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Forum

Forum sessions will explore the alleged increase in polarisation in politics and society; the possibility of a cancer-free world; the impact of rapidly-advancing artificial intelligence; and China’s role in ushering in a new era of globalisation.

Polarisation: Bridging the gaps

Powerful trends that empower our lives also create the potential for greater fragmentation and polarisation between us. From online ‘echo chambers’ to polarisation in politics, what can be done to reverse this fracturing while still embracing the many benefits of modern life and technology?

HE Noura Al Kaabi

Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in October 2017. As Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Her Excellency is responsible for the promotion of all UAE cultural fields on both a national and international level. She previously held the post of Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. Her Excellency also holds the position of Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54, the home of media and entertainment in Abu Dhabi. She is Chair of Abu Dhabi Media Company and Chair of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC Group). In 2014, she was named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; and was awarded ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Gulf Business Industry Awards.

Gabo Arora

Gabo Arora is a multi award-winning immersive artist, filmmaker, thinker and humanitarian. His work has been heralded by the LA times as “game-changing” and “transcending all the typical barriers of rectangular cinema” and has exhibited at festivals, museums and fora around the world, including the White House, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

David Cameron

David Cameron served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 2010 to 2016. He was the UK’s youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. Cameron came to power at a moment of economic crisis and with an unprecedented fiscal challenge. Under his leadership, Britain became the fastest-growing major advanced economy in the world. His vision has always been of a country where everyone–whatever their background–can succeed, and where every part of the country is brought together. David Cameron continues to focus on issues he advanced while in office: supporting life chances for young people; championing Britain’s cutting edge medical research; and promoting international development. He is Chairman of Patrons at National Citizen Service, the UK’s flagship youth development programme; President of Alzheimer’s Research UK; and he is chairing the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, under the auspices of the International Growth Centre. He also sits on the Global Board of Advisors at the Council on Foreign Relations

Anthony Geffen

Anthony Geffen is one of the world’s leading documentary film makers and a pioneer in multi-platform storytelling. He has won four British Academy awards (BAFTAs) and eight American Emmy Awards. He followed Ang Lee and James Cameron to be presented in Hollywood with the Charles Wheatstone Award for his outstanding contribution to film and television. His diverse films include eleven projects with Sir David Attenborough including the BBC series The Great Barrier Reef, the theatrical film The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest and the recently acclaimed The Coronation with The Queen. He is considered by the media as a visionary for storytelling across different digital multi-platforms in 3D, interactive apps, and now immersive VR, AR and AI experiences. These include Space Decent, The Munduruku, First Life and Health VR. In 2007 he received the first British Academy Award for VR storytelling. Anthony is a fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford University.

Sir Lynton Crosby

Sir Lynton Crosby is a renowned campaign strategist and Co-Founder of international campaigns consultancy, the C|T Group. His track record includes successful campaigns for Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and, against the odds, securing two terms for Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. At the 2015 UK General Election, Sir Lynton steered the Conservative Party to a historic victory, taking the party from a 12-point deficit to a near 7-point lead and returning them to government with an increased share of the vote for the first time since 1955. Drawing on skills and experience acquired over a lifetime of political campaigning, Sir Lynton has also advised some of the world’s leading businesses, ensuring they are armed with the research, strategy, messaging and campaign execution with which to achieve their goals.

Ed Williams

Ed leads Edelman’s UK and Ireland business, and is also Vice Chairman, Europe. Before joining the firm in 2011, he oversaw communications for two global media companies: the BBC and Reuters. He advises senior executives on corporate communications and strategy as well as issues and crisis management. As a former TV and print journalist, he still likes to turn his hand to speech and op-ed writing. Ed serves on a number of boards, including the Royal College of Art, the Woolf Institute and Crisis Group’s International Advisory Council. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s AMP, he is one of the Evening Standard’s 1,000 most influential Londoners.

David Rothkopf

David J. Rothkopf is CEO of The Rothkopf Group (TRG), a diversified media and advisory firm focusing on international issues. TRG is co-creator and co-presenter of CultureSummit, a global event convening international leaders from the policy, culture and tech communities each year in Abu Dhabi. It is also convener of The Policy Forum events and web platforms and presenter of the Deep State Radio Network where he hosts the acclaimed Deep State Radio podcast. Additionally, David is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). David is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books, including The Great Questions of Tomorrow, Power, Inc., Superclass, Running the World, and National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear. He is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, CNN, Time, the National (UAE), Ha’aretz and many others.

Cancer: An end in sight?

Over 14 million people each year are diagnosed with one or more of over 100 types of cancer. After 250 years of cancer research and major advances in cancer detection and drug development, where are we now? Does the answer lie in developing personalised drugs tailored to our individual DNA? What will it take and how long could it be before the world is cancer-free?

