Queen Noor is an international public servant and advocate for cross cultural understanding and conflict prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty, climate change and disarmament. Her peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. Queen Noor’s work in Jordan and the Arab world has focused on national and regional human security in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding. Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein and the King Hussein Foundations which she founded and chairs have transformed development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering best practice programs in the fields of education, poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, microfinance, health and art as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange. The two foundations provide training and assistance in implementing these programs in the broader Arab and Asian regions. Queen Noor has made environmental priorities an essential component of her work to promote human security and conflict resolution. In 1980, she became patron of Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the Middle East’s first environmental NGO. She is Patron of IUCN, the oldest international conservation organization in the world. She is also the Founder and Emeritus President of BirdLife International, Trustee Emeritus of Conservation International, and a member of the OceanElders. A long-time advocate for a just Arab-Israeli peace and for Palestinian refugees, Queen Noor is a director of Refugees International and an outspoken voice for the protection of civilians in conflict and displaced persons around the world. Her ongoing focus includes advocacy for Iraqis displaced in Iraq, Jordan, Syria and other countries after the 2003 Iraq conflict, and for the millions of Syrians and displaced since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011. She is a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons, created in 1996 to promote reconciliation and conflict resolution through the identification of missing persons from the armed conflicts in the Balkans. Today, she is the leading global provider of DNA-assisted identifications for natural catastrophes and human rights cases. (She has also been an expert advisor to the UN focusing on implementation of the MDGs in Central Asia and on behalf of Colombia’s displaced.) Queen Noor has been an advisor and global advocate for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and a founding leader of Global Zero, an international movement for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. She represented Global Zero at the historic 2009 UN Security Council meeting and was an advisor to the 2010 documentary film, Countdown to Zero about the escalating global nuclear arms threat. She is also involved with a number of other international organizations advancing global peace-building and conflict recovery. She is President of the United World Colleges and a Trustee of the Aspen Institute. In recognition of her efforts to advance sustainable development, democracy and peace, Queen Noor has been awarded numerous awards and honorary doctorates in international relations, law and humanitarian efforts. She has published two books, Hussein of Jordan (KHF Publishing, 2000) and Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life (Miramax Books, 2003), a New York Times #1 best seller published in 17 languages.
HE Shaikha Mai Al Khalifa - Bahrain
HE Shaika Mai is the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, where she has implemented national efforts to develop the cultural infrastructure of Bahrain, encourage conservation of cultural and natural heritage and spur growth of sustainable tourism. She has also held the portfolios of the Ministry for Culture & Information and the Ministry for Culture. She is also the founder of the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research and has served as the Chair of its Board of Trustees since 2002. HE Shaika Mai launched the nation-wide ‘Invest in Culture’ initiative, which built a public-private partnership for heritage preservation, leading to the establishment of the Bahrain Fort Site Museum and the Bahrain National Theatre. In these roles she has worked closely with UNESCO to preserve cultural heritage in Bahrain and the MENA region. In 2010, HE Shaikha Mai was the first laureate of the Colbert Prize for Creativity and Heritage. Her efforts to develop tourism in Bahrain have also been recognized by the Arab Thought Foundation, which awarded her their Social Creativity Award. She is also the recipient of the Légion d’Honneur, the Moroccan Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Grand Officer) and the Order of the Italian Star as well as the First Class Order of Merit from HM King Hamad of Bahrain.
Mr. Kamel Al Zarka - Syria
Mr. Kamel Alzarka is the chairman of Falcon Group, which he founded as a 22-year-old business graduate and went on to develop into a modern and innovative specialist finance provider. He obtained his degree in International Trade and Finance from the Paris Business School, following which he worked for Crédit Lyonnais. Today, Falcon Group is a major specialist financier and alternative lender, with a book in excess of US$3 billion, offices in eight cities worldwide and plans for further expansion. It uses a wide range of innovative structures for solving liquidity issues including credit risk, working capital and balance sheet concerns, their solutions range from plain vanilla to highly structured and complex transactions.
