• "The event was impressive and I look forward to next year!"
    Neil Cohen, Attendee, Director Business Development, Defense Group Inc.
  • "We had a very favorable response with potential clients and made lasting connections."
    Ryan Van Amburgh, Sponsor, Director of Corporate Services, Migrate America
  • "The venue was classic and the participants were insightful world leaders in their fields. Your conference has certainly put the MENA region of the world on the Kansas radar."
    Thad Geiger, Speaker/Sponsor, Kansas Department of Agriculture
  • "Thank you for the excellent C3 Summit. It was informative and inspirational. Bravo!"
    Joaquin Trujillo, PhD, Attendee, Hellas Investment Group LLC
  • "Congrats on a wonderful event! I had a really great time, met some wonderful contacts and learned a lot during the sessions. Job well done!"
    Samantha Gouy, Sponsor, Communication Coordinator, AECOM
  • "Thank you for a wonderful conference last week. It was extremely helpful to those of us looking to work overseas in the not too distant future!"
    Lisa A. Boyd, Attendee, Co-Founder & CEO, Partnership for Sustainable Living
  • "Truly, one of the best events I've attended in quite some time for Middle East networking."
    Roberta Becker, Attendee
  • "A most impressive, timely event. The speakers and panel participants were all first-rate, providing attendees with an exceptional professional experience and engagement opportunity."
    Bill Keppler, Attendee, Former U.S. Department of State, Diplomat/Trade Advisor
  • "The C3 Summit was quite a worthwhile, valuable event, which thoroughly defined the new paradigm in U.S.-Arab Relations. Not only did I learn from the various speakers' topics, but also too was the networking opportunity a success - especially with so many important people from the global community present and available to each other at the same place and time."
    Arnold Ceglia, Attendee, Cargo Trans, Inc.
  • "The participants at C3 Summit are such that I would find much interest to continue the dialogue beyond the conference itself. When you listen to the speakers, the message is clear, technology and innovation are going to change the face of the Middle East. The best thing to do in the Middle East today is to invest in the internet space and the youth."
    Chemi Peres, Speaker, Managing General Partner & Co-Founder, Pitango Venture Capital
  • "I'm here at C3 Summit and can't think of a better place for networking and learning what other businesses are doing and hearing from others that are as interested in the region as we are. I am looking forward to many more C3 events like this. The whole notions of community, of collaboration and of commerce—what could be better, it's really a terrific opportunity!"
    Jane Garvey, Speaker, North American Chairman, Meridiam Infrastructure
  • "This is a great effort by C3 Summit to bring people together. I've talked to people from Israel, Egypt, the UAE, Pakistan and have made significant relationships. I would love to see it come to other countries and other cities, especially Chicago."
    Mohammad Adil Khan, Attendee, President, US Halal Association, Inc.

Speaker Bios 2012-2013 (Subject to Change)

Wael Fakharany (Regional Director, Egypt & North Africa, Google)

Wael Fakharany is the regional director of Google Egypt & North Africa with an experience that extends for more than 23 years in the technology field. He is considered one of the leading figures in the Middle East that pushes technology and digital media industries in the region forward, with both sectors influencing the lives of millions of Arab Internet users.

Mr. Fakharany presides over the creation and execution of the business strategies and operations management in Google MENA (Middle East and North Africa). His occupational duties includes aiding in the development of a suitable Internet ecosystem, as well as collaborating with the biggest organizations and entities in order to further develop the Internet ecosystem in the region.

In addition to the above, Mr. Fakharany also has the ability to discuss a myriad of topics and issues in depth in relation to the initiatives of the private sector in start up markets, the development of start-ups, and developing the capabilities of young entrepreneurs in the Arab region via the use of advanced technology and through encouraging innovation.

Mr. Fakharany joined Google in January 2008 following a successful career in many leading management roles at IBM, 3Com Middle East & North Africa and Sun Microsystems, to name a few. He also successfully founded Wireless Dynamics, before exiting the company in November 2008. Wael holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Communication Engineering from Ain Sham University, Cairo. He is married with two children.

General Activities:

  • Board member of the "Education for Employment" foundation whose mission in Egypt is to empower youth with the skills and opportunities needed for jobs.
  • Board member of "MEEDAN" foundation whose mission is to create better understanding between the peoples of the Arab Region and the West through dialogue online.
  • Member of the consultation board for the School of Continuing education at the American University in Cairo.
  • Board member of "Endeavor", an organization that supports start ups and fosters business innovation.
  • Member of the Advisory board for the Egyptian National Competitive Council.
  • Board member of Ahl-Masr Foundation whose goal is to bring about a profound change in the field of health and society to all segments of Egyptian society of marginalized and needy.
  • Board of Trustees of Zewail City of Science and Technology, Egypt’s national project.
  • Chairman and Co-Founder of RISE Egypt. A US based NGO connecting individuals, organizations and institutions from the Egyptian Diaspora to entrepreneurs working for economic and social development in Egypt.


Michael H. Corbin arrived in the United Arab Emirates on July 27, 2011. He was nominated as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates by President Barack Obama on May 5, 2011. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, and he was sworn in by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns on July 25.

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, he most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Prior to this assignment, he was Minister-Counselor for Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2008 to 2009 and Chargé d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria from 2006 to 2008.

Ambassador Corbin served as Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from 2003 to 2006. He was Deputy Director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2003. Ambassador Corbin served as Director of the Counter-Narcotics Section at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela from 1997 to 2001 and Political-Military Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt from 1994 to 1997. His first overseas post was at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia from 1985-1987. He served in Kuwait from 1987 to 1989. Ambassador Corbin joined the Foreign Service in 1985.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Corbin served in the Peace Corps from 1982 to 1984 in Mauritania. He received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College.

John M. Dionisio (Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, AECOM)

John M. Dionisio leads AECOM (NYSE: ACM), an $8-billion global provider of professional technical and management support services, as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the company's board of directors. AECOM's 45,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serve clients in more than 140 countries around the world.

Prior to being appointed Chairman, Mr. Dionisio served as President and Chief Executive Officer for AECOM commencing in 2005. Before this, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and earlier as President and Chief Executive Officer of AECOM legacy operating company DMJM Harris. Under Mr. Dionisio's leadership as CEO, AECOM has tripled its revenue and doubled its workforce, while considerably expanding its service offerings and geographic reach. During 2007, Mr. Dionisio oversaw the company's initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which was one of the 10 largest NYSE listings for 2007, and one of the largest engineering industry IPOs of all time. During Mr. Dionisio's 40-plus-year career at AECOM, his leadership has also helped advance the company's transportation and energy infrastructure business in the Americas. Mr. Dionisio oversaw the combination of three AECOM business units to form DMJM Harris in 2000. While heading DMJM Harris, Mr. Dionisio was involved in the advancement of many notable projects, including the Second Avenue Subway in New York, the Tren Urbano transit rail system in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the State Highway 130 toll-way in Texas, and the new World Trade Center PATH Terminal in Lower Manhattan.

Mr. Dionisio's professional affiliations include the National Society of Professional Engineers; the New York State Society of Professional Engineers' Nassau County chapter; the American Society of Civil Engineers, of which he is a fellow; the National Academy of Construction; the Society of American Military Engineers; and the American Public Transportation Association, of which he is the Co-chair of the Program Funding Cabinet in its Public Transportation Partnership for Tomorrow group. He also is a licensed professional engineer in four states. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments.

Frederick W. Werner (President, Europe-Middle East-Africa, AECOM)

Frederick "Fred" Werner is President, Europe-Middle East-Africa, for AECOM Technology Corporation (NYSE: ACM), an $8-billion global provider of professional technical and management support services.

As president of EMEA, Mr. Werner is responsible for AECOM's global markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He ensures that AECOM is advancing technology and best practices across all of these regions. Mr. Werner is also a member of AECOM's EMEA Executive Board, which oversees operational performance and drives strategic growth.

Prior to this role, he was president, corporate development, and has also led AECOM's U.S. Infrastructure Group, which brought together the company's business throughout the U.S. in the fields of transportation, energy, water and development. Mr. Werner also served as chief executive officer of AECOM's Americas Transportation Group — part of the U.S. Infrastructure Group. He was promoted to that position following a successful stint as president of AECOM's legacy DMJM Harris operation.

Prior to joining AECOM, Mr. Werner served as DMJM Harris president, where major projects included the design of the new Second Avenue Subway and the Permanent World Trade Center PATH Terminal projects in Manhattan; program management of the $2.4-billion Alameda Corridor rail expressway for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; program management of the $2.5- billion Tren Urbano transit system serving San Juan, Puerto Rico; and general engineering consultancy for the $5 billion Phoenix, Arizona, freeway system.

Mr. Werner began his DMJM Harris career in the Geotechnical Division, where he progressed through a variety of roles — from vice president and manager of New Jersey Operations, senior vice president and manager of New York Operations, to chief operating officer — before becoming president. During his professional career, which spans more than 30 years, Mr. Werner earned industry-wide recognition for his expertise in corporate operations management and for the management of large, technically complex civil engineering projects. He has overseen major projects in numerous market sectors, from highway and bridges to airports, ports and transit.


Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros assumed the office of President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council, in March of 2000, after a 36-year career in the United States Foreign Service. Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963 and, prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the State of Qatar, served in a variety of positions including Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political Officer in Amman; and Charge d'affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic and Commercial Counselor in Damascus.

During these periods he earned four Superior Honor Awards. In 1990 he was accorded the personal rank of Minister Counselor. In 1992 he received both the President’s Meritorious Service Award for career officials and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem honored Ambassador Theros with the honor of Knight Commander Order of the Holy Sepulcher. In 1999 His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani awarded Ambassador Theros Qatar’s Order of Merit.

Immediately before his appointment to Qatar in 1995, Ambassador Theros served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. He speaks Spanish, Arabic and Greek fluently.

In addition to his duties as President and Executive Director of the US-Qatar Business Council, Ambassador Theros has the following affiliations:

  • Member of the Board of Directors, Middle East Policy Council (elected 2010)
  • Council of Foreign Relations, Member
  • Representative to USA of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • Arab American Bankers Association of America, Member
  • Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member
  • American Academy of Diplomacy, Member
Ambassador Theros was born in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended public schools in Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963 and has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Ransel N. Potter (Founder, Managing Partner, C3 Summit, LLC)

Mr. Potter has been a guest speaker at financial events in the Middle East and the United States. His contacts throughout the Middle East and the United States are with the top global financial institutions; high net worth families; and, government representatives, including several Sovereign Wealth Funds. He is currently licensed with a Series 7, Series 66 and Series 3.

The founder and Managing Director of COPARA, he continues to build a rewarding career spanning three decades, and multiple industries, including many noteworthy achievements. His abilities to lead, strategize, develop business and maintain relationships have all contributed to his success.

Most recently, Mr. Potter founded C3 Summit LLC. The mission of C3 Summit, as noted on its website http://www.c3-summit.com is to ensure that both US and Arab businesses grow and prosper by providing unique and valuable commerce opportunities. By creating a global forum for both the US and the Arab world to explore private sector growth and employment generation, C3 Summit will encourage each region to open new opportunities on the commercial front to enhance the welfare of freer trade.

Prior to founding C3 Summit, Mr. Potter has been marketing financial instruments in the Middle East under the umbrella of Copara. He personally negotiated with Value Line the international distribution rights regarding both terms and conditions. In less than 11 months, Mr. Potter established several funds. One funded and managed by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (the 50th strongest bank in the world). He also was successful in marketing a high yield fund for Thomson Reuters with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The other, The National Investor, a top boutique investment banking house located in Dubai. He was also responsible for engaging with the Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Invest AD) an assignment to incorporate a quantitative ranking system, with a $30 million GCC/MENA fund, managed by Invest AD.

Morgan Stanley recognized the value of Mr. Potter's experience and relationships and, in 2007, they invited him to join the firm. Until December of 2010, Mr. Potter served as a Senior Partner on their Private Wealth Management team responsible for identifying viable business opportunities among high net worth clients, families, hedge funds and foundations. His introductions had been a cornerstone of the team's success producing more than $250 million of net new assets in 36 months. In 1992, Mr. Potter founded Kinloch Marketing and occupied the role of CEO until 2007. Kinloch designed and brought to market sales lead generation and management systems for the Insurance, Banking and Energy industries. Kinloch's success was a direct result of his leadership and a network he established with senior executives of Fortune 1000 companies.

In 1990, his previous achievements were recognized by Flair Communications and he was asked to run their NY office. He merged R.N. Potter Associates with Flair's New York office and built that regional office in to the largest of their five domestic offices, leaving in 1992 to establish Kinloch Marketing. He formed R.N. Potter Associates in 1984, a marketing and sales organization, which he headed until 1989. During that time, Mr. Potter personally initiated, negotiated and developed one of the largest independent contracts for advertising billboards with the Penn Central Corporation.

In 1980, Mr. Potter, together with a partner, started On Line Media, an innovative supermarket ad company. Within three years, they took On Line Media public, raising capital and watching the stock soar. Upon selling his shares of On Line Media in 1984, he formed R.N. Potter Associates. Mr. Potter, a graduate of Syracuse University, has six children and, with his wife, lives in East Hampton, NY.

Muhammad Munir Chaudry, Ph.D. (President, The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA))

Dr. Muhammad Chaudry a career food technologist received his academic education in Pakistan, Lebanon and the United States with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

For 15 years he worked in the food industry at various technical and management positions, responsible for total quality, quality assurance, human resources and employee training. For the past 30 years, Dr. Chaudry has been managing halal certification programs for the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA). Under his administration, halal certification by IFANCA has expanded to over 4000 production sites in 56 countries. Halal certified products include meat and poultry, seafood, food products, food ingredients and chemicals, nutritional products and supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, household products, vaccines, food processing chemicals, sanitation chemicals and packaging materials.

