Speaker Bios (Past and Present)


General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus is one of the most prominent U.S. military figures of the post-9/11 era.  During his 37-year career in the United States Army, General Petraeus was widely recognized for his leadership of the Surge in Iraq, which retrieved a desperate situation and reduced violence in Iraq by well over 85%; for his oversight of the organization that produced the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency manual and overhauled all aspects of preparing U.S. Army leaders and units for deployment to combat; and for his command of coalition forces in Afghanistan as they reversed the momentum of the Taliban and enabled the commencement of the transition of tasks to Afghan forces and institutions.

A graduate with distinction from the United States Military Academy, General Petraeus is the only person in U.S. Army history to be the top graduate in both the U.S. Army’s challenging Ranger School and the year-long U.S. Army Command and General Staff College course.  He also earned a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program of international relations and economics from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and later completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

General Petraeus’ military career was distinguished by significant achievements during assignments in Cold War Europe, Central America, the United States, Haiti, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater Middle East and central Asia.  His career culminated with six consecutive commands as a general officer, five of which were in combat, a record believed unmatched in the post-World War II era.

After General Petraeus’ retirement from the military, and following confirmation by the Senate by a vote of 94-0, he served as Director of the CIA, during which time the Agency played the central role in a number of important achievements in the global war on terror, established an overarching strategic campaign plan for the Agency, and pursued initiatives to invest additional resources in the Agency’s most important element, its human capital.

General Petraeus is now a Partner with the global investment firm KKR and the Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a position he has held for over three years. He is also a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College, a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, Co-Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Institute’s Global Advisory Council, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and a member of the boards of the Institute for the Study of War, the Atlantic Council, and seven veterans service organizations.  He is also engaged in personal venture capital investing.

Over the past decade, General Petraeus was named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by the U.S. News and World Report, a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the Daily Telegraph man of the year, a Time 100 selectee, and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals.  He has been awarded numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO, and United Nations medals, including four awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Combat Action Badge, and Master Parachutist Wings, as well as the Madison Medal from Princeton University.  He has also been decorated by 13 foreign countries.


Dr. Ali Al Rakaf, founder of Project CODE; a program rooted in the private sector and supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Vision 2030.

Dr. Al Rakaf has commissioned a number of research projects with several international institutions and universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Oxford (OX), Brain science foundation (BSF), University of Southern California (USF), and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), and many other leading academic institutions, strategic think tanks organizations and research focused industries.

Project CODE; a technology transfer project, has been established as an administrative and scientific vehicle for the transfer and localization of many strategic medical and military technologies. It is an accelerator program of unprecedented scale designed to position Saudi Arabia as a leader in both healthcare and security for the Arab world. The goal of Project CODE is to acquire 500 companies in the coming years to bring many of the world’s leading technologies (and technologists) to KSA.

Dr. Al Rakaf, born in Riyadh (KSA), obtained his bachelor’s degree from the King Saud University. In 1994 he joined the King Faisal Air Force Academy where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Administration. Dr. Al Rakaf rose to the position of Captain in the Royal Saudi Air Force. While serving as Captain, Dr. Al Rakaf was asked to serve as a Liaison Officer and Coordination Team Leader to the British Ministry of Defense with BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing.

Dr. Al Rakaf has also served as a diplomat at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC. During his tenure at the Embassy, he also pursued and earned a Master’s Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Dr. Al Rakaf authored several research papers on technological tracking and simulation technology and incorporated several technology innovations, including; Sultan Safety Systems (SSS) application, Creative Electronic Systems (CES), the system of linear laser; IRQA application administrative system, which acquired a new innovation in tracking the flow of the administrative system and information processing from Oracle.

Project CODE is supported by Dr. Newton Howard, the Director of the Synthetic Intelligence Lab and resident scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Amb. R. James Woolsey is a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management. He also Chairs the Board of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He currently chairs the Strategic Advisory Group of the Washington, D.C. private equity fund, Paladin Capital Group, chairs the Advisory Board of the Opportunities Development Group, and he is Of Counsel to the Washington, D.C. office of the Boston-based law firm, Goodwin Procter. In the above capacities he specializes in a range of alternative energy and security issues.

Amb. Woolsey previously served in the U.S. Government on five different occasions, where he held Presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations, most recently (1993-95) as Director of Central Intelligence. From July 2002 to March 2008 Mr. Woolsey was a Vice President and officer of Booz Allen Hamilton, and then a Venture Partner with Vantage Point Venture Partners of San Bruno, California until January 2011. He was also previously a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, DC, now Goodwin Procter, where he practiced for 22 years in the fields of civil litigation, arbitration, and mediation.

During his 12 years of government service, in addition to heading the CIA and the Intelligence Community, Amb. Woolsey was: Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna, 1989–1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977–1979; and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970–1973. He was also appointed by the President to serve on a part-time basis in Geneva, Switzerland, 1983–1986, as Delegate at Large to the U.S.–Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST). As an officer in the U.S. Army, he was an adviser on the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I), Helsinki and Vienna, 1969–1970.

Amb. Woolsey serves on a range of government, corporate, and non-profit advisory boards and chairs several. He served on the National Commission on Energy Policy. Served as Chairman of the Advisory Boards of the Clean Fuels Foundation and the New Uses Council, and a Trustee of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. Previously he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of The Smithsonian Institution, and a trustee of Stanford University. He has also been a member of The National Commission on Terrorism, 1999–2000; The Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission), 1998; The President’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, 1989; The President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), 1985–1986; and The President’s Commission on Strategic Forces (Scowcroft Commission), 1983.

Amb. Woolsey has served in the past as a member of boards of directors of a number of publicly and privately held companies, generally in fields related to technology and security, including Martin Marietta; British Aerospace, Inc.; Fairchild Industries; and Yurie Systems, Inc. In 2009, he was the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and in 2010-11 he was a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Amb. Woolsey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and attended Tulsa public schools, graduating from Tulsa Central High School. He received his B.A. degree from Stanford University (1963, With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A. from Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar 1963–1965), and an L.L.B from Yale Law School (1968, Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal). He is a frequent contributor of articles to major publications, and from time to time gives public speeches and media interviews on the subjects of energy, foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence.


Minister Tarek Kabil is the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade of Egypt. From 2012 until 2015, he was a partner at Abraaj Capital, and served as Head of Abraaj Portfolio management for Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Central Asia and global FMCG’s.

Before joining Abraaj Group, Minister Kabil held senior management positions at PepsiCo for 18 years and was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and Africa in 2008. In addition, he worked as Product Supply Director at Procter & Gamble from 1992 to 1994. He also worked as Terminal Operations Manager at Arab Petroleum Pipelines Co. (SUMED) from 1979 to 1983. He serves as Director of Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Limited. He graduated from Alexandria University with a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1979.


Ms. Ellen Lord was appointed president and chief executive officer of Textron Systems, as well as a member of the Textron Executive Leadership Team, in 2012. In this role, she leads a multi-billion dollar business with a broad range of products and services supporting defense, homeland security, aerospace, infrastructure protection, and other customers around the world.

Prior to assuming her current position, Ms. Lord was senior vice president and general manager of Textron Defense Systems, now Weapon & Sensor Systems. She took over leadership of that business after serving three years as the senior vice president and general manager of AAI Corporation, now known as Textron Systems’ Electronic Systems, Support Solutions and Unmanned Systems businesses.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Lord served as vice president of integration management for Textron Systems, in addition to other business and operations positions. She started her Textron career managing proprietary and patented plastics technology for Textron Automotive Technology Center in Dover, New Hampshire.

Ms. Lord earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Connecticut College. She also is a Textron Six Sigma certified Black Belt, specializing in Design for Six Sigma.
Ms. Lord is a member of the Center for a New American Security’s Task Force on Strategy, Technology and the Global Defense Industry. She serves on the board of directors of the Naval Institute Foundation, the U.S. India Business Council, the Defense Technology Initiative, and vice chair of the National Defense Industrial Association.


Ambassador Susan L. Ziadeh assumed her duties as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in September 2014. She is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar from 2011-2014.

She served previously as the Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Riyadh, as the Official Spokesperson at U.S. Embassy Baghdad, and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Bahrain. Her other overseas postings include Riyadh, Kuwait, Amman, and Jerusalem. In Washington, she was responsible for the Jordan desk, and served as acting Deputy Director of the Office for Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

Ambassador Ziadeh earned a PhD in History from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and a B.A. from the University of Washington. She is a 2004 distinguished graduate of the National War College, National Defense University with an M.S. in National Security Strategy.

A recipient of the Department’s Superior Honor Award numerous times, she was also awarded the Department of State’s 2007 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in Public Diplomacy. Most recently, Ambassador Ziadeh was awarded the Department of State’s 2014 Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award.


Mr. Nawaf Althari is a United Nations (UN) counter-terrorism specialist representing Saudi Arabia. He headed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – the highest international organization representing Muslims worldwide – during the kingdom’s chairmanship in 2014-2015. In that role he negotiated on behalf of the OIC’s 57 member states and facilitated a cooperative agreement with the United Nations. He is currently OIC Coordinator for all counter-terrorism matters at the United Nations. Mr. Althari has represented the OIC in the review of the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, discussion of the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, and in helping to forge UN legal and counter-terrorism resolutions.

Mr. Althari is one of the United Nations’ focal points for the UN’s Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Piracy efforts. In that capacity he leads the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre’s (UNCCT) Expert Advisory Board. He oversees UNCCT projects related to capacity building, countering violent extremism, preventing online radicalization, and dealing directly with international terrorists. In the private sector he has engaged Google, Facebook, and other actors seeking to foster dialogue, analysis, and perspective regarding online radicalization.