HRH Princess Banderi AlFaisal - KSA
H.R.H. Princess Banderi Abdul Rahman Al Faisal has been the Director General of the King Khalid Foundation since 1999. She is a member of Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women, The ADHD Society & Support Group (AFTA) and The Voice of Down Syndrome Society (Saut). She contributed in launching several social development initiatives and programs across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has also participated in numerous conferences and forums both locally and internationally to promote the concept of strategic philanthropy. Princess Banderi obtained her BA in English Literature from King Saud University in 1994 and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1998.
Dr. Nouha Alhegelan - KSA
Dr. Nouha Al Hegelan was born in Damascus and holds a Law Degree from Damascus University. As the wife of a Saudi Arabian ambassador, she has lived all around the world and has had the privilege of meeting and getting to know a spectrum of personalities and nationalities ranging from Spain to Latin America, Europe to North America, and of course the Middle East. Due to this exposure, she realized the misconceptions the world often has of the Arab world and the amount of unrecognized Arab excellence. As such, she has been a fervent and continued supporter of TAKREEM. Dr. Al Hegelan has spoken out about life in the Middle East, having crisscrossed the USA to give talks at universities and numerous organizations ranging from World Affairs Council of San Diego to the Foreign Policy Association in New York,as well as numerous appearances on TV programs.In addition, she challenged stereotypes, refusing the imposition of certain rules on her simply because she was a woman, and stood up for her personal views, publicly protesting in Washington D.C. against theIsraeli blockade of water, food and electricity to west Beirut in 1982. Dr. Al Hegelanwas awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Allegheny College and was decorated with the Lazo de Dama de la Orden de Isabel la Católica in 1968.
HE Dr. Hanan Ashrawi - Palestine
PLO Executive Committee Member, Member of Palestinian Legislative Council and Head of the PLO Department of Culture and Information Dr. HananAshrawi is a distinguished Palestinian leader, legislator, activist and scholar who served as a member of the Leadership Committee and as an official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process, beginning with the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991. Dr. Ashrawi was appointed as the Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research (1996), but she resigned from the post in protest at the non-implementation of reform plans in governance and peace talks (1998). Dr. Ashrawi was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Jerusalem (1996). Making history as the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine, she was elected as member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2009. As a civil society activist, she founded MIFTAH, the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (1999) and continues to serve as head of its Board of Directors. In the same year, Dr. Ashrawi founded the National Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN). Moreover, she is the founder of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and has served as its Commissioner since 1994. Dr. Ashrawi serves on the advisory and international boards of several organizations, including the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA); the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD); the International Human Rights Council; US/Middle East Project; TAKREEM Arab Achievement Awards; International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) – Sweden; the Project on Justice in Times of Transition, USA; and the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Dr. Ashrawi is the recipient of numerous awards from all over the world, including the 2005 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation; the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize; the 2002 Olof Palme Prize; the 1999 International Women of Hope “Bread and Roses”; the Defender of Democracy Award – Parliamentarians for Global Action; and the 50 Women of the Century.
Mrs. Mai Badr - Syria
Mrs. Mai Badr was born in Birmingham, UK in 1968. She is the Editor in Chief of leading Arabic luxury lifestyle publication, Hia Magazine. A graduate in English Literature, Mai started her career in 1991 working for a Syrian newspaper. She moved to London in 1993 to work for Al Majalla Magazine, part of Saudi Research & Publishing Company. Her talent in lifestyle was immediately spotted and she was promoted to work for Hia magazine a year later. Following her appointment to the post of Editor in Chief in 1996 and under her leadership, Hia magazine blossomed into the leading luxury lifestyle publication it is today. Widely considered as the Vogue of the Middle East, the magazine is popular amongst local and international designers for its rich editorial content and beautiful design and has repeatedly been declared the number one magazine in its category according to IPSOS & PARC. The magazine’s subscription and revenue have doubled over the past five years. Looking at the increasing popularity of digital media in the region, the magazine has grown to establish a strong online presence with its website Hiamag.com, social media platforms and iPad app to cater to the Arab digital users. As a result of her work, Mrs. Mai Badr has established herself as a leading editor conducting exclusive interviews with royalty, leading personalities and international designers. She has played an instrumental role in empowering the Arab woman and emerging and leading Arab designers have been given prominent coverage in the magazine upon her direction. Furthermore, she has helped change the way fashion is presented and promoted in the Arab media. Badr is regularly approached by international designers to advise them on the fashion scene in the region & style preferences of the Middle Eastern women.
