Global Thinkers Forum 2012: Women Leaders in MENA - Under the Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah

Day 1: Saturday, October 6, 2012




Registration/Arrival of GTF attendees at CUMERC


Welcome by Moderator: Alia Toukan

Opening - Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO Global Thinkers Forum


Keynote: Leadership


The Leadership Gap: Repositioning the role of the MENA Woman in Governance & Society

Global Thinkers aims to identify and celebrate the female Leadership of the Future, with a focus on: Governance, Social Progress, Responsible Entrepreneurship, and Community Development. The invited Women Leaders and conference participants will discuss strategic skill sets for women in the MENA, such as identifying areas of opportunities, improving leadership skills, corporate governance, and successful leadership.

Chaired by: Stephen Cole, Senior Anchor Al Jazeera English

  • Majd Shweikeh CEO Vtel Holdings Ltd (Jordan)
  • Valerie Keller CEO Veritas & YGL (USA)
  • Margery Kraus Founder & CEO APCO Worldwide
  • Reem N. Bsaiso Senior ICT Consultant
10.00-10.15 Keynote: Entrepreneurs & Society by Fadi Ghandour Founder & CEO Aramex

Female Entrepreneurship: Being part of the Ecosystem

If national parliaments and assemblies do not already provide potential female candidates, experience has shown that the largest and most capable talent pool is – beyond politics – in business, entrepreneurship, arts, civil society and academia. There is no dearth of capable, qualified and highly committed women, with a strong investment in business leadership with attention to society and positive change.

Chaired by: Dr. Usama Fayyad Executive Chairman Oasis500

  • Jumana Twal CEO/Founder of Bidaya Corporate Communications
  • Abeer Qumsieh Founder & Director Better Business (Jordan),
  • Samar Shawareb
  • Founder & Managing Director – Arabia Weddings Jordan
10.45-11.00 Presentation by Saad Mouasher, Deputy CEO Ahli Bank: Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs in Jordan
11.00-11.15 Keynote: The “Global Street”: Professor Saskia Sassen Columbia University

Society- The new MENA societies: problems, challenges and potential

The lives of Arab women today are complex, diverse and far more multi-faceted than those of the one-dimensional creatures of veiled passivity who inhabit the imaginations of so many Western “experts.” In most Arab countries, women face constricting laws and social customs that hold them back from full participation in their societies. Some, as a result, lead lives of passive submission. But others rage against those institutional obstacles, organize other women to challenge male domination of their public and private lives, and seize every opening, large or small, to move the rights of women at least that one next step. Arab women labour in dangerous factories and un-mechanized fields, they keep families intact and care for their children without access to modern technology; sometimes even without electricity or clean water. But they also fill medical and engineering schools in universities throughout the Arab world; they are creating some of the greatest art and literature of their rich cultures; they serve bravely in overwhelmingly male parliaments; and they organize and fight – with or without men’s consent – for incremental democratic gains, and sometimes for their own rights as women. What are the lives, the diverse roles and the means of overcoming the social challenges that confront women in today’s Arab societies? Is it about feminism? Or women’s education and daily lives? What are women’s views of Islam and women Islamists?

Chaired by: Professor Safwan Masri- Vice President for Global Centers at Columbia University

  • Humaira Wakili Director Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (Nablus)
  • Sonja Lokar President European Women’s Lobby
  • HE Ms. Attiya Mahmood (Pakistan)
  • Alfinaz Murad General Manager at GroFin
12.00-13.15 Networking & Interviews Opportunity followed by Buffet Lunch
13.15 Keynote: Media & the MENA region: A landscape in transformation- Wael Fakharany Regional Manager, Google Middle East

Women & Media in the MENA: Finding our truths, finding our voices

Let’s get into the issue of finding women’s voices and women’s stories. As women, how do we feel about covering a gender-specific or gender-driven topic? Do we resist the temptation to be called women journalists: would we rather be seen as ‘journalists’? Can men cover women’s stories and would they? Is it realistic to think of sending women into unsafe areas? Are there safety considerations? How can media do a better job of covering women’s stories? What needs to change and how do we effect that change? Does it start with us? The panel aims to take that and develop a statement about covering women’s stories, hearing women’s voices.

