Speakers & Panelists

KeyNote Speakers

Mohammad Abdel Monem El Sawy

 Mohammad Abdel Monem El Sawy, Keynote Speaker

Founder of El Sawy Culturewheel

Mr. Mohammad Abdel Monem Mahmoud El Sawy is an architect, artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Mr. El Sawy earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the School of Fine Arts at University at Helwan University in 1979. Shortly after graduating Mr. El Sawy became and remains the general manager of Alamia Publishing and Advertising Company. There organizes a myriad of high profile sporting events including motorsports, marathons, long distance running championships, summer festivals,  and the “The Rope is the solution”,  a television program raising awareness for the importance of sports in everyday life.  In 2003 he became the founder of ElSawy’s Culture Wheel a spacious cultural center whose core principles is to value human beings without any kind of classification. At the Culture Wheel all visitors are treated equally regardless of their social, official and economic status. Likewise aspiring artists are welcomed and nurtured at the center. Mr. El Sawy laid the architectural plans and all of the center’s indoor and outdoor facilities, established a complete management system, marketing, and collaborative efforts with external local and foreign cultural entities. He continues to direct the culture center to this day. Asides from the Culture Wheel and Alamia, Mr. Elsawy also hosts various televised charity programs which highlight the need for cultural and human development through the fine arts, sports, and others. His anti-smoking efforts and campaign motto “The White Circle” has been adopted by the World Health Organization in its efforts in Smoking prevention.  
Professionally Mr. El Sawy holds memberships in the American and German Chambers of Commerce, the Egyptian Junior Businessmen, and The Motorsports Committee of the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt.  
Mr. El Sawy is also an active contributor to Egypt’s fine arts community. He has written and directed several theatre productions including Marionette puppetry, and comedy plays.  He has organized several fine arts competitions at the Culture Wheel for Marionette puppetry. Mr. El Sawy writes a weekly column in the Newspaper “Egyptian Today” titled “Where is the Wisdom?” His efforts have earned him several awards including The Federal Cross of Germany, and the Arab Creativity Award by the Foundation for Arab Thought. 
Mr. El Sawy lives the very values he espouses. He has been an avid runner for nearly four decades and has completed 12 marathons. He has received a special certificate from the DEO School in Cairo for participating in all the Pyramid races for the past 25 years. Mr. El Sawy is a champion of free thinking in all its facets especially when brought to bear on major societal issues. He is also a connoisseur of comedy and satire. Through his lifelong dedication to the betterment of society, Dr. El Sawy has been a remains a dedicated steward of sports, the arts, and of Egypt as a whole.



 

Farouk El Baz

 Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Keynote Speaker

Research professor and director of the center for remote sensing, Boston University

Dr. El-Baz is an Egyptian American scientist who worked with NASA to assist in the planning of scientific exploration of the Moon, including the selection of landing sites for the Apollo missions and the training of astronauts in lunar observations and photography. Currently, El-Baz is Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is Adjunct Professor of Geology at the Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Geological Society of America Foundation, Boulder, Colorado, a member of the Board of Directors of CRDF Global, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC.



 

Ehaab Abdou

  Ehaab Abdou

Co-founder of Nahdet El Mahrousa and the Ana Masry band and foundation

Ehaab leads the MENA Development Marketplace program at the World Bank Institute (WBI) which currently focuses on Egypt. Prior to joining WBI, he was advisor to the Middle East Youth Initiative at the Brookings Institution where he helped develop and lead a research and policy social entrepreneurship program. He is author and co-author of several publications including the report "Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Toward Sustainable Development for the Next Generation" (Brookings, 2010) and "A Practitioner's Guide for Social Entrepreneurs in Egypt and the Arab Region" (American University in Cairo, 2010). In 2004, he was selected as an Ashoka fellow. Over the past 15 years he helped found and lead the Egyptian civil society organizations Nahdet El Mahrousa, Fat’het Kheir and Federation of Egyptian Youth NGOs as well as the Ana Masry band and foundation.