Ambassador Nancy Brinker

The Honorable Nancy Brinker is the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, ensure quality care for all, and energise science to find cures. Nancy has also been named Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the United Nations World Health Organization. Nancy earned wide bipartisan praise in serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and United States Chief of Protocol during in the George W. Bush Administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama honored Brinker’s lifetime dedication to service by presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2010, Brinker because a best-selling author with her personal memoir, Promise Me. Nancy has also served on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards. In addition to being a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is a Global Advisor on Breast Cancer to Hologic, Inc.

Tal Danino

Tal Danino’s research explores the emerging field of synthetic biology, where he focuses on reprogramming bacteria to detect and treat cancer. Originally from Los Angeles, Danino received B.S. degrees from UCLA in Physics, Chemistry, and Math, and received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UCSD. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is now an assistant professor at Columbia University in the City of New York directing the Synthetic Biological Systems Laboratory. Dr. Danino also brings his science outside the laboratory as a TED Fellow and through bio-art projects that share perspectives and stories about science.

Dr. Lily Peng

Lily Peng is a trained physician who has been repurposed as a product manager at Google Health, where she focuses on applying deep learning and other Google technologies and expertise to medical imaging. Prior to joining Google, she was a product manager at Doximity, the “LinkedIn” for physicians, and a co-founder of Nano Precision Medical, a start-up developing small, implantable drug delivery devices. Lily completed her M.D. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley, and received her B.Sc. with honors and distinction in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.

Dr. Rakesh Suri

Rakesh M. Suri, MD, is Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In his role, Dr. Suri oversees the hospital’s overall strategy and effective operation as the first-ever US multispecialty hospital to be replicated outside of North America. In his previous role as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Suri spearheaded the recruitment of more than 400 physicians, and led the medical staff to deliver a suite of complex and innovative services with safety and quality outcomes that are competitive among leading academic medical centres globally. In his secondary role, Dr. Suri recruited and led the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgical team, and was involved in the creation of robotic and transcatheter cardiac programs at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Alan Weil

Alan Weil became Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading health policy journal, in 2014. Formerly, he was the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), directed the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project, held a cabinet position as executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and was assistant general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Medical Security. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and an appointed Member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Dr. Dale Shepard

Dale R. Shepard MD, PhD is the Director of the Taussig Phase I and Sarcoma programs at Cleveland Clinic. In this role, Dr. Shepard oversees the early development of the new cancer therapies including the genomic-based treatments and immunotherapies that are revolutionising the care of patients with cancer. As a medical oncologist and clinical researcher, he has been the principal investigator for dozens of clinical trials and was recently the recipient of a National Cancer Institute Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award. Dr. Shepard is a thought leader for management of sarcoma, gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers and a consultant for many pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Shepard earned a PhD in Pharmacology and his MD at The Ohio State University and completed a Clinical Pharmacology fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Artificial Intelligence: Our super-intelligent friend?

From Google’s DeepMind to IBM’s Watson to Elon Musk’s OpenAI to Facebook’s AI bots, some of the greatest minds and companies are racing to define the next era of computing. Yet, many fear that unleashing the full potential of AI could become a threat to humanity. How can AI transform our lives? How can we be sure it stays friendly?!

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby

Rana is co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. As a research scientist at MIT Media Lab Rana spearheaded the applications of facial coding. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, CBS, TIME Magazine, Fortune and Reddit. She was recognised by Entrepreneur as one of the “7 Most Powerful Women to Watch In 2014” and listed on Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” was inducted into the Women in Engineering Hall of Fame, and is a past recipient of Technology Review’s “Top 35 Innovators Under 35” Award and Smithsonian magazine’s American Ingenuity Award for Technology. Rana holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. from the computer laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Dr. Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun is Director of Facebook AI Research and Silver Professor at NYU, affiliated with the Courant Institute and the Center for Data Science. He received a PhD in Computer Science from Université P&M Curie (Paris). After a postdoc at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Labs, and became head of Image Processing Research at AT&T Labs in 1996. He joined NYU in 2003 and Facebook in 2013. His current interests include AI, machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics, and computational neuroscience. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Hugh Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery is 56 years old. He obtained a 1st class degree in neuropharmacology and cardiorespiratory physiology before graduating from the University of London as a doctor in 1987. He has completed specialist training in General Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine, and his higher research degree (MD) in 1997. He works as a consultant Intensivist in North London, UK and is also Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, where he directs the Centre for Human Health and Performance. He described the first ‘gene for fitness’, and has published over 450 scientific papers (including two in ‘Nature’). Hugh has an active interest in the role of ‘Big Data’ analytics in human health, and is a strong believer in the application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to transform healthcare. He consults for DeepMind Health.