Chaired by: Randa Habib, Director MENA AFPF

  • Lindsey Oliver International Commercial Director Bloomberg TV
  • Shahira Amin Journalist
  • Hoda Abdel Hamid Correspondent Al Jazeera English
14.00-14.15 Keynote: Science & Innovation for a Sustainable Future: HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan (VM)

The importance of Science & Innovation for development

For a country to advance, the best way forward is the use of STI (Science Technology and Innovation). For STI in Jordan, EHSC is the conduit and point of reference for achieving advancement through STI. What are the global experiences of “what went right” for some countries on STI and its role in development and “what went wrong” for others? The key role of EHSC as an enabler and incubator of new ideas and the intersection of Innovation and Entrepreneurship activity that helps create high growth tech startups in Jordan and the region. Transferring innovation to our communities.

Chaired by: Salim Amin, Founder & CEO Africa24

  • Dr. Odeh Jayyousi VP Science & Research at the Royal Scientific Society Eng.
  • Omar Hamarneh CEO El Hassan Business Park
  • Ms. Seren Shahin Director of the Drivers of Change Institute
  • Dr. Wejdan Abu Elhaija Acting Dean of King Abdullah II School for Engineering
14.45-15.00 Keynote: The Collaboration Imperative: Chris Cramer Head of Insider, Reuters

There is growing recognition of the need for collaboration in order to tackle complex problems or/and provide solutions for progress and development. Corporations need to collaborate with government, with customers, with NGOs, with stakeholders – and even with competition. In order to survive and thrive, each of them requires the environment of a collaborative ecosystem. So how do we foster this reality?

Chaired by: H.E. The British Ambassador to Jordan Mr. Peter Millett

  • Balsam Al Ayoub & Lulwa Al Ayoub Entrepreneurs/Kuwaiti Fencing Champions
  • Khalid Alkhudair -Founder & CEO
  • Shada El Sharif Green Buildinings Council
15.45-16.00 Keynote: The Future of MENA: Dr Hayat Sindi, Founder & President i2nstitute

Finding the Leaders of Tomorrow: what is the Climate for Change & Development post-Arab Spring?

The current trailblazing leadership generation will, in due time, be replaced by other generations of competent women leaders. There is no better time than now, in the “Arab Spring” era, to arrange a conference for Women, bringing the present generation of pioneering leaders together, with leadership from other parts of the world, and with the best and brightest of the young women, who will be the future generations of leadership. So, where do we look for capable, success-orientated and pioneering women in the MENA World?

Panel co-produced with Stanford University (AMENDS) & Leaders of Tomorrow

Chaired by: Rana Sweis Executive Committee, Leaders of Tomorrow. Reporter New York Times (Global Edition)

  • Rawan Da’as AMENDS Fellow
  • Sarah Abu Alia Founder and Project Director at ArtMedium
  • Alaa Mufleh AMENDS Fellow
  • Fida Taher, Founder and CEO of


Closing remarks/ Announcement on Workshops Day 3 & GTF 2013

Departure of bus for International Speakers & Delegates

Day 2: Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oasis500 & GTF 2012 Awards For Excellence Gala

Time Event
19.00-22.00 6th Oasis500 Angel Network Event

No patronage statement

Global Thinkers Forum 2012 Awards in Excellence

Honorary Awards for:

  • Excellence in Global Thinking: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah
  • Excellence in Leadership: Margery Kraus – Founder & CEO APCO Worldwide
  • Excellence in Life: Arianna Huffington President & Editor-in-Chief of HuffPo Media Group
  • Excellence in Media: HRH Princess Rym Ali of Jordan
  • Excellence in Philanthropy: Marianna Vardinoyannis UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
  • Excellence in Positive Change: Deema Bibi, CEO INJAZ
  • Excellence in Science: Dr Hayat Sindi Founder i2stintute
  • Excellence in Innovation: Nabila Ramdani, Journalist
  • Excellence in Entrepreneurship: Khalid AlKhudair, CEO
  • Excellence in Cultural Understanding: Dalia Mogahed, Author & Director Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies
  • Excellence in Gender Equality: Sonja Lokar, President European Women’s Forum
  • Excellence in Pioneering: Zaha Hadid, Director Zaha Hadid Architects

Closing Remarks