GTF 2012 Awards for Excellence

We are proud to present the Global Thinkers Forum Excellence Award Honourees 2012. The Ceremony will take place in Amman, Jordan on Sunday October 7, 2012

Excellence in Global Thinking: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan

HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah

The wife of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah is an international advocate, speaking out on behalf of children and youth for their right to a quality education. In Jordan, Queen Rania spearheads initiatives that focus on raising classroom quality, teaching standards, computer access, family involvement, community investment, and health awareness in collaboration with government ministries and agencies. Her Majesty has founded Madrasati, a public-private initiative to refurbish Jordan’s public schools, the Queen Rania Teachers’ Academy, the Queen Rania Teachers’ Award for Excellence in Education, Jordan River Foundation, and Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans. She also currently leads the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) to promote technology in schools. Abroad, Her Majesty works to increase access to quality education, and in her capacity as Eminent Advocate for UNICEF and Honorary Chairperson for UNGEI, she campaigns on behalf of children in need. Queen Rania is also a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and serves on the Board of the United Nations Foundation.

Excellence in Leadership: Founder & CEO APCO Worldwide, Margery Kraus

Margery Kraus

Margery Kraus, founder and chief executive officer of APCO Worldwide, a global consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., specializes in public affairs, communication and business consulting for major multinationals. Kraus founded APCO in 1984 and transformed it from a company with one small Washington office to a multinational consulting firm in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In September 2004 Kraus led a management buy-out of her firm, making APCO one of the largest privately owned communication and public affairs firms in the world. She has also helped to make APCO a thought leader in the areas of international public relations, public affairs and business diplomacy. APCO’s International Advisory Council and Global Political Strategies groups bring together more than 80 of the world’s most experienced global leaders, including former politicians, diplomats, business and industry executives, journalists, and academics. Prior to founding APCO, Kraus helped to create and develop the Close Up Foundation, a multi-million dollar educational foundation, where she still serves on the board of directors.

Excellence in Life: President Aol Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

Excellence in Philanthropy: UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis

Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis has been an unceasing advocate and campaigner for the rights of children and the family. She is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, founder and president of the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” and of the “ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer”. Inspired by motherhood, as a mother of five children herself, she has built up an extensive record of humanitarian work towards disadvantaged social groups in Greece and abroad, as well as on education, peace and cultural heritage. She struggles against human trafficking, climate change and other issues of today’s concern. She serves as board member at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the MENTOR Foundation, the “Light of Africa Foundation”, etc. She holds BA in History of Art and in Economics, MPhil in Archaeology as well as three Honorary Doctorates in Laws, Philosophy and Human Studies. Thanks to her and to the work of ELPIDA, more than 600 children for Greece and the Mediterranean region suffering from cancer were given a new chance of life. She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece in 1993 and the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in 2010. More than 750 families of sick children have been hosted for months at the ELPIDA Guest House (est 1999). She adopted the Greek village “Makistos”, reconstructing all the houses after their destruction by fire in 2007. She supported UNESCO programs for Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world. She funded the creation of the “Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies” at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in 2008. She is now working for the creation of the first “Bone Marrow Donor Bank” in Greece.

Excellence in Media: HRH Princess Rym of Jordan, Founder JMI

HRH Princess Rym Ali

Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali founded in 2007 the Jordan Media Institute (JMI), a non-profit institution whose aim is to establish an Arab center of excellence for journalism education with a Master’s program at its core and training modules ( She has also been member of the Board of Commissioners of the Royal Film Commission – Jordan since July 2005 (

Prior to marrying HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Princess Rym worked extensively for international broadcasters including CNN, where she began as a producer in 1998 and later worked as a Baghdad correspondent from 2001 until 2004. She had developed her portfolio working for the BBC, Dubai TV, Bloomberg TV, Radio Monte-Carlo Moyen-Orient and United Press International-UPI.

A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Princess Rym Ali also holds a MPhil in Political Science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and a MA in English Literature from the Sorbonne.

