The climate crisis, COVID-19 and the digital revolution are dramatically changing the jobs we have and the way we work. The IGNITE conference brought together stakeholders from across the world’s most fragile regions to discuss how the most vulnerable people – youth, refugees, women – can stay included in the global economy.
Hear from thought leaders, experts and youth from fragile and conflict-affected regions that are taking matters into their own hands.
Femi Oke (host)
Femi Oke is an award winning international journalist, broadcaster, professional facilitator and the co-founder of the diverse moderators...
SpeakerFemi Oke (host)
Femi Oke is an award winning international journalist, broadcaster, professional facilitator and the co-founder of the diverse moderators bureau “Moderate The Panel.” Since the 1980s Femi has worked for BBC television and radio, Sky TV, all the U.K. terrestrial television networks, CNN, U.S. public radio, and is currently a senior presenter with Al Jazeera English.
Raouf Mazou (keynote)
Mr. Raouf Mazou took up his appointment as Assistant High Commissioner for Operations of the United Nations High...
SpeakerRaouf Mazou (keynote)
Mr. Raouf Mazou took up his appointment as Assistant High Commissioner for Operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva on 1 February 2020. Prior to this appointment, he was the Director of the Africa Bureau in 2019 and the UNHCR Representative in Kenya for over five years. In the four years immediately preceding this assignment, he was a Deputy Director in the Africa Bureau, covering the East and Horn of Africa Region. Other senior positions he has occupied in UNHCR include: Deputy Director of the Division of Operations Support and Head of the Emergency and Security Service, a position in which he oversaw UNHCR’s global emergency management and staff security interests. Having served UNHCR for over 28 years, Mr. Mazou has worked in the field in many capacities, starting in the early nineties in the Great Lakes Region and subsequently in West Africa, in the context of the Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugee crises. He has garnered expertise in various areas of UNHCR’s activities, particularly in emergency response, repatriation and the development of strategies aimed at bridging the gap between relief and development.
Mr. Mazou holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He is fluent in English and French.
Rowan Barnett (keynote)
Rowan Barnett leads Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In his previous roles at Google,...
SpeakerRowan Barnett (keynote)
Rowan Barnett leads Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In his previous roles at Google, he also led Google.org’s philanthropy in Asia Pacific as well as Google for Startups efforts to enable access to the tech ecosystem for diverse and underrepresented entrepreneurs and social innovators. Prior to Google he was a Senior Director at Twitter responsible for user growth across many European and Emerging Markets, spent 8 years in journalism and social innovation at Axel Springer, as well as failing to be a successful entrepreneur.
Rowan serves on a number of advisory boards, including the Trialogue Educational Trust and Club of Three, the startup leadership network H2.co, and he is a Save the Children Changemaker. He has roots in eight countries, including dual English and German citizenship, and lives in Berlin. He holds an MA in History from Oriel College, Oxford.
Birgitta Tazelaar (keynote)
Birgitta Tazelaar is the deputy Director-General for International Cooperation at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has...
SpeakerBirgitta Tazelaar (keynote)
Birgitta Tazelaar is the deputy Director-General for International Cooperation at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has a career as a diplomat with over 25 years experience in political affairs, human rights and development cooperation. Birgitta has worked in The Middle East, Southern Africa and the UK in a variety of bilateral and non-governmental organisations, in both advisory and senior management posts. Birgitta was previously the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department preceded by serving as head of Mission in Ramallah – managing amongst others a sizeable development cooperation programme. From 2008-2011, Birgitta was the political counsellor at the Dutch Embassy in London, responsible for foreign policy areas ranging from security files such as NATO and nuclear, to EU external policy and various crises areas worldwide. Other postings included being the deputy head of the human rights division in the Hague where she was active on promoting women’s rights in the UN and spokesperson for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Amb. Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani (keynote)
Amb. Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani is the Chairman of INDEX Holding and its subsidiaries such as INDEX...
SpeakerAmb. Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani (keynote)
Amb. Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani is the Chairman of INDEX Holding and its subsidiaries such as INDEX Health Care Management, INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions, INDEX Trading and Investment, INDEX Media, INDEX Medical Centre, INDEX Holding Korea, INDEX Holding Singapore, INDEX Design, and Abdul Salam Al Madani Textile Trading and Tailoring. INDEX is one of the leading corporate companies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Prior to the formation of the above companies, Amb. Dr. Al Madani served as the Director of Planning and Development at the Primary Health Care, Department of Health and Medical Services, Government of Dubai for the duration of 18 years.
DIHAD – an annual event of INDEX Conferences (a profound initiative in UAE) through its active panel of members led by Amb. Dr. Al Madani as the Chairman continues to highlight global issues of humanitarian concerns and suggest recommendations to bring about improvements and achievable solutions. The DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation a not-for-profit organization focusing on the sustainable improvement and needs of the people in the countries affected by crises, disasters, and natural calamities was formed as an initiative of Amb. Dr. Al Madani that will manage all the charitable, humanitarian, educational, and aid activities including the conference scientific program and the accompanying events related to DIHAD Conference and Exhibition.
Amer Bukvić (keynote)
Amer Bukvić is the Acting Director General – Global Practice & Partnerships (DG-GPP) at the Islamic Development Bank. Amer...
SpeakerAmer Bukvić (keynote)
Amer Bukvić is the Acting Director General – Global Practice & Partnerships (DG-GPP) at the Islamic Development Bank. Amer leads the Bank’s product organization and strategic direction in the areas of partnerships, public (sovereign) financing, private (non-sovereign) financing, co-financing, and knowledge products, in a manner that helps the Bank provide suitable financing solutions with improved financial terms and sustainable added value. He builds upon the existing relationships with major developmental partners such as Arab Coordination Group, MDBs, UN system and private sector partners such as business enterprises, philanthropic and corporate foundations, financial institutions, and seeks to establish new network of collaborative alliances with private and public entities to augment the Bank’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sonia Ben Jaafar (keynote)
Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar currently serves as the CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, one...
SpeakerSonia Ben Jaafar (keynote)
Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar currently serves as the CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, one of the largest privately funded philanthropic education initiatives in the Arab world. Prior to this role, she was the Managing Director of EduEval, where she cultivated partnerships with governments, international agencies, not-for-profit organisations, and multinational corporations to promote evidence-based decisions for a greater positive impact on education. She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership, and a MA in Curriculum Studies from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about coupling her experience with her academic background to promote knowledge sharing and education for good.
Alexander Betts (keynote)
Alexander Betts is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, and Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College,...
SpeakerAlexander Betts (keynote)
Alexander Betts is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, and Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College, at the University of Oxford. He served as Director of the Refugee Studies Centre between 2014 and 2017. His research focuses mainly on refugee protection, with a focus on Africa. In addition to his ten other books, he is author, of the award-winning ‘The Wealth of Refugees: How Displaced People Can Build Economies’ (Oxford University Press, 2021). He has been named by the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, by Foreign Policy magazine in the top 100 global thinkers, and his TED talks have been viewed by over 3 million people. He has previously worked for UNHCR and leads the IKEA Foundation-funded Refugee Economies Programme.
Irvine Floréale Murame (keynote)
Irvine Floréale Murame is a young leader and Entrepreneur in Burundi. She is the founder of Infinity Group,...
SpeakerIrvine Floréale Murame (keynote)
Irvine Floréale Murame is a young leader and Entrepreneur in Burundi. She is the founder of Infinity Group, one of the main Human Resource players in Burundi, and partner of SPARK in creating employability opportunuties of Burundian youth. Later on, pursuing her personal dreams and drive to serve, she founded INFINITY GROUP. INFINITY GROUP offers fellow Burundian youth an accelerated Job Readiness Program that aligns their skills to the market needs. Irvine’s vision translated into her innovative approaches, paves the way for young job seekers to become economic actors, through unique opportunities.
Alessandro Villa (keynote)
Alessandro Villa is an agro-economist by training and works at the European Commission (EC), Directorate General for International...
SpeakerAlessandro Villa (keynote)
Alessandro Villa is an agro-economist by training and works at the European Commission (EC), Directorate General for International Partnership (DG INTPA) in Brussels as Deputy Head of Unit for Middle East, Central Asia and relations with Arab Donors. Previously he worked as Deputy Head of Unit for relations with International Organizations/Financial Institutions and EU Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Rome. Before he worked within the Crisis Platform of the EC as planner for crisis responses and as head of section for rural development and food security at the EC Delegations to Uganda and Rwanda.
