Abdulrahman Hesham Mahmoud Khedr
Abdulrahman Khedr, the Co-Founder and CEO of Axeer studio; one of the fastest uprising media companies in Egypt. Founding Axeer Studio was a paradigm shift in his life, his strong belief in the role of media is what made him decide to shift his career from a Materials Science Engineer to his current role in the media industry. Believing in social entrepreneurship and having a social impact in life is what keeps him moving forward.
Axeer Studio was founded on the belief that media can influence society. Khedr no longer wanted to just consume media, he wanted to produce it. Like most millennials, he dabbled in this and experimented with that until he with team agreed on their mission: to make videos that highlight social issues, as well as promote value-based marketing.
In the past, Khedr was the creative director of various music videos. As well director of music videos for well-known artists like Mahmoud El-Essiely, Amir Eid and Zap Tharwat.
In 2016, Khedr ,along with his business partners, co-founded a subsidiary company from Axeer Studio called Giraffics, focusing on digitising information and visualising impact through an animated infographics platform.
Abdulrahman Khedr is a Materials Science Engineer, Media Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur and a Swimmer.
Ala'a Dammaj is a Yemeni activist in women rights. She got her Bachelor's degree in Computer Information System from Applied Sciences University in Jordan, and Masters degree in Quality Management from university of Jordan. Ala'a is a passionate, and caring person who strives for human rights. Growing up in a conservative society, becoming a female activist is a challenge. However, Ala'a, along with her friends, decided to challenge the community. In a place where divorced women are not accepted, and women who are oppressed are neglected, Ala'a and her friends opened their doors. They initiated an organization called Kofa'. Kofa' strives to help the women that got divorced or fled their houses by providing them with housings, psychological and legal assistance. In addition, Ala'a is a former vice president, and a current trainer at the American Association of Yemeni Students and Professionals (AAYSP).
Barzi HamaSaeed is a fourth year medical student at university of Sulaimani. He is 21 years old and he is from Kurdistan region/ Iraq. Barzi has been an active and passionate student since he was 15 when he started studying at Salahadeen Ayubi College. He has participated in many scientific projects. He is an alumni of IYIPO Olympiad, he was awarded gold medal for his project which was aiming to produce electricity in an environment friendly way. He also participated in INPO Olympiad in which he was awarded gold medal for his project for his earthquake building design. He was in the top ten senior high school students in Kurdistan region. He started volunteering work when he started studying at University starting with IFMSA Organization, which is a non-profit medical organization run by medical students working to raise medical awareness. Barzi has worked with MSF (Doctors without borders) organization as a medical assistant and translator. He is also a talented freelance Photographer and graphic designer.
He is currently working at Lanwe, which is an environmental organization in Kurdistan region. He started Greener Kurdistan Project in May/2014, which is a team of volunteers. Since then Greener Kurdistan team has been planting trees so as to increase the green area ratio of the country. Besides planting trees GKT also has waste cleaning, hygiene, and sanitation projects.
Feras Maher Shadid
Hussein Baoumi has been an activist for democratization since 2010. He then volunteered with several human rights groups in Egypt, including Amnesty International and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), before co-founding the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms in 2013. He then moved to Washington D.C, to work with Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), before returning to ECRF, and travelling again to with Dejusticia in Bogota, Colombia. Hussein graduated with honors from the American University in Cairo (AUC), with a B.A in Political Science and History. He also received certification from the Harvard Kennedy School in community organizing and leadership.
Hussein’s work focuses on democratization, human rights and civil society. He is currently engaged in a transcontinental project studying the relationship between multipolarity, donors and the restrictions on the civil society in the global south. Before, he helped designing the strategic plan for the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), which have transformed into one of the major human rights organizations in Egypt. He also managed the four programmes at ECRF, including civil liberties, criminal justice, marginalized groups and socioeconomic rights. Hussein also helped in editing and drafting several reports and policy papers in English, Arabic and French with Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan and Yemeni partners, at POMED. He published a quantitative study with Sada Journal, at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace Studies, where he studies the behavior of protests in Egypt since 2013, using Google Cloud. He is currently publishing a chapter on transitional justice in Egypt with Dejusiticia.