He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and expert consultant to the World Organization for Animal Health. He has written several articles and papers in technical journals as well as co-authored a book about Halal Food Production published by CRC PRESS. He was an international delegate for food safety workshops conducted in India, under the sponsorship of the United Nations International Trade Center and the American Spice Trade Association.

Dr. Chaudry is experienced in the management of not-for-profit organizations and industrial corporations in a cross-functional environment.

Ziad Makkawi (Chairman and Managing Director, Blue Gate Capital Partners, Baghdad, Iraq)

Prior to co-founding Blue Gate Capital Partners, Ziad Makkawi was the Founding Shareholder, Chairman and CEO of Algebra Capital, an asset management and advisory firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). As CEO, Mr. Makkawi was responsible for building Algebra Capital to be one of the leading MENA focused asset management companies, and for successfully selling the business to Franklin Templeton Investments, a global leader in asset management with over USD 700 billion in assets under management.

Mr. Makkawi is also co-founder and Board member of Tigris Enterprises, a holding company with investments in Iraq since 2004. Tigris Enterprises has activities through subsidiaries in several sectors including Construction, Food & Beverages, and Healthcare.

Mr. Makkawi has held top positions at international and regional investment banks and financial institutions, starting with JP Morgan in New York (1986) and Elf Aquitaine in Geneva (1990). He then moved to the Middle East to co-found Lebanon Invest (1994) subsequently bought by Lebanese banking group Bank Audi, and the Middle-East Capital Group, the region's first merchant bank with a MENA focus in 1996.

Mr. Makkawi is a pioneer and leader in the development and turn-around of the regional financial services firms including commercial banks, investment banks and asset management. Under his leadership the teams he has managed have executed over USD 10 billion worth of investment banking and capital markets mandates. He has launched, managed, and acted as Chief Investment Officer on some of the region's most innovative and successful investment funds.

Prior to Algebra Capital, he was CEO of Dubai Bank, one of the UAE's youngest and most dynamic banks. Under his leadership the Bank achieved break-even in its second full year of operation and returned 21% return to shareholders in its third year of operation.

Mr. Makkawi also launched the bank's investment banking, asset management and brokerage operations. He then executed transactions in the GCC, India, Pakistan and Turkey. He has served on the boards of innumerable companies and funds in the region including Middle East Capital Group (Lebanon), National Bonds (UAE) a Shari'a compliant savings institution, Capital Management House (Bahrain); The Alpha Mena Fund; The Special Situations fund, The Arab Gateway Fund; The Arab Income Fund and others.

Prior to heading Dubai Bank, Mr. Makkawi was Executive Management Director of SHUAA Capital, a UAE based Investment Banking institution where he built from scratch and ran the financial services business encompassing Capital Markets, Asset Management, Brokerage and Research. The foundation laid down by him allowed SHUAA Capital to occupy a leading position in the regional investment banking and asset management arena.

Mr. Makkawi holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University, an MBA in Finance from New York University's Stern School of Management and a B.A. from Rice University. He is a member of the YPO-WPO since 2004.

Frank Wisner (Former U.S. Ambassador, Egypt, Zambia, India, Philippines)

Ambassador Wisner's diplomatic career spans four decades and eight American presidents. He served as ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India during his extensive career in the State Department. In addition to his role as ambassador to four countries, he has served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs.

Ambassador Wisner worked as a senior diplomat in Tunisia and Bangladesh before returning to Washington as Director of Plans and Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs. He joined the President's Interagency Task Force on Indochina, the entity responsible for evacuating and settling nearly one million refugees and served as its Deputy Director. Later, as Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs, Ambassador Wisner worked closely with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to launch negotiations with Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Before joining Patton Boggs, where he currently provides clients with strategic global advice concerning business, politics, and international law from the firm's Washington and New York offices, as the firm's Foreign Affairs Advisor, Ambassador Wisner served as Vice Chairman of External Affairs for American International Group.

Chase Untermeyer (Former U.S. Ambassador, Qatar)

Ambassador Untermeyer has been an international business consultant since returning in 2007 from Qatar, where he served three years as United States Ambassador on appointment of President George W. Bush. He has held both elected and appointed office at all four levels of government – local, state, national, and international -- for more than 35 years, with work in journalism, academia, and business as well. Prior to his post as Ambassador to Qatar, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Facilities, in charge of the bases and other land and buildings of the Navy and Marine Corps. Next, President Reagan appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, with responsibility for recruiting, training, health, housing, discipline, and other personnel aspects of 600,000 Navy and 200,000 Marine Corps men and women, plus one-third million civilian employees.

Ambassador Untermeyer was appointed by the first President Bush to a three-year term on the Board of Visitors of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, serving the final year as chairman. He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Andrea Fiano has been involved with Global Finance since it was launched in 1987.

Mr. Fiano, an Italian national, has lived in New York for over 25 years. He has been the US correspondent of the Italian financial daily paper MF/Milano Finanza and of the Italian TV channel Class-CNBC. He has done advanced studies at the New School for Social Research and at Wharton. In the past he has written on international finance for Barron's and has appeared in the McNeil-Lehrer Show on PBS. As editor for Global Finance, he oversees all content for its 50,000 readers in 163 countries whose audience includes chairmen, presidents, CEOs, CFOs, treasurers and other senior financial officers responsible for making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions.

Additionally, Mr. Fiano is responsible for all content targeting the 8,000 international portfolio investors responsible for more than 80% of all global assets under professional management, including Its website –– GFmag.com –– which offers analysis and articles that are the heritage of 24 years of experience in international financial markets, and provides a valuable source of data on 192 countries.


In his practice, Mr. Levy serves the business and legal needs of participants in most aspects of, and product types in, the real estate industry throughout the United States and in Europe.

He has considerable experience representing privately held and capital markets industry clients in acquisitions and dispositions, public and private equity and debt transactions, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, joint ventures, REITs and real estate bankruptcies, foreclosures, restructurings, refinancing and leasing. Mr. Levy is actively involved in inbound and outbound cross-border transactions and represents a number of diverse institutional and boutique real estate opportunity funds. His clients include lenders and borrowers, in balance sheet, securitized and highly structured financings. Mr. Levy's practice also focuses on the hospitality sector, representing public and private clients acquiring single-asset and multi-asset companies, financing hotels and restructuring existing debt.

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business has ranked Mr. Levy among the top real estate lawyers in New York in every year since 2009, when it noted his "broad practice" and commenting that he "possesses vast expertise in the hospitality sector." In 2010, Chambers continued to praise Mr. Levy for his wide-ranging real estate practice, calling him "an extremely smart and tough negotiator who is tenacious in representing his clients." In 2011, calling him a Senior Statesman, Chambers said he is regarded as "'one of the smartest real estate lawyers in New York.' He is praised by clients and peers alike for his depth of knowledge and understanding of the practice area."

Mr. Levy has been named in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2006, designated a New York Super Lawyer every year since 2006 and cited in The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers every year since 2002. He was also recognized in Euromoney's Expert Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, The 2008 New York Area's Best Lawyers and The US Legal 500.

Randa Fahmy Hudome (President, Fahmy Hudome International)

An internationally recognized expert in energy policy and Middle East/North Africa market access, Randa Fahmy Hudome has more than twenty-five years of legal and public policy experience, including service in both the executive and legislative branches of the United States Government. In 2003, Ms. Hudome launched Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), a strategic consulting firm which provides critical advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, media organizations, and private sector entities with an interest in international business transactions and energy policy.

Prior to founding FHI, Ms. Fahmy Hudome was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy. Working with the White House and the Departments of State and Commerce, she developed and implemented international energy policy. Her keen diplomatic skills became a critical factor when dealing with both producer and consumer nations as she exercised the Administration's quiet diplomacy strategy in the petroleum market. She served as the Department of Energy's representative to the Paris based International Energy Agency, where she helped coordinate strategy for international oil emergencies amongst the 26-member country organization. Ms. Hudome was also the point person at the Department of Energy for increased advocacy on behalf of American energy companies seeking business around the globe.

From 1995-2001, Ms. Hudome served as Counselor to United States Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI). During the six years she spent in the legislative branch, she was credited with shaping many pieces of legislation that affected U.S. interests abroad. She served as a key policy advisor to the Senator during his tenure on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, focusing on immigration and terrorism legislation.

Prior to her government service, Ms. Hudome was a practicing attorney with the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, where she specialized in the areas of international trade and corporate litigation. She maintains bar memberships in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the United States Court of International Trade. She received her juris doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she held the post of Administrative Editor of The Georgetown Journal of International Law.

Her expertise in international economic policy and energy has been sought by the U.S. Secretary of State, who appointed her to serve on the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and by the Secretary of Energy who appointed her to serve on the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. In 2011, Ms. Hudome was one of 20 attorneys selected nationwide for the DirectWomen Board Institute, a program designed to identify and promote qualified women lawyers to serve on corporate boards of public companies. She presently serves on the Board of Directors of SWAPSOL and Board of Advisors of TransGen Energy.

Ms. Fahmy Hudome's opinions on international diplomacy have been published in the Wall Street Journal, and she appears frequently as an expert analyst on NBC's Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and Al-Jazeera.

Solange Warner (Founder, World Chamber of Commerce)

Solange Warner is founder of the World Chamber of Commerce. The World Chamber of Commerce is a public charity and nonprofit organization fostering international business, cultural and social exchange worldwide. The World Chamber of Commerce organizes and supports initiatives and events promoting global trade, cultural/educational, and humanitarian goals. The WCC also assists Embassies, Consulates, multilateral organizations, bi-national Chambers of Commerce, and businesses promoting global commerce, economic, cultural and social exchange. Ms. Warner is also the CEO, president and founder of Ashton International. A prominent consulting firm, Ashton International provides in-depth international trade consulting, including market and feasibility studies, international lead generation, product implementation, and international representation. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently awarded Ashton International for export achievement, associated with accomplishments in the Global Market Place.

Ms. Warner has over 20 years experience in international markets, working previously as a senior manager for Multinational Accounts at American Express for 7 years. She managed Fortune 500 Multinational corporations. She obtained her International Business Degree at American Intercontinental University with Summa cum laude accolades and is a member of the National Scholars Honor Society. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English fluently and has knowledge of French, German and Italian. Ms. Warner is originally from Chile, has lived in Europe and has traveled extensibly throughout 52 countries.

Karim Babay (Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Intrinsic Value Investment Partners)

Mr. Babay founded Intrinsic Value Investment Partners (IVIP) in 2009 as a hedge fund platform. IVIP is a global investment management firm with a value oriented approach. Prior to IVIP, Mr. Babay was a Partner at Foxhill Capital Partners LLC, a distressed/event driven hedge fund founded in 2005. Mr. Babay served on Foxhill's investment committee. Prior to Foxhill, Mr. Babay spent 6 years at Lehman Brothers in various capacities including investment banking and proprietary trading. Mr. Babay was a member of Lehman's global mergers and acquisitions group from 2001 to 2003 where he completed several transactions. In 2003, Mr. Babay joined Lehman's proprietary trading desk as a senior investment analyst responsible for generating and executing trading ideas in both the debt and equity markets. Prior to Lehman Brothers, Mr. Babay worked in various managerial positions in the textile and sanitary ware industries. Mr. Babay holds a MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor of science from IHEC Institute. Mr. Babay also is on the board of directors of the Arab Bankers Association of North America. Mr. Babay is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

Mussaad Al Razouki (Chief Executive Officer, Kleos Healthcare Corporation)

Dr. Mussaad Al-Razouki is the Chief Executive Office at Kleos Healthcare Corporation. He has over 10 years experience in healthcare, shifting from a focus on excellence in clinical practice and research to the management and financing of healthcare systems. Dr. Razouki has completed clinical rotations at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University Medical Center, Harlem Hospital, Cleveland University Hospital of Case Western Reserve University and Mass General Hospital of Harvard University.

In 2007, Dr. Razouki joined the world's largest and oldest management and strategic consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, which at the time was operating in over 100 countries across six continents with four billion dollars in revenue. Dr Razouki was recruited from New York to the Dubai office, where he built the Middle East Healthcare Practice. In addition to his work at Kleos, Dr. Razouki is an advisor to the central Kuwaiti government where he advises senior government leaders on both Healthcare and Education reform as part of Kuwait's 100 billion dollar Development Plan.

Ken Dorph (President & CEO, Sag Harbor Consulting)

Ken Dorph is a leading global expert in financial institution and financial system strengthening. Mr. Dorph began his career in Citibank and Smith Barney, and has worked with the IFC / World Bank Group. For the past twenty years, Mr. Dorph has been consulting in financial institutions worldwide, first with Booz Allen & Hamilton and more recently with his own firm, Sag Harbor Consulting. He has worked with a broad range of financial institutions developing strategy and designing and implementing risk management systems.

Mr. Dorph has a deep experience reviewing and strengthening banks and financial systems worldwide. He led the assessment of the Mexican banks' net worth after the peso collapse, and was also led a similar review in Indonesia during the Asian financial crisis. Mr. Dorph has worked as an advisor on strategy and risk management to the World Bank, the IMF, and a wide range of central banks and supervisors in Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil), Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa), Asia (Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan), and the Middle East (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE, and Yemen).

Mr. Dorph has particular expertise in the Middle East and is a popular speaker on Middle Eastern topics. He has been invited to lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, the Wharton School, the University of Michigan, the New School, and Georgetown University. He has delivered training at banks and central banks around the world. Since September 11th 2001, Mr. Dorph has been teaching an acclaimed course "Seven Keys to Understanding the Arab Middle East" that he developed, at high schools, colleges, and to the public in New York State.

