987 as a consultant for International Ultra High Net Worth families. He has a very successful track-record offering strategy advice to entrepreneur owners and has assisted them through large capital markets transactions. Piers also acts as a non-executive ‘chairman’ for a number of private companies owned by clients and in addition provides pro-bono services to a range of charitable organizations, including his family’s charitable activities.

Dr. Carola Hieker

Panel 2: Students of Generation Z

Dr  Carola Hieker currently sits on the Board of Advisors for Professors Without Borders. She is the MBA Director at Richmond, The American International University in London andis Professor of Organizational Behavior as well as a Senior Executive Coach with over 25 years of experience in leadership development. She is a founding partner for diversity-in-leadership and hilcoaching, and her main clients are global companies in the Financial Services Sector as well as Professional Services Firms. Her focus in research lies in coaching, leadership and diversity. Carola has university degrees as Diplom-Psychologin(corresponding to M.A. in Psychology) and Dr. Phil (corresponding to Ph.D. in Psychology.); she also completed a Diploma in Systemic Management at Birkbeck University and is an AshridgeCertified Supervisor (Master level).

Chandni Hirani

Panel 2: Students of Generation Z

Chandni Hirani is a research fellow at Prowibo as well as a volunteer professor having taught negotiation and entrepreneurship skills at the African Rural University in Uganda. She is a social entrepreneur from Kenya. She is the Founder of Kilimanjaro Green Energy, a social enterprise focused on bringing solar lighting systems to micro-entrepreneurs across Kenya. Prior to this, she worked as a technology consultant at Accenture UK in London. She holds a BEng in Civil Engineering from the University of Manchester and has recently completed an MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics.

Katrine Preeti Hofseth Leira

Panel 1: Skills for the 21st Century Job Market

Katrine Preeti Hofseth Leira is a Norwegian journalist and editor. She holds a degree in Journalism and a dual degree in Economics from Oslo and Columbia University in New York. She has been the editor of several different life style magazines in Norway. She has also worked as a manager at consulting firms such as PwC, E&Y and Deloitte. Today she runs her own online magazine The Butterfly and works as a PR Manager, as well as contributing to some of the main fashion and interior design magazines globally. For her, quality content means everything and she firmly believes in educating people on how social media will impact both the jobs and talents of tomorrow.

Anita Kouassigan

Panel 2: Students of Generation Z

Anita Kouassigan holds a BSc degree in Politics (University of Bristol), and graduated in the Post-Graduate Degree in Law and the Legal Practice Course (College of Law, London). She also sits on the board of Trustees of the Aplori Foundation (AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute). She is a serial small-business entrepreneur, with her focus areas being Recruitment/Human Capital, Publishing & Media, Events, Fundraising and Pro Bono projects. She recently launched a new media brand and platform: Investing In Women, which is in the business of hosting events on behalf of charities, who may need assistance in PR & Communications, Marketing, and Networking – outside of their usual pool of contacts. The Investing In Women brand extends to CSR and D&I, as well as collaborations with charities. In terms of Education, she’s an advocate for charities that fight against child marriage as this prevents girl’s from getting an education.

Guillherme Lichand

Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

Guilherme Lichand is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, and Research Director of the Center for Child Wellbeing and Development at the University of Zurich. He uses lab-in-the-field experiments to study the impacts of poverty on decision-making. He also combines natural experiments and randomized control trials to study corruption and state capacity. Guilherme holds a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University, and has been acknowledged by MIT Technology Review as Brazil’s top under-35 social innovator in 2014.


Anjum Malik

Moderator, Panel 3: Academic Innovations

Anjum Malik is an international education consultant, presenter and entrepreneur. She creates and manages organizations that enhance the global competence of professionals and students. Anjum contributes to the field of international education in her advisory role to multiple educational and cultural outreach programs and frequent presentations at international education conferences. Anjum was a Professor of Political Science at MKP India and the Director of Global Marketing and Public Relations for the Global Initiative for Education at Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently holds several leadership positions including Managing Partner of the Alhambra US Chamber, VP of the HOFT Institute, Honorary Ambassador of the Polish network of women’s entrepreneurship, and is a Telemachus Mentor for the Global Thinkers Forum.