Ambassador William V. Roebuck was nominated by President Obama in June 2014 to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Senate confirmed his appointment in November. He arrived in Bahrain on January 8, 2015.

Prior to his nomination, Ambassador Roebuck was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in January 2013 and appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maghreb Affairs that same month; he assumed additional responsibility for Egypt Affairs in January 2014. He served as Chargé d’Affaires in Tripoli for six months from January to June 2013, earning the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy for this assignment later that year. From September 2010 until December 2012, he served as Director for the Office of Maghreb Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Ambassador Roebuck served as Deputy Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from July 2009 to August 2010, covering Iraq’s external relations and leading the Embassy’s and the resident international community’s efforts to support the critical March 2010 national elections.

Ambassador Roebuck served as the Deputy Office Director for Arabian Peninsula Affairs from 2007 to 2009 focusing on strengthening relations with key Gulf allies and bolstering counter-terrorism cooperation. From 2004-2007, he served as the Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. In his last year of that assignment, Roebuck served as the acting Deputy Chief of Mission. Prior to his assignment in Syria, he covered political issues in the Gaza Strip, while assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv from 2000 to 2003. In preparation for his work in Gaza, he studied Arabic from 1998-2000 at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington and at the FSI language school in Tunis. He served in Washington as staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs from 1997-98.

Ambassador Roebuck joined the Department of State in 1992, serving initially as a consular officer in Kingston, Jamaica (1992-94), and subsequently as a political officer at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem (1995-1997). Prior to joining the State Department, he worked as an English teacher and school administrator in Taif, Saudi Arabia from 1982-87. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire from 1978-81, teaching English in a small coastal town.

Ambassador Roebuck speaks French and Arabic. He hails from Rocky Mount, North Carolina and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English literature from Wake Forest University in 1978 and 1981, and his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1992. He is married and has a 18-year-old son. He has published articles in The Foreign Service Journal, the North Carolina Journal of International Law, and the University of Georgia Journal of International Law. His most recent article is Bloomsday in Baghdad: Reading Joyce in Iraq, in the September 2012 issue of the Foreign Service Journal.


Mr. Ransel N. Potter has been a guest speaker at financial events in the Arab region and the United States. His contacts throughout the Arab world and the United States are with the top global financial institutions; high net worth families; and, government representatives, including several Sovereign Wealth Funds. He is currently licensed with a Series 7, Series 66 and Series 3.

The founder and Managing Director of COPARA, he continues to build a rewarding career spanning three decades, and multiple industries, including many noteworthy achievements. His abilities to lead, strategize, develop business and maintain relationships have all contributed to his success.

Most recently, Mr. Potter founded C3 Summit LLC. The mission of C3 Summit, as noted on its website http://www.c3-summit.com is to ensure that both US and Arab businesses grow and prosper by providing unique and valuable commerce opportunities. By creating a global forum for both the US and the Arab world to explore private sector growth and employment generation, C3 Summit will encourage each region to open new opportunities on the commercial front to enhance the welfare of freer trade.

Prior to founding C3 Summit, Mr. Potter has been marketing financial instruments in the Arab region under the umbrella of Copara. He personally negotiated with Value Line the international distribution rights regarding both terms and conditions. In less than 11 months, Mr. Potter established several funds. One funded and managed by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (the 50th strongest bank in the world). He also was successful in marketing a high yield fund for Thomson Reuters with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The other, The National Investor, a top boutique investment banking house located in Dubai. He was also responsible for engaging with the Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Invest AD) an assignment to incorporate a quantitative ranking system, with a $30 million GCC/MENA fund, managed by Invest AD.

Morgan Stanley recognized the value of Mr. Potter’s experience and relationships and, in 2007, they invited him to join the firm. Until December of 2010, Mr. Potter served as a Senior Partner on their Private Wealth Management team responsible for identifying viable business opportunities among high net worth clients, families, hedge funds and foundations. His introductions had been a cornerstone of the team’s success producing more than $250 million of net new assets in 36 months. In 1992, Mr. Potter founded Kinloch Marketing and occupied the role of CEO until 2007. Kinloch designed and brought to market sales lead generation and management systems for the Insurance, Banking and Energy industries. Kinloch’s success was a direct result of his leadership and a network he established with senior executives of Fortune 1000 companies.

In 1990, his previous achievements were recognized by Flair Communications and he was asked to run their NY office. He merged R.N. Potter Associates with Flair’s New York office and built that regional office in to the largest of their five domestic offices, leaving in 1992 to establish Kinloch Marketing. He formed R.N. Potter Associates in 1984, a marketing and sales organization, which he headed until 1989. During that time, Mr. Potter personally initiated, negotiated and developed one of the largest independent contracts for advertising billboards with the Penn Central Corporation.

In 1980, Mr. Potter, together with a partner, started On Line Media, an innovative supermarket ad company. Within three years, they took On Line Media public, raising capital and watching the stock soar. Upon selling his shares of On Line Media in 1984, he formed R.N. Potter Associates. Mr. Potter, a graduate of Syracuse University, has six children and, with his wife, lives in East Hampton, NY.


Mr. Muneer A. Baig, founder & CEO of SYSUSA Inc., has over two decades of experience in IT Operations, Governance, Risk Management and Compliance. As a security champion, with in-depth knowledge of technology and business, he serves as a trusted and strategic advisor to information security leadership across diverse group of industries. His strong background in network engineering combined with IT operations and security processes has enabled organizations ensure security, enable innovation and increase collaboration. Mr. Baig has held several positions of responsibility and enabled organizational transformation into high performing and secure enterprise.

Prior to venturing into SYSUSA Mr. Baig enjoyed his tenure at Microsoft where his team was responsible for the development and execution of an enterprise wide information security risk assessment program. As a program manager he was responsible for the expansion of the program globally and develop assessor training program to train and certify Microsoft’s information security professionals to perform assessments.

As part of SYSUSA’s leadership team, Mr. Baig is focused on helping organizations develop a comprehensive information security program and create a cyber-threat aware workforce.

Mr. Baig’s industry certifications include CRISC, C|CICO, G2700, CPEng, CISM, COM, CISSP, ITIL, ISO 27001 Trainer, ISO 27001 Lead Auditor.


Ms. Mona Kanaan has been a successful serial entrepreneur and investor for over 25 years. She has a proven track record of building successful businesses by decisively defining and executing long-term strategic plans, recruiting and motivating winning teams, establishing focused goals, and sourcing, negotiating and managing transformative transactions.

Ms. Kanaan serves as Managing Partner of K6 Investments, a private investment firm she founded to invest in a wide array of industries including: financial services, technology and entertainment. K6 also advises institutional and strategic investors as they expand globally into these industries. Previously, Mona was President and CEO of Proctor Investment Managers, a firm she co-founded in 2002 to take advantage of private equity investment opportunities in the traditional and alternative asset management industry. After taking Proctor from start up to success, Ms. Kanaan sold the firm to National Bank of Canada in 2006 and continued as Proctor’s CEO until 2013.

Previously, Ms. Kanaan was Senior Vice President at Communications Equity Associates where she expanded the principal investment activities in the US and Middle East. Prior to joining CEA, she was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Siguler Guff & Company. Previously, she held various positions at PaineWebber Investment Banking in the Leveraged Transactions and Financial Institutions Groups. She began her career at Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management.

Ms. Kanaan serves on the board of Siguler Guff Small Business Credit Opportunities Fund, Inc., is Chairperson of ABANA and a Trustee of The Chapin School and International House. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as Golden Seeds, the largest angel network in the United States.

Ms. Kanaan is a frequent speaker and commentator on asset management, private equity investing and the Middle East in forums and publications such as the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Pensions & Investments, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, HFM, FundFire and The Private Equity Analyst.

Ms. Kanaan earned a B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Born in Cairo, Egypt, she now resides in New York City with her husband Sabi Kanaan and their four children


Mr. Seth Pinsky serves as Executive Vice President and Investment Manager of the RXR Metropolitan Emerging Market Strategy . In this role, Mr. Pinsky is leading RXR’s efforts to invest in “emerging opportunities” in New York City and the surrounding Tri-State region, focusing on asset classes and geographic regions that have historically been characterized by underinvestment, but that have significant growth potential due to planned or in-place infrastructure and other relevant characteristics.

Prior to joining RXR, Mr. Pinsky served as Director of Mayor Bloomberg’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, which developed a $20 billion plan to help neighborhoods stricken by Hurricane Sandy to rebuild smarter and stronger and to protect critical citywide systems and infrastructure from the likely impacts of climate change in coming decades.

Mr. Pinsky also served as President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008, after joining the agency in 2003 as a vice president. During his tenure, NYCEDC became an international leader in the field of economic development, focusing both on transforming the city’s underlying economy and investing in its critical infrastructure.

While at NYCEDC, Mr. Pinsky served as a lead negotiator on behalf of New York City for projects ranging from Yankee Stadium and Citifield, to the World Trade Center, to the acquisition of Hunters Point South in Queens, the largest middle-income housing development in the City since Starrett City. Among the initiatives advanced by NYCEDC under Mr. Pinsky’s leadership were the redevelopment of Willets Point in Queens, Coney Island in Brooklyn, the Homeport in Staten Island, and the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, as well as the creation of a major new bioscience research park on City-owned land, north of Bellevue Hospital. Under Pinsky, NYCEDC also managed the construction of the first two phases of the High Line in Manhattan, launched a new East River Ferry service connecting Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and announced and advanced plans for the world’s largest observation wheel in St. George in Staten Island.

