Speakers of the 4M Beyrouth Forum 2014

Publié dans 4M BEIRUT FORUM 2014


Executive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation, Lebanon

Ayman Mhanna is the Executive Director of the Beirut-based Samir Kassir Foundation, and is a strong advocate for freedom of expression. He previously worked at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Mhanna holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Saint Joseph University in Beirut and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Sciences-Po Paris. He is also a lecturer on the Master's program held at Saint Joseph University's Faculty of Economics, in which he teaches Policy Development and Communications. Mhanna is a member of various Lebanese NGOs and since 2008 has been a member of the executive committee of the Democratic Renewal Movement.



Journalist, Lybia

Hanan Almgawab is currently serving as a volunteer for the television channel Alkarama (Libya). The channel's mission is to support national reconciliation and the establishment of a regular army and police force. It is funded through donations made by businessmen and citizens. Soon after the start of the uprising in Libya, she began working as a citizen-journalist for the Media Centre, an ad hoc organisation created to cover events taking place in the east of the country. She soon went on to work for the radio station Benghazi Mahali, presenting reports on the humanitarian situation, and then Shabab Libya FM, where she covered the plights being faced by women and hosted a very popular programme called Isma'una (Listen To Us), the first programme to talk openly about the abuses being committed by the militias. She is a fierce advocate of civil society, and is working tirelessly towards national reconciliation. She has also studied English, and holds a certificate in English literature.



Chief Editor, Al-aalem Al-jadeed, Iraq

Montadhar Kadhem is a writer and journalist. He is a member of the Union of Writers in Iraq, and has written many journalistic articles and fictional and non-fictional accounts. Between 2011 and 2013, he was first the secretary, and then the editorial director, of the newspaper Alalem in Baghdad. He then established the electronic version of Al-aalem Al-jadeed, which launched on 30 June 2013. He was published in the United Arab Emirates Nonfiction Book of 2010.



National Executive Member of SPIIL, France

Sabine Torres is a journalist, publication manager and media project manager. After studying philosophy at university, she went on to specialise in the digital regional press. In September 2009, she founded dijOnscOpe.com, the first French regional pure-player. She has since become a National Executive Member of SPIIL (the French Online Independent Press Union). After her own online newspaper was closed down in May 2013, she decided to focus on business management of the independent press, and set up a permanent system based on sharing means between regional media. Since January 2014, Torres has been developing this strategy on a digital level for the regional television group Médias du Sud.



Blogger on Gino's blog, Lebanon

Gino Raidy has been blogging on issues concerning Lebanon for the past five years. He is also a freelance journalist and fixer for foreign media working in Lebanon. Raidy is on the advisory board of MARCH, a freedom of speech and anti-censorship NGO based in Lebanon. He studied biology at AUB, and his areas of interest and expertise include human rights and political analysis in Lebanon and the surrounding region, as well as articles of general interest and entertainment news and reviews in Lebanon.



Founder of Envoyés Spéciaux Algériens, Algeria

Younes Sabeur Cherif is the founder of the famous collective Envoyés Spéciaux Algériens. After graduating in political sciences, Younes embarked on a career in the media by joining the Algerian radio station Jil FM in 2012, the first radio station that was launched in the country following its independence. In 2014, he resigned from his post because of his opposition to the re-election of President Bouteflika for a fourth term. On the political front, he is a member of the national leadership of a famous opposition party in Algeria, which currently hosts a streamed Algerian television channel called El Djazairia.



Blogger on the Trella blog, Lebanon

Imad Bazzi is an advocacy expert and trainer, and has previously worked for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Greenpeace, the Sustainable Democracy Center and Danish People's Aid. Leading advocacy campaigns around the world, Bazzi holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's in Rehabilitation Therapy. He became famous for his blog Trella, which was launched in 1998 and was the first ever blog in Lebanon. Bazzi has also received several awards for his online activism, and was recognised by Foreign Policy Magazine as the most influential cyber-activist in the Mediterranean in 2011.



Head of New Media Desk, Reporters Without Borders, France 

Grégoire Pouget is currently working for Reporters Without Borders as the Head of the organisation's New Media Desk. The organisation's mission is to defend the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world. His areas of expertise include the Internet, computer science, online surveillance, online censorship, and press freedom. He is also interested in digital security in the field of online media. He has studied at Marne la Vallée (Paris) and holds a degree in history, sociology and computing sciences.