Princess Rym Ali received a prestigious Alumni Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism in April 2011. In July 2011, she has also been awarded the “Best International Journalist” prize at the 32nd Ischia International Journalism Awards Ceremony, one of the most renowned journalistic awards in Italy. In September 2011, Princess Rym Ali was decorated with French Knight of the Legion of Honor by French Ambassador to Jordan.

Excellence in Science: Dr Hayat Sindi – Founder & President i2nstitute

Hayat Sindi

Hayat Sindi is the Founder and President of i2nstitute. Hayat was born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia and is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists. As a child she was inspired by great scientists who changed the world. She left Saudi Arabia in her teens and worked against the odds to become the first female from the Gulf to earn a PhD in biotechnology, studying at King’s College London, Cambridge University, MIT and Harvard. Hayat was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University for 5 years, and a co-founder of Diagnostics For All, which offers cost-effective point-of-care diagnostic tools enabling the treatment of the 60% of people living beyond the reach of medical infrastructures. She has been a PopTech fellow in both Science and Social Innovation, advancing her longstanding goal to more closely link science and social impact. Her dream is that i2 will make stories like hers less exceptional and more possible for every young innovator.





  • Member of the British Top Young Researchers in the House of Commons.
  • Awarded the Young Professional Award by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Arab Student Organization (MIT-ASO). (2006)
  • Selected to address King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia at the National Dialogue Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Hayat’s Diagnostics For All business team won first place in Harvard Business School’s Business Plan Contest in the social enterprise track, and first place in MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition in the same year. This is the first time in history that the same team won first place in both competitions in the same year. (2008)
  • Received the prestigious Prince Khalid Award for Dr. Sindi’s innovative approach to the sciences. (2010)
  • Named a 2009 and 2010 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. This is the first time in the history of the organization that Poptech awarded a Poptech Science Fellowship to the same person in two consecutive years (2009, 2010)
  • Selected to be an Emerging Explorer with National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program. (2011)
  • Named one of 150 Fearless Women by Newsweek/The Daily Beast (2012)
  • Named Global Ambassador for Vital Voices (2012)
  • Named number 9 out of 100 of the Most Powerful Arab Women by CEO magazine and number 3 from Most powerful Saudi Arabian Women.
  • Received Outstanding Contribution to Medicine award From Sheikh Lubna Minister of Trade UAE (2012).
  • Awarded The Honorary Global Thinkers Forum Award of Excellence in Science (2012).

Excellence in Positive Change: Deema Bibi – CEO INJAZ

Deema Bibi

Deema Bibi, in Digital Electronics and MBA in International Business. Ms. Bibi is the CEO of INJAZ, a leading Jordanian youth organization, and a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide. INJAZ is an independent non profit organization established in 2001 with a mission to inspire and prepare youth to become productive members of the society and succeed in a global economy. Under Ms. Bibi’s leadership, and through mobilizing the private and public sectors to embrace social responsibility and volunteerism, INJAZ today delivers its wide array of programs through a network of around 4000 qualified volunteers from the private sector, and with the support of more than 300 corporations, its partners from the public sector and the USAID, promoting Financial Literacy, Work Readiness, Business and Social Entrepreneurship among other essential skills. Prior to INJAZ (2000-2005), Ms. Bibi was the ICT Program Manager at the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)-Regional Office, responsible for the design, execution and management of ICT and Education related initiatives aimed at the empowerment of Arab women. Prior to joining the UN (1991-2000), Ms. Bibi worked at the private sector where she developed and managed several ICT projects (focusing on Voice Processing, Phone Banking and eCommerce technologies) in Jordan and the Middle East. Ms. Bibi sits on the Board of The Development and Employment Fund, Eisenhower Fellows Association-Jordan, Tamweelcom, and is the Vice-Chair of the Arab Foundations Forum. She served as a City Council board member – Greater Amman Municipality (for the term 2007-2011). Ms. Bibi was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship, the ASPEN Institute Fellowship, and the Synergos Senior Fellowship, she is the receiver of the Mosaic Global Social Leadership Award-2007 and the NYIT Leadership Distinction Award-2009.