Thanks to his various positions, half of which on the ground, he has developed a wide geographical and thematic experience in particular on crisis response, external relations, development, multilateral and bilateral cooperation, working closely with partners countries and other donors to develop increasingly effective and strategic partnerships.
Raed AlSaleh (keynote)
Raed AlSaleh is the General Manager of the Syrian White Helmets. He was elected to the position in...
SpeakerRaed AlSaleh (keynote)
Raed AlSaleh is the General Manager of the Syrian White Helmets. He was elected to the position in 2014, while responsible for the six hundred volunteers in Idlib. He now leads an organization of over 3,000 volunteers. Raed has been honored internationally, including receiving multiple awards for his national and international peace and humanitarian contributions. Among others, he was selected in TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2017.
Mossadeck Bally (keynote)
Mr. Mossadeck Bally is the Founder of the Azalaï Hotels Group, a leading private hotel chain group in...
SpeakerMossadeck Bally (keynote)
Mr. Mossadeck Bally is the Founder of the Azalaï Hotels Group, a leading private hotel chain group in the West African Region. Mr. Bally commenced his foray into the African hospitality industry with an initial focus on his home country, Mali. In 1994 he established the special purpose vehicle, “Société Malienne de Promotion Hôtelière (SMPH)” to effect the acquisition of the first hotel of the future Azalaï Hotels Group through the State privatization of the mythical “Grand Hôtel de Bamako”. In 2000, he built on the strong reputation on the service quality and management of its premier hotel to build and open the Salam Hotel, and enter into a management agreement for Hotel Nord Sud, both based in Bamako. In 2005, Mr. Bally consolidated the activities of the various properties under a common brand (“Azalaï Hotels”), and formally launched the Group’s expansion strategy in the WAEMU region. Under Mr. Bally’s leadership, the Azalaï Hotels Group expanded to Burkina Faso in 2004, to Guinea Bissau in 2007, to Benin in 2008 and more recently to Nouakchott, Abidjan and Dakar, with projects underway in Conakry, Niamey and Douala. From its humble origin, 25 years ago, Azalaï Hotels Group is today the first African private hotel chain group in the West African Region, providing direct employment to about 700 persons and over 2000 indirectly.
Michel Botzung (keynote)
Michel Botzung is the Manager of IFC’s Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCS) Africa program. Michel has been with...
SpeakerMichel Botzung (keynote)
Michel Botzung is the Manager of IFC’s Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCS) Africa program. Michel has been with IFC for almost 20 years, and has held several field positions in North Africa, the Middle East, India, and more recently East Africa, based in Nairobi. He currently manages IFC’s FCS Africa program, which was established in 2014 to support and help grow IFC’s investment and advisory engagements in African FCS. Under his leadership, IFC has engaged in enabling private sector solutions in the forced displacement space, including in Kakuma in Northern Kenya.
Jean Van Wetter (keynote)
Jean Van Wetter is the managing director of Enabel, a Belgian development agency. Enabel implements Belgian international development...
SpeakerJean Van Wetter (keynote)
Jean Van Wetter is the managing director of Enabel, a Belgian development agency. Enabel implements Belgian international development policy. Together with its Belgian and international partners, Enabel provides solutions to urgent global challenges – climate change, urbanisation, human mobility, peace and security, social and economic inequality – and promotes global citizenship. With 2,000 employees, Enabel manages some 170 projects in 20 countries in Belgium, Africa and the Middle East. Jean was the Executive Director of Handicap International and lived abroad for fifteen years in Cambodia, China and Tanzania.
Nowar Rahmouni (keynote)
Nowar Rahmouni is a documentary film maker and researcher originally from Syria who relocated to Lebanon following the...
SpeakerNowar Rahmouni (keynote)
Nowar Rahmouni is a documentary film maker and researcher originally from Syria who relocated to Lebanon following the conflict. Nowar is a journalist and has written articles, which can be found in Al-fanar Media, Al-khbar newspaper including Techfugees. She is the communications lead at Techfugees in the Lebanon Chapter, which is focused on remote-work/digital corridor initiatives to foster access to work for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Nowar is a motivational speaker at regular public events and a beacon to women across the Middle-East, as she leads the SPARK Alumni Network supporting entrepreneurs. She is also the Founder of Gharna Halabi, which sells traditional, natural, and organic products with handcraft designs.
Omar Itani (keynote)
Omar Itani’s entrepreneurial journey started at a young age at high school, when he started his student-run waste...
SpeakerOmar Itani (keynote)
Omar Itani’s entrepreneurial journey started at a young age at high school, when he started his student-run waste management company. Itani has won numerous competitions including the prestigious Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) in 2018, where he developed FabricAID into the scale and shape it occupies today. FabricAID is a social enterprise focused on upcycling and reusing second hand clothes. Itani won the Denis Pietton Award organised by the French Institute in 2018 as the most distinguished, young social entrepreneur from the Arab World. He was also awarded the Young Champion of the Earth for West Asia in 2019 by the United Nations for his work in fabric waste reduction – the highest award given by the UN for individuals under the age of 30. Business savvy and social by nature, Itani has succeeded in growing FabricAID from a seed idea into a full-blown company with more than 120 employees and several millions in revenues within 4 years.
Ruud van Enk
Ruud van Enk is a Senior Expert and Team leader for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey in...
SpeakerRuud van Enk
Ruud van Enk is a Senior Expert and Team leader for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey in DG NEAR of the European Commission. Previously Ruud worked as Deputy Head of Unit for Kosovo in the Commission and he was Head of Operations at the Delegations of the Commission in the Czech Republic and in Bulgaria. Ruud is a Dutch national and speaks English, French & German.
Sadettin Akyıl was born in 1963 in Konya. He graduated from Selçuk University Faculty of Engineering and Architecture...
Sadettin Akyıl was born in 1963 in Konya. He graduated from Selçuk University Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Department of Physics Engineering. He worked in the Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Environment, Prime Ministry, Grand National Assembly of Turkey and Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO). In 2002, he was appointed as the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. In 2003, he participated in the preparation of the legislation concerning the work permits of the foreigners forming the basis for the formation and implementation of the first regular migration policies. He participated in the policy making and implementation processes concerning the access of foreigners to Turkish labour market. He led the preparation of the International Labour Force Law and establishment of the Directorate General of International Labour Force within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. In 2016, he has been appointed as the Director General.
Margie Jackson is a fervent believer in the transformative power of education, and particularly the power of higher education,...
Margie Jackson is a fervent believer in the transformative power of education, and particularly the power of higher education, to break the cycle of poverty for the most marginalized. Since 2016, she has been fortunate to work with an organization equally passionate about the right to education for all, Education Above All (Doha, Qatar). Ms. Jackson is a Senior Specialist with the Al Fakhoora programme, a division of EAA devoted to providing access to quality, relevant higher education for vulnerable youth, including refugees, IDP’s, and members of host communities. She works with development organizations, INGOs, education institutes, and other stakeholders, designing, developing, and managing scholarship programmes currently providing over 9,000 scholarships throughout the MENA region and beyond.
Kate Warren brings over two decades of global development and digital media experience, covering and shaping the important...
Kate Warren brings over two decades of global development and digital media experience, covering and shaping the important conversations driving the Sustainable Development Goals. In her role as EVP and Executive Editor, Kate leads Devex’s special coverage including news events, Devex Pro, and other editorial initiatives tied to key moments on the global development calendar. Kate is a frequent speaker, moderator and author on trends and issues in the social impact and global development space as well as LGBTQ youth rights. Before joining Devex in 2008, Kate worked on programs in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Colombia, Kenya and beyond for an international NGO and a global development consulting firm implementing USAID funded rule of law, infrastructure, civil society and institutional strengthening and monitoring and evaluation projects.
Rawan Al Zaidy
Five years ago, three young Iraqis initiated and started their own firm called Nakhla, focusing on enhancing the...
SpeakerRawan Al Zaidy
Five years ago, three young Iraqis initiated and started their own firm called Nakhla, focusing on enhancing the number of Iraqi palm trees and reducing the amount of cutting and deforestation by providing the most efficient and professional ways of palm care in exchange for an annual subscription and a percentage of the harvested dates. They provide annual professional caring services throughout the entire season. Rawan is the administrative director for Nakhla since 2019. She started working there as the production and development manager and she earned her place at the administration board as the first female administrative director at the company.