Mr. Dorph has special experience in Islamic finance and has published articles on Islamic law and banking. Since 1985, when he launched the GCC's first shari'ah compliant equity portfolio, he has advised many of the region's banks and central banks and has developed strategy, written feasibility studies, and drafted governance and risk policies for several leading Islamic banks and Islamic investment companies. He advises the World Bank on Islamic finance has been invited to draft the World Bank's corporate governance guidelines for Islamic financial institutions.

Mr. Dorph has a Masters of Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, including a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School. In addition to studying in Damascus, Mr. Dorph studied at Mohammed V University in Rabat and spent three years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia. He is fluent in Arabic (standard and several dialects), Spanish, and French.

Shaykh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo (Shari'ah Advisor, Dubai, UAE)

Shaykh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo is a scholar of Islamic Transactional Law whose 30 year career was featured in an August 2007 front page story in The Wall Street Journal. Based in the Washington, DC area, he has served as a Shari'ah advisor to dozens of international financial entities, including index providers, institutional investors, home finance providers, international investment banks and a variety of asset managers.

Shaykh Yusuf is the author of the three volumeCompendium of Legal Opinions on the Operations of Islamic Banks, the first English/Arabic reference on the fatwas issued by Shari'ah boards. In addition, Shaykh Yusuf wrote the introduction to Islamic Bonds, the 2003 book that introduced Sukuk and transformed the world's Islamic capital markets. His work has appeared in academic and industry journals and as chapters in books, including Euromoney's Islamic Asset Management (2004), Islamic Retail Finance (2005), and Islamic Finance: Innovation & Growth (2002). His entries on the terminology of Islamic finance appear in The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

Shaykh Yusuf is often featured as a key note speaker at conferences and seminars worldwide. He was a special consultant to the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank on their joint project for the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). Shaykh Yusuf is a member of the Council of Scholars, ISRA, Central Bank of Malaysia and a member of the Governing Council of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) in Malaysia. Shaykh Yusuf recently was appointed a member of the Shariah Board of the Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Shaykh Yusuf served as Advisor on Islamic Education to the President of Pakistan from 1981-1984. His career has also been noted in The Financial Times, The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, The US News and World Report, Newsweek, CNBC, Conde Nast Portfolio, The Middle East Banker, and others.

Jaloul Ayed (Former Minister of Finance, Tunisia)

Mr. Ayed was appointed Minister of Finance of Tunisia in January 2011 and served in the two interim governments that were formed following the Tunisian revolution.

Currently, he is Delegate General Manager, Director, Vice Chairman of Senior Credit Committee, Vice Chairman of BMCE Bank International U.K, Chief Executive Officer of BMCE International London, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur SA

In 1998 Mr. Ayed joined the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur as Head of the Investment Banking Division. He became the founder of BMCE Capital, the investment banking arm of BMCE, a leading investment bank in Morocco and in the region. He also initiated the activities of BMCE Capital in Central and West Africa through the creation of a subsidiary of BMCE Capital in Senegal and Cameroon. In 2006, BMCE Capital launched its subsidiary AXIS Capital in Tunis. Mr. Ayed also supervised the creation by BMCE Bank of MediCapital Bank, an FSA authorized wholesale bank in London.

Mr. Ayed chaired the Management Committee of the BMCE Group during the last 10 years, as well as the boards of several fully owned subsidiaries of BMCE Bank Group and FinanceCom. He also founded Argan Invest, the largest private equity platform in Morocco.

Mr. Jaloul Ayed held several other senior positions in the FinanceCom Group including, but not limited to Vice-Chairman of the supervisory Board of RMA Watanya, the largest insurance company in Morocco, Director of Bank of Africa and Chairman of the Board of Axis Capital, Tunis. He was also a Director at Proparco, the French development agency, and Vice Chairman and co-founder of Euromed Capital Forum.

Prior to BMCE, Mr. Ayed joined Citibank in 1980 where he spent 18 years. During his career with Citibank, he held various country management positions in the emerging countries of North Africa and the Middle East, and as Senior Banker with the Capital Markets Group at Citicorp International plc in London (1996-1998).

During his various assignments at Citibank, Mr. Ayed formulated and implemented business strategies in the countries under his supervision, and made significant contributions to developing Citibank franchises in the MENA region.

Mr. Ayed obtained a Masters' degree in Economics at the University of Maryland in 1979 where he was elected member of the Phi kappa Phi Honor Society. He is a renowned composer of classical music.

Judith Kipper (Director, Middle East Programs, Institute of World Affairs)

Judith Kipper is an internationally recognized Middle East expert. She is the adviser for Middle East Programs and director of the Energy Security Group at the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime consultant on international affairs for ABC News. Her extensive expertise includes U.S.-Middle East policy, Arab-Israeli conflict, Gulf security and regional issues, Arab development, reform, democratization, and culture. Kipper has extraordinary access in all the countries of the Middle East, the Arab states, and Iran. She visits the area frequently to meet with monarchs, presidents, and ministers as well as other officials, academics, business leaders, clerics, opposition, and the press.

Ms. Kipper has testified before U.S. Senate and House committees on Middle East issues. She speaks frequently in the United States and abroad. She is often quoted in major news outlets, including BBC World Service and BBC World. Kipper was an assistant to Walter Cronkite at CBS News and was an adviser on Sadat's Ancient Egypt, a CBS documentary with Mr. Cronkite. She worked for several years in France on international issues, the transatlantic relationship, and the Soviet Union. Subsequently, Ms. Kipper was a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She was also a consultant to the RAND Corporation. Ms. Kipper co-edited The Middle East in Global Perspective and commissioned several strategic studies on Middle East issues. She has a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Harriet Fulbright (Former Executive Director, President's Committee on Arts and Humanities)

Harriet Fulbright has dedicated her life to education and the arts. She is the former Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities under President Bill Clinton.

Ms. Fulbright serves as an "unofficial ambassador" for the Fulbright Program and is often invited to speak at events that range from university commencements to milestone anniversaries for Fulbright Commissions around the world, celebrating the educational exchange program started by her late husband. Early in her life she was an educator, teaching English in South Korea, and art in the United States. She later worked as the assistant director of the Alliance of Independent Colleges of Art, and was on the staff of the Congressional Arts Caucus.

She served as the executive director of the Fulbright Association, where she met her late husband, Sen. J. William Fulbright. From 2006 to 2009, she headed the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting peace through international education and furthering her late husband's legacy. As a result of her status as an international figure of peace and education, she has received many awards and honorary degrees, most recently an honorary doctorate from the George Washington University. She currently sits on the advisory council of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William & Mary, as well on the advisory board of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.

Lorraine Hariton (Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State)

Lorraine Hariton was sworn in as the State Department's Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA) on September 14, 2009. Her experience in innovation and entrepreneurship provides a unique perspective in addressing our global economic growth challenges. She is responsible for State Department outreach to the business community and commercial advocacy efforts. She works with the business community worldwide to ensure that commercial diplomacy efforts support U.S. foreign policy objectives.

During her tenure, CBA has expanded cooperation and coordination with other trade promotion agencies and U.S. diplomatic posts overseas to support U.S. exporters and business interests in support of the President's National Export Initiative.

In her first year with CBA, Ms. Hariton oversaw the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), a State Department-led effort to promote and spur entrepreneurship around the world. She has been instrumental in successful undertakings as the Palestinian Information Technology Initiative (PITI) and she chairs the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-Russia Innovation Council on High Technologies (ICHT).

Ms. Hariton brings to the State Department more than 25 years of experience in the information technology sector in Silicon Valley. Throughout her business career Ms. Hariton worked with various technologies and products including mainframes, thin-client technology, e-commerce financial infrastructure, internet audio solutions and speech applications. Most recently Ms. Hariton worked on Smart Grid initiatives including advanced metering and intelligent street lighting.

Ms. Hariton served as President and CEO of Apptera from 2003 to 2005 where she brought their first product to market and raised $8 million in venture capital. She served as the CEO of Beatnik from 1999 to 2002 where she repositioned the company as a leader in the wireless industry and raised more than $40 million in venture capital. Ms. Hariton also spent 15 years at IBM serving in a number of executive capacities.

Ms. Hariton is Chairman Emeritus of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives, served as Treasurer of the State of California Board of Accountancy, served on the board of the Demand Response Smart Gird Coalition, served on the National Advisory Board of the Stanford Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Executive Committee of the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

Ms. Hariton has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University.

Michael J.T. McMillen (Partner, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP)

Mr. McMillen is a partner in the Finance group. He focuses his practice in the finance sector, particularly on Islamic finance, project and infrastructure development and finance, investment funds and real estate.

Mr. McMillen has more than 30 years of broad-based finance and corporate experience and is recognized as a global leader in Islamic finance and investment. Mr. McMillen has vast experience in the development and implementation of innovative Shari`ah-compliant financial products and structures, many the first of their kind. His transactional work in the Middle East, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia has included extensive investment funds work and transactions involving most major asset classes.

His project, infrastructure, equipment and structured finance work includes responsibility as the lead counsel on a wide range of financings in industries such as petrochemicals, mining, infrastructure, real estate, pulp and paper and electricity generation, including nuclear, hydro, coal, gas and renewable sources, in countries such as Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen and the United States. Many of his transactions were the first of their kind in these jurisdictions.

Mr. McMillen is an adjunct professor teaching Islamic finance at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and The Wharton School. He was the founding Chairman of the Islamic Finance Section of the American Bar Association and thereafter served as Chairman and Senior Advisor for that Section. He has been responsible for capital markets initiatives of the Islamic Financial Services Board.

Mr. McMillen has twice been the recipient of Euromoney's award as the "Best Legal Adviser in Islamic Finance." Euromoney has also recognized him as one of the 18 pioneers in the Islamic finance and investment field. He has additionally been honored with the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Makhtoum Award For Special Contributions to Islamic Finance and the Best Legal Advisor in Islamic Finance in North America.

Hazami Barmada (President & CEO, Al-Mubadarah)

Hazami Barmada is a social entrepreneur and international affairs professional. Ms. Barmada consults with public and private institutions providing technical assistance on business development, strategy, programming, management and institutional affairs. Recent clients included ARAMCO Services, Royal Opera House Muscat Oman, DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, DC, and Object Design and Communication.

Ms. Barmada is also the co-Founder, president and CEO of Al-Mubadarah: Arab Empowerment Initiative, an international NGO headquartered in Washington DC, harnessing expertise of global Arab expatriates for economic and social development in the Arab World. Al-Mubadarah works with institutions and professional diaspora networks to develop strategies for professional technical assistance and knowledge transfer programs. Programs include a Global Arab Talent Bank™, youth and business mentorship programs and professional travel fellowships.

She serves as an advisor and board member of several non-profit organizations including the steering committee for the Refugees International Young Humanitarian Circle and Peace x Peace. Her initiatives and events have received recognition in major media outlets nationally and internationally. She is a frequent public speaker and commentator on current affairs appearing on CNN international, BBC, Saudi TV, Alhurra, AlJazeera and VOA.

Ms. Barmada has a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from Rhodes College and has done graduate work in Public and Social Policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She was the recipient of the 2010 Breaking Barriers through Travel Fellowship working with woman and youth centers in Thailand, India and Nepal.

Hussain A. Qaragholi (President of the US Business Council, Iraq)

Hussain Qaragholi is President and Executive Director of the United States Business Council in Iraq as well as Chairman and Managing Director of Phoenix Capital Finance Limited and Phoenix Capital LLC. After graduating from Georgetown University in International Political Economy and Business Administration, Mr. Qaragholi subsequently began his career on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch, followed by Citigroup, Essdar Capital and Abu Dhabi International Bank (ADIB) before he founded Phoenix Capital in 2011.

In 2003, he initiated the Citigroup Iraq Desk and led Iraq government coverage as part of the core team that successfully restructured the USD 22 billion Saddam-era commercial claims into the debut USD 2.7 billion Iraq sovereign bond. At Essdar Capital he was advisor to the UAE and Oman sovereign governments and private royal wealth funds. As Iraq Business Head at ADIB, Mr. Qaragholi set-up Iraq's first foreign-owned standalone bank and acted as financial advisor to Iraq's first Independent Power Producer in the Kurdistan Region.

Mr. Qaragholi is President of the United States Business Council in Iraq. He is a recipient of the International Finance Review "Global Restructuring Deal of the Year" in 2006 for his work on the Saddam-era debt restructuring. He has appeared in media including the Financial Times, Platts Energy Week, and the internationally broadcast CNBC Capital Connection.

He received his Bachelors of Arts (Honors) from The College of William and Mary, a Masters of Arts (Honors) from the School of Foreign Service and an MBA – both from Georgetown University. He is a native speaker in Arabic and English.

David Van Buren (Senior Vice President, Corporate Business Strategy, L-3 Communications Corporation)

David M. Van Buren was appointed Corporate Senior Vice President for Business Strategy in April 2012. Prior to joining L-3 Communications Corporation, Mr. Van Buren was the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive (SAE) from April 2009 to March 2012. He was responsible for all Air Force research, development and acquisition activities. He provided direction, guidance and supervision of all matters pertaining to the formulation, review, approval and execution of acquisition plans, policies and programs.

Mr. Van Buren directed approximately $70 billion of annual investments that included major programs like the KC-46A Tanker, F-35 JSF, Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite, Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, Global Positioning System Satellite and weapons, as well as capability areas such as information technology, cyber, command and control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. He executed the roughly $300 billion five-year Air Force investment strategy to acquire systems and support services.

Mr. Van Buren has more than 30 years of acquisition experience in the Air Force, large defense corporations, and private equity owned small and medium aerospace and commercial high-technology firms. These technology areas included hyperspectral imaging; laser communications; alternative power sources; avionics; high-speed processing; compound semi-conductors; and satellite power systems.

