Harvard’s seeds plant brighter future
The Harvard Arab Alumni Association (HAAA) and the Arab and MENA student groups at Harvard University are organising the 11th annual Arab Conference at Harvard (ACH) at Harvard University 9-12 November.Titled “Arab Visionaries—Claiming Tomorrow”, the four-day conference aims to build bridges between the region’s rich history and promising future.
To that end, the conference will seek to transcend the region’s existing divides to envision a prosperous path forward, where the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.The driving mission of this congregation is to transcend current obstacles by building bridges, where inspiring Arab leaders across business, political, and civic spheres, along with think tanks, will showcase Arab creativity, hope, and resilience.
In their welcoming note of the conference, the conference cochairs, Noura Chbeir and Mohamad Khalil Harb, asserted that this year’s conference “is a platform that brings together stakeholders and Arab youth to verbalise and discuss the concerns, innovations, challenges, and ways forward of the region. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase the multilayered and diverse experiences and realities of the Arab world from the cultural to the technological and the political.”
Keynote speakers include former Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid, former Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh, and chief engineer of Saudi Aramco Nabilah AlTunisi, as well as NBC News journalist Ayman Mohyeldin; award-winning actor, film producer, and director Khaled Abol Naga; and Arab American Institute President Dr. James Zogbi.
Moreover, former Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali,Wamda CEO Fadi Ghandour, Bank Audi Group corporate secretary Farid Lahoud, and Bahrain Economic Development Board CEO Khalid Al- Rumaihi will participate in the event.
ACH 2017 will also include more than 50 speakers in 20+ panel discussions on a wide range of topics, including activism,Arab-Americans in politics, mental health, innovations in healthcare and education, energy and climate change,inspiringArab women, and the arts. Panel discussions will also include the topics on the future of Tunisia, Syria, and Gaza. On the final day of the conference, focused on business issues, keynotes will cover the entrepreneurship eco-system, restructuring economies post-oil, innovation and opportunities, and preparing for the digital age. Panels will also cover investing in the Middle East and jumpstarting the Silicon Valley of the Arab World.
Wissam Abourizk, chairperson of Business Day, stated, “Economies in the Arab world are in a crucial point, and it is imperative to start preparing regional businesses for the challenges, but also the opportunities that lie ahead of them and the smart investments that will allow them to remain sustainable in the fast-changing environment that we live in.”
The conference will also feature a TedTalk-likeACH event,a startup pitch competition, multiple networking and cultural events, and a career fair.
The Arab Conference at Harvard, the largest pan-Arab conference in North America, is expected to be attended by over 1,200 participants, including professionals, businesspersons, economists, entrepreneurs, government officials,and students and alumni from Harvard University and other top schools in North America.
Dr. Hesham Hamoda, president of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association, noted that the conference “will celebrate theArab world’s achievements and culture while urging our participants to translate diverse ideas into concrete solutions for a shared and vibrant future.It’s not enough to discuss the challenges, but we also need to propose innovative solutions ignited by the youth of the Arab world.”