Fred de Vries
Fred de Vries currently leads the internationalisation strategy at the University of Twente after committing to a range...
SpeakerFred de Vries
Fred de Vries currently leads the internationalisation strategy at the University of Twente after committing to a range of responsibilities in the innovation of education using learning technologies aimed at adults in Higher Education. These include technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and professional development in the workplace. Fred was one of the architects for the digital transformation at the Open University of the Netherlands and worked with the UNHCR, UNESCO and various philanthropies, for-profit education institutes, and NGOs like ISR and JWL who cover the Middle East and Africa on Open Education, mobile learning and Lifelong learning. Besides this, Fred is helping EdTech start-ups in Africa. Fred also joined the Supervisory Board at SPARK almost two years ago, focusing on impact and (technology-enhanced) higher education.
Leontine Specker Turhal has joined SPARK in June 2020 as the Regional Programme Director for the Middle East...
Leontine Specker Turhal has joined SPARK in June 2020 as the Regional Programme Director for the
Middle East and Turkey and is based in Istanbul. Before joining SPARK, Leontine served for UNDP for 10
years focusing on crisis response and recovery, including her last position as Senior Resilience Advisor in
UNDP Turkey. Overall, Leontine has more than 18 years of experience in jobs and entrepreneurship in
crisis recovery settings in various capacities, including senior management, inter-agency coordination,
partnerships, resource mobilization and programme management and served in multiple countries.
Before joining the UN, Leontine worked as research fellow with the Conflict Research Unit of
Clingendael- the Netherlands Institute for International Relations- focusing on policy-oriented research
for the Stabilization Unit of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She holds two master’s degrees,
an LLM on Public International Law from Leiden University (Netherlands) and a Master of Professional
Studies in International Relations and Human Rights from Auckland University (New Zealand).
Valentina is an entrepreneur and a journalist. She is the founder of Startups Without Borders, a platform that...
Valentina is an entrepreneur and a journalist. She is the founder of Startups Without Borders, a platform that connects refugee and migrant entrepreneurs to resources, while providing investors with an entry point to under-the-radar startups with disruptive potential. Their annual Startups Without Borders Summit was featured amongst the Top 60 startup events to follow in 2021. She was awarded the Women Economic Forum’s Women in Excellence Award 2019, and acts as an advisor for SXSW Pitch. Valentina has been involved in the Middle East’s startup landscape since 2013, having launched Egypt’s largest platform on entrepreneurship, Startup Scene Middle East, in 2017.
Huda Hassan is an entrepreneur, a certified youth trainer and a Networks of Change alumni from SPARK. She...
Huda Hassan is an entrepreneur, a certified youth trainer and a Networks of Change alumni from SPARK. She is also a business administration and management student from the University of Kurdistan (UKH). While being a student and youth campaigner, Huda started a fashion business called Jamana. This Kurdish clothing brand integrates cultural and classical Kurdish style with modern fashion, making it a unique outfit. It’s her ambition to further grow her business and make it a well-known international brand. Follow this link to learn more about Jamana designs: https://www.instagram.com/jamana.fashion/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y%3D
Mustafa El Sagezli
Since 2015, Mustafa El Sagezli has been active in international projects focused on state building and socio-economic development...
SpeakerMustafa El Sagezli
Since 2015, Mustafa El Sagezli has been active in international projects focused on state building and socio-economic development in fragile and conflict regions including Libya, Somalia, Syria and Turkey. Mustafa is currently the director of the local organisation the Libyan Program for Reintegration and Development (LPRD) that aims to direct young Libyans away from joining militias and experiencing issues with conflict. Youth are provided with education and socio-economic development projects to strengthen their communities. LPRD has established 31 branches in Libya and has succeeded in reintegrating thousands of former combatants and youth. Alongside this, Mustafa was the chairman of the board SESRIC and is the director general of the Bina programme.
Anouk Verheijen is Senior Capacity Development Officer at FMO, overseeing some of the Technical Assistance (TA) facilities FMO...
Anouk Verheijen is Senior Capacity Development Officer at FMO, overseeing some of the Technical Assistance (TA) facilities FMO is running. Among these is the NASIRA TA facility, a capacity building programme being rolled out alongside a risk sharing facility and dedicated loan offer to financial institutions to better serve young, female and irregular migrant entrepreneurs in the MENA and sub-Saharan African region. The NASIRA TA facility supports multiple banks in reaching these target groups utilising and improving their digital infrastructure. Anouk brings 15+ years of experience in the origination, management and implementation of private sector development and access to (SME) finance TA programmes of up to €10M for multiple donors and development banks. She has been working with commercial, development, SME finance and microfinance banks across Sub-Saharan Africa to build their inclusive and green portfolio’s.
Dr. Abdallah Abdallah enjoys a versatile experience in different leadership and management roles. He worked as an assistant...
Dr. Abdallah Abdallah enjoys a versatile experience in different leadership and management roles. He worked as an assistant to the president of the German Jordanian University and the CEO of Amman Chamber of Industry. Currently he is assistant president for industry partnership at Al Hussein Technical University (HTU). Dr. Abdallah spent the last few years working on unemployment and TVET issues among Jordanian youth. He worked with many NGOs operating in Jordan in creating employment studies and advising Jordanian decision makers towards proper remedies. Dr. Abdallah’s current position is the Assistant President for Industry Partnership at Al Hussein Technical University responsible for apprenticeship and employability of university graduates.
Marilize Pretorius received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Antwerp (UA) and is currently a lecturer...
Marilize Pretorius received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Antwerp (UA) and is currently a lecturer at the Department of Linguistics at the UA, Belgium. Her research interests centre on the design, implementation and evaluation of curricula and syllabi for English language teaching and learning. More specifically, her teaching and research activities include, but are not limited to, the subject areas of English language and intercultural communication skills for nurses, as well as English for academic, for legal and for business purposes.
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Ayselin Yildiz is a faculty member of International Relations and UNESCO Chair on International Migration at Yasar...
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Ayselin Yildiz is a faculty member of International Relations and UNESCO Chair on International Migration at Yasar University (Izmir/Turkey). She held research fellowships at Wageningen University, University of California Berkeley and University of Pittsburgh. Her research and publications focus on migration and refugee studies, internationalization of higher education and external relations of the EU. She has conducted various EU-funded research projects and also works as consultant to IOM and Council of Europe. She gives training to policy practitioners on “migrant smuggling, strengthening capacity of readmission centers, EU migration governance and intercultural communication”. She is the author of the book The European Union’s Immigration Policy: Managing Migration in Turkey and Morocco.
Raf Njotea is a screenwriter, columnist and presenter. He wrote for Flemish TV-shows Dertigers, PANNA, Familie and others....
Raf Njotea is a screenwriter, columnist and presenter. He wrote for Flemish TV-shows Dertigers, PANNA, Familie and others. Together with Lander Kennis he created Ouder, a podcast for Flemish Radio 1 about his father’s life and migration story. In his columns and talks Raf often focuses on themes such as identity, language and representation.
Aurélien Pastouret began his career working in the private sector as lobbyist in Paris and Brussels and his...
Aurélien Pastouret began his career working in the private sector as lobbyist in Paris and Brussels and his first assignments in the public sector were in the French ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the French Prime Minister’s Office, where he worked on ACP countries. He moved on to the management of development projects and joined DG INTPA in 2018 with responsibilities on operational and financial cooperation with Sub Saharan African countries. In 2021, Aurelien Pastouret joined DG NEAR unit B2, in charge of regional programmes for the Southern Neighbourhood. He is in charge of several regional programmes in the areas of economic development (on issues such as SME development, entrepreneurship, innovation, trade and investment, green economy, financial inclusion) including blending under the EFSD+.
Geraldine O’Keeffe is the Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of Software Group (SoftwareGroup.com), a global technology company specialized...
Geraldine O’Keeffe is the Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of Software Group (SoftwareGroup.com), a global technology company specialized in digitalization and integration solutions for financial service providers. Geraldine is passionate about financial inclusion and is inspired to help institutions leverage technology to achieve efficiency, scale and increase outreach. In the last 20 years, she has completed numerous consultancy assignments and hundreds of successful software implementation projects accelerating digital transformation for a range of different financial service providers (FSPs) across Africa, APAC, ECA, MENA and LATAM. The projects empower the FSPs to reach the unbanked and underbanked markets through the development and implementation of innovative digitalization technologies, such as mobile wallet, agency banking solution, digital onboarding and origination and more. As Chief Innovation Officer at Software Group, Geraldine stays in touch with the market at all times to identify FSPs’ needs, advise them on their digital strategy, and help build new products and solutions.