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a clean-technology company that builds and operates advanced vertical farms in urban environments. AeroFarms has been recognised as a Circular Economy 100 company, won the World Technology Award for most impactful Environmental Company and received the 2016 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. AeroFarms was also voted the Best Growth Company to invest in at the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference, and was a finalist for The Circular Awards for The World Economic Forum. David is also the founder of Hycrete, Inc., a nanotechnology cleantech company. David is a member of the World Economic Forum where he co-Chairs the Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce. David is also a member of the B20 SME Taskforce, which advises the G20. David received his BA from UNC Chapel Hill and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Dr. Noah Raford

Dr. Noah Raford is Chief Futurist at the Dubai Future Foundation. He is responsible for overseeing the Dubai Future Foundation research, studies and reports and managing all intellectual leadership projects that shape the Foundation’s future direction. He also provides policy consultancy to government institutions in Dubai and the UAE in general. Dr. Raford also oversees many of the Foundation’s initiatives and projects, such as the Museum of the Future’s periodic participation in the World Government Summit, the Museum of the Future initiative, the Dubai Future Academy and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Accelerated Research. In addition to that, Raford undertakes representing the Dubai Future Foundation in global events and platforms aimed at finding the best solutions to the 21st Century challenges and transforming them into opportunities that help improve the service of human societies and build a better future for future generations.

The Modern Silk Road: A new era of globalisation?

With major investments in innovation and infrastructure both inside and outside its borders, China is shifting the focus of globalisation east. What are the wider implications for the global economy, regional security and public diplomacy?

Dr. Elizabeth Economy

Elizabeth Economy is the C. V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the award-winning author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010), and By All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014), co-authored with Michael Levi. Her forthcoming book, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, will be published by Oxford University Press in May 2018. She also frequently contributes to foreign policy and scholarly journals including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the Harvard Business Review; and op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, among others. Dr. Economy received her BA from Swarthmore College, her AM from Stanford University, and her PhD from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Yasheng Huang

Yasheng Huang is Professor of International Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he founded and runs the China and India Labs and holds the International Program Professorship in Chinese Economy and Business. He is also a Fellow at Tsinghua University, Shanghai University, the Michigan Business School, and the World Economic Forum. He was previously recipient of Stanford University’s National Fellowship and a Social Science Research Council-MacArthur Fellowship. He has consulted for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and OECD, and previously held faculty positions at Harvard University and the University of Michigan, and professorships at Fudan University, Xian Jiaotong University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Hunan University. In 2010, he was named as one of the most outstanding scholars in the US by the National Asia Research Program.

Dr. Martin Jacques

Martin Jacques is the author of the global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It was first published in 2009 and has since been translated into fifteen languages and sold 400,000 copies. The book has been shortlisted for two major literary awards. A second edition of the book, greatly expanded and fully updated, was published in 2012. A new updated and expanded edition of the book was published in China in April 2016. His TED talk on how to understand China has had over two million views. He is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Fudan University, Shanghai, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University and at the China Institute, Fudan University.

Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Sarkozy served as the President of the French Republic from 2007 to 2012, a position that culminated from years spent dedicating his life to a highly esteemed and richly diverse political career. Prior to his presidency, Sarkozy occupied various ministerial posts including Minister of State, Minister of the Interior, Minister of the Economy, and Minister of Budget. From November 2014 to September 2016, he served as President of the French political party Les Républicains, a position he previously occupied from 2004 to 2007. Sarkozy retired from politics in November 2016 following the center-right presidential primary election. Sarkozy is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Charles III (Spain), Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom) and Knight of the Golden Fleece (Spain).

David Rothkopf

David J. Rothkopf is CEO of The Rothkopf Group (TRG), a diversified media and advisory firm focusing on international issues. TRG is co-creator and co-presenter of CultureSummit, a global event convening international leaders from the policy, culture and tech communities each year in Abu Dhabi. It is also convener of The Policy Forum events and web platforms and presenter of the Deep State Radio Network where he hosts the acclaimed Deep State Radio podcast. Additionally, David is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). David is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books, including The Great Questions of Tomorrow, Power, Inc., Superclass, Running the World, and National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear. He is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, CNN, Time, the National (UAE), Ha’aretz and many others.

David Sandalow

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He launched the Center’s U.S.-China Program and served in senior positions at the White House, State Department, and Department of Energy. He was Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Energy & Climate Change Working Group Chair at the Clinton Global Initiative. He was Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and Senior Director on the National Security Council staff. He is on the Selection Committee of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Sandalow has appeared on CNN, NPR, NBC, BBC, CCTV and written widely, recently on The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy and Meeting China’s Shale Gas Goals. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Yale College.

