Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week.
AlBernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on AlBernameg in Cairo marking the second season’s peak.
Throughout its three seasons AlBernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. Youssef was even issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. In recognition of his success, Youssef was named among the Time Magazine most influential list for 2013 – under the “Pioneers” category, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ, and was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the global thinkers during the same year.
During its third season, the show achieved unprecedented weekly viewership ratings for 11 consecutive weeks. In June 2014, and after a six-week break, AlBernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel.
In the spring of 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. During his stay in the US he appeared twice as a Senior Middle East Correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, commenting on the recent political situation in the region. He has recently hosted the International Emmy Awards gala of 2015, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunis. Youssef is also currently hosting a digital series titled “The Democracy Handbook” for Fusion Network, namely on its new digital platform F-Comedy. In March 2016, “Tickling Giants,” a documentary featuring Youssef’s story with AlBernameg, has been announced as one of the competing entries at the Tribeca Film Festival for 2016.
Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).
Daniel Brusilovsky is the Digital Initiatives Lead for the Golden State Warriors, focused on digital & technology innovation and emerging technology. He is also a co-founder of imoji, the largest sticker library in the world.
Prior to joining the Golden State Warriors, Daniel was the Head of Business Development & Growth at Ribbon, a San Francisco-based payments startup. He has also spent time at Highland Capital Partners, JESS3, Qik and TechCrunch. He also founded and was CEO of Teens in Tech Labs from 2008-2014.
Arif Naqvi is Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group
Arif Naqvi established The Abraaj Group in 2002 and has served as its Group Chief Executive since inception, building it into one of the leading private equity firms in the world. Abraaj is widely recognized as a pioneer of global growth markets private equity with over 20 country offices including 5 regional hubs in Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Nairobi and Singapore. Mr. Naqvi has over three decades of experience of investing in public and private companies and has led the Group’s investment strategy, resulting in some of the most notable private equity transactions across global growth markets over the last decade.
Mr. Naqvi is a Trustee of the Interpol Foundation and is on the Board of the United Nations Global Compact. He is also a Columbia Global Leadership Council member and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
Mr. Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the highest form of recognition given to individual private sector leaders for fostering peace and stability through business, and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, Private Equity International named him as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry.
In 2008, Mr. Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, the largest private social sector enterprise in Pakistan, which supports sustainable development in healthcare, nutrition and education.
Mr. Naqvi is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist and a Correspondent/Producer for VICE on HBO. In 2015, he was featured on the Arabian Business power list of the planet’s 100 most influential young Arabs. In 2012 he was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of ‘young disruptors, innovators and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world’.
Ahmed joined VICE from HuffPost Live, an award-winning online network he helped launch in 2012. There, he produced and hosted World Brief, a 30 minute interactive global news show, averaging one million views a day.
In 2010, Ahmed created, produced and co-hosted Al Jazeera English’s “The Stream,” an award-winning interactive talk show that earned him an Emmy nomination for Most Innovative Program in 2012.
Before joining Al Jazeera English, Ahmed helped launch the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar where he worked as a Correspondent and ran the site’s editorial content. Before Qatar, Ahmed worked in New York as a Digital Producer at PBS’s award-winning series Wide Angle, a videographer for FRONTLINE/World and for The New York Times foreign desk.
In 2009 Ahmed began teaching digital media courses as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School Of Journalism, his alma mater. He graduated from the program in 2007 with honors. In 2013, Ahmed published his first book, ‘Demanding Dignity’ with a co-editor.
Ahmed has interviewed Presidents and A-list celebrities, but his passion is in giving voice to the voiceless and reporting under-covered stories across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. Ahmed often appears as a commentator for CNN, NBC, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Yahoo and other online platforms. He also speaks at leading media, technology, and economic conferences around the world, including the UN, World Economic Forum, SXSW, Aspen Ideas Festival and Google Zeitgeist. In 2013, the Network of Arab-American Professionals honored him with the 2013 Professional Excellence Award.
Fadi Ghandour is Chairman and Managing Partner at Wamda Capital. Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, Fadi is also Co-Founder of Mena Venture Investments, the leading seed stage tech investment company, and is a founding investor in Maktoob.com, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, and the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab, and the Board of Abraaj Group. Fadi is passionate about social entrepreneurship where he founded and chairs, Ruwwad for Development, and entrepreneurs-led youth empowerment organization.
Patrick de Laive (36) is co-founder of TNW, the most influential tech media entity with a global audience which is not based in the US (The Netherlands actually). He is one of the young leaders under 40 of the European tech scene. Patrick is a frequently asked speaker at international tech events (Slush -Helsinki-, Launch.co -SF-, ARABSmiss -Dubai-, 4YFN – Barcelona, IDCEE -Kiev-, The South Summit -Madrid- and many more), but as he just entered the ‘fatherhood’ he is limiting the number of speaking engagements.
In the past year he has been secretly working on a big data project, recently launched as Index.co. Index provides insights in private tech companies by turning unstructured content into structured intelligence on over 100k private tech companies.
Hala has co-founded Leap Ventures in 2014, a venture capital firm focusing on series B investment in startups in the MENA region.