Mr. Van Buren was President of Raytheon’s compound semi-conductor activity, and earlier as CEO, successfully transitioned TECSTAR, a small business, to being named one of the top 50 space manufacturers in the world by Space News. He was Vice President and Deputy Program Manager for the B-2 bomber at Northrop Corporation, and Project Manager on several classified airborne platforms, including the F-117A, and satellite platforms at Lockheed. Prior to his tenure at Lockheed, he served on active duty in the Air Force for nine years, including two tours in Southeast Asia.

In 2012, Mr. Van Buren was presented the highest civilian honors in both the Department of Defense (Medal for Distinguished Public Service) and Air Force (Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service). In 2013, Mr. Van Buren was appointed to the Defense Science Board by the Secretary of Defense.

Peter Gish (Partner, UPC Renewables)

Peter Gish has served on the Board of Directors of First Wind (formerly UPC Wind Partners) since 2006. Mr. Gish is currently a Partner, Co-founder and Board Member of UPC Renewables, a company dedicated to developing wind and solar projects in Europe and Asia and is Managing Director of UPC North Africa Wind Partners. In December 2010 Mr. Gish was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Apparent, Inc, a California based solar energy company with several patents for an innovative power extraction technology. Mr. Gish previously served as Corporate and Project Counsel and eventually Managing Director for UPC International Partnership CV II in Europe from 1997, completing several of the largest wind project financings globally prior to co-founding First Wind in 2001. Mr. Gish has extensive experience in the acquisition, development, financing and operation of wind parks in North America, North Africa and Europe and has published several articles on wind power financing. He has given testimony before the House Judicial Committee, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, and has assisted in the development of state legislation in support of renewable energy. He is a member of the Massachusetts and Connecticut Bars and serves on the Steering Committee of the National Wind Coordinating Committee. Mr. Gish has been a lecturer in finance and public policy at the University of Massachusetts, Graduate School of Management. He has a Bachelors Degree in Religion (Magna Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa) from Dartmouth College, Juris Doctor Degree (Cum Laude) from Boston College Law School, and a Masters Degree in Jurisprudence (Honors) from Oxford University.


The Honorable Mark T. Kimmitt specializes in advising firms on international defense matters. Until December, 2011, Mr. Kimmitt served as Executive Vice President of Advanced Technology Systems Company, a defense firm with a core focus overseas, primarily in the Middle East. His responsibilities included supplying and maintaining the militaries of US allies with system installation/integration, logistics support, technical assistance and specialized construction.

Mr. Kimmitt was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. In that capacity, he was responsible for worldwide State Department political- military issues, security assistance programs, the regulation of international arms sales, managing the Gulf-Security Dialogue process, developing US counter-piracy policy along the coast of Somalia and serving as the principal liaison between the Departments of State and Defense.

From 2006 to 2008, Mr. Kimmitt served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Near East and South Asia. In this position, he was responsible for defense policy development, planning, and guidance throughout the region. He was instrumental in key defense decisions during that period, to include operations in Afghanistan, the change in US strategy for Iraq in 2006, representing the Department of Defense in the 2008 Status of Forces negotiations with Iraq, and efforts to enhance security in the Middle East through the Gulf Security Dialogue. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Kimmitt served as Deputy Director for Plans and Strategy at Central Command. In that position he held key responsibilities, theater-wide strategic planning, military planning efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and promulgation of the "Long War" strategic concept worldwide.

While in Iraq from 2003-2004, Mr. Kimmitt served as Deputy Director for Operations and Chief Military Spokesman for US forces, handling daily press conference and the most sensitive issues confronting the coalition militaries during the early days of the war. Mr. Kimmitt served for over 30 years as an officer in the United States Army in a wide variety of command, operational, and policy positions with experience abroad in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Korea, Germany, and Belgium. He commanded soldiers, rangers and paratroopers at every echelon in the United States Army Field Artillery.

Kimmitt is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned an MBA (with Distinction) from the Harvard Business School and was elected the Class Marshal. He earned Masters Degrees from the School of Advanced Military Studies and the National Defense University, and earned a certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He additionally served as Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy, and is a frequent speaker, writer and commentator on US and Arabic media channels. He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Ambassador Jarl Frijs-Madsen (Consul General, Royal Danish Consulate General)

Jarl Frijs-Madsen assumed his post as Denmark's Consul General in New York in September of 2010. On top of heading the Royal Danish Consulate General, Ambassador Frijs-Madsen, in collaboration with the Danish Ambassador in Washington, is responsible for Denmark's collective export and investment promotion activities in the US as head of the Trade Council of Denmark in the US.

Ambassador Frijs-Madsen came from a position as Under Secretary for Foreign Trade and Investment and Head of the Trade Council of Denmark, where he was responsible for Denmark's trade promotion, investment promotion (Invest in Denmark) and trade policy (WTO) . In this capacity, Mr. Frijs-Madsen was also a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Corporate Management Committee.

Previously, Ambassador Frijs-Madsen has worked with the Middle East peace process and Central and Eastern Europe. He has also been posted as 1st embassy secretary in Bonn, Germany and as Commercial and Economic Counselor in Warsaw. Finally, he has worked in the private sector twice (consulting and finance). Mr. Frijs-Madsen holds a Master of Economics from the University of Copenhagen and has an Executive Certificate in Management (MBA-level) from Henley. He is married and he and his wife have three children and live in Scarsdale, New York.

John Duke Anthony (Founding President & CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations)

Dr. Anthony is the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and currently serves on the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and its Subcommittee on Sanctions. In 2012, he chaired and was the core lecturer in the Council's 26th Annual 10-Week University Student Summer Internship Program's Academic Seminar on Arabia and the Gulf. For the past 38 years, he has been a consultant and regular lecturer on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf for the Departments of Defense and State. He is former Chair, Near East and North Africa Program, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State as well as former Chair of the Department's Advanced Arabian Peninsula Studies Seminar. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1986, Dr. Anthony has been a frequent participant in its study groups on issues relating to the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf regions and the broader Arab and Islamic world. More recently, Dr. Anthony was elected to the Board of Advisors of the Yemen College for Middle Eastern Studies. For the Fall 2012 semester, in addition to fulfilling his duties as Council President and CEO and Adviser to the Department of State, he was appointed Dean's Chair in International Studies and Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, where he taught the Institute's first-ever course on "Politics of the Arabian Peninsula" to First (Senior) and Second (Junior) classmen.

On June 21, 2000, on the occasion of his first official visit to the United States, H.M King Muhammad VI of Morocco knighted Dr. Anthony, bestowing upon him the Medal of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, the nation of Morocco's highest award for excellence. In addition to heading the National Council, consulting, lecturing, and serving as an Adjunct Faculty Member of the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management (DISAM) since 1974, Dr. Anthony has been an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies since 2006. There, he developed a course for graduate students on "Politics of the Arabian Peninsula," the first such semester-long academic course to be offered at any American university. In 2007, he was Visiting Lecturer at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. In 2008 he was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo's HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin ‘Abdalaziz Al-Sa'ud Center for American Studies.

In 1983, Dr. Anthony received DISAM's Distinguished Achievement Award, one of three granted to American Middle East specialists in the Institute's history. In March 1989, the Kappa Alpha Order's National Executive bestowed upon him its Distinguished Public Service Award for Excellence "through a strenuous and useful Life of Service to others." In 1993, he received the U.S. Department of State's Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Award, one of three awarded over a span of 25 years in recognition of his preparation of American diplomatic and defense personnel assigned to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf states. In 1994, he received the Stevens Award for Outstanding Contributions to American-Arab Understanding. In May 2008, the Rotary Club of the Nation's Capital bestowed upon him its first-ever Local Giants Leadership Award.

Dr. Anthony is the only American to have been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1969-1970). In 1971, he was cosponsored by the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State as the sole American scholar to observe at firsthand the process by which the British ceased administering the defense and foreign relations for nine Arab states lining the coastal regions of eastern Arabia and the Gulf. His long experience in Yemen led to Dr. Anthony being asked to serve as an international observer in all four of Yemen's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Dr. Anthony is the only American to have been invited to each of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Ministerial and Heads of State Summits since the GCC's inception in 1981. (The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). Since 1986 and continuing until the present, Dr. Anthony has accompanied more than 200 Members of Congress, their chiefs of staff, defense and foreign affairs advisers, and legislative and communications directors on fact-finding missions to the Arab world. From 1996 until the present, he has also served as the principal scholar-escort for delegations to various GCC countries, Egypt, and Yemen comprised of 132 officers assigned to the staff of the Commander, U.S. Central Command, including Generals J.H. Binford Peay III, Anthony C. Zinni, Tommy Franks, John P. Abizaid, David Petraeus, James Mattis, and Admiral William Fallon.

Dr. Anthony is the author of three books, the editor of a fourth, and has published more than 175 articles and essays, and five monographs dealing with America's interests and involvement in the Arab countries, the Middle East, and the Islamic world. His best-known works are Arab States of the Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum; The Middle East: Oil, Politics, and Development (editor and co-author) and, together with J. E. Peterson, Historical and Cultural Dictionary of the Sultanate of Oman and the Emirates of Eastern Arabia. Among his more recent publications are The United Arab Emirates: Dynamics of State Formation, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), 2002; "The Future Significance of the Gulf Cooperation Council," in Global Strategic Developments: A Futuristic Vision, Abu Dhabi, UAE: ECSSR, 2012; "The Intervention in Bahrain through the Lenses of its Supporters" and "Challenges Facing NATO in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq," all four published by ECSSR in the Summer and Fall of 2011; "War with Iran: Regional Reactions and Requirements," published by Middle East Policy and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, 2008; "Strategic Dynamics of Iran-GCC Relations," in Jean-François Seznec and Mimi Kirk, eds., Industrialization in the Gulf: A Socioeconomic Revolution, New York: Routledge, 2011; and "Measuring the Iraq War 'Accomplishments' Through the Lens of Its Authors: A Preliminary Assessment": a revised and edited version of an address presented to the Axis for Peace conference held in Brussels by Voltaire Network, 2005, published by the National Council.

In addition to being the founder and chief facilitator and moderator of the Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, now in its 21st year, Dr. Anthony has been a founder, board member, and Secretary of the U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee; founding President of the Middle East Educational Trust; co-founder of the Commission on Israeli-Palestinian Peace; founding President of the Society for Gulf Arab Studies; co-founder and board member of the National Commission to Commemorate the 14th Centennial of Islam; and founder and former chairman of the U.S.-Morocco Affairs Council. In 2006 he was elected Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of the International Foreign Policy Association in Washington, D.C.

After completion of his U.S. Army active duty military service, the Commonwealth of Virginia granted Dr. Anthony a four-year State Cadetship Award which allowed him to enroll at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he received his Bachelor's Degree in History. At VMI, he was elected president of his class all four years in addition to serving as president of the Corps of Cadets' Government General and Executive Committees during his First Class Year. He later earned a Master of Science Degree in Foreign Service (With Distinction) from the Edmund A. Walsh Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, in addition to holding one of three University Scholar Awards, he was inducted into the National Political Science Honor Society. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., where he held a National Defense in Foreign Language Scholarship for Arabic, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, and was appointed in 1973 to SAIS' full-time faculty while still a student. For nearly a decade, Dr. Anthony taught courses on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf States at SAIS. He has been a Visiting and Adjunct Professor at the Defense Intelligence College, the Woodrow Wilson School of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, the Universities of Pennsylvania and Texas, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and a regular lecturer at the National War College.

Dr. Anthony passed his proficiency exam in French at the Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1966. He passed his proficiency exam in Arabic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1969 following study there as well as at Princeton University and the American University in Cairo's Center for Arabic Study Abroad.

Dr. Anthony is married to Cynthia Burns McDonald, Director of the Washington, D.C. Office of the American University in Cairo, and has twin sons.

Robert E. Michael (Chair, Islamic Law Committee, American Branch International Law Association)

Robert E. Michael is the Managing Member of Robert E. Michael & Associates PLLC, a law firm that represents clients in a variety of areas dealing with problem situations, with a primary focus on cross-border workouts and bankruptcies, representing offshore corporate clients either with claims against, or an interest in investing in, U.S. entities in financial difficulty.

Mr. Michael is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pace University Law School, teaching "Law and Finance" to international L.L.M. candidates, primarily from Saudi Arabia, and provides annual guest lectures on Islamic Finance and International Business Transactions to the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A frequent contributor to the Saudi Arabian business press, he is also the co-author of "Iflas and Chapter 11 - Classical Islamic Law and Modern Bankruptcy," in The International Lawyer. In 2010, Mr. Michael had the unique opportunity to be the first non-diplomat invited to address the Ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference) at the United Nations. His speech was entitled Islamic Finance in Relation to Capitalism and Socialism.

Mr. Michael, a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law; is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and, has headed a Workout/Restructure Department in a commercial bank (Manufacturers Hanover); an investment bank (Paribas Corporation); and a law firm (Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives). He was also a partner of Morrison & Foerster, based in New York City. He is Chair Emeritus of the Committee on Foreign and Comparative Law of the New York City Bar Association and is the current Chair of the Subcommittee on Islamic Law and a Member of its Council on International Affairs, as well as a member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America.

Mr. Michael is also the Chairman of the Islamic Law Committee for the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA). The International Law Association, based in London, is the oldest international law society in the world.