Julian Gewirtz

Julian Gewirtz is a Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China (2017), which The Economist called “a gripping read, highlighting what was little short of a revolution in China’s economic thought.” His writing on Asia has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. A Chinese speaker, he has lived and worked in China and the United States and most recently served as Special Advisor for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from the University of Oxford and Harvard College.

Special Fellows Programme

A Special Fellows Programme will run during the Forum, designed to expose future Emirati leaders to today’s global thinkers and give 10 high-achieving Emirati young people the chance to attend and participate in the Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend Forum.

Abdulla Al Hussam

Abdulla Al Hussam is a civil engineer with the Infrastructure Coordination Committee of Dubai, as well as an international volunteer, environmentalist, and Emirati cultural ambassador. Abdulla has participated in a scientific expedition to the South Pole, worked on the first successful corals plantation project in the Arabian Gulf, started a non-profit plastic recycling factory, and holds the world record for raising a flag on a self-standing underwater pole. Abdulla looks forward to studying his MA in politics at NYU and work as a diplomat.

Ghareesa Al Mheiri

Ghareesa is studying Biology, with a minor in Applied Mathematics, at NYU Abu Dhabi. For her senior thesis she is working on determining the activity of a hammerhead ribozyme found in the genome of a star-nosed mole (Condylura Cristata). Ghareesa works with the Girls’ Education Network to support young women, and with the Future Center helping young children with mental disabilities through rehabilitation.

Hamda Al Ameemi

Hamda Al Ameemi is an International Studies student at Zayed University where she hopes to continue on to a graduate degree in Human Rights and International Law in order to work for the betterment of women’s and children’s rights. Hamda enjoys volunteering, event planning, and seizing every opportunity to travel and learn about different cultures. Hamda loves gymnastics, figure skating, ballet, and playing the piano.

Hayat Al Hassan

Hayat Al Hassan is a student at NYU Abu Dhabi majoring in Computer Science. Her senior Capstone project is focused on developing an artificial intelligence tool that enables face-to-face dialogue between humans and a digital avatar. Last summer, Hayat served as a software developer in Kumawu, Ghana, with NYUAD’s Center for Technology and Economic Development, which uses technology to study and enhance economic activity. She has volunteered through various programs, including the Engineers for Social Impact in Mumbai. Hayat hopes to serve her community by supporting the growth of STEM fields and the development of the UAE education system.

Mahaba Al Saleh

Mahaba Al Saleh holds a BA in International Studies from Zayed University and an MA in Urban Planning from the American University of Sharjah. She is currently Deputy Director for Technical Cooperation at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where she helps manage three international cooperation portfolios, including technical assistance, private sector engagement, and national projects. Previously, Mahaba had joined the office of Minister of State HE Reem Al Hashimy in 2012 where she worked on multiple portfolios including International Affairs and the Expo 2020 Dubai bid, post-bid international relations, as well as a number of mandate countries including India.

Maitha Al Suwaidi

Maitha Al Suwaidi is a student of political science at NYU Abu Dhabi as well as a cultural engagement intern and contributing writer to Sail E-Magazine. She is a professional archer and an accredited archery coach, representing the UAE in the national team. She volunteers at international competitions for people with disabilities and participated in the World Travel Market conference representing the UAE.

Majida Al Maktoum

Majida Al Maktoum is from Dubai and a student at NYU Abu Dhabi where she is pursuing a BA in Political Science. She currently interns at the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) where she focuses on the adaptability of the UAE energy sector to climate change, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. She was selected by the Crown Prince Court to be a UAE Youth Ambassador to China, and has previously interned at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN. Majida is also interested in digital photography, equestrian riding, global governance, and cultural diplomacy.

Mariam Al Haddad

Mariam Al Haddad is a Human Capital Professional with 4 years’ experience in various critical areas of Human Resources within the Healthcare sector. She holds a BA in Human Resources Management from Zayed University. In her professional role, Mariam works closely on projects and assignments related to revision of workplace policies, workforce, and organizational design. She is career focused but enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family, especially her three children. She loves travelling and shopping.

Nouf Khan

Nouf Khan is a Biology major from NYU Abu Dhabi involved in both the WESTEM (Women in Science) and Pre-Med programs as part of the American Physician Scientists Institution. She also has a passion for literature and painting.

Sami Al Marzooqi

Sami Al Marzooqi is the Acting Head of Planning and Quality in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, working with the Protocol Division on excellence, policies and procedures where he oversees a project management system, and produces annual, quarterly, and event reports. Sami has a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Business Administration from Dubai Men’s College.