Mr. Samir Chaghouri - Lebanon
Mr. Samir Chaghouri graduated in Civil Engineering from Loughborough University, UK in 1967. He discovered his passion for structural engineering, during his assignment in London with Sir Frederick Snow & Partners. As a result he joined Dar El Emara in Beirut as a Structural Engineer in 1971, working between Beirut and the United Arab Emirates. In 1976, he established the contracting Company Dhafir Development & Contracting LLC in Abu Dhabi, which today is seen as a mirror reflection of the economic growth and prosperity of the U.A.E. Identified for quality work and reliability for timely completion of projects, Mr. Chaghouri was motivated to promote BOOT (Build, Own, Operate and Transfer) Projects. Compassion and his sense of reaching for others impelled Mr. Chaghouri to invest his time in identifying the genuinely needy, rising in the process above boundaries of nationality.
HE Dr. Farouk Hosny - Egypt
Mr. Monzer Hourani - Lebanon
Mr. Monzer Hourani was born in Palestine, which his family left in 1948, and grew up in South Lebanon. He completed his further education in the US and earned degrees in Structural Engineering and Architectural Studies at the University of Texas, Austin in 1969. Mr. Hourani stayed in the US and in 1971 founded M. Hourani and Associates Consulting Engineers, which has been involved in the design of millions of square feet of office buildings, medical facilities, retail malls, hotels, high-rise condominiums, and other complex structures. Mr. Hourani himself has been involved in over 800 buildings nationwide and developed engineering innovations and concepts, which have had a great impact on the construction and economy of the building industry in the United States. His many accomplishments in the engineering field led him to receive the award for Outstanding Engineer of the Year in Houston in 1973. As the CEO and Founder of Medistar Corporation, Monzer Hourani currently directs the successful operations of one of the most dynamic medical real estate development companies in the U.S. Mr. Hourani has also dedicated his time and resources to improve the lives of others and has been a major supporter of many diverse charitable and cultural organizations, including the American Heart Association, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, United Nations Development Program for cancer research, National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Arab American Medical Association, the Arab American Cultural & Community Center, the American University of Beirut, Lebanese American University, the American Lebanese National Mission, the Anti-Defamation League, B.A.P.S. Temple, the Open Door Mission Foundation, Health Outreach to the Middle East, Houston Food Bank, Feed the Children Foundation, Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, LDS Brigham Young University, Lebanese Red Cross, MD Anderson, and others. Mr. Hourani also has a great love for classical music and is the major underwriter of the Virtuosi of Houston, an organization which provides an opportunity for gifted and very talented young classical musicians.
Dr. Suad Juffali - KSA
Mrs. Suad Juffali is an extraordinary philanthropist and currently the Managing Director of Ahmed Juffali Benevolent Foundation. Her dedication to social welfare, art, literature, music, health, medical, and educational programs spans some 60 years of active service in the Middle East and the USA. Suad Juffali is the Founder and Member of the Board of the Trustees of the Help Center, a special educational institution, which supports the rehabilitation of mentally disabled children and helps them claim their place in the community. Juffali has also demonstrated an outstanding sense of civic responsibility by establishing and organizing the first Women’s Welfare Society and the Al-Faisaliyah Women’s Society in KSA, both of which seek to enhance the quality of life of women and children through education and health. She is a member of the Women’s Council for National Projects for Training and Employment and an Advisory Honorary Board Member at Effat Women’s University. She is also a member of the board of Dar Al-Hanan School in Jeddah and the Saudi Institute for Health Services. Furthermore, she is on the Board of Trustees of Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi orphanage school and college in Jerusalem and serves on the board of several hospital and welfare societies in Palestine. Juffali has also been active to support academic institutions. She is on the Board of Trustees of the International Academy of Amman, Jordan, the Board of Overseers of the Lebanese American University in Beirut and an Advisory Trustee at the American University in Cairo. She is also on numerous boards in the United States including Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Arab Thought Foundation in Beirut. Suad Juffali holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from the Beirut College for Women (now Lebanese American University) and an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters (Hon.Lh.D.) from the American University Cairo.