In the area of economic modernization, under Mr. Pinsky, NYCEDC created the Center for Economic Transformation (CET), which, in addition to launching a network of business incubators across the City that, at the time of Pinsky’s departure, housed more than 600 companies, developed and oversaw the Bloomberg Administration’s international Applied Sciences NYC competition. The Applied Sciences competition will result in a significant expansion of Columbia University’s engineering school, as well as the creation of a new engineering institute in Downtown Brooklyn led by NYU that will include CUNY, Carnegie Mellon University and others. It will also result in the creation of a $2 billion engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, being developed by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Prior to joining the NYCEDC, Mr. Pinsky was an associate at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in the Real Estate practice and a financial analyst at James D. Wolfensohn Inc. He is a graduate of Columbia College, where he majored in Ancient History, and of Harvard Law School, and is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.


Ambassador Adam Ereli is Vice Chairman of the Washington, D.C. office of Mercury Public Affairs and co-leader of the Mercury International Affairs operation. Before joining Mercury, Ambassador Ereli served as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State for 24 years and as Ambassador to Bahrain from 2007-2011.

Throughout his distinguished tenure, he also held the position of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs and Deputy Spokesman for the Department of State from 2003-2006, managing strategic communications, media relations, messaging and crisis communications for Secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Ambassador Ereli has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He speaks French and Arabic.


Ms. Ana Carcani Rold is the Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of the Diplomatic Courier, a global affairs magazine. Rold is also one of the founders of a corporate publishing firm, Medauras Global LLC, which provides business leaders with reports on the political and economic situation of countries around the world, specializing on conflict-prone or conflict-afflicted countries. Since 2009 Rold has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the annual commemorative publications of the G7, G20, and APEC Summits. She covered and managed the editorial production of these publications for the Summits in Italy, Canada, South Korea, the United States, France, as well as the G8 and NATO in the United States, the G20 in Mexico, and the APEC Summit in Russia.

In tandem with her publishing and editorial work, Rold teaches Comparative Politics and Political Science at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. At Northeastern, she has also served as Director of the Cyprus Program and co-Director for the Egypt Program for Northeastern’s Dialogue of Civilizations Initiative. In Washington, DC, Rold has worked with a number of organizations including the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the UN Foundation (UNF), and the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).

Rold received a Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, with a focus on the negotiation of Peace Treaties and Alternative Dispute Resolution at American University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs at Northeastern University. Rold is a member of the National Press Club (NPC), a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), and a Member of the Council of Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) in Washington, DC.


Ambassador Dawn M. Liberi, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, was nominated as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi by President Barack Obama on July 10, 2012.

Ambassador Liberi started her career in Africa. She served in five posts with USAID over a span of twenty years, focusing on key development issues. She was the USAID Mission Director in Nigeria (2002-2005), where she managed a $100 million program of assistance and brokered a $20 million public-private sector alliance to fund community development activities. As USAID Mission Director in Uganda (1998-2002), Ambassador Liberi managed one of the largest HIV/AIDS and micro-enterprise programs in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to significantly reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and assisting Uganda to develop high value exports. Other USAID assignments included: Associate Assistant Administrator in the Global Bureau, Population, Health and Nutrition Office (1994-1998); USAID Deputy Mission Director in Ghana (1992-1994); and Population, Health and Nutrition Technical Officer for USAID’s missions in Senegal and Niger (1981-1987).

Starting in 2005, Ambassador Liberi focused on stabilization and civilian-military integration. From 2005 to 2006, Ambassador Liberi was the USAID Mission Director in Iraq, in charge of a $5.2 billion program of governance and economic development activities. From 2007 to 2009, she was an Executive Civil-Military Counselor with USAID, serving as the Senior Development Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Central Command.

From 2009 to 2011, Ambassador Liberi was the Coordinator for the Interagency Provincial Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she was responsible for managing over 400 civilian positions outside Kabul and implementing governance and economic activities. She also served as Senior Civilian Representative for the Combined Joint Task-Force 82 with the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-East at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where she was the civilian equivalent of the Commanding General, responsible for coordination of over 20,000 military and civilian staff. In 2012 Ambassador Liberi served as the Senior Assistance Coordinator at U.S. Embassy/Tripoli.

Ambassador Liberi is the recipient of two Distinguished Honor Awards and several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards. She was awarded the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, as well as the Medaille D’Or (Gold Medal) by the French Government, and the Army Iron Cross by the Polish Government, for her work in Afghanistan. She speaks French, is an avid African art collector and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ambassador Liberi has a Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College and Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University, where she focused on national security issues.


Ambassador James B. Smith is president of C&M International, an affiliate of Crowell & Moring. Amb. Smith’s career spans senior executive positions in the military, the executive branch, and in international business.

Prior to assuming his leadership position at C&M International, Amb. Smith served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he aggressively supported American business. A proud achievement was the fact that U.S. exports doubled during his posting in Riyadh. Amb. Smith also has experience and noted achievement in the business sector. He held senior management positions at two major multinational companies, where he rationalized production and design and implemented innovative, successful strategic plans.

Amb. Smith, a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, was an F-15 fighter pilot and flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. During his military career, he had assignments in Asia, Europe, Africa, and across the United States. He commanded the 18th Fighter Wing in Japan, the largest combat wing in the U.S. Air Force. Amb. Smith’s tenure in Asia led to a lifelong interest in the economic development of the major economies in the region, a subject he has taught at universities around the world.

Amb. Smith is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned an M.A. from Indiana University and is a graduate of the National War College, where he subsequently was appointed to the faculty as Air Force Chair and Professor of National Security Strategy.


Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, former presidential adviser and United States ambassador, has more than 30 years of international, commercial, legal and government affairs experience. Since 1971 he has held many prominent public and private-sector positions focusing on foreign policy, defense, trade and investment development throughout the Middle East. At APCO Worldwide, he is responsible for coordinating global business diplomacy development and managing ongoing strategic client relationships and business planning throughout the Middle East.

Ambassador Ginsberg served as a legislative assistant to Sen. Edward Kennedy; special assistant to the secretary of state; deputy senior adviser to the president for Middle East policy; U.S. ambassador to Morocco; and special U.S. coordinator for Mediterranean trade, investment and security affairs.

He serves as a special adviser to the Department of Defense Special Operations Command and an adviser to the U.S. Department of State on outreach initiatives to the Muslim world. As a Middle East media affairs analyst for major U.S. and international media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, BBC and Al Arabiya, he is a nationally recognized authority on U.S.-Middle East relations and international events and is a nationally recognized foreign policy opinion editorial writer and blogger whose writings appear in major U.S. media outlets, including: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and the Huffington Post.

Aside from his work with the federal government, he served as senior partner and chief financial officer at the international firm of Galland, Kharasch, Morse & Garfinkle. In this capacity, he represented international investment banks on emerging market penetration, consulted on multinational aviation issues, and created strategy for telecommunications and energy companies with emphasis on project finance, equity investments, international initial public offerings, joint venture development and privatizations. He is an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and serves on the board of several major humanitarian organizations focused on Middle East development.


Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros assumed the office of President of the US-Qatar Business Council, in March of 2000, after a 36-year career in the United States Foreign Service. Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963 and, prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the State of Qatar, served in a variety of positions including Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political Officer in Amman; and Charge d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic and Commercial Counselor in Damascus.

During these periods he earned four Superior Honor Awards. In 1990 he was accorded the personal rank of Minister Counselor. In 1992 he received both the President’s Meritorious Service Award for career officials and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem honored Ambassador Theros with the honor of Knight Commander Order of the Holy Sepulcher. In 1999 His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani awarded Ambassador Theros Qatar’s Order of Merit.

Immediately before his appointment to Qatar in 1995, Ambassador Theros served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. He speaks Spanish, Arabic and Greek fluently.

In addition to his duties as President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council, Ambassador Theros has the following affiliations:

  • Member of the Board of Directors, Middle East Policy Council (elected 2010)
  • Council of Foreign Relations, Member
  • Representative to USA of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • Arab American Bankers Association of America, Member
  • Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member
  • American Academy of Diplomacy, Member

Ambassador Theros was born in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended public schools in Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963 and has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.


Amb. Frances Cook heads her own international business consulting firm, The Ballard Group LLC, which facilitates market access in the Middle East and Africa, as well as providing assistance, in the US, to foreign corporations desiring perspectives into US actions and plans in their sectors. TBG clients have ranged from defense and energy, to construction and security, and high tech services. She currrently serves on the board of four technology companies, and is Managing Director of Quincy Associates, which facilitates business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Cook served as Chairman (Non-Executive) of the conglomerate LONRHO Plc (listed on London’s LSE; Johannesburg’s JSE) until July 2013, when she successfully oversaw the sale of the company to private investors. While at LONRHO, she chaired the board committees on Remuneration (as Senior Lead Director) and on Corporate Social Responsibility. She earlier rotated off the corporate board of Alliant Techsystems (ATK, listed on the NYSE), a defense, security and space corporation, following ten years of service. She previously served on privately-held mining and energy company boards in Africa and the Arab Gulf, including service as Non-Executive Chairman. In Washington, she has served on the boards of the Middle East Policy Council, the US-Angola Chamber of Commerce, Corporate Council on Africa, and is a member of the US-UAE Business Council. She is Co-Chair Emeritus, for Washington, D.C., of Women Corporate Directors, as well as Co-ChairEmeritus of that organization’s Middle East and Africa chapters. Cook is an elected member of the council on Foreign Relations, and the Atlantic Council, as well as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses.