Nosra Ayari is a Tunisian Entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO MENA of LEED Initiative, a Berlin-headquartered INGO that...
Nosra Ayari is a Tunisian Entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO MENA of LEED Initiative, a Berlin-headquartered INGO that empowers and employs youth, women and vulnerable groups making use of digital tools and innovative tech solutions. Since the 2010s, Nosra has held senior positions at Sanofi, Mercy Corps, Open Society Foundations and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. In 2021, she founded NALIA Consulting, an SME that supports business and strategic development for social enterprises and NGOs.
Simon van Melick
Simon van Melick has been working with SPARK since 2012 as Head of Communication (until 2020) and Programme...
SpeakerSimon van Melick
Simon van Melick has been working with SPARK since 2012 as Head of Communication (until 2020) and Programme Manager, focusing on youth employment and engagement in fragile and conflict affected regions. Simon initiated and managed Networks of Change, a programme which prevents radicalisation and violent extremism in the KRI and seeks for expansion in the Middle East. He is also responsible for SPARK’s annual IGNITE conference which focuses on job creation for youth, women and refugees. Before SPARK, Simon worked in the private sector for international campaign and communication agencies. Simon studied history at the University of Amsterdam and the New School for Social Research in New York City.
In 2000, Rawaa Qasha started working as a lecturer and researcher in Computer Science at the College of...
In 2000, Rawaa Qasha started working as a lecturer and researcher in Computer Science at the College of Computer Science and Mathematics/UoM. She received a PhD from School of Computing, Newcastle University/UK in 2017. Her research interests concentrate on the management of Distributed System (Workflow, Big Data and IoT) in the Cloud, such as modelling, deployment, reproducibility, and performance optimization. Currently, she is an assistant professor at University of Mosul and the Director of the department of Scholarships and Cultural Relations at same University where she is responsible of the coordination and arranging of all academic and cultural collaboration with both Arab and International universities and organisations by opening channels of communication, joint projects and exchange programs (up to 25 Projects). Rawaa published about 19 papers in international journals and participated in a number of international conferences. In addition, she was a member of the Management Committee of Al-Nahrein Network at UCL, UK.
Jean Paul Mushumba
Jean Paul Mushumba oversees the executive operation responsibility at MoneyPhone in Rwanda. As part of his work as...
SpeakerJean Paul Mushumba
Jean Paul Mushumba oversees the executive operation responsibility at MoneyPhone in Rwanda. As part of his work as a Country Manager, Jean Paul leads the implementation of digital financial solutions in east and central Africa. He has all-around experience in African microfinance. Jean Paul has led and scaled up complex and strategic Agritech and digital health care programmes at SPARK Rwanda and Babylon Health and his education background includes Agri-Financing.
Tatiana Dormenco is working with UN Women Moldova, under Women Economic Empowerment area, supporting and assisting women entrepreneurs...
Tatiana Dormenco is working with UN Women Moldova, under Women Economic Empowerment area, supporting and assisting women entrepreneurs to develop businesses and build resilience in the time of crisis and also encouraging women and girls to access decent jobs and become agency.
Previously she worked as deputy administrator of Free Economic Zone, working with international and local companies to support their investment process in Republic of Moldova. She has Executive master’s degree in business administration from Bled School of Management and studied business administration at Lincoln University of Missouri (USA).
Ziena Abu-Dalbouh is a business and community enabler, advocating for women, youth, and mental health. Ziena has extensive...
Ziena Abu-Dalbouh is a business and community enabler, advocating for women, youth, and mental health. Ziena has extensive experience in various sectors in the fields of business development and project management, having worked with different INGOs, NGOs, Governments and Corporates. Ziena has a Master’s degree in Business Administration & Marketing and a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. In her current position as Entrepreneurship Program Manager, Ziena designs and implements entrepreneurship programs in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt tailored to enable Syrian & host communities’ youth to accelerate their startup growth to reach financial sustainability.
Rojan Bolling is a knowledge broker at The Broker in the Netherlands, committed to making knowledge work for...
Rojan Bolling is a knowledge broker at The Broker in the Netherlands, committed to making knowledge work for development impact. For the past ten years Rojan has carried out and led research projects, learning trajectories and communities of practice in various capacities. He has a special interest in food security programming in fragile and conflict-affected settings across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Part of this work he now carries out seconded to the Netherlands Food Partnership.
Sara Cantillon is Professor of Economics and Gender at the GCU Glasgow School of Business and Society and...
Sara Cantillon is Professor of Economics and Gender at the GCU Glasgow School of Business and Society and Director of the WiSE Centre for Economic Justice. Previously, she was Head of School of Social Justice and Director of the Equality Studies Centre in University College Dublin. Professor Cantillon has extensive research and policy experience, both nationally and internationally having worked as an Economic Advisor to the Department of the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), in the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and been Visiting Professor at the World Bank, Senshu University, Tokyo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Marie Curie Senior Fellow at the University of Warwick. Her main areas of research are care, gender and intrahousehold distribution and has published widely on these topics, authoring numerous policy reports for Government Departments,statutory bodies, UNDP and UNWomen. She was the National Expert on the EU Commission’s Network of Experts in the Field of Socio-Economic Discrimination; Advisor to the Scottish Government Gender Index Working Group; on the IAFFE Board of Directors, IAFFE, 2016-2010 and is currently Series Editor. Sara is currently a resident expert with the UN Global Crisis Bureau and an international gender consultant with UNWomen.
Doa Wadi has been the Executive Director of Business Women Forum (BWF) – Palestine since 2008. BWF was...
Doa Wadi has been the Executive Director of Business Women Forum (BWF) – Palestine since 2008. BWF was established in 2006 and is a nonprofit organisation with a mission to strengthen the role of businesswomen as leaders in the Palestinian economy through advocacy, networking, and the provision of business services. Doa has over 27 years of experience in economic development targeting women and youth in becoming empowered. She has participated in advanced training courses in regional and international NGOs and further developed her capacity in management for small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) alongside acquiring her studies. These courses enabled her to lead and have a significant contribution in developing BWF into a well positioned local NGO for female economic empowerment.
Mariam Al–Bouawad is the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning advisor for the Orange Corners programme of the Netherlands Enterprise...
Mariam Al–Bouawad is the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning advisor for the Orange Corners programme of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Orange Corners supports young entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East with growing their businesses by providing them access to skills, knowledge and networks that are necessary to build succesful enterprises and create jobs. Previously, Mariam has worked for the University of Antwerp and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), guiding businesses in measuring their sustainability impact and reporting on global challenges such as climate change, gender equality, and anti-corruption.
Fernando Martinez Cure
Fernando Martinez Cure is a livelihoods and economic inclusion specialist with a focus on strong social dimensions, particularly...
SpeakerFernando Martinez Cure
Fernando Martinez Cure is a livelihoods and economic inclusion specialist with a focus on strong social dimensions, particularly around migration, governance, poverty-reduction, and equity building. His main areas of expertise are market systems and SME development programme designs, monitoring and implementation with a robust focus on the poor, internally displaced, refugees, ethnic groups, and women. Fernando currently advises migrant-focused livelihoods and SME development programmes in 25+ countries at the ILO.
Roos Hogenkamp has been a Member of the Board at Nuffic since 2016. As a global manager, she...
Roos Hogenkamp has been a Member of the Board at Nuffic since 2016. As a global manager, she is responsible for managing international development programmes for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the EU. The Orange Knowledge Programme is an example of one of them. On top of this, Roos holds responsibility for several organisation-wide portfolios, such as Nuffic’s offices abroad, EU pillar assessment, as well as social impact and safety. Prior to joining Nuffic, Roos directed the International Office of Tilburg University, where she also held other positions. She has a broad experience in international education management, strategic management, innovation, intercultural communication and global development.
Beatrice Maneshi, Founder of Catalystas Consulting, is an expert in development in conflict-affected settings, specifically in redeveloping and...