Forum sessions will explore the alleged increase in polarisation in politics and society; the possibility of a cancer-free world; the impact of rapidly-advancing artificial intelligence; and China’s role in ushering in a new era of globalisation.

Moonshot #1

Polarisation: Bridging the gaps

Powerful trends that empower our lives also create the potential for greater fragmentation and polarisation between us. From online ‘echo chambers’ to polarisation in politics, what can be done to reverse this fracturing while still embracing the many benefits of modern life and technology?

HE Noura Al Kaabi

Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in October 2017. As Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Her Excellency is responsible for the promotion of all UAE cultural fields on both a national and international level. She previously held the post of Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. Her Excellency also holds the position of Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54, the home of media and entertainment in Abu Dhabi. She is Chair of Abu Dhabi Media Company and Chair of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC Group). In 2014, she was named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; and was awarded ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Gulf Business Industry Awards.

Gabo Arora

Gabo Arora is a multi award-winning immersive artist, filmmaker, thinker and humanitarian. His work has been heralded by the LA times as “game-changing” and “transcending all the typical barriers of rectangular cinema” and has exhibited at festivals, museums and fora around the world, including the White House, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

David Cameron

David Cameron served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 2010 to 2016. He was the UK’s youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. Cameron came to power at a moment of economic crisis and with an unprecedented fiscal challenge. Under his leadership, Britain became the fastest-growing major advanced economy in the world. His vision has always been of a country where everyone–whatever their background–can succeed, and where every part of the country is brought together. David Cameron continues to focus on issues he advanced while in office: supporting life chances for young people; championing Britain’s cutting edge medical research; and promoting international development. He is Chairman of Patrons at National Citizen Service, the UK’s flagship youth development programme; President of Alzheimer’s Research UK; and he is chairing the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, under the auspices of the International Growth Centre. He also sits on the Global Board of Advisors at the Council on Foreign Relations

Anthony Geffen

Anthony Geffen is one of the world’s leading documentary film makers and a pioneer in multi-platform storytelling. He has won four British Academy awards (BAFTAs) and eight American Emmy Awards. He followed Ang Lee and James Cameron to be presented in Hollywood with the Charles Wheatstone Award for his outstanding contribution to film and television. His diverse films include eleven projects with Sir David Attenborough including the BBC series The Great Barrier Reef, the theatrical film The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest and the recently acclaimed The Coronation with The Queen. He is considered by the media as a visionary for storytelling across different digital multi-platforms in 3D, interactive apps, and now immersive VR, AR and AI experiences. These include Space Decent, The Munduruku, First Life and Health VR. In 2007 he received the first British Academy Award for VR storytelling. Anthony is a fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford University.

Sir Lynton Crosby

Sir Lynton Crosby is a renowned campaign strategist and Co-Founder of international campaigns consultancy, the C|T Group. His track record includes successful campaigns for Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and, against the odds, securing two terms for Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. At the 2015 UK General Election, Sir Lynton steered the Conservative Party to a historic victory, taking the party from a 12-point deficit to a near 7-point lead and returning them to government with an increased share of the vote for the first time since 1955. Drawing on skills and experience acquired over a lifetime of political campaigning, Sir Lynton has also advised some of the world’s leading businesses, ensuring they are armed with the research, strategy, messaging and campaign execution with which to achieve their goals.

Ed Williams

Ed leads Edelman’s UK and Ireland business, and is also Vice Chairman, Europe. Before joining the firm in 2011, he oversaw communications for two global media companies: the BBC and Reuters. He advises senior executives on corporate communications and strategy as well as issues and crisis management. As a former TV and print journalist, he still likes to turn his hand to speech and op-ed writing. Ed serves on a number of boards, including the Royal College of Art, the Woolf Institute and Crisis Group’s International Advisory Council. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s AMP, he is one of the Evening Standard’s 1,000 most influential Londoners.

David Rothkopf

David J. Rothkopf is CEO of The Rothkopf Group (TRG), a diversified media and advisory firm focusing on international issues. TRG is co-creator and co-presenter of CultureSummit, a global event convening international leaders from the policy, culture and tech communities each year in Abu Dhabi. It is also convener of The Policy Forum events and web platforms and presenter of the Deep State Radio Network where he hosts the acclaimed Deep State Radio podcast. Additionally, David is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). David is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books, including The Great Questions of Tomorrow, Power, Inc., Superclass, Running the World, and National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear. He is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, CNN, Time, the National (UAE), Ha’aretz and many others.

Moonshot #2

Cancer: An end in sight?

Over 14 million people each year are diagnosed with one or more of over 100 types of cancer. After 250 years of cancer research and major advances in cancer detection and drug development, where are we now? Does the answer lie in developing personalised drugs tailored to our individual DNA? What will it take and how long could it be before the world is cancer-free?