Ambassador Cook transitioned to the private sector in May 1999, from a 34 year career in the U.S. diplomatic service. Her distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service included service as U.S. Ambassador to Burundi, to Cameroon, and to the Sultanate of Oman, as well as Consul General in Alexandria, Egypt. (In the latter two posts, she was the first female chief of mission in the Persian Gulf, and the first female head of post in the Middle East for the United States.) She also held numerous senior positions in the Department of State in Washington, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (where she was Chair of the Executive Branch’s Persian Gulf Security Working Group, and oversaw US global security assistance and peacekeeping/humanitarian deployments); Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees; and Director for West Africa . In the course of her career, Cook was a member of the US delegation to the Paris Meetings on Viet-Nam, led the US multiagency teams in military access negotiations abroad; and deployed to most US military humanitarian and peacekeeping operations from Somalia, to Haiti and Cuba, Rwanda, the early years in the Balkans. Today, she sits on the boards of three humanitarian and policy non-governmental organizations which work primarily in the Middle East and in Africa, as well as two boards focused on American diplomacy.


Mr. Bailey has served as the company’s Chairman and CEO since founding Dataminr in 2009, setting the firm’s strategic direction and driving its business growth. Under his leadership, Dataminr has scaled to 200 employees, raised $180M in financing and established itself as the world’s leading real-time information discovery company with thousands of customers in over 40 countries across the News, Finance, Security and Government sectors.

Dataminr for Finance is currently used by the world’s leading hedge funds and investment banks to take action on early market moving information and gain perspective and context from non-traditional sources. Dataminr also services a number of clients in the Public Sector, providing information first when there are lives at stake. In partnership with Twitter, Dataminr developed and launched Dataminr for News, which alerts journalists to breaking news in advance of traditional sources and is now used by hundreds of news organizations globally. Most recently, Dataminr launched a product for Corporate Security and Crisis Management watch centers that warns the world’s largest corporations to emerging threats and crises, ensuring that a corporation’s physical assets and employees are protected.

Prior to Dataminr, Mr. Bailey pioneered a number of big data and social media analytics initiatives for public sector and government organizations. He is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been a featured speaker at Davos, the Aspen Ideas Festival and the United Nations. He has appeared on multiple occasions on CNBC’s SquawkBox and as a guest on CNBC’s Fast Money, Fox Business News, and the BBC. He was one of Business Insider’s 40 under 40 Tech Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 and is regularly included in the Silicon Alley 100.

Dataminr has raised $180M and is backed by Venrock, Institutional Venture Partners, Fidelity, Wellington and Credit Suisse. Dataminr has over 150 employees and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in DC, London, Seattle and Montana.

Mr. Bailey earned a BA from Yale University in 2004, where he studied the impact of disruptive media technologies on Industry, Government and society.


Amb. Karim Kawar is the president of Kawar Group, and former Ambassador from Jordan where he served under the title of Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico from July 2002 until January 2007. He is also chairman of Kawar Energy and of IrisGuard. As ambassador to the United States, he led the EDAMA Initiative, Jordan’s blueprint for a green economy and was appointed by Royal Decree to the Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development. Previously, Amb. Kawar was appointed to the Economic Consultative Council by His Majesty King Abdullah II. He is the architect of the REACH Initiative, Jordan’s blueprint for a knowledge economy, founder and chairman of the Information Technology Association of Jordan, former president of the Jordan Computer Society, and a founding member of several business associations and NGOs, including AmCham and the Jordan Intellectual Property Association.

Mr. Kawar is also chairman of the board of King’s Academy, following the resignation of Founding Chairman Professor Safwan Masri, effective September 1, 2010. As a pioneer in Jordan’s technology and business sector, Mr. Kawar contributed largely to the development of the ICT sector in the Kingdom. In 1999, he was the architect of the REACH initiative, a strategy to launch the IT industry in Jordan. He has also served as vice chair and is currently a trustee of the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah.

A 1987 graduate of Boston College, Mr. Kawar holds a Bachelor’s degree in management, finance and computer science. His son, Faisal, is a member of the pioneering King’s Academy Class of 2010, and is currently a freshman at Yale University.


Mr. Talat Hafiz holds a master degree in Professional Accounting from USA & worked with King Saud University as Teacher Assistant in the accounting department during the period 1977-1983. In 1984 he joined the National Commercial Bank (NCB), one of the leading commercial banks in KSA & in the Middle East. After working with NCB for over 22 years engaging in managing a number businesses within the bank (Corporate branch manager, Head of Private Banking – Central Region & Head of Commercial Businesses Banking Group – Central Region) he left NCB to work as CEO for United Assets Co, an Investment & Real Estate Development Company & then joined Baa- Azeem Trading Co in the capacity of Deputy General Manager.

In January 2009 to date: he works as a Secretary General of the Media & Banking Awareness Committee, a subcommittee of the Banks’ Chairmen Committee of Saudi Banks. The Media & Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks’ main objective is raise the public awareness about banking & financial related issues including the KSA banks’ customers.
Mr. Hafiz is also a licensed Economic & Management Consultant; Economic & Financial Columnist & Analyst; Media & TV anchor on economic & financial programs on Saudi TV channel 1; Board member of Manafea Holding Co. (an Investment Co); Member of the Investment & Securities Committee at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Investment Funds Committee of Al-Bilad Capital; Board member of Saudi Broadcasting Corporation.


Ms. LaVonn Schlegel is Executive Director of the Institute for International Business (IIB) at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The IIB, the Kelley School’s international development outreach arm, focuses on helping entrepreneurs and small/medium enterprises in the developing world and seeks to expand opportunities to faculty, students, and the business community to engage in business education and economic development activities in development and emerging markets. Ms. Schlegel manages a portfolio of projects worldwide including partnerships with USAID, US Department of State, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Yangon University of Economics, Bethlehem University, US Department of Education, World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, Hewlett-Packard, Gap Inc., and Coca-Cola Corporation. She also oversees IIB’s Center for International and Business Education Research, which has been funded since 1992 by the US Department of Education to provide connections to global market resources, support professional development programs on international business issues, strengthen students’ understanding of business in a global context, and promote the study of foreign languages.

Ms. Schlegel joined the Kelley School of Business in 2007, bringing to Kelley organizational leadership experience, ranging from entrepreneurial start-up to multinational corporate environments, and a significant set of organizational management, business partnership, personnel development, research evaluation, and program innovation skills. Early in her career, she developed and launched Hallmark Cards’ first successful foray into the Hispanic market and its first strategic creative manufacturing partnership. As senior marketing manager and then acting director for Sprint’s Medium Business unit, she was responsible for the billion-dollar mid-market business group, where she developed innovative programs to enhance connections with the business community. From 1997 to 2007, she served as president/CEO of an independent strategic management and marketing consulting group that provided services for international and national clients in the utility, entertainment, high tech, services, import/export, hardware, and health care industries. She received her MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 1985.


Mr. Vinicius Carvalho Pinherio is the leading official responsible for issues related to the world of work at the UN. His portfolio includes the areas of employment and decent work, social protection, labour migration, youth employment, child and forced labour, gender economic empowerment, working conditions and labour rights.

Mr. Pinheiro was the ILO lead negotiator in the UN deliberations on the post 2015 development agenda and on financing for development. He represents the ILO in numerous UN and UNDG working mechanisms. He is the co-chair of the UNDG Task Team on South-South and Triangular Cooperation and the Executive Secretary of the Social Protection Interagency Coordination Board.

Before moving to New York, Mr. Pinheiro served as senior social protection adviser to the ILO Director General in Geneva since 2009. He was part of the ILO G20 Sherpa Team from 2009 to 2013 and acted as Executive Secretary of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, headed by Ms. Michele Bachelet, which led to the adoption of the ILO recommendation on social protection floors. He was also the Director General Cabinet’s focal point for the preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) and its follow up.

In his career at the ILO, Mr. Pinheiro also served in the Social Security Department as Senior Social Security expert for the Latin America and the Caribbean from 2007 to 2009 and as Senior Social Protection Officer at the ILO Training Centre in Turin from 2005 to 2007.

Prior to joining the ILO, Mr. Pinheiro was the National Secretary for Social Security of Brazil (1999 – 2002) responsible for designing and implementing the Brazilian Pension reform, including measures to increase coverage and strengthen the social protection system. During this period he acted as Vice-Minister and Interim Minister of Social Security and as Executive Secretary of the National Social Security Council. In 2001, Mr Pinheiro was elected Vice-President of the Inter-American Social Security Conference (CISS), based in Mexico City. Between 2002 and 2005 he worked in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Paris and also provided consultancy services for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and to the World Bank in projects in Africa and Latin America.

Mr. Pinheiro is an Economist and holds a master degree in Political Science from the University of Brasília and specializations in Public Administration and Public Policies (National School of Public Administration, Brasília), in Evaluation of Social Programmes and Projects (ILPES-ECLAC, Santiago de Chile); Pensions Schemes (Harvard International Institute for Development, Cambridge) and Leadership in the Public Sector (Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge). He taught in the Economics Department of the University of Brasília (1994 – 1996) and authored various articles in the area of pensions and social protection.


Mr. Hussein Khalifa is a Partner at MVision Private Equity Advisers USA LLC and MVision Private Equity Advisers Limited. Mr. Khalifa joined MVision in 2001 when it was founded. He is a Director and Member of Nominations Committee of Arab Bankers Association of North America and currently chairs ABANA’s strategy committee.