Paul Homsy (Principal, Noonmark Capital Partners, LLC)

Paul Homsy is one of the leading authorities on the Arabian Gulf, Islamic finance, and the laws and business conditions of this region and helps companies enter the Middle East or raise capital there through his consulting firm Noonmark Capital LLC, a member of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Professional Alliance. Paul is a partner in the law firm of Eaton Van Winkle and cofounded Integration Capital & Trade, a boutique investment bank with offices in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Muscat, Oman Mr. Homsy has over 30 years of experience (including 27 years as an attorney) in the Middle East and practiced law in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for 5 years as the founder and managing partner of Sidley & Austin's former office there and is currently special counsel to the Law Firm of Johnson & Pump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Homsy has an extensive network of senior level relationships and contacts in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman including royal family members, sovereign wealth funds, government ministers and former ministers, ultra high net worth investors, conventional and Sharia compliant banks, investment companies, and fund managers. Mr. Homsy has significant experience in the development, structuring and financing of several billion dollars of transactions in a wide range of conventional and Islamic financial products, including private equity funds, trade finance funds, real estate funds, and Islamic bonds (sukuk).

Mr. Homsy has a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law. He speaks both Spanish and conversational Arabic. Mr. Homsy has served on the Board of Advisors of the Harvard University Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East, John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he participated in the Arab Israeli Peace Negotiations, and as Chairman of the Middle East Law Committee of the American Bar Association, International Section.

Mr. Homsy served six years on the Board of Directors of the Arab Bankers Association of North America and also served on its Executive Committee. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York. Mr. Homsy has appeared frequently as a Middle East commentator on CNBC Television, Reuters News Service, National Public Radio's Marketplace program, and Bloomberg Television and has been quoted in a number of leading publications including "Economist", "The Financial Times", "The Banker" magazine and "The Journal of Commerce".

Mr. Homsy's publications on Middle East law and Islamic finance have appeared in "Business Islamica", Euromoney, "The International Lawyer", "The Northwestern Journal of International Law", and "The International Legal Encyclopedia" of The University of Virginia Law School. He has lectured widely on Middle East topics at such forums as Harvard University, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, King Saud University, and a number of banking conferences.

Ahmed El Alfi (Founder & Chairman, Sawari Ventures, Cairo, Egypt)

Ahmed El Alfi, a veteran investor with over 25 years of experience in top executive and management positions, is the founder of Sawari Ventures a Cairo based Venture Capital firm. Mr. El Alfi founded Sawari Ventures in 2010, aiming to help transform the Egyptian and MENA region economies through the creation of sustainable, high impact businesses. Over the past 2 years, Sawari Ventures invested in a number of promising entrepreneurs, including SilMinds, which offers innovative solutions for Decimal Floating Point Arithmetic (DFPA) hardware acceleration based on their patent-pending technologies; Kngine, a next generation search engine and personal assistant; and vimov, with its flagship product, Weather HD, the top-paid weather application for the iPad. Sawari Ventures I (SVI) is the company's USD50 million early and growth-stage fund investing in technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) in Egypt and the MENA region.

In 2011, Sawari Ventures created and funded Flat6Labs, its own startup accelerator. Flat6Labs is an innovative investment approach that is based upon immersing startup entrepreneurs into the real-world challenges of creating and managing sustainable enterprises, while being supported by a dedicated staff, mentorship team and educational courses provided by The American University in Cairo (AUC). Since its launch, Flat6Labs has hosted and funded a total of 18 companies over 3 cycles, 12 of which already graduated.

Mr. El Alfi has extensive experience in creating and nurturing early stage companies, as well as structuring international M&A transactions. His investment track record includes the execution of numerous successful transactions in technology, Internet, healthcare and financial services at various stages of development. He has executed many rewarding exits including several IPO's on the NASDAQ. His current international portfolio includes Triporati, an innovative online travel recommendation company, Pacific Toxicology, a leading Toxicology laboratory in the US as well as Politear a listening platform for campaigns, elected officials and corporations.

Prior to Sawari Ventures, and upon his relocation to Cairo during 2006, Mr. El Alfi served as the CEO of EFG-Hermes Private Equity. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Waqf Endowment. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, the Advisory Board of Claremont Graduate School of Religion, as well as several for profit corporate boards. He is also an avid collector of Islamic coins.

Scott Anderson (Director of Marketing, Global Cleantech Center, Ernst & Young)

Scott Anderson recently joined Ernst & Young's Global Cleantech Center as its director of marketing. He was founder and principal of VerdeStrategy, a consulting and advisory firm focused on the cleantech, energy, and environment sectors. He is also cofounder of the Cleantech Alliance Mid-Atlantic (CAMA), a regional business network for entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers working in the sector.

Mr. Anderson has over 20 years experience in management, marketing, capital raising and business development. He has held management positions for large institutions, such as The Nature Conservancy, the world's most successful global conservation organization, and Ashoka, a social venture capital organization with operations in 72 countries worldwide, and has consulted with dozens of green and cleantech businesses and social entrepreneurs around the globe.

He writes the popular blog, The Green Skeptic, and is a frequent commentator on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co., WSJ.com, and StockTwits.tv, among other media outlets. In addition, Scott has served as an Advisory Board member for The Energy Collective, an energy policy, climate change and alternative energy community; GoodCompany Ventures, a social enterprise incubator; One Degree Solar, a supplier of solar energy and lighting products created specifically for individuals and small businesses in developing countries, and GreenMicrofinance, LLC, which develops alternative energy projects in the developing world.

While at The Nature Conservancy, he was part of the Global Climate Change and Global Marine Strategy Teams, which developed high-level global strategies for the organization, and was a John C. Sawhill Conservation Leadership Fellow. He has also been a Salzburg Global Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Joseph L. Brand (Partner, Patton Boggs LLP)

Joseph Brand's involvement in more than 90 countries has been foreign affairs law, or international law and U.S. law, as it applies abroad. On behalf of such clients as foreign sovereigns, multinational enterprises, international financial institutions, educational institutions and even nongovernmental organizations, Mr. Brand has done legal work in all corners of the globe. In his domestic practice, he helps his foreign and American clients on their mergers and acquisitions, financings, regulatory compliance, corporate governance matters and dealings with the federal government. Mr. Brand also advocates for clients in the area of international human rights.

Governments, and their official instrumentalities, are among Mr. Brand's clients, and his service for them can be described in the example of a South American country that, at the request of the World Bank, retained him to negotiate a settlement with creditors who threatened to seize the government's major asset at the very time the government was seeking to alleviate a budget crisis by privatizing the asset. Drawing on his experience in comparative law, Mr. Brand borrowed a concept from a different legal culture, lobbied its passage by the legislature, defended it when it became the subject of international arbitration and ultimately used it to force a settlement favorable to the client.

His practice is by no means limited to one part of the world. Other examples of recent international activities include a technology transfer to an Asian country, investments in Russia, restructuring the investment portfolio of a Middle East institution and the representation of an African-based oil company.

Mr. Brand served for many years as outside counsel to a U.S.-based multinational with operations in more than 70 countries and has counseled the company's managers on almost every significant domestic and foreign legal activity involving the company; engagements that run the gamut from market access and direct foreign investment to trade disputes and international litigation. U.S. legal work for his foreign clients includes environmental issues for a Japanese chemical concern, regulatory compliance for an Arab bank, defense procurement for a Brazilian manufacturer and human rights advice for a European company.

Outside the practice, Mr. Brand maintains an active interest in international legal matters. He taught the core curriculum course in comparative law at George Washington University Law School for more than 10 years and chaired a nongovernmental organization that litigates in U.S. courts on behalf of foreign victims of torture. His interest in university affairs is seen in his service as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University. During his tenure as a trustee, he chaired the fundraising program that brought more than half a billion dollars to the university's endowment. He now serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Brand also chaired an international health care charity, was a director of Human Rights First, formerly called the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and presently serves as a governor of the Middle East Institute. His professional affiliations include:

  • Board of Governors, The Middle East Institute
  • Board of Trustees, Emeritus, George Washington University
  • Board of Trustees, American University of Sharjah
  • American Society of International Law

Michael Bennett (Head of Derivatives and Structured Finance, World Bank)

Michael Bennett is the Head of Derivatives and Structured Finance in the treasury department of the World Bank. He has spent over ten years with the World Bank, splitting his time between the World Bank's Paris office and its Washington, DC headquarters.

Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked in the structured finance field in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. He has published articles in various legal and financial journals on topics including the opportunities and challenges facing the Islamic fixed income market, the role of Sukuk in development, structured products, and the regulation of financial derivatives in Asia. He also worked on the World Bank's only Sukuk issue to date, a Malaysian ringgit 760 million Sukuk issued in 2005.

He graduated from Columbia University Law School in New York.

Aiyah Saihati (Founder & President, Saihati International Group)

Aiyah Saihati, an international entrepreneur and intellectual, is the founder and president of Saihati International. She is an outspoken proponent of women's rights and economic empowerment in her native Saudi Arabia and works extensively in the areas of cross-cultural understanding and pluralism throughout the world. Her work bridges the business, legal and non-profit sectors and she is a well-known speaker at conferences and conventions on the subjects of entrepreneurship, current and historical events in Saudi Arabia, and the status of women in the Middle East.

An open letter that she published after the harsh sentencing of a Saudi rape victim was translated into eleven different languages as it was spread throughout the international press. She also speaks at international conferences and prestigious forums such as the Congress of the United States, prominent educational institutions that include the Dubai School of Government, Wharton Business School and Georgetown University as well as leading think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Ron Bruder (Founder & Chairman of the Board, Education for Employment)

Ron Bruder is an American entrepreneur and advocate for increased youth employment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. He is the founder of Education for Employment (EFE), a network of affiliated locally-run nonprofits which create public-private partnerships with employers to train youth in technical and soft skills and place them in jobs. The network has local affiliates in Jordan,Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia and capacity-building support organizations in the United States and Spain. In 2011, Mr. Bruder was named on the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Mr. Bruder began his career as a serial entrepreneur with businesses in real estate, travel, pharmaceuticals and energy. In 1977, he founded The Brookhill Group, which owns and manages properties throughout the US with a focus on creating investment partnerships to develop or redevelop shopping centers, office buildings and multi-family homes.

Mr. Bruder was an attendee at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the World Economic Forum in Tianjin in 2012, he was named a Schwab Foundation Global Social Entrepreneur for his work in founding EFE. He has served as a delegate of the Council on Foreign Relations to the Jeddah Economic Forum, and a contributor to the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. He is frequently invited to share EFE's best practices at major international conferences and has addressed audiences at the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum and the United Nations, among others.

Khush Choksy (Vice President for Turkey, Middle East and North Africa Affairs)

Khush Choksy is vice president for Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he leads the activities of the department in developing and implementing policies and programs to promote U.S. trade and investment with markets in the region. Choksy manages a team of program and policy experts focused on working closely with Chamber member companies and business and government leaders to advance and broaden commercial relationships between the United States and the region. In addition, he serves as executive director of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council and the U.S.-Bahrain Business Council. He is actively involved in the Chamber’s efforts to lead a Middle East Commercial Dialogue to foster intra-regional trade and investment.

Before joining the Chamber, Choksy was a director at Chemonics International where he led teams in developing economic ties between the United States and the Middle East. He lived and worked in Jordan for seven years, establishing relations with private- and public-sector leaders at a critical time in the U.S.-Middle East relationship on behalf of several USAID programs. He also worked in India, overseeing U.S. government and World Bank-funded projects that helped liberalize the capital markets and financial sectors.

His thought leadership includes presentations at international forums on business reform and U.S. trade and financial sector investment in emerging markets.

Choksy received his M.B.A. in strategic management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. magna cum laude from Hamilton College. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Jane Garvey (North American Chairman, Meridiam Infrastructure)

Ms. Jane Garvey serves as North America chairman of Meridiam Infrastructure, which enables public authorities to procure and manage the infrastructure essential to the development of their local communities.

Ms. Garvey is the former executive director of JP Morgan Securities' Infrastructure Advisory Group. In this capacity, she advised transportation sector clients on how traditional infrastructure financing methods can be improved to facilitate project delivery for governments. She also formerly served as executive vice president and chairman of APCO Worldwide's transportation practice, providing strategic counsel to APCO clients globally, covering topics from government relations to policy to communications advice. She also led the transportation practice, working with clients on issues and opportunities affecting the changing transportation industry.

Ms. Garvey served as the first five-year term administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), leading the nation's aviation system into the 21st century. Under her leadership, the FAA successfully navigated the year 2000 transition, established a risk management approach across the entire aviation community to improve aviation safety, and achieved aggressive strides to expand the capacity and capabilities of the air traffic control system.

Prior to becoming FAA Administrator in 1997, Ms. Garvey was acting administrator and previously deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Among her accomplishments at FHWA, Ms. Garvey conceived and developed the Innovative Financing Initiative, enabling the states to use federal highway funds more effectively. Most of the funds-management methods tested by more than 30 states under this initiative were later enacted into law. One particularly successful innovation enables a state to pledge future federal highway revenues to repay a special debt instrument, designated a GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) by the U.S. public finance market.

Before joining FHWA in 1993, Ms. Garvey was director of Boston's Logan International Airport, and from 1988 to 1991, she was commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works.

Ms. Garvey was named one of the "Top Public Officials of the 20th Century" by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. As FAA Administrator and in her previous leadership positions, Ms. Garvey has received numerous awards and public recognition, including the National Air Transportation Association's Distinguished Service Award, the National Council of Public-Private Partnerships Leadership Award, the National Award of Excellence from the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the Leadership Award from the American Association of Airport Executives, and the Woman of the Year award from both Women in Transportation Seminar and Women in Politics. She served on President-elect Obama's transition team in late 2008 to early 2009.

Ms. Garvey holds a bachelor's degree from Mount Saint Mary College and a master's degree from Mount Holyoke College. She participated in the Fellowship Program for Public Leaders at Harvard, and she holds honorary degrees from several universities.