Mr. Samer Khoury - Palestine
Samer Khoury is the President for the Engineering and Construction Division of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), one of the largest Arab-international construction companies. CCC operates throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS, Europe and America. More than 120,000 individuals are employed worldwide and, according to the ENR listing, CCC ranks 18th amongst the largest international contractors. CCC’s revenue in 2013 was in surplus of $5 billion. Samer Khoury started his tenure with CCC in the mid-eighties and quickly emerged as one of the company’s leaders. From 1987 through 1990, he was responsible for the total operations of CCC in Kuwait, with an average turnover of $50 million per year and more than 1,000 permanent staff. In 1990, Samer Khoury moved to the Head Office of CCC in Athens, Greece. He worked in various departments, gaining ample experience in engineering and construction operations. In 1997, he took over the position of Executive Vice President Operations of the Group being responsible for the marketing and execution of the Group’s worldwide activities. In 2011, he was promoted to CCC President. Mr. Khoury holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS in Civil Engineering from California State University. Growing up between Kuwait and Lebanon, Mr. Khoury was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1960 to a Palestinian family that came to Lebanon during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Samer Khoury has been married to Rania Khoury since 1989 and has two sons Saji, born in 1991, and Rayan born in 1993.
Mrs. Latifa Kosta - Lebanon
Mrs. Latifa Kosta has dedicated her professional life to charity work and philanthropic activities. Among her first contributions was her position as a Committee Member on the Arab Woman’s Council, a charity founded in order to provide help and medical relief to the refugees of the 1967 six-day war. She has since served as Founding Member for several charities such as Action on Addiction, which provides services ranging from prevention to family support, and the Arab Image Foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission of collecting, preserving and studying photographs relevant to Arab culture. In addition, Kosta has held the title of President of the Federation of International Women’s association in London (FIWAL), which is an umbrella organization encompassing dozens of London-based female communities for the purpose of creating a platform for the exchange of information, ideas and expertise. Her advocacy did not stop here, as she is an active member on the fundraising committee of UNICEF and the Board of “Medical Aid for Iraqi Children”, both of which focus on children’s rights. Mrs. Latifa Kosta has also supported educational institutions. She is a Member of the Dean’s Council and International Council at the JFK School of Government at Harvard, for which she received an award, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Her personal love for the arts, has also translated into extensive support for them. She became a Development Committee Member for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and later on a renowned Patron for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Metropolitan Opera in 2002, then for London’s Royal Academy of Arts and Royal Opera House in 2006. These contributions won her the American Folk Art Museum of New York’s Advocate for Arts Award in 2010. She is also an active member of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, the American Near East Refugee Aid, and the Chicken Shed Theatre, all of which are charities helping handicapped and underprivileged children (in the Middle East, Levant region, and in London, respectively), by connecting them to music. Latifa Kosta received a BA in Literature and Fine Arts from the Lebanese American University.
HE Dr. Mona Makram Ebeid - Egypt
Dr. Mona Makram-Ebeid is a distinguished lecturer of Political Science at the American University in Cairo since 1990. She started her academic career lecturing at several universities in the U.S. including Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, after she graduated from Harvard, J.F. Kennedy School of Government in 1982 and the American University in Cairo in 1975. Dr. Mona Makram-Ebeid also had an impactful political career. She is a former member of the Egyptian People’s Assembly (Egyptian Parliament), where she served from 1990 - 1995. She also served as a regional president for Parliamentarians for Global Action during that time, as well as an advisor to the World Bank (MENA region), as a consultant to the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in Washington and as a member on the Committee for Policy Development (UN), and as an Advisor to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces following the toppling of Egyptian President Mubarak. In 2011 she was offered, but declined, a ministerial post. Dr. Makram-Ebeid is a member of countless organizations which focus on education and civil society, human rights and women’s issues, among them: the Arab Thought Forum, Jordan; The British University in Egypt and the Jordan-German University. Dr. Makram-Ebeid is a founding member of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, and is a Trustee of Egypt's International Economic Forum. Dr. Makram-Ebeid was also elected to the Board of the Club of Rome. Makram-Ebeid is also a prolific writer for a variety of national and international newspapers and with over six publications of her own and often appears as an analytical commentator on various television programs. In 2008 she was made Officer of the Legion of Honor by the French Government.