Beatrice Maneshi, Founder of Catalystas Consulting, is an expert in development in conflict-affected settings, specifically in redeveloping and supporting the growth of SMEs, Women and Youth Own Businesses, and SME Financing. For the past ten years, she has supported DFI, government, and NGO, as well as the private sector, developing private sector support programming across the Sahel, the MENA region, and South East Asia.
Majd Khalifeh is the co-founder & CEO at Flow Accelerator. She is an investment professional and business development...
Majd Khalifeh is the co-founder & CEO at Flow Accelerator. She is an investment professional and business development expert with more than 16 years of experience. Majd has been granted the first “Accredited Financial Advisor” in Palestine and co-founded Flow Accelerator aiming to invest in Palestinian youth to increase the success of launched ventures and currently leads its strategy, positioning, and vision. Majd is a licenced corporate advisor, Startups and innovative SME’s coach on business opportunity assessment, value proposition, financial planning, business modelling and fundraising in several key local and global entrepreneurship networks.
Professor Tilman Brück, as a development economist, analyses the behaviour and the welfare of poor and vulnerable people in conflict-affected,...
Professor Tilman Brück, as a development economist, analyses the behaviour and the welfare of poor and vulnerable people in conflict-affected, fragile and humanitarian emergency settings. He also studies how policies and programmes share lives and livelihoods in such settings and how to collect data and conduct research in challenging circumstances. Tilman is a professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin; Research Group Leader at Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, and the Founder and Director of ISDC – International Security and Development Center in Berlin. Tilman has collected large-scale datasets (for example the longitudinal Life in Kyrgyzstan Study and the global Life with Corona Study) and created research communities (for example co-founding and co-directing the Households in Conflict Network and co-founding the Global Young Academy). He obtained his DPhil in economics at the University of Oxford.
Dr. Fadi Amroush is a co-founder at Niuversity, an online learning institute based in Berlin. He is a...
Dr. Fadi Amroush is a co-founder at Niuversity, an online learning institute based in Berlin. He is a sought-after researcher, expert, and consultant in behavioural economics, blockchain, and digital asset. Dr. Amroush has over 15 years of experience in startups and nonprofits, founding and developing teams, experimenting, and investing. Empowering youth and local communities are at the centre of what he does. He has trained tens of thousands of people in freelancing, online work and digital marketing in the MENA region.
Yasmine Wartani is a young activist in Tunisia who is passionate about empowering young people from the Arab...
Yasmine Wartani is a young activist in Tunisia who is passionate about empowering young people from the Arab World to engage in bringing positive change to their communities. With a background in International Relations and extensive experience in coordinating projects with Jssor Youth Org, the Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality and Human Security Collective on youth and female empowerment in fragile communities in the Arab region, Yasmine works towards enabling young people to have a voice in peace-building processe
Fatima Mousa is a Senior Consultant and Head of Program at Arabnet – a leading event, insights and...
Fatima Mousa is a Senior Consultant and Head of Program at Arabnet – a leading event, insights and innovation programme organiser focused on tech business and innovation in the MENA region. Fatima’s role includes her managing a team of programme producers and leading all programme components for Arabnet’s conferences and programmes – including but not limited to structuring or shaping agenda, themes and topics; overseeing selection of speakers and outreach; and managing the conferences on the ground. Her responsibilities require her to be up-to-date on the latest trends across digital media and advertising, fintech and digital banking, digital transformation, smart cities and property tech, as well as entrepreneurship and investing in startups. Over the last 7+ years at Arabnet, Fatima has handled dozens of events, and managed relationships with hundreds of global and regional speakers, industry experts, and investors. Fatima also led on the conceptualization and implementation of diverse products and projects, including developing original research reports and publications.
Born in Congo, Kiza Magendane is an independent writer and policy entrepreneur based in The Hague. He studied...
Born in Congo, Kiza Magendane is an independent writer and policy entrepreneur based in The Hague. He studied political science in Amsterdam and Antwerp and has a column for the Dutch leading daily NRC Handelsblad. His work focuses on power relations, identity, technology and the position of Africa in the world. He is the founder of Progressief Café, the new independent think tank for progressive ideas in the Netherlands.
Okan Altaşlı, Private Sector Partnership Coordinator Finance and banking professional with extensive experience in private equity investments, banking, nonbank...
Okan Altaşlı, Private Sector Partnership Coordinator Finance and banking professional with extensive experience in private equity investments, banking, nonbank financial institutions and development finance. 20+ years of private equity, investment banking and development finance experience in Turkey, MENA and the surrounding region. In charge of monitoring and improving the quality of SPARK’s jobs programs, credit guarantee operations and achieving greater private sector involvement and support in SPARK managed projects.
Mehemed Bougsea is co-founder and CEO of Think-it, an engineering collective that accelerates and integrates North Africa’s next...
Mehemed Bougsea is co-founder and CEO of Think-it, an engineering collective that accelerates and integrates North Africa’s next generation of technological leaders with innovative teams around the world. Previously Mehemed has worked as a strategy consultant to the German and Tunisian governments on the socio-economic development of youth in regions with elevated unemployment rates across Africa, and built the country office of Kiron Open Higher Education in Turkey, which enables access to university level education for refugees. Mehemed is a member and regional Ambassador of the NEXUS network, BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders, and Oslo-based Katapult Climate. He holds an MPA in Development from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and is a fellow of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School.
Peter de Ruiter
Peter de Ruiter has a strong affiliation and broad experience with International Business in the Netherlands, EU and...
SpeakerPeter de Ruiter
Peter de Ruiter has a strong affiliation and broad experience with International Business in the Netherlands, EU and Africa. In any organisation he will optimise the people, finance, tax and legal functions. He is a visionary leader who defines clear and convincing strategies with his teams and ensures effective implementation. Peter believes the private sector plays a crucial role in the economic and sustainable development of Africa. He is involved in the work of the Netherlands-African Business Council as Senior Counsel for many years, he was NABC’s managing director between 2017-2021. Prior to this, Peter built up over 30 years of professional experience as Partner in PWC and EY. He worked and lived in a number of countries and gained international business expertise in emerging and developing markets such as in Central Eastern Europe, Nigeria and West-Africa.
Paolo Ganino is a Policy Communications Manager at Twitter in Brussels. A specialist in strategic communications, digital diplomacy...
Paolo Ganino is a Policy Communications Manager at Twitter in Brussels. A specialist in strategic communications, digital diplomacy and disinformation, Paolo has more than 10 years’ experience in journalism, foreign affairs and tech. Prior to joining Twitter, Paolo was a Strategic Communications Officer at the EU diplomatic service and a producer and reporter for Al Jazeera English in London and Doha.
Suha Nabhan is the co-founder and strategic director of Migration Jam. Suha is a strategic communications specialist, a...
Suha Nabhan is the co-founder and strategic director of Migration Jam. Suha is a strategic communications specialist, a volunteerism enthusiast, and an entrepreneur. Suha worked on several strategic communication campaigns focused on raising awareness for migrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East with international organisations. She also founded a couple of projects in Syria. She’s passionate about building strong networks for social impact, justice and equality. She’s currently based in Istanbul, Turkey and working as the co-founder and strategic director of Migration Jam with the aim to change the mainstream negative narrative about migration through storytelling.
Dr. Ramy Lakkis is the founder and director of The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST). His organisation...
Dr. Ramy Lakkis is the founder and director of The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST). His organisation covers over 10 sectors including: Women Empowerment, Youth Empowerment, Governance, Peacebuilding, Humanitarian work, Livelihood, food security, protection, environment, education and democracy.Ramy, a Chevening Scholar, carries a PHD from Durham University and is an academic lecturer and researcher in International Business and Peacebuilding and Director of International Affairs Department, AUST University, Zahle in addition to being a consultant with the World Bank and Co-editor of Global Trends, international academic series.
Fadi Bizri is an innovation and tech investment expert with over 13 years of experience. Fadi co-founded and...
Fadi Bizri is an innovation and tech investment expert with over 13 years of experience. Fadi co-founded and manages SE Factory (SEF), a mission-driven enterprise in Lebanon providing coding bootcamps and tech recruitment for low-income youth. SEF trains talented students on practical tech and soft skills that are required by the global job market, subsequently providing them access to top software development opportunities with international companies. Previously, Fadi was a partner at B&Y Venture Partners, a venture capital investment fund with a global mandate, focused on investing in highly scalable technology startups. He also has significant startup accelerator experience, having co-founded the first two in Lebanon.