Hala has 20 years of experience in finance and entrepreneurship. She has been a portfolio manager for 12 years in European Equities at Comgest, a €20bn growth equity fund. Prior to that, she started Booleo, a telecom software business, later acquired as an internal solution by a client. Hala started her career in 1996 at Merril Lynch in London in mergers and acquisition. She is the founder and chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of the pan-Arab region, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship and organises, among other things, the MIT Arab start-up competition since 2006. Hala also sits on the global board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and chairs the Arab Edition of the MIT technology review magazine. She is also an angel investor in start-up companies in the Middle East and Europe, and has launched a co-working space in Beirut called Coworking+961. Hala graduated from HEC in France in 1997 with a Masters in Financial Economics and attended the Berkeley Haas School of Business, she holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist whose articles have appeared in The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Room for Debate, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, and The Globe and Mail, as well as other notable publications.
Al Qassemi is also a prominent commentator on Arab affairs on Twitter. Rising in prominence during the Arab Spring, his tweets became a major news source, rivalling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.”
Al Qassemi is an MIT Media Labs Director’s Fellow, and in 2014, Arabian Business placed Al Qassemi in its list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Arabs under the Thinkers category. He continues both to write and tweet about the Arab world both from his home in Sharjah, as well as while giving lectures internationally.
Al Qassemi is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. Barjeel Art Foundation currently has exhibitions at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, and the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Dena Takruri is a host and producer with AJ+, Al Jazeera’s all digital video news network based in San Francisco.
The videos Takruri hosts range in format from in-studio explainers that provide essential context to the biggest news stories, to interviews with experts and stakeholders, and even ground reports from where news is breaking. Her videos have gone viral, netting millions of views on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of shares on YouTube and Twitter.
Dena has reported domestically from Charleston, South Carolina in the aftermath of the shooting at an African American church. She also covered the armed occupation of the federal wildlife reserve in Oregon and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Internationally, Dena notably covered Europe’s refugee crisis, embedding with refugees and crossing borders with them while also broadcasting live on Facebook. She also reported from the West Bank during intensified tensions in the fall of 2015.
Prior to AJ+, Dena was a producer and host at Huffpost Live. Before that, she produced Al Jazeera Arabic’s flagship news program out of the U.S. called “Min (from) Washington. You can follow her on Twitter @Dena.
Ramsey Naja is a Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson Middle East Africa.
Former pirate radio DJ, theatre director, and TV news anchorman, Ramsey Naja moved to the UK in 1985, collected an MA in Drama from Hull University, and joined J. Walter Thompson in 1994.
Under Naja’s stewardship, J. Walter Thompson MENA became one of the region’s most awarded networks, with first-time and regular international recognition in Dubai Lynx, D&AD, One Show, IPG, London International Awards, New York Festivals and Cannes Lions amongst others. The MENA network was voted network of the year twice and most effective network in 2014. It also won the first Gold Cannes Lion for Egypt in 2013 and the first Titanium Lion for Egypt in 2015.
Naja was appointed Chief Creative Officer for Middle East and Africa in 2012.
Ramsey is a member of J. Walter Thompson’s Worldwide Creative Council and a columnist in Campaign Middle East magazine. He is obsessive about comic books and skiing, but mostly about his wife Marianne and their children Emily, Sophie and Mark.
Shawn Mims or professionally know as MIMS is a multi platinum recording artist and entrepreneur who had the biggest record in the world called “This Is Why I’m Hot” in 2007. MIMS is currently the visionary and CO-Founder behind RecordGram. RecordGram is a mobile music and video recording studio in the palm of your hand that allows aspiring artists from around the world to instantly collaborate with award winning music producers for under $5. As a recording artist, MIMS has generated over $14 million in gross sales and was featured in a $9 million Microsoft advertising campaign. In addition to being an international superstar, MIMS is passionate about new technologies that improve people’s lives. Please visit http://www.recordgram.com
Mike Butcher is Editor At Large of TechCrunch, the world’s biggest breaking news site about venture capital and the hottest tech companies. Mike has been named one of the most influential people in technology by GfK NOP and Wired. He is a regular commentator on tech, appearing on CNBC, Bloomberg and the BBC, among others. Mike founded the annual European Tech Startup Awards & Conference: TheEuropas.com, on June 16th 2015, and the exclusive event for early stage founders, PathFounders. He is also co-founder of TechHub.com, founder of policy group Coadec.com and has been an advisor on startups to The British Prime Minister and the Mayor of London.
Sara Hamdan has been the main writer for The International New York Times based in Dubai since 2010. She speaks four languages and is a Berkeley and Columbia graduate.
Monty Munford has 15 years’ experience in the mobile, web and digital sectors and is a weekly columnist for Forbes in New York and The Telegraph in London.
He also writes regularly on technology for prestigious publications such as The Economist, MIT Tech Review and Wired UK. He also contributes to TechCrunch, Mashable and The Next Web.
He speaks on the BBC World Service and is a sought-after speaker around the world in cities such as London, San Francisco, Lagos, Dublin and Oxford University
Working in the region for the past eight years enabled the EADA graduate to influence MENA’s ecosystem by leading digital transformation for some of the world’s largest advertisers. Post extensive time on the agency side, Jochen leads the Video function at Facebook across the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
The crowd tunes in to big-name speakers and influencers as they engaged in talks and discussions on our tech, digital and entertainment stages, or attends workshops about industry trends and best practices held by industry experts.
200 startups showcased their ideas in STEP2016 to a room full of investors, experts, and entrepreneurs.
Startups pitch to an audience of fellow entrepreneurs, VCs, investors, and other professionals with prizes presented by our partners.
Startups get their very own 1-on-1 sessions with influential mentors.
STEP’s famous opening night and after party create the perfect festive vibe addition to the conference.