Dr. James J. Zogby (Founder & President, Arab American Institute)

Jim Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.- based organization, which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. He is also Managing Director of Zogby Research Services, LLC (ZRS), specializing in research and communications. He is the author of "Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why It Matters"(Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

During his four decade long career, Dr. Zogby also co-founded and directed the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Save Lebanon, Inc. In 1993, he was asked by Vice President Al Gore to lead Builders for Peace, a private sector committee to promote U.S. business investment in the West Bank and Gaza. In this capacity, Dr. Zogby worked with a number of U.S. agencies to promote and support Palestinian economic development, including AID, OPIC, USTDA, and the Departments of State and Commerce.

Dr. Zogby has been personally active in U.S. politics for many years; he currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is Co-Chair of the DNC's Resolutions Committee and its Ethnic Council. A lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues, U.S.-Arab relations, and the history of the Arab American community, he has an extensive media profile in the United States and across the Arab World. Since 1992, Dr. Zogby has written Washington Watch, a weekly column on U.S. politics that is currently published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. From 1993 to 2011, he hosted the award-winning "Viewpoint with James Zogby" a live call-in television program that aired on Abu Dhabi TV.

In addition to Arab Voices, he has authored a number of other books including "What Ethnic Americans Really Think" and "What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns", based on polling he conducted together with his brother John Zogby.

In 1975, Dr. Zogby received his doctorate from Temple University's Department of Religion, where he studied under the Islamic scholar Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University. He is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees and teaching fellowships.

Thad Geiger (Agribusiness Development, Kansas Department of Agriculture)

Mr. Geiger serves with the Agribusiness Development for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. In this capacity, Mr. Geiger works to enhance production agriculture in Kansas and grow its agribusinesses both domestically and internationally. He is directly responsible for the growth and promotion of the beef, pork and poultry industries and the agricultural equipment manufacturing sector for the Department.

He has also been involved in the state's bio fuel industry and water conservation efforts. Mr. Geiger is a strong advocate for agricultural trade as a means to not only increase commerce but to bring about stability and improved relations between nations. He has represented Kansas agricultural interests internationally with Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and China.

Prior to joining the Kansas Department of Agriculture, he was involved in community banking in Kansas and still today owns and operates a family farm and ranch in Northeast Kansas. Mr. Geiger is a former member of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, the Executive Council of the Community Bankers Association of Kansas and various boards representing agricultural and banking interests in the state of Kansas.

Ibrahim Mardam-Bey (Group President, Taylor-DeJongh)

Ibrahim Mardam-Bey is an entrepreneur, financier and business developer with extensive international experience. He possesses a broad range of unique experiences and a track record in the international finance, merchant investment banking and Islamic Finance world. He also maintains an active role in corporate governance, mentoring and public speaking.

Mr. Mardam-Bey is also the co-founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Merchant-Edge, a merchant investment company. Previously, he was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Siraj Capital. Other positions have included serving as Chief Financial Officer of a telecom company, Strategic Advisor and Non-Executive Director of an educational software company, and Chief Marketing Officer and member of the founding team of one of the MENA region's leading structured finance banks.

As a published author, he has written on international finance, Islamic Banking and Sukuk, and has been featured in Euromoney, Banker Middle East, Sukuk Insider and others. Mr. Mardam-Bey has received numerous business and professional recognitions and awards for his pioneering work on several international Sukuk transactions. Over the past 10 years, he has successfully arranged and raised financing (equity & debt) for multi-billion dollar projects and private equity funds. He is a member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America, the London based Arab Bankers Association and Young Arab Leaders.

Tanya Cole (U.S. Commercial Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce)

Tanya Cole joined the U.S. Commercial Service in 2006 as a Foreign Service Officer after more than 20 years of experience in the private sector working on engineering and environmental infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Ms. Cole served as Environmental Engineering Expert for the French Development Agency, USAID and the World Bank for water treatment, transportation, roads and waste management projects.

Currently Ms. Cole is the U.S. Commercial Officer serving the New York and Tri-State U.S. Export Assistance Centers leveraging her business expertise in Africa, Middle East and South America. Ms. Cole also served in Tunisia as the Senior Commercial Liaison Officer to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the U.S. Commercial Service, Office of the U.S. Executive Director. She also served as U.S. Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy Bogota Colombia where she supported the development and implementation of the currently enacted U.S. Colombian Free Trade Agreement.

Ms. Cole has a MA degree in Diplomacy and International Relations, with distinction, Certificate in Health Sciences, BS in Biochemistry and a BA in Psychology, from the University of Westminster, Harvard, and UCLA, respectively. Ms. Cole speaks French and Spanish.

Judith Barnett (Founder & President, The Barnett Group, LLC)

Judith Barnett (Founder & CEO, The Barnett Group) Judith Barnett began The Barnett Group, LLC in 2003 to provide trade consulting services to private sector companies and government agencies, specializing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Ms. Barnett provides a one-stop shop for U.S. companies interested in creating or expanding trade and investment in the MENA. Prior to her private practice in international trade, Ms. Barnett served in the Clinton Administration, practiced as a corporate lawyer and litigator, a law professor, a writer and media expert. She is active on numerous charitable and political organizations including the Boards of Directors | Amideast, J-Street.

Ms. Barnett began her trade practice after serving in the Clinton Administration in from October 1993 to December 1998 where she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Africa and the Near East, U.S. Department of Commerce and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Development, International Trade Association. As Principal Deputy in 1993, she was responsible for the management of an Office of 400 persons and a budget of $49 million. During her tenure at Trade Development, she oversaw the only US government agency that represents industry sectors, managed 22 private sector advisory committees and established the Advocacy Center which has tracked and advocated for billions of dollars of successful tenders for US companies throughout the world.

In 1996, Ms. Barnett became the Deputy Assistant Secretary and championed programs to develop open and competitive markets throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Sahara Africa. She was responsible for activities and programs in 68 countries, including bilateral trade matters, regional projects and programs, and project advocacy for US companies. Ms. Barnett implemented and cooperated on numerous multinational conferences in the Middle East, the United States and Europe, including the 70 country member MENA Economic Summits in Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. Her responsibilities included the Gore-Mbeki and Gore-Mubarak Partnerships for Economic Growth and Development, the Taba Trade Ministers program (trade ministers of the Middle East), the Middle East North Africa Economic Summits with the World Economic Forum and the Administration's Africa Initiative.

In law practice, Ms. Barnett worked in various aspects of corporate law and litigation. She developed corporate specialties in the areas of high tech joint ventures and automotive law, as well as trial work in intellectual property rights and contract law. Ms. Barnett served for eight years as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching in the areas of legislative advocacy and legal ethics and government relations in the global marketplace.

Before entering the law profession, Ms. Barnett served in the Carter and Reagan Administrations in public affairs and speechwriting at the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Education. She has written articles for Voguemagazine, the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, theWashington Times and other publications and has been a media expert on CNN, BBC,, and numerous international television programs. Ms. Barnett lives in Washington and has one daughter, currently an appointee of the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Laura Lombard (President & Executive Director, Middle East & North Africa Consultants Association (MENACA) )

Ms. Lombard is the founding President and Executive Director of the Middle East & North Africa Consultants Association (MENACA). MENACA is a professional trade association of highly experienced experts doing business in the MENA region. Members range from individual consultants specializing in a specific country or sector to medium sized consulting firms with a strong MENA focus.The organization's mission is to be the premier organization facilitating cooperation and collaboration between professionals doing business in the Middle East and North Africa and supporting business development and operational efforts of our members, leading to increased business opportunities, long-term viability, and profitability.

Ms. Lombard began her regional specialty while working for the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), focusing her work on North Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. After graduating from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a regional specialty in the MENA region, she worked at The Cohen Group (TCG), a DC-based consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. At TCG, she regularly engaged in research projects, due diligence analysis, business development activities for clients in various sectors and focused on the Middle East, Latin America, and China. In addition, she had the unique opportunity to handle the firm's media portfolio.

After leaving TCG, she successfully developed her own independent consulting practice focused on providing strategic advice and insight to her clients on commercial opportunities in the MENA region. In particular, she has developed an expertise in the areas of renewable energy, infrastructure development, defense, and education. In addition to her Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Ms. Lombard has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas. She has travelled to Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey.

Edward Burton (Chief Executive Officer and President, U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council)

Edward Burton was appointed President and Managing Director of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council in March 2006. In January 2013, he assumed the title of Chief Executive Officer and retained the title of President of the Council. In this position he works with the American and Saudi public and private sectors to promote the interests of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian bilateral commercial relationship. The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council was established in December 1993 to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the United States and Saudi Arabia, and to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The Council's activities include organizing trade missions, conferences, seminars and high-level networking events such as the two "U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forums" held in 2010 and 2011 in Chicago and Atlanta, the largest gatherings of Saudi and American businesses in the relationship's history. The Council also publishes updated documents including "A Business Guide to Saudi Arabia", a bi-monthly newsletter, the "U.S.-Saudi Business Brief", and specialized industry sector reports. The Council's activities are focused on highlighting the more than $1 trillion in Saudi earmarked projects and market opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Burton has counseled hundreds of Fortune 500 companies as well as small and middle tier firms in a variety of industries such construction, medical and pharmaceutical, defense & security, information technology and technical services.

Prior to joining the Business Council, Mr. Burton served as the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He managed a staff of 27 officers, commercial specialists and other local direct hire personnel serving offices in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. He was responsible for all U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) operations in Saudi Arabia and had oversight of all USFCS management, administrative and fiscal matters in the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom. He also supervised USFCS operations in Manama, Bahrain through a partnership arrangement with the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Mr. Burton was also appointed directly by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to serve as the USFCS Regional Coordinator for the agency's Iraq Reconstruction Regional Initiative.

Prior to being assigned to the Embassy in Riyadh, Mr. Burton was the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, he served former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as the State of New Jersey's International Trade Director.

Mr. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Charleston and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Dickinson School of Law. He practiced law in New Jersey with the law firm Cooper Levenson. He also received certified international trade and management training at the Thunderbird School of International Business and the Harvard Business School of Publishing.

Karen Crennan (Managing Director, Geographic Growth & Strategy, Accenture)

Karen Crennan is Managing Director Geographic Growth & Strategy, responsible for the development and implementation of Accenture's geographic strategy, including identifying opportunities for accelerating growth, and enhancing the company's competitive position. Her global responsibilities include both mature and emerging markets. She works closely with the leaders of Accenture's geographies to build winning and durable growth strategies and evaluate market entry strategies in new markets. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008.

Ms. Crennan joined Accenture in 1994 from CSC Index, where she was involved in its pioneering work on Business Process Re-engineering. During the early part of her career with Accenture, she worked as a strategy consultant on a number of high-profile projects, serving a range of clients including Corning Glass, Miller Brewing, ADT Security, Sprint and AT&T.

Since then, Ms. Crennan assumed leadership positions in a number of significant changes within Accenture, including its renaming and rebranding, flotation on the New York Stock Exchange and the on-going transformation of the business from a pure consulting model to one comprising multiple services and workforces. Ms. Crennan has also been highly influential on various key initiatives, including innovation, thought leadership, IT effectiveness and organization in the digital age. She led Accenture's Horizon 2012 Strategy effort and lead the Program Management Office in its transition to its new Operating Model.

Ms. Crennan is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she gained a BA in Philosophy, and of the University of Washington, where she took an MA in Philosophy and an MS in Computer Science. She is currently based in Milan, Italy.

Nazanin Ash (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Middle East Partnership Initiative)

Nazanin Ash is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs, responsible for assistance and partnership initiatives. Prior to this role, she served as a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff from June 2007 to April 2012, responsible for foreign assistance, political and economic development, and aid effectiveness issues; most recently with a strong focus on U.S. Government policy and strategy responses to the Arab Spring.

Previously, she served as principal advisory and chief of staff to the first Director of Foreign Assistance and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, developing and supervising the implementation of key strategies and tools for achieving the goals of U.S. foreign assistance reform and allocating U.S. foreign assistance resources. In 2003, Ms. Ash was appointed by the President as one of 12 White House Fellows, serving her term at the Department of State. Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Ash was a program officer for ActionAid-Kenya, one of the largest NGOs in Kenya and a leading advocacy and local capacity-building institution.

Ms. Ash received her B.A. in political science from Bryn Mawr College, and her Master in Public Policy, concentration in political and economic development, from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was awarded a Public Service Fellowship, an Imagitas Fellowship, and a Sheldon Fellowship. In 2003, in recognition of her work in Kenya, she received Harvard Kennedy School's Rising Star Award, awarded annually to two alumni selected by peers from among the previous four classes of Kennedy School graduates.

Michael Jacobson (Director, Corporate Responsibility Office, INTEL CORPORATION)

Michael Jacobson is responsible for leading Intel’s corporate responsibility strategy with stakeholders across the company. He has an experienced team of experts in CSR, strategic alliances, communications, stakeholder management and reporting who are committed to building upon Intel’s performance as a leading corporate citizen.

Prior to this, he managed Intel’s Corporate Affairs team in California and Texas and was responsible for leading corporate responsibility programs, philanthropic investments and public policy. He also worked in Intel’s Corporate Real Estate and Site Development Group as a site selection manager and was responsible for evaluating locations across the globe for potential Intel investment.

Mr. Jacobson came to Intel from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce where he was a director of business development. He joined the Chamber after serving eight years in Washington D.C. He is actively engaged in national and local community based organizations and has served on numerous boards and held leadership positions.

Patrick M. Hughes (Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret), President, PMH Enterprises LLC)

Patrick M. Hughes is now engaged in consulting in the focus areas of intelligence, national security, and international relations, as well as the functional areas of leadership, business management and organizational effectiveness. He is also engaged as an author and futurist.

Lieutenant General Hughes was employed from 1 April 2005 until retiring on 30 June 2011, as the L-3 Corporate Vice President for Intelligence and Counterterrorism. He also functioned as the corporate point of contact for Homeland Security / Homeland Defense and Cyber Operations.