Dr. Khater Massaad - Lebanon
Dr. Massaad was born in Lebanon and spent most of his childhood in Switzerland. It was there that he obtained an MSc in Mathematics and a PhD in geophysics at the Ecole Polytechnique and University of Lausanne respectively. Today, he is a Swiss National and works in the Middle East. In 1991 Dr. Massaad started his career at RAK Ceramics in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, becoming its CEO and establishing the company to be the largest ceramic manufacturing organization in the world, all achieved within only 15 years. Furthermore, he played a key role in the development of the emirate, becoming Advisor to the Crown Prince & Deputy Ruler of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi in 2003 and held various positions in RAK ventures, being the CEO of RAK Investment Authority and executive chairman at RAKEEN. Today, he is the Chairman of Star Industrial Holding, an international holding company established in 2012, investing in global ceramic and porcelain manufacturing projects and producing ceramic tiles, sanitary ware, tableware, taps and faucets in 11 factories in India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. In 2007, Dr. Massaad won the Financial Times’ prestigious FDI Personality of the Year award and in 2011 he won the Stevie Award rewarding excellence in business.
HE Dr. Amre Moussa - Egypt
A staunch defender of Arab democratic change, Mr. Amre Moussa was Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the U.N (1990 - 1991), the Foreign Minister of Egypt (1991-2001) and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (2001-2011). In 2012, he ran for President of Egypt as an independent candidate with a vision to reform Egypt's ailing bureaucratic and economic infrastructure, in the country’s first democratic elections following the 25 January Revolution. He lost the elections but continued his political career serving Egypt as an elected member of the Constitutional Assembly, writing the constitution of 2012 and leading the liberal members in their negotiations. He resigned after four months of active participation due to attempts to monopolize the drafting of the constitution. Later, Mr. Moussa founded the Congress Party of Egypt and is also among the founding members of the National Salvation Front, which was an Egyptian political alliance established in reaction to President Mohammed Mursi’s constitutional decree. Amre Moussa was also one of the leaders who called for and marched during the June 30th revolution that deposed President Mursi and brought in reforms in accordance with the agreed on road map. Among his greatest achievements is Mr. Moussa position as chairman of and participation in 50 member Constituent Assembly, tasked with amend the 2012 constitution. The assembly succeeded in producing the constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved on January 2014.
HE Dr. Leila Sharaf - Jordan
Mrs. Leila Sharaf holds an impressive series of firsts on her political record. She became Jordan’s first Minister of Culture and Information in 1984 and was also the first Jordanian Minister to resign in almost thirty years. Her resignation was to protest the lack of liberalizing laws with regard to press censorship and the dilution of the influence of tribalism in society. In 1989, she became the first female member of the Jordanian Senate House. A Jordanian of Lebanese origin, Sharaf was born in Beirut in 1940. From an early age she exhibited a passion for politics, developing a reputation for staying true to her ideals. She holds a BA and an MA in Literature from the American University of Beirut and has occupied diverse positions throughout her life, including working for the News Department of Lebanon TV, and being on the Chief Councils at both Philadelphia University and the Palestine International Institution. She married H.E. Sharif Abdul-Hamid Sharaf, a member of the Al-Hashimi dynasty and cousin of King Hussein of Jordan, having met him as a fellow member of the Arab Thought Forum. He held many illustrious posts including Ambassador to the USA and delegate to the UN (during which time Leila spent nine years with him in the US), as well as government posts including Jordan's Prime Minister, shortly before his death in 1980. Leila Sharaf herself has received many honorary offices, including at the Jordan TV and Radio Institution, on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Public Education and Training in the Middle East, the Advisory Committee for the Theater under the Ministry of Culture, the Executive Board for Social Movement in Beirut, the Boards of Trustees of the King Hussein Foundation, the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, the Board of Directors Academic Advisory Committee of the League of the United Nations for World Peace, the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut and the Arab Open University in Kuwait. She is also the President of the Islamic Cultural Society in New York and a founding member of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in Jordan.
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