He is a seasoned private equity investor and an accomplished investment advisor with extensive transactional experience. At MVision, Mr. Khalifa manages varied global client mandates and provides valuable expertise to investors throughout the investment process given his background. He has deep relationships in the US investor community among public pension plans and endowments, and also maintains a wide network of key relationships throughout the Middle East and Far East.

Previously, Mr. Khalifa was a founding director and chief executive of Archstone Capital, a UK corporate finance advisory boutique, supervising a private equity portfolio encompassing over 40 General Partners and a number of direct investments, and advising clients ranging from ultra high net worth families to high growth and start up technology companies in the US, Europe, Far East and Middle East.

Mr. Khalifa has worked with multi-nationals and regional companies developing strategic plans and alliances in the transportation, automotive, media, and construction industries, and earlier was involved in the agro-industrial roll-up at the Fountainhead Group in Geneva in the late 80s. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in International Economics & Politics from Middlebury College, Vermont and has studied at the London Business School and Peking University in Beijing China.


Mr. Thomas Miller oversees client relations with the international diplomatic community for Bloomberg BNA’s Cross Platform Organization. He has assisted embassies in Washington DC and foreign consulates across the United States in their outreach efforts to promote trade and investment between their countries and the American business and investor communities, primarily through conferences, seminars, and other events. In 2014 Tom moved to BBNA from Bloomberg Government, where he was responsible for launching the new BGOV service to diplomatic officials in the political, economic, defense and communications sections at the embassies. In this role, he helped diplomatic officials better understand the impact of U.S. government policies on their countries through the deployment of the Bloomberg Government tools.

Prior to joining Bloomberg, Tom was a founding Board Member and Vice President of Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit organization founded by major American corporations after the 9/11 attacks. He worked with the U.S. Department of State on public diplomacy programs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and helped with the Department’s first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. He was also the co-creator of CultureSpan: A Workshop in Global Corporate Diplomacy.

Prior to joining BDA, Tom was Managing Director with the Roper Organization, one of the world’s leading market and public opinion research firms, where he managed all of the company’s global marketing, branding, consumer trend and public opinion/public affairs insight services. His work with Roper covered more than 50 countries, and he has traveled to almost all of them. Tom began his career at Hudson Research Europe, a Paris-based political, economic and social risk forecasting firm serving major multinational corporations and banks, where he rose to the position of Managing Director.

His articles and opinions have appeared widely in the media, including The International Herald Tribune, London Times, Le Monde, Asahi Evening News, Asia Media Week, and he has appeared on Good Morning America, Adam Smith’s Money World, Wall Street Week, and all the major U.S. news networks. He is an honors graduate of Yale University (B.A.) and the London School of Economics (M.Sc.). He is married, has four children, and lives in Manhattan.


Mr. Tom Speechley is a Partner at The Abraaj Group and Head of Global Markets, responsible for stakeholder engagement, capital raising and investor relations. He is a member of the Group Management Executive Committee and is based in New York where he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj North America, LLC. Mr. Speechley joined the Group in 2006 as an Investment Director and since then has been responsible for several investments in a number of countries across growth markets. In addition to overseeing various parts of the Group’s investment activities, Mr. Speechley has sat on the Group Investment Committee and led the expansion of Abraaj into several new growth markets.

Mr. Speechley is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), a member of the Global Board of Junior Achievement (JA Worldwide), an organization which invests in young people to help them develop essential workplace skills, and a senior advisor to Endeavor, an organization dedicated to supporting high impact entrepreneurs across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Mr. Speechley is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the United Kingdom, a global network of people committed to enriching society through ideas and action.

Mr. Speechley has a First Class Honors degree in Law from the University of Sheffield, UK, where he was a Falconer Prizeman.


Mr. Pradeep Ramamurthy is a Managing Director of The Abraaj Group and Head of Global Markets for the Americas. He is based in New York, NY. Prior to joining The Abraaj Group, Mr. Ramamurthy served in a number of senior national security and foreign policy positions at the White House, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Immediately prior to leaving the U.S. Government, Mr. Ramamurthy was the Deputy Counselor for Innovation at USAID where he oversaw the Agency’s multi-billion dollar portfolio of public-private partnerships and the creation of a new division focused on innovative solutions to the critical development challenges. For the previous four years, Mr. Ramamurthy worked at the White House under President Bush and President Obama. He was first-ever Senior Director for Global Engagement where he was responsible for coordinating a number of major foreign policy initiatives that cut across national security, development, diplomacy, and the private sector.

Previously, Mr. Ramamurthy served as a director on and advisor to the Homeland Security Council. Prior to his time at the White House, Mr. Ramamurthy served in a number of senior roles across the U.S. Intelligence Community and was closely involved in the post-9/11 reorganization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Ramamurthy is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on various advisory boards and working groups for the Center for Global Engagement, Investors’ Circle, and the World Economic Forum. He has a B.Sc. in International Politics from Georgetown University and a M.A. in Social Studies from the University of Chicago.


Mr. Mohammed Barakat assumed his position as Director at the US-Qatar Business Council, Washington DC office in June 2013. In this position, he works with the public and private sectors to promote new and expanded business relations between U.S. and Qatari companies. In addition, he is involved and manages wide range of activities in programs, advisory services, market research, and member services. He also provides business and cultural advisory services to both US and Qatari companies.

Prior to joining The US-Qatar Business Council, Mr. Barakat was a business strategy advisor at the US-Saudi Business Council (2011-2013) where he provided business and strategy advisory services to both US and Saudi companies across different industries to facilitate trade and investment between both countries. Earlier in his career, he worked in business development for a major Qatari holding group headquarters expanding their international partnership and business portfolio (2008-2011). He also worked in the United Arab Emirates as a marketing manager for a major construction and engineering group (2006-2008).

Previously, and under different capacities, Mr. Barakat developed strategic business plans and provided political and economic analysis, social analysis, and security analysis for several companies and organization in Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and the United States (2004-2006).

He currently resides in Washington DC where he is actively involved with the Middle Eastern business and cultural community.


Mr. Robert Castro served at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) from 2004-07 as Chief of Staff (rank-equivalent of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary) and prior, as Special Assistant for Congressional and Business Affairs, during the U.S. Government’s momentous period of accelerated overseas construction, property acquisition, and inter-agency expansion. Diplomatic facilities are complex, multi-functional infrastructure whose planning and execution require coordination of various tenants and public stakeholders, with adherence to varying international standards. OBO also has global oversight of the diplomatic workforce’s Safety, Health, Environmental Management, and Emergency Response protocols.

Mr. Castro currently advises large corporations and smaller emerging technology companies on international market development and partnering on government-sponsored projects. With a background in public opinion research, business strategy & operations, and international trade, health, infrastructure, & technology policy, he has over twenty-five years combined government, corporate, and entrepreneurial business experience, including Public-Private Partnerships and community development initiatives. Bob Castro Strategies has affiliates throughout MENA, with reach into Africa and Latin America through AMGlobal (http://www.amglobal.com/#!bob-castro/p3gbq).

In his previous corporate life, Mr. Castro served as Director of Global Security Policy for Lockheed Martin, developing new business and fostering technology transfer to the Diplomacy and Development spheres, including SmartGrid, ICT, cyber security, biometric, and identity/case management. Previously, he advised Fortune 500 companies and elected officials on public affairs campaigns and market research as Managing Vice President of an internationally renowned polling firm, Luntz Research. Pharmaceutical and other emerging technology companies have engaged him to help protect their intellectual property rights and market share overseas, and he has participated in high-level trade missions and ministerial conferences in both his official and private capacities.

During a Capitol Hill career spanning over 10 years, Mr. Castro served as Professional Staff for Congress’s joint Technology Assessment Board and as Legislative Director for leading members of the House Ways & Means, Appropriations, Science & Technology, and Transportation & Infrastructure committees. Later, he independently advised Congressional leadership, committee chairmen, and elected officials at federal, state and local levels.

Mr. Castro has been quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Times, National Journal’s Congress Daily, and various trade press; he has appeared on CNN/International, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, and Univision. He has authored published articles based upon his research and subject matter expertise and contributed to Think Tank studies. A perennial delegate to the Kellogg Innovation Network/KIN Global Dialogues at Northwestern University, he served on the Host Committee for Kin Global Miami 2016 (http://www.kinglobal2016.org) and was recently invited to join the Reboot Fellows program, providing CEO and Boardroom advisory. He also serves on international alumni committees for his alma mater, Georgetown University.

Mr. Castro is married to a career Foreign Service Officer, with previous assignments to U.S. diplomatic missions in Bahrain, Egypt, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.


Mr. Matthew Bishop, senior editor, The Economist Group, is an award-winning journalist and social entrepreneur. His roles at The Economist have included Business Editor, Wall Street Editor, Globalisation Editor and New York Bureau Chief.

He is the author of several books, including Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World (described as “important” by President Bill Clinton) and The Road From Ruin, which set out an agenda for the reform of capitalism after the 2008 crash. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Global Governance. He was the Official Report author of the G8 Taskforce on Social Impact Investment and a member of the Advisors Group of the UN International Year of Microcredit. He co-founded and advises the Social Progress Index and the #givingtuesday campaign. He is on Twitter as @mattbish


Mr. Lorenz R. Spangler, CHMM, CDGP has more than 27 years of experience in the management and security of hazardous materials, including chemical, radioactive, biological, and explosive materials. Mr. Spangler works at Sandia National Laboratories’ Center for Global Security and Cooperation in the Radiological Security Program. As a Field Implementation Team Lead, he is responsible for security assessment and enhancements at over 35 partner sites.