Excellence in Gender Equality Award: Sonja Lokar – President, European Women’s Lobby

Sonja Lokar

Sonja, born in Zagreb, Croatia is a sociologist and has been a political activist from her youth. She is also an elected politician, a reformer and Secretary General of her parliamentary social democratic party between 1989-1991. She is a feminist and advocate for women’s human rights in Slovenia and internationally. As Executive Director of the CEE Network for Gender Issues and the Chair of the Stability Pact Gender Task Force she has been working with women activists across all social, ethnic, religious and political divides in 21 countries. As president of the European Women’s Lobby she works all over the European Union on Women issues and for the political empowerment of women.

Excellence in Entrepreneurship: Khalid Alkhudair, CEO

Khalid Alkhudair

Khalid Alkhudair is a Chartered Marketer from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Khalid’s holds various roles in various capacities. His current role is the Chief Operating Officer – Markets at KPMG in Saudi, Kuwait & Jordan, he is also the founder of a women empowerment initiative that has created thousands of jobs for women thus far and he is a Global Shaper (representing Saudi Arabia) at the World Economic Forum as well as the Riyadh Hub Curator. He returns to KPMG as an alumni after establishing Deutsche Gulf Finance’s brand, corporate identity and presence in the Saudi market as a leader in the mortgage industry, as well as leading them to 3 financial key international awards. His experience at KPMG has helped him secure an expertise insight into all the key aspects of strategic and successful marketing, which include Communication, establishing the in house PR department, CSR (KPMG Foundation), Event Management, Branding etc. Also throughout his time at KPMG Khalid managed to lead the firm to over 23 key awards in the space of four years, which were aligned to the firm’s overall corporate goals and strategy such as the Best Saudi Company to Work for award (top 3 position for 5 years in a row) and the King Khalid Award for responsible competitiveness twice. Khalid is an active writer and contributor in national and regional publications such as Gulf Marketing Review, Saudi Gazette, Arab News etc as well as publishing a book entitled “Communicating effectively in the work place”. All this led him to being awarded the Best Head of Marketing in the Middle East for 2010, Saint Mary’s University Young Alumni of the year, WAMDA Entrepreneur of the week in 2012 and Ranked #3 in the 30 under 30 Gulf Business Magazine powerlist. Khalid also sits on a number of Advisory boards throughout the world such as the CMO Council Advisory Board, the Country Officer for Women Campaign International (ALWANE), Steering Committee Member for women unemployment at the Ministry of Labor, Steering committee member on talent mobility for the world economic forum and an Advisory Member at Saudi Broadcasting

Excellence in Innovation: Nabila Ramdani, Journalist

Nabila Ramdani

Nabila is a Paris-born freelance journalist of Algerian descent who specialises in French politics, Islamic affairs, and the Arab World. She writes columns for The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, London Evening Standard, and New Statesman. Nabila also produces features and news stories for a wide range of other Fleet Street publications, including the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and Sunday Times. Nabila has been named by Decide Now Act “101 Innovation” as one of 101 most innovative individuals in the world for social good. She has also been honoured with the title Young Global Leader 2012 by the World Economic Forum.

Excellence in Cultural Understanding: Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed is Executive Director of and Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Mogahed leads the analysis of surveys of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the groundbreaking book Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

In her role as a Gallup scientist, Mogahed is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She also serves as a Global Expert for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Her analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard International Review, and many other academic and popular journals. Her audiences have included heads of state, parliamentarians from around the world, and religious leaders from every faith. She was selected as an advisor by U.S. President Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Excellence in Pioneering: Zaha Hadid – Founder, Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.

The GTF Awards go to some of the most intelligent, innovative, accomplished and socially responsible thought leaders. Extraordinary achievements, unique ideas, excellent management, artistic creativity, ethical reporting will be honoured during the GTF Awards Ceremony.

Please nominate a person, a company or a NGO that you believe is suitable to be presented with a GTF Award in Excellence in one of the above areas. Please email us on proposing your nominee and briefly describing the reason behind your proposal.

All nominated entities must have a proven record of high integrity, recognition and can serve as role model for successful leadership, forward thinking and positive change.

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