Madeeha Ansari is a Pakistani writer and development professional specialising in programmes for vulnerable children. She has worked with organizations across the development spectrum, from community and youth-based organizations in Pakistan to those with an international presence, like the Malala Fund. The idea for her initiative, Cities for Children, took root while she was living “the gypsy life” – dividing her time between editorial duties at a public policy think tank and acting as Communication Specialist for a system of non-formal schools in the urban slums of Islamabad, Pakistan. Through the microcosm of the Pehli Kiran School System, she developed an understanding of the challenges faced by refugee and migrant children living in urban poverty. Now, she hopes to build programmes to help protect what she sees as the “right to a childhood” – the “right to read,” “the right to play,” and “the right to feel safe.”
Madeeha completed her Masters as a Fulbright scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and earned her undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her writing on humanitarian and development issues has been published by leading newspapers in Pakistan, as well as international media, development and academic blogs.
Mashail Bakolka is an undergraduate Electrical and Computer Engineering student at Effat University. She is also a visiting student at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Mashail was selected to be a Google Student Ambassador for the MENA region during the academic year 2014-2015; she worked as a liaison between Google and her campus. In summer 2014, she was also selected to represent her country in the first Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program (SYLEP) in the U.S. Again, she was selected to participate at the Harvard 2016 conference at Harvard University. Since 2010, Mashail works voluntary as part time organizer in the association of districts centers for charity work in her city, Jeddah.Mashail received the Project Management Professional (PMP) training to enhance her project management skill. She is an extremely hard-working student, and more recently she was nominated for Queen Effat Citizenship Award for her outstanding academic achievement performance and extracurricular activities.
Mashail is very interested in Green Nanotechnology and wants to pursue a future in it. She is also interested in Tech startups, and she just started working on hers.
Mohammad Odai Al Hashmi
Mohammad Odai Al Hashmi, a 22 year old Syrian from Homs. Odai is majoring in architecture in Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey. He is a co-founding team member of Kiron Open Higher Education for Refugees. He has a wide international experience including an exchange year abroad in Germany and has been involved in several programs around the globe. Assigned as an Ambassador for the One Young World organization, an Ambassador for The Milky Way Youth Movement, an internationally acclaimed youth led social movement which has been nominated by United Nations (UNDP) for N-Peace Award in 2014, he is also an Alumni for the Hansen Summer Institute on leadership and international cooperation, as well as a participant in the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Boot camp for the year of 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.
Kiron Open higher Education is a non-profit NGO that aims to provide refugees worldwide with free access to higher education and the opportunity to graduate with an internationally accredited degree, for free, through its online platform. Kiron aims to integrate refugees into their host societies by surrounding the students with an ecosystem of opportunities for them to develop themselves, their skills and abilities in order to be able to live a self-fulfilling life, and give back to their communities.
Nour Atrissi is a social entrepreneur and a strong advocate of “Education for All”. In late 2014 she co-founded TeensWhoCode, the first Lebanese coding academy aiming at teaching students under the age of 18 how to program a computer. Her vision is to change the world, one line at a time.
Nour is a Draper University hero (because the world needs more heroes!), and chapter director of Startup Grind Beirut helping foster a bigger entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lebanon.
Along with her co-founder Ziad, Nour was recently selected as one of Lebanon’s top 20 entrepreneurs for 2015.
Rahmeh Abu Shweimeh
Rahmeh is an alumna of the Study of the U.S. Institute on Women’s Leadership, a U.S. Department of State program, an Open Hands Initiative fellow, as well as a summer fellow at USAID Takamol. Rahmeh is currently a pharmacy student and she is also social activist. Rahmeh aspires to be the first female prime minister of Jordan and hopes to play a leading role in bringing about gender equality within Jordan and beyond.