Prior to arriving at L-3 he served in the government as Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis (Intelligence), at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from 17 November 2003 until 15 March 2005. During this period he began initial operations of the DHS intelligence support system and assisted in the stand-up of the department. From 1 October 1999 until 16 November 2003 he was the President of PMH Enterprises LLC, a private consulting firm. His primary clients were U.S. Government Agencies.

He retired from the United States Army on 1 October 1999 after more than 35 years of military service, beginning as an enlisted soldier and combat medic on 2 January 1962. His last active duty assignment was Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a position he held for 3 and ½ years. Other positions of responsibility included Director of Intelligence (J-2), the Joint Staff; Director of Intelligence (J-2), U.S. Central Command; Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence Agency; and Commander, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade with service in the Republic of Korea. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and other conflicts. He has visited 127 countries. He was trained in the Vietnamese and Korean languages.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3 awards), the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor (3 awards) and for Meritorious Service (2 awards), the Purple Heart, the Air Medal for combat air operations, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Parachute Badge, the Joint Staff Identification Badge, the Army Staff Badge, the DIA Badge, the U.S. Central Command Badge, the MI Corps Knowlton Award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), the Central Intelligence Agency Director's Award and the CIA Medallion. He is a member of the US Army MI Hall of Fame.

Lieutenant General Hughes received his Bachelor of Arts in Business from Montana State University (where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant from the Army ROTC program), a Master of Arts in Business Management from Central Michigan University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and a two-year War College Fellowship at the School of Advanced Military Studies. He has received honorary doctorates from Montana State University (Business), and the National Defense Intelligence College (Strategic Intelligence). He has been the recipient of other extensive education and training.

Richard A. Cody (General, USA (Ret), Corporate Senior Vice President - Washington, L-3 Communications Corporation)

General (USA, Ret) Richard A. Cody was born in Montpelier Vermont. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on 6 June 1972 with a BS. He is a graduate of the Transportation Corps Officer Basic and Advance Course, the Army's Aviation Maintenance Test Pilot School, the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He is a master Army Aviator, rated in over 19 Helicopters and has over 5000 of flight time.

During his 36+ years of service, General Cody served in six of the Army's combat divisions, the 25th Infantry Division, the 2nd Infantry Division, the 24th Infantry Division (MECH), the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division (MECH). General Cody's command time includes Company Commander, E Company, 24th Aviation Battalion; Company Commander, B Company, 229th Attack Helicopter Battalion; Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment (AH-64); Commander, 4th Brigade (Avn) 1st Cavalry Division; Commander, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment; and Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Ky.

General Cody held several key staff positions to include Assistant Division Commander, 4th Infantry Division (MECH); Deputy Commanding General, Task Force Hawk in Albania; Director of Operations, Plans and Mobilization, Department of the Army; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Department of the Army; and he served as the 31st Vice Chief of Staff, Army from June 2004 to August 2008.

General Cody currently is a Corporate Senior Vice President and Officer for L-3 Communications Corporation. He is the Chairman of the Board and National Chairman for Homes for Our Troops; Board Trustee of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund; Board Trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation; a Trustee of NOBLIS; on the Advisory Board for Hope for the Warriors; the founder and lead pilot for Operation Flying Heroes, an organization that provides flights for Iraq and Afghanistan Wounded Warriors; and is in the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.

Chemi Peres (Managing General Partner and Co-Founder, Pitango Venture Capital)

Chemi is a Managing General Partner and Co-Founder of Pitango Venture Capital, Israel leading Venture Capital Group with $1.6B under management. Mr. Peres is also Chairman of Al-Bawader Investment Fund, Israel's first investment fund focused on the Israeli Minorities' Sectors. The fund is a private public partnership between the Israeli Government and Pitango.

In 1992 he founded the Mofet Israel Technology Fund, one of Israel's first VC funds, traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Mr. Peres is also Founder and Chairman of Amelia, a Middle East regional focused private equity fund.

Mr. Peres gained extensive experience as an investor and a board member of several publicly traded companies on NASDAQ and NYSE. He serves on the boards of numerous companies such as Focal Energy, Radwin and Taboola among others. Prior to his venture capital activities Mr. Peres was an executive at DSI (Leading real Time Systems & Software enterprise), and a senior consultant to IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries). He holds an MBA and BSc (Industrial Engineering & Management) degrees from Tel Aviv University. He served on the Boards of Governors of the Weizmann Institute, Bezalel Academy, and currently he is a board member at the Friends Association of IDC.

Mr. Peres was a co-founder of IVA (Now known as IATI) and served as its Chairman (2003-2004). He also chaired the Israel America Chamber of Commerce (2008-2011). Mr. Peres is a board member in additional non-for-profit organizations among them is the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation, and he serves as chairman of the Peres Center for Peace, the Israel Hall of Innovation and the Pearls of Wisdom nanotechnology initiative.

Paul J. De Lia (Corporate Vice President - Science & Technology, L-3 Communications)

With over 29 years of progressively responsible technology, management and product development experience. Mr. De Lia is L-3's top technology executive, playing an integral role in the company's technical vision, strategic direction, development, and future growth. His responsibilities include:

  • Leading the execution of technology strategy for technology platforms, partnerships, and external relationships.
  • Anticipating and reacting to major technology changes to ensure the maintenance of company leadership in the competitive landscape.
  • Establishing technical standards and ensuring adherence to them for product development and company operations.
  • Providing visible leadership for the company within the technology community.

Prior to joining L-3 Communications, Mr. De Lia was the Vice President of System Implementation & Technical Operations for Sirius Satellite Radio. During his tenure at Sirius, he was responsible for the development and implementation of the world's first satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS). His leadership resulted in the successful commercial launch of the service on 14 February of 2002.

Prior to Sirius Radio, Mr. De Lia was a member of the senior technical staff for Lockheed Martin (formally Loral Electronic Systems). He was responsible for new product development, systems engineering and leading the "Special Projects Electronic Warfare Team." Mr. De Lia helped found and later managed the "Lightning Works" facility where he was responsible for the rapid prototyping, development and deployment of systems to serve immediate war fighter needs.

Mr. De Lia is an accomplished skier, snowboarder, rock climber, and vintage sports car racer. He resides in New York with his wife Lucia, son Michael and their golden retriever Comet.

Nathaniel T. G. Fogg (Partner & Managing Director, The Chertoff Group)

Mr. Fogg is a partner and Managing Director with The Chertoff Group and runs the firm’s New York office where he focuses on clients in the financial and government services industry assisting them with various risk management challenges, IT security, supply chain resilience, emergency preparedness, response and recovery, business development, business continuity planning and due diligence support on M&A transactions.

Mr. Fogg comes to The Chertoff Group after three years serving in a senior operating role at the Department of Homeland Security and as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at FEMA where he was instrumental in restructuring the agency and improving its response and recovery capabilities in the wake of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. He was significantly involved in the development and execution of successful evacuation and sheltering plans for Louisiana and Texas during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, and numerous other effective responses to natural disasters and emergencies around the country.

Prior to FEMA, Mr. Fogg was at Booz Allen Hamilton where he provided corporate and government clients with IT security, enterprise risk management and business continuity planning advice. He also served as a homeland security policy analyst for the U.S. Senate. Before that he was an officer in the U.S. Navy serving as Damage Control Assistant on the USS Cole, where he helped train the crew that saved the ship from sinking after a terrorist attack in Aden, Yemen, and as the Operations Officer onboard a destroyer in the Arabian Gulf after the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Fogg holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Yale University.

George Likourezos (Partner, Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP)

George Likourezos received a B.S., Electrical Engineering; M.S., Operations Management, Polytechnic University, 1992; J.D., The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College, 1995. Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Courts of the States of New York and New Jersey and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Law Clerk with Casella & Hespos (N.Y.C.) summer 1993; Law Clerk with Wyatt, Gerber, Burke & Badie (N.Y.C.) summer 1994; associated with Dilworth & Barrese LLP (Uniondale, New York) 1994-2002. Member of the New York Intellectual Property Law Association. Author of "When Trade Dress Protection May Not Be Enough," Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society (JPTOS), June1998; "American Indians Seek Cancellation of the Trademarked Term 'Redskins'," JPTOS, April 1996; "Trademark Law in the Computer Age," JPTOS, June 1995. Hon. He was the winner of the 1994 William C. Conner Legal Writing Competition. Practices in the fields of technology including digital electronics and computer architecture, communication systems, speech and pattern recognition, video compression, electrical circuits and components, acoustics, MEMS, optical scanning and imaging, business methods, semiconductor devices including semiconductor manufacturing and related electromechanical arts.

Jason B. Scher (Associate, Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP)

Jason B. Scher received a B.S., Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics and a B.A., German Cultural Studies with a Minor in International Studies, from Binghamton University (2003); a J.D., Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Intellectual Property (2007). Admitted to the Courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2007)and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (2006). He was also an International Filing Coordinator at Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds, P.C. (2007-2008) and a Patent Paralegal at Novartis (2007); an IP Paralegal at O’Connell Law Office (2005-2007); an IP Paralegal at Salzman & Levy (2002-2003); and an Engineer at Fusco Engineering (2003). He is a member of the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. Experienced in patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and related matters, he practices in the technological fields which include mechanical, electromechanical, and medical arts with an emphasis on medical and surgical devices.


Jason Poulos received a B.E. Computer Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, 2005; B.S. Computer Science, New York University, 2005; J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law, 2010. Admitted to practice before the Courts of the State of New York and registered to practice before the United States patent and Trademark Office, he is a member of the New York Intellectual Property Law Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. His fields of technology include all aspects of mechanical, electromechanical, computer hardware and software design, electrical arts, and medical arts (with emphasis on medical and surgical devices).

Michael R. Brew (Partner, Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP)

Michael Brew received a B.S., Biology, Cornell University, 1988; J.D., with distinction, Hofstra University School of Law, 1992. He was admitted to the Courts of the State of New York, U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He was associated with Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (1992-1996); Corporate Counsel, NEC USA, Inc. (1996-1999); associated with Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto (1999-2000); associated with Dilworth & Barrese (2000-2003). Mr Brew is also a member of the American Bar Association, New York Bar Association and New York Intellectual Property Law Association. He is experienced in all phases of patent and trademark prosecution and litigation, as well as unfair competition and trade secrets. Also experienced in opinions, due diligence and licensing. His fields of technology include pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, biotechnology, immunology, vaccines, medical devices, organic chemistry, adhesives, polymers, agrochemicals, cosmetic formulations, foods and paper processing.

Dana A. Brussel (Partner, Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP)

Dana Brussel received his B.S. Nuclear Technology, Regents College, 1991; J.D., St. John’s University, 2000. Mr. Brussel was admitted to the Courts of the State of New York and the United States Supreme Court. He is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Prior to CDF&S, he was associated with Casella & Hespos LLP 2001-2002. He is also a member of the New York Intellectual Property Law Association. Mr. Brussel is experienced in preparing and prosecuting domestic and foreign patent applications, preparing freedom to operate and validity opinions, and client counseling. His fields of technology include the mechanical arts with an emphasis on medical devices.

Ken Close (CEO & Founding Partner, The Quincy Group)

Mr. Close is the CEO and Founding Partner of The Quincy Group and a specialist in U.S.-Saudi business and foreign relations. He brings over three decades of investment banking, private equity, international business development and government relations experience in the MENA region to the firm.

Mr. Close comes from a long line of educators, missionaries, diplomats, soldiers, and businessmen who have served in the Arab Middle East since the mid-nineteenth century. He is the fourth generation of his family born in Lebanon and the fifth generation to have lived, studied and worked in the Middle East. He enjoys broad and deep relationships there in part as a result of his family’s unique history in the region.

His great-uncle, Colonel William Eddy, was the director of the OSS for the Middle East during World War II before being sent to Saudi Arabia as the first U.S. Ambassador. In that capacity, he served as the interpreter between President Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz when they met on the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal in February of 1945 – it is this meeting that is widely commemorated as the beginning of the “special relationship” between the two countries.

Mr. Close began his career in finance with Merrill Lynch where he focused on transactions in the Middle East. In the early 1990s, he began working as a strategic advisor to companies doing business in Saudi Arabia and as a private investment advisor to several high net worth Saudi families. In 2005, he took on the added responsibility of Senior Policy Advisor to HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal when he became the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Close is a graduate of Duke University, with an AB in Political Science, magna cum laude. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).


Dr. Prescott Winter is a Managing Director at the Chertoff Group. With a focus on cybersecurity and information security; general intelligence community matters and information sharing among intelligence agencies, Dr. Winter brings an in-depth understanding of the technology needs of the intelligence community and commercial industry.

He was most recently Chief Technology Officer for Public Sector Security within the Enterprise Security Unit at Hewlett Packard. Dr. Winter also spent more than 27 years at the National Security Agency, including service as the Associate Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Information Integration.

During his service at NSA, he established the Technology Directorate, the agency’s first integrated technology service provider organization, serving as the Agency’s CIO and first CTO. Prior to that, he set up the NSA Commercial Solutions Center, the agency’s first multi-mission industrial relations office to develop and nurture strong partnerships with industry, as his largest and most recent effort focused on industrial relations. While integrated into the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he established a national-scale program to integrate and share information within the intelligence community. Among the other positions he held during his career at NSA, he served as Deputy Chief of Defensive Information Operations, and as Chief of Customer Response. He has worked in SIGINT analysis and reporting, collection management, and collection system development.

Dr. Winter received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history from Stanford University. He also received a Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies and a Ph.D. in History (with a specialization in East Asian history) from Stanford. His doctoral study and research in Japan were supported by awards from both the Fulbright Program and the Social Science Research Council. He has also taken courses in Electrical Engineering at George Washington University and in business at the Wharton School of Business.