Mr. Spangler is trained in the Design and Evaluation Process Outline (DEPO) for physical protection systems analysis and the Risk Assessment Methodology for Water Facilities (RAM-W). Previously, Mr. Spangler served as a technical expert for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Technical Assistance Response Team (START), serving as an emergency responder for the Columbia Shuttle Disaster Recovery Team. He has applied his formal education in hydrology to conducting pathways analysis for environmental contaminant migration in a variety of applications. Throughout his career, Mr. Spangler has been called upon to represent facilities during audits/assessments, regulatory negotiations, and stakeholder meetings with a spectrum of agencies including the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).

Mr. Spangler serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), a credentialing organization dedicated to protecting the environment and the public’s health, safety, and security. Mr. Spangler holds the IHMM’s ANSI-accredited Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) and Certified Dangerous Goods Professional (CDGP) credentials.


Mr. Cenk Sidar is the founder and CEO of Sidar Global Advisors (SGA), a Washington, DC-based global macro research and strategic advisory firm that has been assisting top financial institutions, governments and multinational corporations investing in emerging/frontier markets since 2009. Mr. Sidar successfully developed the firm`s client base, building a broad range of experience assisting Fortune 100 companies, hedge funds, and private equities in their overseas operations and investments.

Mr. Sidar has written for, been interviewed by, and worked with the world’s leading newspapers and media organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, CCTV and Al Jazeera. Sidar has also addressed audiences around the world, including at Cornell, Tufts, Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and CFR.

He holds an MA degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, a postgraduate degree in European studies from SAIS’s Bologna Center in Italy, and a BA degree in business administration and international relations from the Istanbul Bilgi University.

In 2012, Mr. Sidar waas selected as one of the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 in the world by the Diplomatic Courier and the Young Foreign Policy Professionals. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Advisory Council, Atlantic Council, Turkish Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), Atlantik-Brucke e. V., the European Young Leaders Program, the Jean Monnet Program, the Project Interchange Alumni, and the American Academy of Achievement. He is fluent in English and German.


Mr. Fadi Elsalameen was born in Hebron in 1983 and moved to the U.S. in 2000. He is currently a non-resident fellow at The Foreign Policy Institute at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and president of the Palestinian Security Project, a new think tank seeking to develop a Palestinian national security strategy. In addition to these roles, Mr. Elsalameen is also an adjunct senior fellow at the American Security Project, a Washington, DC think tank.

Previously, Mr. Elsalameen was a fellow with the New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program, a nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. Before that, he served as the director of institutional advancement at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) where he secured the first foundation grant to the organization.

He has also worked extensively with youth employment groups in the Middle East. From 2005 to 2007 he served as a program adviser at the Imaginenations Group where he worked with teams of international development finance and youth experts to design investment strategies for youth in the Middle East and South America.

Mr. Elsalameen has been involved in the political arena at a young age. Since 1998, Elsalameen has been an active participant in the international organization Seeds of Peace participating in and lecturing at numerous leadership summits and conferences on topics related to Middle East youth, conflict resolution, and extremism. He was handpicked to take part in this organization by late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. He was invited personally by US President Bill Clinton to attend the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005, and helped secure a commitment for a political risk insurance initiative to encourage investment in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal at the time.


Dr. Erfan Ibrahim is the Center Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience R&D at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden Colorado. Dr. Ibrahim works with the public and private sector to identify security requirements, evaluate cyber security standards, test cyber security controls and determine residual risk in smart networks in the electric sector, water and oil & gas. He serves as the chief liaison from NREL to the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) at the Department of Energy. He is also serving on the cyber security and resilience team within the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium for the DoE.

Dr. Ibrahim has had a 28 year career working in a variety of fields including plasma physics, nuclear fusion engineering, telecom, IT, network management, communications, smart grid and cybersecurity. He has worked for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UCLA, Pacific Bell, Newbridge Networks, Jyra Research, Electric Power Research Institute, Scitor and Penn State University. He served as a consultant through his company, The Bit Bazaar LLC for over 10 years in the high tech, financial services, government and energy sectors. Dr. Ibrahim led the industry consensus building exercise in the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap project during 2009 and also led the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resources (NESCOR) project from DoE during 2010-2011 while serving as a Technical Executive in the Intelligrid Program at EPRI.

Dr. Ibrahim has a BS Honors in Physics from Syracuse University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Texas Austin and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California Berkeley.


Mr. Omar Wohabe represents governmental, institutional and private clients from the Arab Gulf in connection with their investments in private equity, venture capital and real estate, both on a conventional and Islamic basis, and their commercial transactions in the United States and elsewhere.

He serves as outside general counsel for certain of these clients, including in support of litigation, regulatory actions and compliance matters in the United States and other jurisdictions. He also represents U.S. parties in connection with their investment and commercial activities in the Gulf. In 2002 he organized and conducted with J.P. Morgan a two-day private seminar in Saudi Arabia, on the subject of Islamic private equity investing. Before joining the Wohabe Law Offices, he was associated with Shearman & Sterling.

He is a graduate of Williams College and Cornell Law School. He is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut, and before the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.


Mr. George R. Salem established the Law Offices of George R. Salem, PLLC in January 2005. From 1990 to 2004, Mr. Salem was a partner at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, where he headed that firm’s Middle East and U.S. Department of Labor practices.

A highly regarded, well-respected legal expert on labor and Middle East issues, he has had a long career working in government and the private sector. Throughout his career, Mr. Salem has served on numerous non-profit boards and commissionsIn November 2005 he entered into a relationship as Strategic Advisor with DLA Piper, where he is focused on assisting in the development of DLA Piper’s Middle East and U.S. Department of Labor practices.**

During the course of his career, Mr. Salem has negotiated some of the most significant settlements in the field of labor law, among them the resolution of all pending Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases against the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund, the E.O. 11246 discrimination case against Harris Trust and Savings Bank, and several major Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) settlements, including the major FLSA settlement involving Food Lion.

On behalf of various Middle East clients, Mr. Salem headed the legal teams that handled the acquisitions of major assets, including refineries in the Middle East. In addition, he headed the legal team that successfully brought suit against the Department of Treasury on behalf of the owners of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that was destroyed by the U.S. Navy.

From 1985 to 1989, Mr. Salem served as the Solicitor of Labor. As the U.S. Department of Labor’s chief legal officer, he was responsible for enforcing more than 130 laws that regulate the nation’s workplace, including those guaranteeing minimum wage through FLSA, ensuring occupational safety and health pursuant to OSHA, and maintaining pension security under ERISA. Mr. Salem headed a staff of 850 lawyers and support staff in 13 national offices and 16 regional and sub-regional offices around the country.

Mr. Salem played key roles in the Reagan-Bush ’84, Bush-Quayle ’88, and Bush-Cheney ’00 campaigns. In addition, he served as a member of the board of directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as chairman of the Tripartite Advisory Panel on International Labor Standards, the legal arm of the President’s Committee on the International Labor Organization.

Mr. Salem has written and spoken extensively on labor law and related topics and has lectured in Moscow, Beijing, Cairo, and Geneva. He is also active in several professional associations, and is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in American Politics, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, the International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Washington Super Lawyers and Corporate Counsel Super Lawyers, and the Best Lawyers in America. In addition, he was named by the National Law Journal as one of the top 26 labor lawyers in the United States. He is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Salem co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and currently serves as its chairman, and has served as treasurer of United Palestinian Appeal, Inc. since 1982. He is a past president of the National Association of Arab Americans and has served on the board of directors of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 2003 he was named to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy’s Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World, which was assembled at the request of Congress to study the State Department’s public diplomacy efforts in these regions. On behalf of the Bush Administration, Mr. Salem served as an official observer to the Palestinian elections held in February 2005, and also as President George W. Bush’s representative to the funeral of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

In 1992 Mr. Salem received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award is presented annually to Americans of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their own ethnic groups and to American society.


Ms. Laura Lombard is the founding President and Executive Director of the Middle East & North Africa Consultants Association (MENACA). MENACA is a professional trade association of highly experienced experts doing business in the MENA region. Members range from individual consultants specializing in a specific country or sector to medium sized consulting firms with a strong MENA focus. The organization’s mission is to be the premier organization facilitating cooperation and collaboration between professionals doing business in the Middle East and North Africa and supporting business development and operational efforts of our members, leading to increased business opportunities, long-term viability, and profitability.

Ms. Lombard began her regional specialty while working for the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), focusing her work on North Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. After graduating from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a regional specialty in the MENA region, she worked at The Cohen Group (TCG), a DC-based consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. At TCG, she regularly engaged in research projects, due diligence analysis, business development activities for clients in various sectors and focused on the Middle East, Latin America, and China. In addition, she had the unique opportunity to handle the firm’s media portfolio.

After leaving TCG, she successfully developed her own independent consulting practice focused on providing strategic advice and insight to her clients on commercial opportunities in the MENA region. In particular, she has developed an expertise in the areas of renewable energy, infrastructure development, defense, and education. In addition to her Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Ms. Lombard has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas. She has travelled to Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey, UAE & Qatar.


Ms. Lisa Renee Pomerantz has more than thirty years of legal and dispute resolution experience. After graduating from Harvard University and Boston University Law School, she clerked for a federal judge. Following a stint as a litigation attorney, she worked for fifteen years as a senior-level in-house counsel for a major corporation.