Ahmed Ben Nejma
Ahmed is young activist in the Tunisian local NGOs. Since 2009, he has been working with several NGOs for different causes both on the national and international level. He participated in 2012 in the Tunisian national environmental advocacy campaign "Protect" which resulted in the enacting of new laws in the new Tunisian constitution to protect the environment. In the same year, he was a member of the local NGO GDA Sidi Amor working on a "Compressed Earth Bricks" contruction techniques for the construction of ecological houses in Tunisia. He also worked with the Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability to empower women on entrepreneurship skills. In 2013, he experienced his first international NGO experience with the Vermont Workers Center in Burlington VT and 350 Vermont to advocate for environmental rights. Back to Tunis in 2014, he joined " L'Action Associative" to implement the Participatory Budgeting in Tunisia as pioneer project. Today, Ahmed is a national expert in the Participatory Budgeting Process. He is training and supporting local municipality members and Local NGOs members in 11 Tunisian municipalities to implement the Participatory Budgeting in their local municipalities in order to help construct a trustful relationship between citizens and the government institutions, which will contribute to the development of his country after the revolution.
Asma Zina Belheddad
A dreamer, a trainer and a social entrepreneur, Asma Zina Belheddad is a passionate Algerian advocate for Innovation in Education, a medical student at the University of Algiers, Algeria and an alumna of Study of the US institute on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Connecticut, USA, Zina has been serving her community since the age of 18, as project manager and executive board member at AIESEC, co-founder of the Algerian Center for Social Entrepreneurship, member of the Cultural Innovators Network, co-founder of the Butterfly Effect and project director of Wadjihni. She also trained hundreds of people from different backgrounds on personal development, capacity building and social entrepreneurship.
The Butterfly Effect is a social entreprise initiative whose aim is to inspire and develop aware and proactive youth leading the Algerian renaissance, by making personal development trainings accessible to all and promoting innovative educational approaches. One of its flagship projects is Wadjihni (Arabic of Guide Me), the first career planning and dream accelerator camp for high school students in the country.
Student Representative from Koç University
Bshara is the Founder of the Nakba Museum Project, a newly formed organization to tell the Palestinian story in the United Sates to a mass audience through exhibitions, multimedia, and art. He co-curated several exhibitions about the Palestinian refugees and their stories in Washington DC and around the United States.
Bshara grew up on his family’s farm, in Bethlehem area, and has played an integral role in educating international visitors about how the occupation threatens Palestinian land rights and livelihoods. He has spoken publicly on these topics in diverse fora, including the French Embassy, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a number of platforms. Bshara is passionate about peacebuilding and recently earned a master’s degree in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University. He’s “a people person” who enjoys biking in Washington DC, smoking the occasional hookah with friends, and meeting people from all over the world.
She is currently directing a project called “Two Hands One Brush” as an independent group of university students. The project’s aim is to create resilience amongst both Turkish and Syrian children against hate speech towards Syrians in Turkey, and to lessen the prejudices that exist between the two cultures here. It does so by creating a strong bond between Syrian and Turkish schoolchildren: having them feel welcomed in their new home by using art. Two Hands One Brush. The refugee children’s situation in Turkey is causing in them a lack of self-confidence, and estrangement from the society among which they live. Local children moreover, unable to grasp the refugee crisis, are under the influence of the general discourse of hate towards Syrians. To minimize such negativity and generate more social awareness in children, many activities are planned where Syrian and Turkish children come together and do various projects. Towards this mission, children from one school in Istanbul where Syrian refugee children receive education, and those from an Imam Hatip Middle School are brought together. Two groups are formed based on age. The objective is to create a platform that enables the development of familiarity and intimacy among children, of self-confidence and courage via the joint projects. The changes in children’s perspectives towards each other are revealed upon comparison of initial and final drawings. The artworks produced throughout the project are consequently exhibited.