Dr. Winter is a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). While pursuing his graduate studies at Stanford, he served as an instructor in East Asian and Japanese history and as the Assistant Director of the Stanford/Berkeley Joint Center for East Asian Studies. Dr. Winter resides in Annapolis, where he lives with his wife and son.


As the Chief Executive Officer of Cowan Strategies, Mark Cowan draws on more than 35 years experience working on complex domestic and international public policy issues as counsel for a broad range of clients. He advises corporations, government entities, and foreign sovereigns on a wide array of business, regulatory, and trade issues.

Mr. Cowan, a lawyer, has headed three companies of his own, been a senior partner at Patton Boggs, LLP, an AM Law 100 firm, wherein he both created and directed the firm’s Business Development Department and effort for over 500 lawyers. Having founded The Jefferson Group in 1987, Mr. Cowan grew that public affairs firm to become the second largest in its class in six years before selling the company. Thereafter, he was Vice Chairman of Cassidy & Associates, Washington’s largest public affairs company, C.E.O. of the Columbus Group, C.E.O. of Newmyer Associates and a Senior Vice President at Hill and Knowlton, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, where he counseled numerous domestic and international clients.

Before entering the private sector, Mr. Cowan held presidential appointments in three administrations. During the first Reagan administration, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health until his appointment as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Secretary of Labor in 1982. Later, President George H.W. Bush appointed him as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Employment Policy. More recently, President George W. Bush appointed him as a Member of the President’s Council on the 21st Century Work Force.

In addition to his presidential appointments, Mr. Cowan has held several other government posts. He was Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (ethics) of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an operations officer, serving abroad and as a country desk chief in the agency’s Directorate of Operations, and later held the position of Assistant Legislative Counsel to the Director of Central Intelligence. In the U.S. Air Force, Captain Cowan flew in the back seat of the F-101 fighter interceptor.

Professional Affiliations

  • Board of Visitors, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
  • Vice-Chairman of the Board, Center on Congress, Indiana University
  • Chairman, Board of Advisors, Virginia Military Institute’s International Studies Program
  • Senior Counsel and Director, American Libyan Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Board of Directors, Duluth Metals
  • Board of Directors, Americans in Wartime Museum
  • Board of Directors, United for D.C. Foundation
  • Board of Directors, Suntrak Energy


Fareed Osman is Chairman of the Antigravity Group, a holdings firm with interests in mining and minerals, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and cutting edge biomedical technologies. A chemical and biomedical systems engineer, he has been a consultant and strategic advisor to several Fortune 100 private firms as well as a subject matter expert to defense and national security firms. He has advised many global brands over his 15 year engineering career including UPS , General Electric, Toyota, BMW, and a host of biomedical and internet start-ups.

Mr. Osman is actively involved in project work for DARPA, Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, the aerospace industry including design and support of "hard" language translation programs for SOCOM / Special Operations forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has successfully led mergers and acquisitions of defense and national security firms with total post M&A values approaching $4 Billion.

For the past 12 years he has also been advising successive US administrations on US policy and economic strategy towards Afghanistan. With the total cost of the Afghan war approaching $700 Billion and $200 Billion spent in 2012 thru 2013 alone, Mr. Osman has been articulating a strategy for post 2014 transition. He has been calling on Congress for reform of the State/USAID's approach to international development through more efficient use of the annual budget of $50 Billion.

Mr. Osman's involvement in Afghanistan spans a broad spectrum of sectors from defense, FSM (foreign military sales), international development, and national security including human intelligence, telecommunications and cyber-security to work on state building, anti-corruption and accountability systems. He is a recognized expert on governance and international justice, and has been one of only three invitees to the World Justice Project to represent Afghanistan, and present prescriptions for strengthening rule of law and access to justice.

Born in Afghanistan and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii since age 9, he has been voted as one of the Top 40/Under 40 "Next-Gen Global Asian Leaders." He is the founder of the Sharbat Gula Justice Center, which focuses on women's rights in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and provides legal advocacy for victims of gender apartheid in addition to building schools for young girls in Afghanistan.


Omar Elsahy is the general manager for Souq.com in Egypt. With a Masters in Engineering Management Mr. Elsahy joined E Group after years of management in the U.S. defense industry holding positions ranging from project leader to Middle East Business Development Manager. At E Group's helm since 2006, he has lead the company to consistent growth and profitability.

Following the years of outsourcing, Mr. Elsahy eventually engaged in creating and operating a series of e-Commerce businesses to complement his retail distribution of consumer goods, amoung them, Ice-Watch in Egypt.

He also conducts Business Development consultancy for SMEs, an Endeavor Egypt mentor and recently finalized a consultancy engagement with Silatech. The NGO Silatech provides access to both Finance and Business Development Support Services to SMEs in the Middle East region in order to create sustainable employment and entreprenurship opportunities for young Arabs in the region.

In December 2012, Mr. Elsahy joined Souq.com as General Manager - Egypt. Souq.com is the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world, featuring more than 200,000 products across categories such as consumer electronics, fashion, household goods, watches or perfumes. Today Souq.com attracts over 8 million visits per month and is fast growing as more consumers shop online in the Arab world. Often tagged as the “Amazon of the Middle East”, Souq.com operates both as a retail site and as a marketplace for third party sellers.


Todd Schwartz is the Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He entered this position in August 2012.

Mr. Schwartz joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 1987. His overseas postings have included Germany, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Qatar, the Philippines, Kuwait (Counselor for Economic Affairs), Canada (Principal Officer in Winnipeg, Manitoba), and Iraq (Counselor for Economic Affairs). His assignments in Washington have included tours as Director for the Office of Iraq Economic Affairs, Director of the Office of Iran Affairs, and as an assessor with the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service.

Mr. Schwartz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics at the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


Beatrice von Silva-Tarouca Larsen is a Doctor of Law (University of Munich) and a Doctor of Philosophy (University of Cambridge). She has worked at the Max Planck Institute for International Copyright and Competition Law in Munich, the London-based International Federation for the Recording Industry (IFPI), and for more than 10 years as the Senior VP Business and Legal Affairs of Warner Music International, also in London. Dr. Larsen is a Research Associate at the Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University.

Dr. Larsen has written a book on the protection of performing artists and record producers in the US (published by the Max Planck Institute series: Treatises on Copyright) and recently, "Setting the Watch: Privacy and the Ethics of CCTV Surveillance" (Vol. 5 in the series Studies in Penal Theory and Penal Ethics, Hart Publishing, Oxford). She also co-authored a book on Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

She is currently working on two projects: A collection of interviews with Muslim women (working title: Talk to Me, Please: Meeting Muslim Women) and a book recording the lives of an extended Pakistani family living in London (working title: "Meet the Khans – a Functional Family".)

Living in London, she had become increasingly concerned by media reports about the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. The attitude of many Muslims to women seemed to be incorrigibly misogynist, threatening a relapse into the dark ages, not just for their own community, but endangering women’s rights in general. Even educated Muslim women seemed willing to give up their claim to equality and independence. To confront her own growing prejudices, Dr. Larsen decided in 2012 to start a dialogue with Muslim women and to make their voices heard, in order to help Muslim and non- Muslim women understand each other better. Since then, she has met and interviewed many Muslim women of different nationalities and walks of life. It is still an on-going process. At the invitation of Raja Zarith Sofiah, the wife of the Sultan of Johor (Malaysia) she interviewed students and teachers at UTM (Technology University Malaysia).

Encountering the Khan family opened a window to the lives of English Muslims. This one family encapsulates a whole spectrum of characters, ways of life, issues and approaches to Islam. With their cooperation, Dr. Larsen is now recording their story.

Dr. Larsen is a board member of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a Companion of the Order of Malta, a member of the French garden association, Les Amateurs de Jardins, and sings in the award-winning Skolia Choir in London. In the past she has served as a Director of the Kurt Weill Foundation and the Ferruccio Busoni Foundation in New York, and as a treasurer of the St. Nicholas Society at Eton College. Dr. Larsen is fluent in German, English, French and Italian. She is married to Jorgen Larsen, Chairman Emeritus of Universal Music International.


Mr. Marino's railroad career spans over 40 years. He was a co-founder, President, and Chief Operating Officer of RailAmerica, Inc. In 1983, Mr. Marino formed Transportation Management Services, Inc. (TMS), a consulting firm which provides management consulting services to government agencies, shippers, and railroads, specializing in the development of strategic plans, economic feasibility studies and market research.

Prior to the formation of TMS, Mr. Marino served with DeLeuw, Cather and Company as a Civil Engineer; with the Reading Railroad as an Industrial Engineer; with A.T. Kearney, Inc. as a Management Consultant; and with Seatrain Steamship Lines as Manager, Industrial Engineering. In 1974, Mr. Marino joined the U.S. Railway Association, where, as Chief of Operations Planning, he assisted in the preparation of the final system plan for Conrail, which was implemented in 1976.

Since 1976, Mr. Marino has participated in the founding and management of several short line/regional railroads and has served as an advisor on rail transportation matters to shipper, railroads, equipment suppliers and governmental agencies. Mr. Marino has served as a Director of the American short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and as an appointed member of the Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council of the Surface Transportation Board, U.S. Department of Transportation.

He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the National Defense Transportation Association. Mr. Marino received his B.S. in Engineering from Princeton University and M.S. in Transportation Engineering from Purdue University. He is a licensed professional engineer and served as an officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1961 to 1968.


Hisham H. Elkoustaf is a Moroccan-American attorney with over a decade of experience at the intersection of law, foreign policy and economic development. He currently advises governments, business and NGOs on diverse legal and policy matters. A member of the New York Bar, he began his legal career in 2002 as an associate with Morrison Cohen Singer & Weinstein LLP. He worked with the firm’s litigation and transactional departments on major projects involving securities, banking and insurance, intellectual property, bankruptcy and real estate. He later joined the litigation group at NBC Universal before transitioning to Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

In 2005, Mr. Elkoustaf joined the Office of the General Counsel of the US Department of Commerce. As a Senior Counsel with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), he traveled across the Middle East and North Africa to advise ministers, legislators, judges and members of the private sector on implementing commercial law reform strategies to create a legal environment conducive to economic growth and to attracting greater foreign investment. He organized and led workshops on various legal topics, including contract formation, negotiation of joint venture agreements, formation of SMEs, privatization, technology transfer, electronic commerce and intellectual property. He also advised governments on international trade issues such as WTO accession and compliance with bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements (including the USA-Morocco FTA). In his first year at CLDP, he was awarded the "Attorney of the Year" award for his excellent contributions to the work of the office of the General Counsel.

In addition to his legal work, Mr. Elkoustaf has also held senior positions with the National Endowment of Democracy, the Ford Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Elkoustaf received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he was Staff Editor of Hybrid: The Journal of Law & Social Change. He spent his first summer of law school as a law clerk with the US Department of Justice. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Law and Development from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. During his first summer at the Fletcher School, Mr. Elkoustaf worked with the US-Morocco Council on Trade and Investment in Casablanca. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, in Political Science from Columbia University. In his second year at Columbia, Mr. Elkoustaf was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study advanced modern Arabic at Yarmook University in Jordan.

Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, Mr. Elkoustaf is fluent in Arabic and French and has worked in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Spain, France, Belgium, England, and Switzerland.


Christopher Smith has 27 years of experience as an entrepreneur and international financial professional, concentrating primarily on securitization and structured finance, both conventional and Shariah-compliant transactions (Sukuk), mergers and acquisitions and international business development. Mr. Smith currently sits on the Advisory Board of Merchant Edge, a merchant investment company in Beirut and Jeddah.

Mr. Smith was the Director of International Business Development and U.S. Business Manager of Siraj Capital, Ltd, where he was responsible for international origination, project management and client liaison. He chaired the Advisory Board of Penta Securities of Bloemfontein South Africa, advising on the firm’s expansion into the U.S. and Central America, primarily in the natural resources sector. As a consultant and subsequently the North American Channel Partner of BSEC-SA, he was the U.S. business development liaison for the first ever S&P rated Shariah-compliant US$ 165 million gas backed US securitization. He co-founded Renewable Energy Funding, LLC, which provides financial advisory and business development services to the renewable energy industry in connection with arranging senior debt, subordinated debt or equity financing for renewable energy projects, as well as for oil & gas transactions. Mr. Smith is founder and Managing Director of Hallman-Smith Consulting, Inc., from which he has assisted firms for the past 17 years in business development, mergers, acquisitions, reverse mergers and providing debt facilities. He has extensive experience in organizing the project management process and creating an exceptional client experience.

From 1984 to 1996 he held majority ownership positions in several IT and telecom businesses and spent 9 years as Director of Purchasing, New Product Development and Start-up Specialist for Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). He has been a speaker and panelist at several international conferences, focusing on topics including Islamic Finance and Sukuk.

He earned his A.A. from Emory University and his B.B.A. Economics and International Business from Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson School of Business Administration.


Taha Abdul-Basser is an Affiliate at the Harvard Islamic Finance Project (Harvard Law School) and Managing Partner at Straightway Ethical Advisory LLC. He previously served as an Invited Instructor at the Harvard Business School and a Senior Tutorial Instructor in the Harvard Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. For nearly fifteen years, he has acted as a consulting financial ethicist (shari'a advisor) to financial entities around the world, including Fajr Capital Ltd (Dubai) and Javelin Exchange Traded Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund ETF (US). He was lead author of the Harvard Islamic Finance Information Program's academic database on Islamic financial ethics and jurisprudence.

He holds a Bachelors (A.B.) in Religion from Harvard College and a Masters in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He has been a student of traditional Islamic disciplines - including Islamic law (fiqh) and Prophetic traditions (ḥadīth) - for more than two decades.