Since 2003, Ms. Pomerantz has practiced law in Suffolk County. She works primarily with entrepreneurs on commercial and corporate matters involving customers, vendors and collaborators, and to resolve business and employment disputes amicably and cost-effectively. She serves on the AAA’s Roster of Neutrals as a commercial mediator and arbitrator and has served in a variety of leadership roles with the Association for Conflict Resolution, the New York State Dispute Resolution Association and the Suffolk County Bar Association.

In 2015, she received an award from the Association for Conflict Resolution for exemplary leadership. In 2010, the Long Island Business News named Lisa as a recipient of its Top Fifty Around 50 Award and in 2011 as a recipient of its Leadership in Law Award. In 2007, Ms. Pomerantz also received the Suffolk County Bar Association Directors’ Award in recognition of her service as ADR Committee Co-Chair. In 2004, she received Awards of Recognition for her contributions to continuing legal education and as IP Committee Co-Chair.

Ms. Pomerantz is a popular keynote speaker at business meetings and conferences, and publishes an email newsletter entitled “Making the Connection.” She also has provided on-line and live training for business and legal audiences.


Mr. Paul Doherty is a Registered Architect (AIA) and one of the global Industry’s most sought after thought leaders, strategists and integrators of Smart City solutions. He is currently the President and CEO of the digit group, inc., a Smart Cities Master Architect, Builder and City Management solution provider headquartered in Silicon Valley. the digit group is currently working on innovative Smart City solutions in the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, India, China, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

A Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, Mr. Doherty is an author, educator, analyst, consultant and project manager to Fortune 500 organizations, global government agencies, prominent institutions and the most prestigious architectural, engineering and construction firms in the world. His past successful ventures include Revit Technologies (Sold to Autodesk 2002), Buzzsaw (Sold to Autodesk 2001) and TRIRIGA (Sold to IBM 2011). He is a prominent and highly rated speaker at numerous industry events around the world each year and has been appointed as a guest lecturer at numerous universities around the world.

A former candidate to be the United States Architect of the Capitol, Mr. Doherty is and has been on the Board of Directors and Advisors of numerous organizations, including the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and holds both European Community and United States Citizenship. Widely quoted in the media such as The Wall Street Journal; Business Week; ABC News; CBS Marketwatch; The Los Angeles Times; and USA Today. Mr. Doherty is also a regularly featured writer for Information Week; DesignIntelligence; Facility Management Journal; Design Build Magazine. Additionally, he is a contributing author to multiple sections of the AIA Handbook of Professional Practice; the Interior Design Handbook of Practice; BOMI’s Technologies for Facility Management; Residential Graphic Standards (John Wiley & Sons) and author of 2 books, the critically acclaimed, “Cyberplaces – The Internet Guide for Architects, Engineers and Contractors” and “Cyberplaces 2.0 – The Internet Guide for Architects, Engineers & Facility Managers“, both published by R.S. Means.

After completing a benchmarked Whitepaper on Smart Cities for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Mr. Doherty is currently writing a series of Smart City Whitepapers for McGraw-Hill Financial (Standard & Poors) that will be continuously published through 2017. In addition to leading the digit group, Mr. Doherty is a co-founder of the critically acclaimed AEC Hackathon that launched at Facebook Headquarters in Silicon Valley in November 2013 and continues its community building of innovation around the world today.


Mr. Khush Choksy is vice president for Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he leads the activities of the department in developing and implementing policies and programs to promote U.S. trade and investment with markets in the region. Choksy manages a team of program and policy experts focused on working closely with Chamber member companies and business and government leaders to advance and broaden commercial relationships between the United States and the region. In addition, he serves as executive director of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council and the U.S.-Bahrain Business Council. He is actively involved in the Chamber’s efforts to lead a Middle East Commercial Dialogue to foster intra-regional trade and investment.

Before joining the Chamber, Choksy was a director at Chemonics International where he led teams in developing economic ties between the United States and the Middle East. He lived and worked in Jordan for seven years, establishing relations with private- and public-sector leaders at a critical time in the U.S.-Middle East relationship on behalf of several USAID programs. He also worked in India, overseeing U.S. government and World Bank-funded projects that helped liberalize the capital markets and financial sectors.

His thought leadership includes presentations at international forums on business reform and U.S. trade and financial sector investment in emerging markets.

Choksy received his M.B.A. in strategic management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. magna cum laude from Hamilton College. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


Mr. Ken Dorph is a leading global expert in financial institution and financial system strengthening. Mr. Dorph began his career in Citibank and Smith Barney, and has worked with the IFC / World Bank Group. For the past twenty years, Mr. Dorph has been consulting in financial institutions worldwide, first with Booz Allen & Hamilton and more recently with his own firm, Sag Harbor Consulting. He has worked with a broad range of financial institutions developing strategy and designing and implementing risk management systems.

Mr. Dorph has a deep experience reviewing and strengthening banks and financial systems worldwide. He led the assessment of the Mexican banks’ net worth after the peso collapse, and was also led a similar review in Indonesia during the Asian financial crisis. Mr. Dorph has worked as an advisor on strategy and risk management to the World Bank, the IMF, and a wide range of central banks and supervisors in Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil), Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa), Asia (Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan), and the Middle East (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE, and Yemen).

Mr. Dorph has particular expertise in the Middle East and is a popular speaker on Middle Eastern topics. He has been invited to lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, the Wharton School, the University of Michigan, the New School, and Georgetown University. He has delivered training at banks and central banks around the world. Since September 11th 2001, Mr. Dorph has been teaching an acclaimed course “Seven Keys to Understanding the Arab Middle East” that he developed, at high schools, colleges, and to the public in New York State.

Mr. Dorph has special experience in Islamic finance and has published articles on Islamic law and banking. Since 1985, when he launched the GCC’s first shari’ah compliant equity portfolio, he has advised many of the region’s banks and central banks and has developed strategy, written feasibility studies, and drafted governance and risk policies for several leading Islamic banks and Islamic investment companies. He advises the World Bank on Islamic finance has been invited to draft the World Bank’s corporate governance guidelines for Islamic financial institutions.

Mr. Dorph has a Masters of Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, including a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School. In addition to studying in Damascus, Mr. Dorph studied at Mohammed V University in Rabat and spent three years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia. He is fluent in Arabic (standard and several dialects), Spanish, and French.


Mr. Robert E. Michael, a globally recognized expert on Islamic Finance, is the Managing Member of Robert E. Michael & Associates PLLC, a law firm that engages in general corporate and commercial litigation representations, with a primary focus on cross-border workouts and bankruptcies, representing offshore corporate clients either with claims against, or an interest in investing in, U.S. entities in financial difficulty. He is a frequent lecturer on both the basic tenets of Islamic law and finance and the divisions among the Sunni, the Shi’a and the Salafists.

Mr. Michael is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pace University Law School, teaching “Law and Finance” to international L.L.M. candidates, primarily from Saudi Arabia, and provides annual guest lectures on Islamic Finance and International Business Transactions to the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has appeared frequently in the Saudi Arabian business press, and is the co-author of “Iflas and Chapter 11 – Classical Islamic Law and Modern Bankruptcy,” in The International Lawyer. In 2010, Mr. Michael had the unique opportunity to be the first non-diplomat invited to address the Ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (then the Organization of the Islamic Conference) at the United Nations. His speech was entitled Islamic Finance in Relation to Capitalism and Socialism.

Mr. Michael, a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law; is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and, has headed a Workout/Restructure Department in a commercial bank (Manufacturers Hanover); an investment bank (Paribas Corporation); and a law firm (Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives). He was also a partner of Morrison & Foerster, based in New York City. Besides being appointed the inaugural Chair of the new Committee on Middle Eastern and North African Affairs of the New York City Bar Association, he is a Member of its Council on International Affairs and a former Chair of its Committee on Foreign and Comparative Law.

Mr. Michael is also the Chairman of the Islamic Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the oldest international law society in the world; as well as a member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America.


Mr. George Likourezos is a patent attorney and partner at the intellectual property law firm of Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP. He is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Courts of the State of New York and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Mr. Likourezos has been published in several legal journals, including the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society (JPTOS). He focuses his legal practice in protecting innovations in the following fields of technology: cybersecurity, digital electronics and computer architecture, communication systems, electrical circuits and components, networks and home automation, and related electromechanical arts. He is a member of the New York Intellectual Property Law Association and on the Boards of the Long Island Capital Alliance and ADDAPT. He also serves on the Boards of several technology companies.


Dr. Peter B. deMenocal is Dean of Science for the College of Arts & Sciences at Columbia University, and the Thomas A. Edison/Con Edison Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He is also the Founding Director of the Center for Climate & Life, a research team with over 120 PhD scientists leading research to understand how climate impacts life’s essentials – our access to food, water, shelter, and energy. We engage the private sector to build a more resilient, sustainable world. He is a geochemist and climate scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, using ocean sediments to understand how and why past oceans and climates have changed, and their human impacts. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2013), AGU Emiliani awardee (2014), he received the Lenfest Columbia Distinguished Faculty award (2008), and the Distinguished Brooksian award (2013), with an honorary D. Sci. from St. Lawrence University (2009).


Mr. Ron Bruder is an American entrepreneur and advocate for increased youth employment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. He is the founder of Education for Employment (EFE), a network of affiliated locally-run nonprofits which create public-private partnerships with employers to train youth in technical and soft skills and place them in jobs. The network has local affiliates in Jordan,Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia and capacity-building support organizations in the United States and Spain. In 2011, Mr. Bruder was named on the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Mr. Bruder began his career as a serial entrepreneur with businesses in real estate, travel, pharmaceuticals and energy. In 1977, he founded The Brookhill Group, which owns and manages properties throughout the US with a focus on creating investment partnerships to develop or redevelop shopping centers, office buildings and multi-family homes.