Brandon Oelofse is Co-Founder of Media Development Collective, a collaborative consultancy and training organisation focused on the media,...
Brandon Oelofse is Co-Founder of Media Development Collective, a collaborative consultancy and training organisation focused on the media, civil society, and for-good sectors. MDC has a focus on media for influence and advocacy, media for behaviour change and media to counter radicalisation and disinformation. Brandon is the civil society key expert for the European Observatory for Online Hate (EOOH). Brandon is the co-author “Making the Media Work for You” – a guide for civil society organisations on how to access the media and use it for change. Brandon is an expert trainer who has trained in over 40 countries building capacities of journalists, activists and civil society practitioners.
Samer develops innovative and cutting-edge technical solutions for today’s most pressing issues. He has a background in designing...
Samer develops innovative and cutting-edge technical solutions for today’s most pressing issues. He has a background in designing and managing digital transformation and software solutions for a range of applications in the manufacturing and service sectors, with a focus on quality control and management, lean manufacturing, agile management, cost efficiency and process optimization. He helps tech startups and SMEs improve their operational efficiency, team collaboration and product quality through targeted consultancy projects. Samer currently works as SPARK’s Regional Innovation Expert, providing support to SPARK’s partners and beneficiaries in innovation and digital technology.
Emiel Martens is a media scholar-practitioner with a background in both Media Studies and Development Studies. He currently...
Emiel Martens is a media scholar-practitioner with a background in both Media Studies and Development Studies. He currently working as Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Senior Researcher in Arts and Culture Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests, publications and talks cover the fields of Postcolonial (Media) Studies, Popular Geopolitics, Migration and Diversity Studies, Creative Industries, Film Tourism, Humanitarian Communication, and Alternative Media. Martens is also, among other things, Co-Founding Director of the Expertise Centre Humanitarian Communication, a non-profit organization aimed at ethical and inclusive communication by and on the international development and humanitarian assistance sectors.
Fulco van Deventer
Fulco van Deventer is co-founder and Deputy Director of Human Security Collective and Associate Fellow at the International...
SpeakerFulco van Deventer
Fulco van Deventer is co-founder and Deputy Director of Human Security Collective and Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT). He has extensive experience in the fields of Governance, Security, Counter Terrorism & Preventing Violent Extremism, as well as institutional and organizational development of Civil Society. He has trained Civil Society Organizations in West-Africa and the Middle-East, Central Europe, Latin America and South-East Asia in building their institutional and strategic capacities, with a focus on governance and development. For the last years he is working with Governments and Civil Society to strengthen the nexus security & development and facilitate dialogue on prevention of violent extremism and countering the financing of terrorism. In cooperation with ICCT, he also supports the implementation of United Security Council Resolutions through regional and national workshops.
Chema Gargouri is a specialist in social and women entrepreneurship and engaging with marginalised and underserved populations. As...
Chema Gargouri is a specialist in social and women entrepreneurship and engaging with marginalised and underserved populations. As founder and CEO of TAMSS since 2006, she has helped grow the organisation to over 45 full-time employees serving over 10,000 women and youth across Tunisia. In her role, she creates alliances and partnerships with like-minded organizations, further allowing TAMSS to expand its impact and its reach all over the country. In parallel with TAMSS, Gargouri is an independent consultant, working with a host of international and national organisations, including the European Union, the Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State, other foreign donors, and international development organisations. Through TAMSS and her consulting work, she has become skilled at developing partnerships and an expert on entrepreneurship ecosystem development, with a focus on the challenges women and youth face in the establishment and/or expansion their small and social businesses.
Abdo Seif, PhD Scholar at City University Malaysia. Working with United Nations Development Programme as Deputy Team Leader...
Abdo Seif, PhD Scholar at City University Malaysia. Working with United Nations Development Programme as Deputy Team Leader for Oversight Support Team. Development practitioner with over 35 years of experience in developing countries. Working with recipients governments in developing national planning frameworks. Formulation of project documents in the areas of poverty alleviation, livelihood, employment generation and strengthening of peoples’ resilience, etc.. Worked on knowledge products such as the three trilogy of the Assessment of Impact of War on Development in the Yemen (2019/2021); National Human Development Reports; and currently on the Impact of Climate Change in Yemen (ongoing).
Mirwais Momand MSc. is a subject matter expert on food value chain in Afghanistan and in fragile states,...
Mirwais Momand MSc. is a subject matter expert on food value chain in Afghanistan and in fragile states, with eleven years experiences with ‘boots on the ground’ as entrepreneur and CEO of MIDO Dairy production. He describes himself as ‘tragic optimistic entrepreneur’ working in most fragile situations and seeing the bright side of the matters.
Mirwais Momand is also a much-invited speaker in International Forums such as Horasis Global Meeting, radio shows, newspaper magazines and think tanks. Mirwais Momand have received several awards for his daring idea to setup MIDO Dairy, including ‘Best Investment in a Developing Country’ by a Dutch Organizations in 2013 and ‘Top50 Young Talents by Dutch Financial Times’ in 2019. Mirwais Momand is also alumni of World Economic Forum (WEF).
Mirwais Momand believes in interconnectivity of Water Energy Food and importance of these three elements for creation of food security, nutrition in the most fragile places in the world. He believes that creating food value chains will not be easy and will require long-term dedication by anchor firms or players who should balance the desire for profit and food security. Profit should be one of the goals of a firm but definitely not the deciding factor.
Salam Al-Nukta is a startup enthusiast and is passionate about advancing women’s and youth’s involvement in economic advancement...
Salam Al-Nukta is a startup enthusiast and is passionate about advancing women’s and youth’s involvement in economic advancement via entrepreneurship. She graduated with a BSc in International Business Administration from the Netherlands where she is continuing a MSc in Strategy and Innovation. Throughout her entrepreneurial journey she focused on founding and supporting Edtech startups in Syria and recently she joined the Justice Accelerator Program at Hague Institute of Innovation of Law as a project officer to continue supporting young people in bringing more justice to the world via innovative tools. She aims to create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential and bring the change they aspire to. Salam founded Warsha in 2021, a consultancy company, that aims to support other organizations and companies designing and running empowerment development programs focusing on employment and women empowerment.
Smruti Patel is the founder and Co-Director of Global Mentoring Initiative. She has been working in the humanitarian...
Smruti Patel is the founder and Co-Director of Global Mentoring Initiative. She has been working in the humanitarian and development sector for over 25 years. She was a member of the Tsunami Evaluation team for Multi-Agency Thematic Evaluation: Impact of the international response on local and national capacities, and since then has been an active advocate for locally led response and accountability to affected population, including at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. She is involved in co-creating spaces to accompany international organisations and donors in the change processes for better partnering and collaborations, focusing on shifting power, attitudes and behaviours; keeping equity, inclusion, anti-racism and decolonisation at the centre of the discussions. She was involved in the research to develop localisation framework for the Start Network, to assess and measure the progress towards localisation. The “Seven Dimensions Framework” is now being used and has adapted by many organisations and Humanitarian Countries Teams. She is a member of the International Convening Committee of Alliance for Empowering Partnership(A4EP), a network of local and national organisations, advocating for locally led action and on the Board of Trustees of INTRAC.
Samar is the Executive Director of INJAZ Lebanon. She has extensive experience in marketing and management in the...
Samar is the Executive Director of INJAZ Lebanon. She has extensive experience in marketing and management in the private sector in Lebanon and the UAE where she worked for several years. Samar’s passion for innovation & education led her to INJAZ Lebanon where she works with youth to amplify their voices & build their confidence so they can make an influential impact on the world. Samar is passionate about people & leadership. She loves ideas and making ideas happen. She is especially inspired to turn ideas into actions that help youth become the leaders of change, creating a better future for themselves and their communities.
Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil...
Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil society. A law graduate from Melbourne, Australia, he was previously social affairs reporter for The Age newspaper and a reporter and editor at POLITICO Europe.
Fawaz Samara (startup finalist)
Fawaz Samara co-founded the startup Nabeeh, which is a Web/Mobile App platform for users to obtain on-demand home...
SpeakerFawaz Samara (startup finalist)
Fawaz Samara co-founded the startup Nabeeh, which is a Web/Mobile App platform for users to obtain on-demand home and healthcare quality services conveniently.