Ambassador Nancy Brinker

The Honorable Nancy Brinker is the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, ensure quality care for all, and energise science to find cures. Nancy has also been named Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the United Nations World Health Organization. Nancy earned wide bipartisan praise in serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and United States Chief of Protocol during in the George W. Bush Administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama honored Brinker’s lifetime dedication to service by presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2010, Brinker because a best-selling author with her personal memoir, Promise Me. Nancy has also served on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards. In addition to being a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is a Global Advisor on Breast Cancer to Hologic, Inc.

Tal Danino

Tal Danino’s research explores the emerging field of synthetic biology, where he focuses on reprogramming bacteria to detect and treat cancer. Originally from Los Angeles, Danino received B.S. degrees from UCLA in Physics, Chemistry, and Math, and received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UCSD. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is now an assistant professor at Columbia University in the City of New York directing the Synthetic Biological Systems Laboratory. Dr. Danino also brings his science outside the laboratory as a TED Fellow and through bio-art projects that share perspectives and stories about science.

Dr. Lily Peng

Lily Peng is a trained physician who has been repurposed as a product manager at Google Health, where she focuses on applying deep learning and other Google technologies and expertise to medical imaging. Prior to joining Google, she was a product manager at Doximity, the “LinkedIn” for physicians, and a co-founder of Nano Precision Medical, a start-up developing small, implantable drug delivery devices. Lily completed her M.D. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley, and received her B.Sc. with honors and distinction in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.

Dr. Rakesh Suri

Rakesh M. Suri, MD, is Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In his role, Dr. Suri oversees the hospital’s overall strategy and effective operation as the first-ever US multispecialty hospital to be replicated outside of North America. In his previous role as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Suri spearheaded the recruitment of more than 400 physicians, and led the medical staff to deliver a suite of complex and innovative services with safety and quality outcomes that are competitive among leading academic medical centres globally. In his secondary role, Dr. Suri recruited and led the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgical team, and was involved in the creation of robotic and transcatheter cardiac programs at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Alan Weil

Alan Weil became Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading health policy journal, in 2014. Formerly, he was the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), directed the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project, held a cabinet position as executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and was assistant general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Medical Security. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and an appointed Member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Dr. Dale Shepard

Dale R. Shepard MD, PhD is the Director of the Taussig Phase I and Sarcoma programs at Cleveland Clinic. In this role, Dr. Shepard oversees the early development of the new cancer therapies including the genomic-based treatments and immunotherapies that are revolutionising the care of patients with cancer. As a medical oncologist and clinical researcher, he has been the principal investigator for dozens of clinical trials and was recently the recipient of a National Cancer Institute Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award. Dr. Shepard is a thought leader for management of sarcoma, gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers and a consultant for many pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Shepard earned a PhD in Pharmacology and his MD at The Ohio State University and completed a Clinical Pharmacology fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Moonshot #3

Artificial Intelligence: Our super-intelligent friend?

From Google’s DeepMind to IBM’s Watson to Elon Musk’s OpenAI to Facebook’s AI bots, some of the greatest minds and companies are racing to define the next era of computing. Yet, many fear that unleashing the full potential of AI could become a threat to humanity. How can AI transform our lives? How can we be sure it stays friendly?!

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby

Rana is co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. As a research scientist at MIT Media Lab Rana spearheaded the applications of facial coding. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, CBS, TIME Magazine, Fortune and Reddit. She was recognised by Entrepreneur as one of the “7 Most Powerful Women to Watch In 2014” and listed on Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” was inducted into the Women in Engineering Hall of Fame, and is a past recipient of Technology Review’s “Top 35 Innovators Under 35” Award and Smithsonian magazine’s American Ingenuity Award for Technology. Rana holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. from the computer laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Dr. Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun is Director of Facebook AI Research and Silver Professor at NYU, affiliated with the Courant Institute and the Center for Data Science. He received a PhD in Computer Science from Université P&M Curie (Paris). After a postdoc at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Labs, and became head of Image Processing Research at AT&T Labs in 1996. He joined NYU in 2003 and Facebook in 2013. His current interests include AI, machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics, and computational neuroscience. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Hugh Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery is 56 years old. He obtained a 1st class degree in neuropharmacology and cardiorespiratory physiology before graduating from the University of London as a doctor in 1987. He has completed specialist training in General Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine, and his higher research degree (MD) in 1997. He works as a consultant Intensivist in North London, UK and is also Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, where he directs the Centre for Human Health and Performance. He described the first ‘gene for fitness’, and has published over 450 scientific papers (including two in ‘Nature’). Hugh has an active interest in the role of ‘Big Data’ analytics in human health, and is a strong believer in the application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to transform healthcare. He consults for DeepMind Health.