Mr. Bruder was an attendee at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the World Economic Forum in Tianjin in 2012, he was named a Schwab Foundation Global Social Entrepreneur for his work in founding EFE. He has served as a delegate of the Council on Foreign Relations to the Jeddah Economic Forum, and a contributor to the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. He is frequently invited to share EFE’s best practices at major international conferences and has addressed audiences at the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum and the United Nations, among others.


Dr. Peter Palese is an internationally renowned microbiologist. He pioneered the field of reverse genetics for negative-strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This revolutionary technique is crucial for the study of the structure/function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity, and for development and manufacture of novel vaccines. The technique has significant implications in understanding and preparing for infectious disease pandemics.

Reverse genetics allowed Dr. Palese and his colleagues to reconstruct and study the pathogenicity of the highly virulent but extinct 1918 pandemic influenza virus also known as the “Spanish flu.” His recent work in collaboration with Mount Sinai virologist Adolfo García-Sastre, PhD, has revealed that most negative-strand RNA viruses possess proteins with interferon antagonist activity, enabling them to counteract the antiviral response of the infected host.

The Department of Microbiology is focused on studying such viruses as hepatitis C, dengue, Ebola, Marburg, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, cytomegalovirus, and several negative-strand RNA viruses. Studies are directed at understanding how the innate immune system of the infected host is counteracted by components of these viruses and how the interferon signaling system works on a molecular level. Department researchers are developing new vaccines against these viruses and in identifying small molecular weight compounds for use as antivirals.

Dr. Palese has more than 270 scientific publications that include research on the replication of RNA-containing viruses with a special emphasis on influenza viruses, which are negative-strand RNA viruses. He established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B, and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals).

Dr. Palese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 for his seminal studies on influenza viruses. He is also a member of the German Academy of Sciences and a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He serves on the editorial board for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and as an editor for the Journal of Virology. Dr. Palese was President of the Harvey Society in 2004 and President of the American Society for Virology in 2005-2006. His honors include the Robert Koch Prize in 2006 and of the Charles C. Shepard Science Award in 2008.

After earning a PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna in Austria in 1969, Dr. Palese remained at the university to pursue a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in virology at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology in Nutley, New Jersey. Dr. Palese joined the Mount Sinai faculty in 1971 as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology. He rose through the ranks and was named Chair of the Department of Microbiology in 1987.


Ms. Aisha Y. Salem is the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Intellectual Property Attaché for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) based at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Her responsibilities include advocating U.S. government IP policy, interests, and initiatives; assisting U.S. businesses in protecting and enforcing their IP rights; improving IP protection throughout the MENA region by conducting training and outreach programs with host governments; advising representatives of MENA governments on IP laws and policy; helping to secure strong IP provisions in international agreements and host country laws, and working to monitor the implementation of these provisions.

Prior to becoming the IP Attaché in May 2013, Ms. Salem was a Trademark Examining Attorney with the USPTO where she completed numerous details within the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs, focusing primarily on MENA issues. She has worked for the International Intellectual Property Alliance focusing on international copyright and trademark issues; the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Copyright Office focusing on U.S. copyright legislation and policy; Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath& Gilchrist, P.A., a Florida-based IP boutique law firm, focusing on IP litigation; and NBC Universal’s Department of Business & Legal Affairs focusing on IP clearance and enforcement issues for Universal Theme Parks & Resorts worldwide.

Ms. Salem earned an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from The George Washington University Law School in 2006, a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2005, and a B.A. in Performing Arts Management from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in 2002. She is a professional cellist performing orchestral and chamber music throughout Kuwait, and serves as an Advisory Board Member and Chair Emerita of the Board of Directors of ArtStream, Inc., an arts organization providing artistic opportunities for adults with disabilities, veterans, and children in hospitals and hospice throughout the greater Washington, DC area.


Mr. Rosenberg currently is Associate Director of the Cyber Systems Group and Executive Director of the Center for Inherently Secure Processing at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge. Prior to Draper, Mr. Rosenberg was Technical Director at BAE Systems where he was PI or co-PI on several large DARPA cyber security programs including CRASH (Clean-slate Redesign of Adaptive Secure Hosts) and MRC (Mission-oriented Resilient Clouds).

He caught the entrepreneurial spirit and turned his works into a supercomputer startup in California called MasPar. Then he did a five-year stint at a large software company called Borland. Borland relocated Mr. Rosenberg to Boston where he has remained for 18 years. He has gone on to found eight additional startups. During this time he also wrote three technical books: How Debuggers Work; Securing Web Services; and, The Cloud at Your Service. He also wrote an inspirational memoir called Who Says I Can’t that recounts how he used extreme sports to recover from a disability.

Mr. Jothy has a PhD in computer science (VLSI computer-aided design algorithms) from Duke University where he stayed on as professor for five years building space-flyable massively parallel single-instruction multiple-data architecture supercomputers.


Mr. Colletti has for the past 7 years served the State of Qatar as the Sr. Advisor for Ashghal, Public Works Authority – Building Affairs, responsible for the Program Management and Delivery for a diverse portfolio of Healthcare, Education, Ports and Ministry projects valued in excess of $20B (USD). Mr. Colletti also served as the Program Director, initiating Master Planning for numerous Competition and Non-competition Precincts for both the 2022 World Cup and Qatar’s 2020 Olympic Bid. Together with Qatar Foundation’s – Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), Mr. Colletti was one of the Qatar’s Public Sector leaders in the development and implementation of the Gulf Sustainable Assessment System (GSAS), introducing important and valuable Sustainable Principals into the Design and Construction delivery community.

Mr. Colletti has served as the Sr. Technical Advisor to former Governor of New York, George Pataki, for Critical Infrastructure and Emergency Management (2001-2004) in response to the World Trade Center Attack of September 11, 2001, and, as the State Director for Architecture and Engineering for the State University of New York (1996-2001), responsible for 34 University Campuses and 5 teaching Hospital Centers. Mr. Colletti has also served on the New York State Governor’s Advisory Council for Historic Preservation for both former Governor Mario Cuomo and former Governor George Pataki (1988 – 1998).

Additionally, Mr. Colletti has served as the Managing Director of Colletti Group, Architects and Engineers (1981-1996) a full service A/E Design and CM firm providing professional consulting for the Medical, Higher Education, Transportation and Environmental sectors.

A graduate of Cornell University, College of Architecture, and a former member of the College’s Advisory Council, Mr. Colletti has 30 years of international project delivery experience in design and construction management.


DR. Faten Sabry is a Senior Vice President and Partner in the Securities and Finance Practice at NERA Economic Consulting in New York, where she has worked since 1998. She provides economic consulting and expert testimony in securities, bankruptcy and complex damages, and leads the practice’s subprime taskforce.

At NERA, Dr. Sabry has performed analyses involving issues of class certification, materiality, and damage calculations in litigation ranging from contract disputes to valuing a portfolio of mortgages. She is the lead author of an econometric study on the impact of securitization before and after the credit crisis for the American Securitization Forum. She has assessed risk management models and examined the prudence of investments including hedging strategies. She has testified and filed reports as an expert in State and Federal Courts, as well as FINRA arbitrations.

Prior to joining NERA, Dr. Sabry was an assistant professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo, where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in economic development and project valuation. She was also a post doctoral fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and an economist at the Egyptian Information and decision Support Center in Egypt, where she provided policy analysis and research on various issues including price controls and subsidies.

Faten received her Ph.D. from Stanford Business School, where she was awarded the J.M. Olin Graduate Fellowship, the Graduate School of Business Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation Fellowship. She received her BA, magna cum laude, and her MA in economics from the American University in Cairo, where she was awarded merit scholarships and the President’s Cup.

Dr. Sabty was born and raised in Egypt, is married and has two children.


Ms. Amal Bouchenaki is a dual qualified French and California attorney in the New York office of Herbert Smith Freehills. She specializes in international arbitration.

She acts as counsel in complex treaty based proceedings and international commercial arbitrations conducted under a variety of arbitration rules, including UNCITRAL, ICC, LCIA, ICDR, CIRCICA, HKIAC, VIAC and ICSID. Trained in both the civil law and common law systems, Amal has handled disputes involving an array of issues and industry sectors, including, technology, telecommunications, and energy-related disputes.

In addition to appearing before international arbitral tribunals, she litigates international arbitration matters before national courts, and advises on the drafting of arbitration clauses. She is also experienced in the mediation of international disputes.


Ms. Bouchenaki has advised:

  • a Brazilian mining company in a New York-based arbitration in relation to a dispute arising out of a long-term contract
  • a Middle Eastern Telecom operator in a Cairo-seat Arabic language arbitration conducted under the rules of CRCICA
  • a French telecom and media company in a London-seat 2.2 billion euro BIT arbitration against an Eastern European state
  • an energy company in an ICSID-administered arbitration brought pursuant to the Energy Charter Treaty against Bulgaria
  • a Singapore mining company in the filing of its notice of claim against Mongolia
  • a multi-national energy group in an Energy Charter Treaty claim against the Russian Federation
  • a Brazilian energy company in a Paris-seat ICC arbitration against a Libyan state entity
  • a multi-national energy company, in a challenge of a US$ 250 million arbitral award before the Paris Court of Appeal
  • a European travel services company in a Paris-seat ICC arbitration arising out of agreements with a major European airline
  • a US information and technology company in the mediation of a Beijing-seat CIETAC dispute against a Malaysia- and China-based contractor