Programme Officer for Middle East and North Africa at Rory Peck Trust, UK 

Sarah Giaziri is at the moment working as the Middle East and North Africa programme officer for the Rory Peck Trust. The organisation's mission is to provide practical assistance and support to freelance newsgatherers and their families worldwide, to raise their profile, promote their welfare and safety, and to support their right to report freely and without fear. 



Project coordinator, SKeyes, Liban

 Firas Talhouk is working as a researcher at the Samir Kassir Foundation Center for Media and Cultural Freedom. He is in charge of the Lebanese file monitoring violations that take place against journalists artists and intellectuals in Lebanon, including violations against Syrian journalists, activists, artists, and thinkers who have sought refuge in Lebanon. He is also the coordinator of part of a project with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE). In this project the foundation will be conducting a research on digital rights of citizens in Lebanon since there is no clear law in Lebanon in that concern, comparing them to international standards with emphasis on electoral campaigns.



Author and Researcher in Political Sciences, Lebanon

Rita Chemaly holds a D.E.A. in Political and Administrative Sciences from the Institute of Political Sciences of Saint Joseph University in Beirut. She is the author of the book entitled "Spring 2005 in Lebanon, Between Myths and Realities", and in 2007 won the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press. She is an associate researcher at various academic institutions, and a Project Development Consultant for the National Commission for Lebanese Women. Chemaly is also in charge of a number of projects being conducted with NGOs that operate in the field of human rights and development in Lebanon.



Digital Chief Editor, lesoir.be, Belgium 

Philippe Laloux is currently the Digital Chief Editor for the Brussels-based newspaper Le Soir, Belgium's leading French-speaking quality newspaper, which is published by the Rossel Group, a major player in Europe. His areas of expertise include online journalism, digital transition in the newsrooms and the development of new editorial products, like "Le Soir 17h", a 100% digital edition of the evening programme. He is also a professor of "Online Journalism" at Ihecs (Brussels) and trainer to ESJPro and CFPJ (Paris) in "Plurimedia Management".



New Media Director, France Médias Monde, France 

Frederic Bonnard is currently New Media Director at France Médias Monde, managing all digital activities for France 24, RFI, and Monte Carlo Doualyia. Prior to joining France Médias Monde, he spent 10 years in the USA marketing in the Internet and software industries, working for companies such as NeXT, Apple and Netscape. On returning to Europe in 2001, Bonnard joined several start-ups as Marketing Director and CEO in the telecom and media industries. After managing a business unit in the enterprise software market in France, he spent four years working in the OTT and IPTV industry in Europe. He holds a Master's in Computer Science from Supelec, in France. 



Deputy General Manager, As-Safir, Lebanon

Ahmad Selman is currently the Deputy General Manager of the newspaper As-Safir
(جريدة السفير), which seeks to be "the voice of the voiceless" and "Lebanon's Newspaper in the Arab Nation and the Arab Nation's Newspaper in Lebanon". Its business partners and main sources of funding include Mr Talal Salman (Founder, Chief Editor, and Major Shareholder), and the shareholders Levant Media Holding SAL and Mr Wassim Adib. Selman's areas of expertise include media, technology, management, the written press, and archives. He studied at the American University of Beirut and Boston University, and holds a BSc in Computer Science and an MSc in Management Information Systems. He previously worked at IDS as a program developer.



General Manager, Al Masry Alyoum, Egypt

Fathy Abouhatab is the digital development manager at the Al Masry media corporation. He is also the community manager and website managing editor. In addition, he is the manager of the North Africa and Middle East office of meedan.net, a dialogue and machine translation project in the USA. Abouhatab writes and gives lectures on social, digital and emerging media and the future of traditional media. He also trains journalists in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Jordan on various forms of emerging media and their new tools.



Head of the Internet edition of L'Orient-Le Jour, Lebanon  

Emilie Sueur is currently the head of the Internet edition of L'Orient-Le Jour, a Franco-Lebanese independent daily newspaper founded in 1971 following the merger of L'Orient (1924) and Le Jour (1934). L'Orient-Le Jour covers all news topics (politics, economics, society, culture, etc.), with a real focus on the Middle East and Lebanon. Sueur was previously in charge of the international desk at L'Orient-Le Jour, and also worked as a correspondent in Lebanon for various French and Belgian newspapers. Her areas of expertise include journalism and online journalism. She studied at Université Paris-Dauphine and the Institute of Political Sciences (IEP) in Paris. She is French, but has been living in Lebanon since 1998.