Kourosh Ziabari’s main project is the conduction of press interviews with famed American public figures and politicians. He is a leading journalist covering foreign policy and international relations in Iran and is one of the young Iranian pioneers of conducting exclusive, in-depth interviews with prominent world leaders, politicians, diplomats, intellectuals, media personalities and scientists for his affiliated media. His initiative is the realization of rapprochement between Iran and the United States some four decades after a crisis that put an end to their decades-long close relations and turned them into arch-foes. Kourosh Ziabari has done extensive interviews with some 100 noted American diplomats, politicians, authors and scientists, trying to mend the strained relations of Iran and the United States through what he calls "cultural diplomacy." He has interviewed such high-profile individuals as the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert E. Hunter, the former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Green Miller, the Eighth Diocesan Bishop of Washington Rev. John Bryson Chane, the former U.S. Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs Frank G. Wisner, the former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Slattery and the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas R. Pickering. He has also interviewed several Nobel Prize laureates from the United States including David Baltimore, Nicolaas Bloembergen, Martin Chalfie, Sheldon Lee Glashow, Brian Kobilka, Charles H. Townes and Frank Wilczek. All of his interviews are oriented on discussions pertaining to the improvement of cultural, scientific and academic exchanges between Iran and the United States as a prelude to diplomatic rapprochement and reconciliation. He also debates the obstacles ahead of Tehran-Washington detente with his diplomat and politician interviewees. Kourosh is the only journalist in Iran to have interviewed 35 Nobel Prize laureates in peace, medicine, chemistry, physics and economics.
Oumnia Filali Morchid
Oumnia Filali Morchid, is a Business School student at ISCAE Casablanca-Morocco. She is preparing her Master’s degree in Corporate Finance. She spends her time volunteering, and working on entrepreneurial projects. She participated in several international programs.
Oumnia has a strong knowledge and background in finance, entrepreneurship and project management. Her project “Empowering Single Mothers in Morocco: ESMM”, consists on helping single mothers living in associations, by teaching them business and technical skills.
It is a three months workshop sessions, through which her team gives educational lessons to provide those women with basic business skills.
They are recently targeting an NGO in Casablanca, and aims to duplicate her model in other cities in Morocco.
Sam Sussman is an M.Phil Candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford and the co-founder of Extend, an NGO that offers educational tours to Palestine for young American Jews and has been featured in Haaretz, Slate, Huffington Post and at the United Nations. Sam graduated from Swarthmore College in 2013 with degrees in political science, philosophy, and literature. His favorite things are basketball, sushi, and being an older brother.
Wasim Abu Salem
Wasim is a Lawyer, Computer Engineer, a young Entrepreneur and a Montana MEPI alumnus, from Nazareth, Israel.
Wasim is the Founder and the CEO of Loop Organization - the only initiative in Israel focusing on teaching school-kids (ages 7-16) to learn Computer Science and how to Code from an early age. Within two months he succeeded in giving the opportunity to about 400 school kids to discover Coding.
Since he was a kid he was dreaming about building such an organization that would help the next generation - so he has successfully finished a unique dual degree program of Computer Science and Law, knowing that it will help him in launching his initiative.
Wasim is the first Arab who has successfully finished the special dual degree program of Computer Science and Law in Israel. Besides being the Founder and CEO of Loop, he is a Project Manager at the Israel Internet Association.
Since he was a school kid who wanted to learn Computer Science but faced difficulties to do so by himself without any help, he knew that he should find a solution for the next generations who will face the same difficulties. Therefore, he started volunteering in several organizations and acquired the experience of working with kids.
After he received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Laws dual degree, and participating in MEPI Students Leaders program in the USA he finally launched Loop, aiming to expand its activities in Israel in the future.
His vision regards this project has three phases: 1- Promoting Computer Science among Arab school-kids living in Israel. 2- Encouraging young girls to learn Computer Science. 3- Achieving Peacebuilding through modern technology between Jews and Arabs living in Israel via Loop’s activities.