James Monckton

Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

After completing his degree in philosophy and theology, Jamie travelled to Syria and Jordan for a year studying Arabic. Following that he attended the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurstwhere he commissioned into the Coldstream Guards. After a combat tour of Afghanistan, Jamie was promoted to Captain and moved across to the information and influence brigade of the army. After just a couple of months at 77 Brigade he was seconded to the UK Special Forces to lead and conduct information, influence and resistance operations in Iraq and Syria. Jamie now works as a director in an intelligence, research and strategic communications agency on Whitehall in London.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb

Panel 4: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship 

Geeta Sidhu-Robb is an author, speaker, CEO and Founder of Nosh Detox.  Her frequent media appearances on Print, Radio and National TV have given her a strong media profile as an expert on Natural Health & Lifestyle Solutions and Women’s Leadership issues. Geeta gave up her career as a corporate lawyer to set up her own business, Nosh Detox in 2008. She has applied her passion for health to improve performance to help over 15,0000 clients. Recently she expanded into Wellness in Corporate Programmes with speaking engagements at Warner Music, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, State Street and the House of Commons. She has also created numerous JV’s with among others Quintessentially and Wall Street Journal.  Geeta has taken home Entrepreneur and Business Women of the Year awards in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017 and a Champion of Women award in 2017 along with 13 other awards for the business.

Manish Singh

Panel 1: Skills for the 21st Century Job Market

Manish Singh is Chief Investment officer (CIO) at CrossbridgeCapital in London overseeing over $3.5 billion in multi-asset investments. He has previously worked at SocieteGeneral and at UBS Investment Bank. Manish is an expert in global macroeconomics and finance and is interviewed regularly on CNBC, Bloomberg TV. Manish holds a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai, India; a Masters degree in Finance & Management from CranfieldSchool of Management, UK; and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder. Manish has a very keen interest in government policy with a focus on economy and education. He was Head of Policy Research (2007-10) at Conservative City Future, a Policy Research Group of the Conservative Party of the UK. He is an ex-member of the Milken Institute Young leaders circle (YLC).

Scott Smith

Keynote Speaker, Day Two

Scott Smith, the author of A New Operating System For the American Economyis an engaging speaker on futuristic technologies and their influence on the future of education. Scott is the co-founder of two nationally acclaimed charter schools in the U.S. and KidzMagazine, whose content was created entirely by students with a readership of five million students in over 30 countries. He was a pioneer of structured finance on Wall Street and is the founder of several top technology companies in cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Smith ran a presidential campaign in the 2016 U.S. elections as an independent candidate. His campaign platform placed a major focus on reforms to the U.S. tax system.

Dr. James Strong

Moderator, Panel 6: Higher Education, the Case for the GCC

Dr. James Strong is a lecturer in British Politics at Queen Mary University of London and member of the Mile End Institute. He joined the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary in September 2017. He previously spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of International Relations at LSE, where he received his PhD in 2012. He spent the 2012-2013 academic year as Head of the Director’s Office at LSE, working directly for LSE Director and President Craig Calhoun. In an earlier life he worked as a graduate trainee at KPMG LLP, specialisingin US and UK personal tax. His research looks at the domestic politics of British foreign policy, including how public opinion, media debate and parliamentary politicking shape the context for decision making.

Eithne Treanor

Panel 1: Skills for the 21st Century Job Market

Eithne Treanor runs a specialist media consultancy company based in Dubai. She is an expert media and communications trainer, a professional conference moderator and facilitator and a seasoned energy industry commentator. Eithne acts as OPEC’s official on-air conference and webcast moderator.  She worked as an international television journalist for ABC News, Sky News, BBC World, and CNBC Europe and she was instrumental in the launch of Bloomberg TV in Europe. Eithne has interviewed thousands of leading politicians, dignitaries, energy ministers and high-ranking business people around the world. She has run her successful Media Training business from Dubai for more than 12 years and she has coached at Government Ministerial and CEO level throughout the region.

Dr. Caroline Varin

Moderator, Panel 1: Skills for the 21st Century Job Market

Dr. Caroline Varin  holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and an M.Sc. in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics, an LL.M. in International Law from the Universita di Bologna, Italy and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Caroline completed her military service in Switzerland as a medic and worked with the UNHCR in Jordan. As a lecturer in International Relations at Regent’s University London, Caroline designs and teaches a variety of courses ranging from ‘Theatre and Politics’ to ‘African Politics.’ She has also written a number of articles on international security issues and has published three books. Caroline develops the programs, recruits and trains the lecturers and builds the pedagogical material for the summer schools. In the next five years, she will lead PROWIBO’s expansion to reach out to students from all over the world to help them achieve their potential for both themselves and their country.

Dr. Alexandre Vautravers

Panel 2: Students of Generation Z

Dr. Alexandre Vautraversis a Security Expert for the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva and editor in chief, Revue militairesuisse (RMS). Alexandre obtained a PhD (Hons) in Contemporary History at the University of Lyon, and in Social and Economic Sciences (Hons) at the University of Geneva. He taught at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and in several American universities, where he was in turn Academic Director (School for International Training) and Head of Department (Webster University Geneva). He has lectured in America and many European countries, but also Iran and China. He has collaborated with various companies and multinationals in the areas of strategy, marketing and project management. He is also active in several research centresin Switzerland and abroad. He is a frequent contributor to many scientific journals and consulted by the Swiss and international media on security and defencepolicy, political and international economic issues.