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a clean-technology company that builds and operates advanced vertical farms in urban environments. AeroFarms has been recognised as a Circular Economy 100 company, won the World Technology Award for most impactful Environmental Company and received the 2016 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. AeroFarms was also voted the Best Growth Company to invest in at the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference, and was a finalist for The Circular Awards for The World Economic Forum. David is also the founder of Hycrete, Inc., a nanotechnology cleantech company. David is a member of the World Economic Forum where he co-Chairs the Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce. David is also a member of the B20 SME Taskforce, which advises the G20. David received his BA from UNC Chapel Hill and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Dr. Noah Raford

Dr. Noah Raford is Chief Futurist at the Dubai Future Foundation. He is responsible for overseeing the Dubai Future Foundation research, studies and reports and managing all intellectual leadership projects that shape the Foundation’s future direction. He also provides policy consultancy to government institutions in Dubai and the UAE in general. Dr. Raford also oversees many of the Foundation’s initiatives and projects, such as the Museum of the Future’s periodic participation in the World Government Summit, the Museum of the Future initiative, the Dubai Future Academy and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Accelerated Research. In addition to that, Raford undertakes representing the Dubai Future Foundation in global events and platforms aimed at finding the best solutions to the 21st Century challenges and transforming them into opportunities that help improve the service of human societies and build a better future for future generations.

Moonshot #4

The Modern Silk Road: A new era of globalisation?

With major investments in innovation and infrastructure both inside and outside its borders, China is shifting the focus of globalisation east. What are the wider implications for the global economy, regional security and public diplomacy?

Dr. Elizabeth Economy

Elizabeth Economy is the C. V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the award-winning author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010), and By All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014), co-authored with Michael Levi. Her forthcoming book, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, will be published by Oxford University Press in May 2018. She also frequently contributes to foreign policy and scholarly journals including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the Harvard Business Review; and op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, among others. Dr. Economy received her BA from Swarthmore College, her AM from Stanford University, and her PhD from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Yasheng Huang

Yasheng Huang is Professor of International Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he founded and runs the China and India Labs and holds the International Program Professorship in Chinese Economy and Business. He is also a Fellow at Tsinghua University, Shanghai University, the Michigan Business School, and the World Economic Forum. He was previously recipient of Stanford University’s National Fellowship and a Social Science Research Council-MacArthur Fellowship. He has consulted for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and OECD, and previously held faculty positions at Harvard University and the University of Michigan, and professorships at Fudan University, Xian Jiaotong University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Hunan University. In 2010, he was named as one of the most outstanding scholars in the US by the National Asia Research Program.

Dr. Martin Jacques

Martin Jacques is the author of the global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It was first published in 2009 and has since been translated into fifteen languages and sold 400,000 copies. The book has been shortlisted for two major literary awards. A second edition of the book, greatly expanded and fully updated, was published in 2012. A new updated and expanded edition of the book was published in China in April 2016. His TED talk on how to understand China has had over two million views. He is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Fudan University, Shanghai, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University and at the China Institute, Fudan University.

Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Sarkozy served as the President of the French Republic from 2007 to 2012, a position that culminated from years spent dedicating his life to a highly esteemed and richly diverse political career. Prior to his presidency, Sarkozy occupied various ministerial posts including Minister of State, Minister of the Interior, Minister of the Economy, and Minister of Budget. From November 2014 to September 2016, he served as President of the French political party Les Républicains, a position he previously occupied from 2004 to 2007. Sarkozy retired from politics in November 2016 following the center-right presidential primary election. Sarkozy is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Charles III (Spain), Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom) and Knight of the Golden Fleece (Spain).

David Rothkopf

David J. Rothkopf is CEO of The Rothkopf Group (TRG), a diversified media and advisory firm focusing on international issues. TRG is co-creator and co-presenter of CultureSummit, a global event convening international leaders from the policy, culture and tech communities each year in Abu Dhabi. It is also convener of The Policy Forum events and web platforms and presenter of the Deep State Radio Network where he hosts the acclaimed Deep State Radio podcast. Additionally, David is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). David is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books, including The Great Questions of Tomorrow, Power, Inc., Superclass, Running the World, and National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear. He is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, CNN, Time, the National (UAE), Ha’aretz and many others.

David Sandalow

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He launched the Center’s U.S.-China Program and served in senior positions at the White House, State Department, and Department of Energy. He was Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Energy & Climate Change Working Group Chair at the Clinton Global Initiative. He was Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and Senior Director on the National Security Council staff. He is on the Selection Committee of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Sandalow has appeared on CNN, NPR, NBC, BBC, CCTV and written widely, recently on The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy and Meeting China’s Shale Gas Goals. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Yale College.