Marwah Read Taha (startup finalist)
Marwah Read Taha is the founder of Green Gold for Development and Sustainability. They create organic compost and...
SpeakerMarwah Read Taha (startup finalist)
Marwah Read Taha is the founder of Green Gold for Development and Sustainability. They create organic compost and potting soil for farmers and local agriculture suppliers to help reduce the pollution of food waste.
Haydar Mohamad Sleiman (startup finalist)
Haydar Mohamad Sleimam’s startup SunCode is developing a convective solar drying machine allowing a safer, faster, and easier...
SpeakerHaydar Mohamad Sleiman (startup finalist)
Haydar Mohamad Sleimam’s startup SunCode is developing a convective solar drying machine allowing a safer, faster, and easier drying process for food products with zero operational costs.
Laura Jardine Paterson (startup finalist)
Laura Jardine Paterson is the founder of CONCAT. Having originally worked at WPP, Laura then moved to the...
SpeakerLaura Jardine Paterson (startup finalist)
Laura Jardine Paterson is the founder of CONCAT. Having originally worked at WPP, Laura then moved to the Middle East and went onto starting up CONCAT. CONCAT is the first web development agency led by talented refugees and women.
Samah Ayyad (startup finalist)
Samah Ayyad founded Sook.ps, which is a full entertainment e-commerce marketplace that contains international and local brands in...
SpeakerSamah Ayyad (startup finalist)
Samah Ayyad founded Sook.ps, which is a full entertainment e-commerce marketplace that contains international and local brands in one place with more than 30 shopping categories. Sook provides unique incentives such as collecting coins through playing games or doing various tasks on the platform, which can then be redeemed and used in purchasing products. Combining shopping and entertainment to enhance users experience, is the vision of Sook.
Momen Abusaada (startup finalist)
Momen Abusaada founded Eyiada, which is a medical platform that connects patients with the most suitable healthcare providers...
SpeakerMomen Abusaada (startup finalist)
Momen Abusaada founded Eyiada, which is a medical platform that connects patients with the most suitable healthcare providers according to their customized cases and needs, allowing them to have online medical consultations with them and making quality healthcare more accessible and convenient.
Razan Abutawaheena (startup finalist)
Razan Abutawaheena’s startup HalaTrips is a tourist platform for booking tours suitable for the English and Arabic language...
SpeakerRazan Abutawaheena (startup finalist)
Razan Abutawaheena’s startup HalaTrips is a tourist platform for booking tours suitable for the English and Arabic language and culture.
Hotel reservations will be transparent with prices and allow for immediate confirmations.
Yasmine Darwich (startup finalist)
Yasmine Darwich’s startup DonaLeb is a fitness and wellness app that increases business engagement and fundraising among non-profit...
SpeakerYasmine Darwich (startup finalist)
Yasmine Darwich’s startup DonaLeb is a fitness and wellness app that increases business engagement and fundraising among non-profit organisations. DonaLeb creates gamified virtual challenges to connect companies with CSR while they promote health and wellness in their teams.
Salah El Sadi (startup finalist)
Salah El Sadi founded his startup Blue Filter, which is a company that plans to treat water from...
SpeakerSalah El Sadi (startup finalist)
Salah El Sadi founded his startup Blue Filter, which is a company that plans to treat water from pollutants (nitrates, saline and chloride) by decreasing the percent of nitrate from 100% to 2 % and chloride from 100 % to 40 % for farmers in environmentally friendly methods.
Nada Ghanem (startup finalist)
Nada Ghanem is the founder of Douda Vermiculture Solutions, which is a female led earthworm farm specialised in...
SpeakerNada Ghanem (startup finalist)
Nada Ghanem is the founder of Douda Vermiculture Solutions, which is a female led earthworm farm specialised in raising worms and producing premium grade vermicompost.
View all speakers
How Universities can help Close the Employability Skills Gap
WorkshopHow Universities can help Close the Employability Skills Gap
Moderator: Dr. Ayselin Yıldız, Yasar University (Turkey)
Speakers: Dr. Rawaa Qasha, University of Mosul (Iraq); Dr. Abdallah Abdallah, Al Hussein Technical University (Jordan); Marilize Pretorius, University of Antwerpen (Belgium); Roos Hogenkamp, Nuffic (Netherlands)
Globally, there is often a skills mismatch between the skills acquired by students at higher education institutions (HEIs) and the skills needed for the labour market, which leads to youth unemployment or underemployment as well. This problem is more common in fragile and conflict-affected regions. HEIs hold the keys to improve the higher education curricula and their student-centered learning strategies to help narrow this skills gap. Accordingly, this session aims to debate how universities can help to close the skills mismatch and foster employability of young graduates. The session targets to examine some national and international experiences with reference to emerging common needs,challenges, trends and suggestions.
Going Green: Transformation and Adaptation in Emerging Economies
WorkshopGoing Green: Transformation and Adaptation in Emerging Economies
Moderator: Leontine Specker, SPARK (Turkey) Speakers: Aurélien Pastouret, European Commission (Belgium); Majd Khalifeh, Flow Accelarator (Palestine); Omar Itani, FabricAID (Lebanon); Mossadeck Bally, Azalaï Hotels Group (Mali)
The climate crisis is rapidly reshaping geopolitics, economies and migration. All industries have to make shifts towards more sustainable, less polluting processes if the world is to meet the targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. New types of skills, jobs and businesses are needed to transform our economies to low-carbon. While governments of most developed economies are largely making steps towards transforming their industries, such as the European Green Deal, transformation and adaptation still lags behind in emerging economies. This session focuses on the opportunities for ‘green and blue jobs’ in emerging economies, particularly within green entrepreneurship. Learning from best practices, business models and investment opportunities, the session will explore how entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators and investors in the Middle East and Africa can align themselves with the European Green Deal, stay ahead of the curb on green transformation of value chains and encourage sustainable entrepreneurship.
Speakers: Kate Warren, Devex (USA); Paolo Ganino, Twitter (Belgium); Kiza Magdalene, Writer & Policy entrepreneur (Congo/Netherlands; Suha Nabhan, MigrationJam (Syria/Turkey); Emiel Martens, Expertise Centre for Humanitarian Communication (Netherlands)
Communication has the power to make or break communities. Within the humanitarian and development sector, ‘fly-in-the-eye’ fundraising campaigns have historically touted white saviourism and poverty porn. Emerging economies in the Global South and countries experiencing conflict often face elevated levels of stereotyping and media scrutiny. In the age of disinformation and polarisation, inclusive communication can bring us together again, for good. In this session, experts explore the good, the bad and the ugly sides of humanitarian communication and how to cut through with stories of hope. For example, how humanitarian organisations tackle mis/disinformation campaigns; what social media giants are doing to provide inclusive platforms; and steps the media takes to decolonise language. In our fast-paced digital age, learn about tools that can help, not hinder, vulnerable groups to tell their own stories and how to collaborate with partners, storytellers and content creators.
Growth Starts with Gender Inclusive Entrepreneurship
WorkshopGrowth Starts with Gender Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Moderator: Sara Cantillon, Glasgow Caledonian University (UK)
Speakers: Tatiana Dormenco, UN Women (Moldova); Rawan Al-Zaidi, Nakhla (Iraq); Irvine Floréale Murame, INFINITY GROUP (Burundi); Doaa Wadi, Business Women Forum (Palestine)
In fragile and conflict-affected regions, women’s participation in the workforce can be a route to bolstering economies. Research into emerging economies describes women entrepreneurs as “unexploited sources” of innovation, expansion and growth. This session brings together women entrepreneurs from Burundi and Iraq, as well as entrepreneurship ecosystem supporters such as UN Women, to ask the question: what do women entrepreneurs need to be the “new promoters” of economic growth and development in emerging economies? The panellists will focus on gender inclusive approaches that can support growth-oriented women entrepreneurs. Within an open and safe space, attendees can learn about the main challenges, take part in discussions and exchange the good practices on the upskilling, financial inclusion, digitalisation and networking for women entrepreneurs in emerging economies.