President, Conseil national du numerique, France   

Benoît Thieulin is the founder and director of the digital agency La Netscouade. As a social web specialist, Thieulin has been an observer and player in the digital revolution ever since the mid-1990s. Convinced that the Internet is behind a profound change in "civilisation", he is particularly interested in the phenomenon of empowerment caused by the digital revolution, as well as the innovative devices that it has provided to companies, brands, institutions, NGOs, the media, etc. He has thus been behind the first participative and community-based platforms to be created in France, including touteleurope.eu, désirs d'avenir, the Beecitiz website, and many more besides.



Research & Production Partner, Visualizing Impact, Lebanon 

Ahmad Barclay is the Research & Production Partner at Visualizing Impact, the mission of which is to highlight marginalised social issues through data-driven visual media. It is funded through grants, product sales, commissions and social investors. Barclay's areas of expertise include information design and architecture. He is also interested in the use of infographics and data visualisation in the field of online media. He studied at Cambridge University and holds a degree in Architecture and Environmental Design. He previously worked at various architecture and engineering firms in London, Amsterdam, Bethlehem and Washington DC.



Founder and Transmedia Producer, Knooz Room, Lebanon

Tamara Qiblawi is the founder of Knooz Room, where she currently works as Transmedia Producer. The organisation's mission is to combine innovative content and technologies to allow its clients to develop. Its business partners and main sources of funding comprise Mireille Raad, Mashallah News, Heinrich Boll Siftung and the EU's Ebticar-Media project. Qiblawi's areas of expertise include journalism, video, transmedia production and management. She is also interested in online media. She studied at the American University of Beirut and Georgetown University, and holds degrees in Business and International Affairs. She previously worked as a reporter for the Daily Star and Al-Akhbar.



 Host/Producer, HuffPost Live, USA

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist. In 2012, he was included in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list of "young disruptors, innovators and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world". He was the "first hire" at HuffPost Live, where he hosted and produced programmes broadcast live. In 2011, Ahmed co-created, produced and co-hosted Al Jazeera English's groundbreaking social media show "The Stream", an award-winning interactive show. "Bahrain: The Social Media Battle Continues", a 45-minute TV programme that he produced and co-hosted, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Most Innovative Program. He has also worked for PBS and the New York Times.



Founder and Chief Editor, Beirut Report, Lebanon  

Habib Battah currently works as a freelance journalist for the BBC and Al Jazeera, and is also the founder/Chief Editor of Beirut Report, an interactive investigative journalism organisation that seeks to promote transparency and accountability in Lebanon's public sector and inspire citizens to participate themselves. The project is now self-funded, with plans to seek grants/sponsors. His areas of expertise include investigative journalism, the Lebanese public sector and newsroom management. He is also interested in data visualization and accountability tools in online media. He has been a journalist for 15 years, holds a BA in Journalism (University of Texas) and an MA in Journalism/Near East Studies (NYU), and is a two-time winner of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award.



Chief Editor, Inkyfada, Tunisia

Walid Mejri is one of the co-founders of Inkyfada.com, where he currently works as Chief Editor and an investigative journalist. Inkyfada seeks to provide an in-depth account of all the issues that it reports, and it does so by taking the time to produce content that conveys crucially important information. As an AL Khatt project, Inkyfada is partnered with several NGOs including Heinrich Böll, Canal France International, DW, and the Tunis Freedom of Press Center. Mejri is a researcher in the multimedia storytelling domain, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Audiovisual Communications and a professional Master's degree in Electronic Journalism from the Press and Information Sciences Institute (Tunisia).



President, Journalism++, France

Nicolas Kayser-Bril, 28, is CEO and co-founder of Journalism++, an agency for data-driven stories. Before founding Journalism++ in late 2011, Kayser-Bril was in charge of data journalism at OWNI, a Paris-based start-up news agency. A self-taught programmer and journalist, he holds a degree in Media Economics.



CEO, Innova Tunisia, Tunisia

Jazem Halioui the founder and CEO of Innova Tunisia, an organisation that aims to help businesses and individuals find and take on board useful information from the Internet. Its business partners and main sources of funding are its customers. Halioui's areas of expertise include media monitoring and analytics, online reputation and brand management, open source intelligence, digital marketing, project & innovation management, software design and architecture. He is also interested in digital journalism in the online media sector. He studied at the University of Tunis, and holds a degree in Software Engineering.



Project Director, La Netscouade, France

Remi Rousseau is currently working as a Project Director for La Netscouade, the principal mission of which is to devise community-driven strategies for organisations. The company is financially self-sufficient. Rousseau's areas of expertise concern the digitalisation of news media organisations around the world. He is also interested in the need for traditional media to switch to a digital model in the field of online media. He studied at Sciences Po Rennes (France) and Sciences Po Bordeaux (France), and holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs.