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Michael Megalli

Senior Director in Windows Brand Strategy at Microsoft, Inc.

Michael is a Senior Director of Brand Strategy at Microsoft. In this role he’s worked on the launch of Windows 8, Windows Phone as well as Microsoft’s new branding. Michael’s focus is on the intersection between marketing and new product and service design.  Prior to joining Microsoft, he founded and led Group 1066, a brand strategy consultancy in his native New York. Michael has his master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and his bachelor’s from Brown University. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children. 

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Claire Walsh

 Claire Walsh

Policy Analyst J Pal Global

Claire Walsh holds an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where she specialized in Development Economics and Public and NGO Management. Prior to joining J-PAL in 2012, she worked for nonprofit organizations in East Africa working to improve the quality of education and employment opportunities for youth in the region. At J-PAL, Claire assists with policy analysis and outreach. She helps write policy publications, conduct cost effectiveness analysis, maintain the website, and share lessons from J-PAL evaluations with policymakers.

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Panelists

 
Perihan Abou Zaid

 Perihan Abou-Zeid

CEO and Cofounder of Qabila Media Productions

Perihan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Qabila Media Productions, a media content creator that capitalizes on crowdsourcing and digital media to produce content that bridges the gap between entertainment and the intellectual need of target audience. Prior to joiniing Qabila, she worked with Google as a Business Strategist, where she consulted large-sized corporations on their online advertising strategies across the Middle East. A few months after her graduation, she founded the first online supermarket in Egypt. She also worked with the Canadian Embassy in the Commercial section, and TE Data, Egypt’s largest internet service provider. She has 5 years of experience in online marketing and communications, and is a holder of a Bachelor of Business Administration from the American University in Cairo. She has won several awards in academic excellence, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Most recently she received the Best Female Entrepreneur Award from the MIT Enterprise Forum – Pan Arab Region, where her venture Qabila Media Productions won the First Runner Up Award.

Outside of the professional world, Perihan loves nothing more than adventurous traveling. She has been to more than 40 cities around the world, where she participated in adventurous activities, including skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking and others. She played basketball professionally for 8 years, and currently plays for fun, on a regular basis. She also enjoys telling stories through writing, and she published a few articles in Egyptian local magazines.

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Lama El Hatow

 Lama El Hatow

Co-Founder at Water Institute of the Nile (WIN)

Lama El Hatow has been working in the environmental sector in Egypt for the last 8 years, as an Environmental Specialist. She specializes in issues dealing with water, agriculture and climate change. She is also doing her PhD on the effects of Climate Change on Egypt’s water resources in the Nile in a joint program between Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in the Netherlands.

Lama is also the co-founder of a think tank based in Cairo, Egypt called the Water Institute of the Nile (WIN) that began after the Revolution in Egypt in 2011 by a group of professionals working in various sectors looking for an alternative space to deal with water issues surrounding the Nile Basin. It was inspired by an attempt to de-bunk the myths surrounding government relations on Nile Basin issues and to show the perspective of civil society in all Nile Basin states to empower these stakeholders and explore opportunities for win-win solutions between Nile Basin states.

The conversations Lama is passionate about having surrounding the Nile River Basin includes trans-boundary issues, environmental goods, shared resources, and a new political process that encompasses a participatory approach for all. She does this work to try and make a difference for future generations for a sustainable world.

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Seif Abou Zeid

 Seif Abou Zeid

CEO of Nabadat Foundation. Cofounder of Tahrir Academy

Seif Abou Zaid is a young Egyptian leader whose work focuses on mobilizing and empowering people through policy change and educational reform. He is currently the CEO of Nabadat Foundation; a tech-powered non-profit that fosters education, increases political awareness and fights poverty. Abou Zaid has led the foundation’s team to build Tahrir Academy (www.tahriracademy.org), the biggest online education portal in the region with millions of viewers on the web. He is also a committed advocate of personal rights and freedoms, and has been heavily involved in Egyptian politics early on; starting by being the Student Union President of his university in which hestarted a nation-wide student lobby till holding the position of Executive Director of Masrena Movement; one of Egypt’s biggest political movements with a membership base of more than 30,000. He’s currently heading the Strategic Planning Unit of Masr El Qaweya political party and is part of the Steering Committee of the party; responsible for its foundation.