Julian Gewirtz

Julian Gewirtz is a Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China (2017), which The Economist called “a gripping read, highlighting what was little short of a revolution in China’s economic thought.” His writing on Asia has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. A Chinese speaker, he has lived and worked in China and the United States and most recently served as Special Advisor for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from the University of Oxford and Harvard College.

Special Fellows

Special Fellows Programme

A Special Fellows Programme will run during the Forum, designed to expose future Emirati leaders to today’s global thinkers and give 10 high-achieving Emirati young people the chance to attend and participate in the Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend Forum.

Abdulla Al Hussam

Abdulla Al Hussam is a civil engineer with the Infrastructure Coordination Committee of Dubai, as well as an international volunteer, environmentalist, and Emirati cultural ambassador. Abdulla has participated in a scientific expedition to the South Pole, worked on the first successful corals plantation project in the Arabian Gulf, started a non-profit plastic recycling factory, and holds the world record for raising a flag on a self-standing underwater pole. Abdulla looks forward to studying his MA in politics at NYU and work as a diplomat.

Ghareesa Al Mheiri

Ghareesa is studying Biology, with a minor in Applied Mathematics, at NYU Abu Dhabi. For her senior thesis she is working on determining the activity of a hammerhead ribozyme found in the genome of a star-nosed mole (Condylura Cristata). Ghareesa works with the Girls’ Education Network to support young women, and with the Future Center helping young children with mental disabilities through rehabilitation.

Hamda Al Ameemi

Hamda Al Ameemi is an International Studies student at Zayed University where she hopes to continue on to a graduate degree in Human Rights and International Law in order to work for the betterment of women’s and children’s rights. Hamda enjoys volunteering, event planning, and seizing every opportunity to travel and learn about different cultures. Hamda loves gymnastics, figure skating, ballet, and playing the piano.

Hayat Al Hassan

Hayat Al Hassan is a student at NYU Abu Dhabi majoring in Computer Science. Her senior Capstone project is focused on developing an artificial intelligence tool that enables face-to-face dialogue between humans and a digital avatar. Last summer, Hayat served as a software developer in Kumawu, Ghana, with NYUAD’s Center for Technology and Economic Development, which uses technology to study and enhance economic activity. She has volunteered through various programs, including the Engineers for Social Impact in Mumbai. Hayat hopes to serve her community by supporting the growth of STEM fields and the development of the UAE education system.

Mahaba Al Saleh

Mahaba Al Saleh holds a BA in International Studies from Zayed University and an MA in Urban Planning from the American University of Sharjah. She is currently Deputy Director for Technical Cooperation at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where she helps manage three international cooperation portfolios, including technical assistance, private sector engagement, and national projects. Previously, Mahaba had joined the office of Minister of State HE Reem Al Hashimy in 2012 where she worked on multiple portfolios including International Affairs and the Expo 2020 Dubai bid, post-bid international relations, as well as a number of mandate countries including India.

Maitha Al Suwaidi

Maitha Al Suwaidi is a student of political science at NYU Abu Dhabi as well as a cultural engagement intern and contributing writer to Sail E-Magazine. She is a professional archer and an accredited archery coach, representing the UAE in the national team. She volunteers at international competitions for people with disabilities and participated in the World Travel Market conference representing the UAE.

Majida Al Maktoum

Majida Al Maktoum is from Dubai and a student at NYU Abu Dhabi where she is pursuing a BA in Political Science. She currently interns at the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) where she focuses on the adaptability of the UAE energy sector to climate change, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. She was selected by the Crown Prince Court to be a UAE Youth Ambassador to China, and has previously interned at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN. Majida is also interested in digital photography, equestrian riding, global governance, and cultural diplomacy.

Mariam Al Haddad

Mariam Al Haddad is a Human Capital Professional with 4 years’ experience in various critical areas of Human Resources within the Healthcare sector. She holds a BA in Human Resources Management from Zayed University. In her professional role, Mariam works closely on projects and assignments related to revision of workplace policies, workforce, and organizational design. She is career focused but enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family, especially her three children. She loves travelling and shopping.

Nouf Khan

Nouf Khan is a Biology major from NYU Abu Dhabi involved in both the WESTEM (Women in Science) and Pre-Med programs as part of the American Physician Scientists Institution. She also has a passion for literature and painting.

Sami Al Marzooqi

Sami Al Marzooqi is the Acting Head of Planning and Quality in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, working with the Protocol Division on excellence, policies and procedures where he oversees a project management system, and produces annual, quarterly, and event reports. Sami has a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Business Administration from Dubai Men’s College.