Localisation: Turning Theory into Action
WorkshopLocalisation: Turning Theory into Action
Moderator: Vince Chadwick, Devex (Belgium)
Speakers: Ziena Abu-Dalbouh, Jusoor (Jordan); Smruti Patel, Global Mentoring Initiative; International Convening Committee of Alliance for Empowering Partnership (Switzerland); Chema Gargouri, TAMSS (Tunisia); Yvanne Micha Ingabire , SPARK (Burundi)
How do we effectively impact local communities without undermining local and national organised capacities? Recognising the major role local actors play in humanitarian assistance is the first step in localisation. Parts of the humanitarian sector have been more vocal about progressing towards a more locally-led approach in their activities. From funding to programme designs, a myriad of elements need to be considered when engaging in localisation. While the guidelines of localisation on paper are abundant, the challenge lies in its implementation. This session uncovers the trials and tribulations of what localisation looks like in action, diving into the practicalities in terms of funding, co-creation, and decision-making.
Digital Skills for the Future of Jobs
WorkshopDigital Skills for the Future of Jobs
Moderator: Fatima Mousa, Arabnet (Netherlands)
Speakers: Nosra Ayari, LEED Initiative (Tunisia); Mustafa Sagezli, BINA (Libya); Fadi Bizri, SE Factory (Lebanon); Margie Jackson, Education Above All (Qatar)
COVID-19 changed the way we work. Now, with the right access to tech and digital skills, the most vulnerable people in emerging economies – youth, refugees and women – have renewed opportunities to become included in the workforce. But it’s not that simple. This session explores whether in markets with high rates of youth unemployment, the right digital skills development programmes can help youth access remote job and internship opportunities. It explores whether digital, home-based businesses support women’s livelihoods in countries with low participation of women in the labour force. And, in regions affected by climate crisis, conflict and economic challenges, the session discusses how to prevent ’brain drain’ with increased support for tech startups and improved digital skills development.
FinTech: A Game Changer for Financial Inclusion
WorkshopFinTech: A Game Changer for Financial Inclusion
Moderator: Geraldine O’keeffe, Software Group (Bulgaria)
Speakers: Bdour Hyari, Microfund for Women (Jordan); Anouk Verheijen, FMO (Netherlands); Okan Altasli, SPARK (Turkey); Jean Paul Mushumba, MoneyPhone (Rwanda)
Financial inclusion is a critical element of economic integration of disadvantaged populations, such as refugees or rural, smallholder farmers. Traditional banking systems fail to reach unbanked populations and leave many without access to financial services that could be used to grow their businesses, start new companies or improve their livelihoods. The use of consumer data and agile financial technology (FinTech) companies offer new solutions for financial inclusion. Fintech companies, NGOs, banking regulators and financial institutions in emerging economies all have a role to play in the realisation of the promise of new technologies. This session will explore the opportunities, challenges and showcase unexpected FinTech success stories.
Digital Transformation: The Disruptive Opportunity for MSMEs
WorkshopDigital Transformation: The Disruptive Opportunity for MSMEs
Moderator: Samar Dani, Injaz (Lebanon)
Speakers: Fadi Amroush, Niuversity (Spain); Mehemed Bougsea, Think-it (Germany/Tunisia); Samer Haffar, SPARK (Turkey); Hind Al Bashari, Startup incubator (Libya)
The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and the COVID-19 pandemic expedited the need for businesses to digitalise their processes and services. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for startups and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially those based in emerging economies. This session discusses digital transformation of MSMEs in the Middle East, how they can leverage digital technologies to expand markets and customer bases, improve efficiency and innovation. The second half of the session looks to the future. Join experts in discovering the latest trends in blockchain technology and its applications in business and learn about how entrepreneurs and startups can make use of this technology to gain a competitive advantage in different aspects of their businesses.
Managing Impact for Driving our Work
WorkshopManaging Impact for Driving our Work
Moderator: Rojan Bolling, the Broker (Netherlands)
Speakers: Fred de Vries, SPARK (Netherlands); Tilman Brück, ISDC (Germany); Mariam Al–Bouawad, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Netherlands)
Managing the impact of our interventions is the driver in our work. It enables us to learn and adapt, for continuously improving our contribution to the communities that we aim at serving, without doing no harm.
For managing their impact, organisations engage in generating the knowledge needed to understand the needs and perceptions within communities and to design and steer programmes in a way that they accurately address these. Still, there are certain challenges and limitations in effectively managing impact, specifically in the context that organisations active in fragile and conflict affected states operate in.
This session will aim at facilitating an inclusive discussion on pragmatic, context-relevant and effective impact management solutions for organisations active in fragile and conflict affected states to continuously improve in creating impact.
Market Systems Development in Fragile States
WorkshopMarket Systems Development in Fragile States
Speakers: Peter de Ruiter, SPARK Supervisory Board (Netherlands); Fernando Martinez Cure, ILO (Switzerland); Rachel Shah, Mercy Corps (UK); Ben Taylor, Agora Global (UK); Mirwais Momand, Mido Dairy (Afghanistan)
Market System Development approaches provide a mechanism for understanding and intervening in markets, analysing root causes of market and economic exclusion, and poor performance in economic systems. Also, we can learn to understand the underlying issues that prevent communities from moving out of fragility and vulnerability. MSD approaches thus target business and beneficiary resilience, seek appropriate partners and recognise contextual limitations. In addition, MSD also shifts the focus of the organisation from direct implementation towards the facilitation of sustained and inclusive markets. In this session we take a deep dive into current MSD approaches in fragile and conflict-affected regions and talk about how to ask the right questions, what solutions are at hand to face the challenges, and how to provide better inclusive economic opportunities for communities.
Youth: Part of the Problem or Agents of Change?
WorkshopYouth: Part of the Problem or Agents of Change?
Opening: Simon van Melick
Speakers: Huda Hassan, Jamana designs (Kurdistan Region of Iraq); Yasmine Wartani, Jssor (Tunisia)
Today, 1.8 billion people are between ages 10 and 24. The majority of them live in developing countries, often comprising a huge proportion of the population. Over 73 million are unemployed. When provided with the right leadership opportunities and encouraged to raise their voice, youth are effective drivers of change and innovation. However, those in powertend to see young men and women as part of the problem. Economic, social and political challenges in fragile and post-conflict countries put youth under severe pressure and restrict them from education and job opportunities. Hence why so many youth take dangerous migration journeys, are at risk of radicalisation and violent extremism or falling into poverty. Youth need opportunities to develop their leadership skills and find alternative pathways to participate in social, economic and political spheres of life.
In this workshop, youth from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Tunisia speak about their reality, their daily challenges and how they keep moving forward and find ways to take and develop leadership. Hear also from the experiences of the Media Development Collective, Human Security Collective, BINA, Lost and SPARK in developing youth leadership projects in conflict-affected regions.
How to Keep a Business Alive During Conflict
WorkshopHow to Keep a Business Alive During Conflict
Moderator: Beatrice Maneshi, Catalystas
Speakers: Mirwas Momand, Hind Albashri, Abdo Seif
Starting and keeping a business alive is a challenge everywhere. But in countries experiencing conflict, such as Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan, this is especially difficult. Yet, there are many entrepreneurs succeeding. They are key job creators in some of the most fragile and conflict-affected regions and need support. In this session, entrepreneurs, international development organisations and local startup support organisations that work in conflict-affected settings discuss the unique and dynamic ways in which entrepreneurs and SMEs overcome challenges and thrive. Hear from experts from Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
In Conversation with Prof. Alexander Betts
WorkshopIn Conversation with Prof. Alexander Betts
Moderator: Julian Morgan, SPARK (Switzerland)
Speaker: Alexander Betts, University of Oxford (UK)
Professor Alexander Betts on his book, The Wealth of Refugees: How Displaced People Can Build Economies
Jobs and entrepreneurship for inclusive growth in Türkiye: Igniting opportunities for youth, women and refugees
WorkshopJobs and entrepreneurship for inclusive growth in Türkiye: Igniting opportunities for youth, women and refugees
Moderator: Leontine Specker, SPARK (Turkey)
Speakers: Ruud van Enk, European Commission (Belgium); Sadettin Akyil, Ministry of Labor and Social Services – Republic of Türkiye; Mustafa Sagezli, BINA Incubator (Turkey)
In this session, we will explore with key stakeholders what the main policy priorities are and how we can best leverage our partnerships to make sure the support leads to sustainable jobs opportunities and inclusive growth. High level official attendees from the Turkish government, the European Union, SPARK and local partners will gather to discuss good practices and smart solutions to promote inclusive, sustainable growth.
Thank you for joining!
Spot yourself in the photos and tag them on social media using #IGNITE9