In addition to his professional and political track record, Seif writes frequently for different papers and publications. He is also a certified trainer, a speaker and a learning facilitator with a track record of more than 1000 speaking engagements, trainings and learning experiences done for audiences in more than 7 countries.

Abou Zaid is 28 years old; graduated with a degree in Political Science from the American University in Cairo and is currently an MPP Candidate at the American University in Cairo. He is passionate about history, philosophy, chess, football and movies.

Specialties: Political Management, Strategy, Policy Planning, Advocacy and Negotiation, Education, Speaking, Training Delivery and Design

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Mohamed El Zayat

 Mohamed Mourad El-Zayat

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pharaoh Engineering, and the Vice Chairman of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB)

A specialized advisor member of the Egyptian Engineering Code committee at the National Housing and Building Research center, as well as one of the key participant advisors to the SME National reform. He is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Training Partnership for Buildings, construction and infrastructure in the reform of the technical and vocational education and training system project which is co-founded by the European union and the government of Egypt, He also participates the membership of the board of the Construction technology Center, a specialized advisory council to the Government.

Mr. Zayat holds a Bachelor of science degree in Electronic control engineering from Cairo University; he has also accomplished Advanced Studies in Control Science from the United States, and advanced business studies in management and corporate restructuring. Mr. Zayat has broad experience in strategic planning as he has worked in international and multinational engineering environments for almost 20 years but his particular area of expertise is developing strategic solutions for complex cross border projects in both the engineering and financial complexities. In addition to his membership of several NGOs, and community service counseling teams,

Mr. Zayat was one of the founding members of several technically specialized NGOs and a member of several local and international business associations. He acts as a visiting lecturer at several Universities, where he is a trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees, and a visiting fellow of several Institutions. His breakthrough ideas on the economic crisis since 2008 have garnered impressive attention including the cover story of several NPR interviews and was chosen on Several global events representing Egypt. He participated in several think tanks and round tables for economic reforms related to the middle East.

Recently on October 2011 he was a keynote speaker at the closing session held in Cairo, Egypt for the Transition to Transition (T2T) initiative "Stimulating Growth and Investments during Transition" of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).On November 2011, he was chosen as keynote speaker as one of the Five leading Entrepreneurs in the Middle East region for Creativity and Innovation at the G20-YES held in Niece, France. On Feb 2012 during a round table held on Spain he participated on an ASPEN event regarding the Economic Transition expectations in the region.

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Sarah El Nashar

 Sarah El Nashar

Sarah El Nashar is a graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is pursuing an Ed.M. in International Education Policy. Her research focus is on reforming education systems towards more holistic learning with an emphasis on youth empowerment.
Sarah has spent the past 3 years working at the American University in Cairo (AUC). At AUC she was the Student Life Coordinator for a group of 55 Egyptian students who were awarded the Leadership for Education and Development (LEAD) scholarship. As an advisor, mentor and coach Sarah worked with each of her students on their academic, personal and professional development with the aim of enhancing their leadership potential and guiding them to become change agents within their communities. Prior to AUC, Sarah was part of the Cairo-based IIE (Institute of International Education) team where she was a Student Advising & Development Manager for the KAUST Discovery Scholarship program. In addition to her student advising and development role at KAUST, Sarah helped develop advising policies and procedures and trained new advising staff. Sarah’s previous experience also includes working at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) in both the Pre-medical and Student Affairs departments, facilitating with LeaderShape and heading up several student and youth development programs.
Sarah holds a M.Sc. in Family Studies and Human Services with a specialization in Youth Development from Kansas State University and a B.A. in Business Administration from Ain Shams University.

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