  Founder and CEO, Think Media Labs, Lebanon 

Ayman Itani is the President and founder of Think Media Labs, which works in the fields of communication, media and the social web. Its business partners and main sources of funding consist of private entities. Itani's areas of expertise include digital strategies and training, and he is also a skilled lecturer and public speaker. In addition, he is interested in lead generation, communication, product development, and customer support in the field of online media. He studied at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer and Communications Engineering and a Master's degree in Business Administration.



Head of the Research & Data Desk, ARIJ, Jordan 

Hamoud Almahmoud is the head of the Research & Data Desk at Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ). He also currently works as a coach and mentor to journalists conducting financial and corruption investigations. He was previously the Chief Editor at (Aliqtisadi) Business Magazine and the Aliqtisadi.com portal. He is also a lecturer at Damascus University (Faculty of Media – Radio and TV Department).



Chief Editor, Rue89, France

Pascal Riché is currently the Chief Editor at Rue89, a pro-am news website founded in 2007, which was taken over by the group Le Nouvel Observateur in 2012. Riché's areas of expertise include online media and economics. He studied at IEP Paris and the CFJ, and holds a degree in Political Science and a Master's in Law. Before joining Rue89, he worked at the French daily newspaper Libération, where he first headed up the economic desk, before being appointed head of the Washington office in 2000. In 2006, he was made the newspaper's Op-Ed Editor. Riché has also been a columnist for various publications (including France culture, DS magazine and TPMCafe), and has written three books about economic policy in Europe, France and Iceland.



Journalist, RFI, France

Ziad Maalouf is currently a journalist at Radio France Internationale, where he also hosts a weekly show that focuses on the media. His areas of expertise include journalism, the Internet and new forms of media. He is interested in all things related to online and offline media. He studied history and political science in Paris. He is also in charge of coordinating the blogging projects mondoblog.org and arablog.org.



Chief Editor, Tunisia Bondy Blog, Tunisia 

Rafika Bendermel currently a journalist and Chief Editor at Tunisia Bondy Blog, an online media outlet launched in Sidi Bouzid in December 2011, and which allows young people from working-class areas in central and southern Tunisia to express themselves, and also to be trained in journalism techniques through the field reports that are published daily on the association's website. For that purpose, it organises regular training sessions in journalism and ethics. Its business partners and main sources of funding are the EU, CFI, and IFT. Bendermel's areas of expertise include web media projects, citizen journalism, training and helping young people find employment.



Freelance journalist, Algeria 

Amina Boumazza is currently working as a freelance journalist for online media, radio and TV organisations. In the past two years, she has worked as a journalist for the Algerian news website Algerie-Focus.com, and as Chief Editor for FocusElles.com, an Algerian website for women. The business partners and main sources of funding of these online media outlets are advertising and private shareholders. Boumazza's areas of expertise include society, politics and social topics in Algeria. She is also interested in format management, and how we can manage all media on a website. She studied at EJCM (Ecole de Journalisme et de Communication de Marseille) in France, and holds a degree in Journalism (specialising in TV and Internet Journalism).



Executive Director, 7iber, Jordan

Ramsey George is the co-founder and Executive Director of 7iber (Hiber) based in Amman, Jordan. Its mission is to provide a platform for citizens to express and critically discuss the world around them and to promote transparency and accountability. The organisation recently opened a co-working and events space in Jabal Amman. It is funded by a mixture of revenue generation and projects. George's background is in digital media, rhetoric and communication studies. He studied at the University of Washington in Seattle, and holds an MSc in Technical Writing. He previously worked for Tactical Technology Collective (TTC), based in Berlin.



CEO, AltCity, Lebanon

David Munir Nabti is an advocate of high-impact innovation & entrepreneurship, and youth/alternative media. He is co-founder & CEO of AltCity.me, a new media/tech/social impact collaboration space and start-up accelerator/support space in Beirut, and Director of the pending AltCity StartupLB Bootcamp programme conducted in collaboration with BDL & Mawarid Bank. He grew up in both California and Beirut, studied at UC Berkeley (Political Economics) & AUB, worked at the UN-FAO in Syria, Stanford University (Comm Dept/Journalism Program), UC Berkeley (Education Dept), & Google, and as a freelance journalist, and interned at Cisco Systems HQ and KQED.



Portfolio Manager, Oasis500, Jordan 

Serene Shalan holds the position of Portfolio Manager at Oasis500, where she manages a portfolio of over 86 companies in the ICT, digital media and mobile sectors. Shalan is in charge of follow-up funding activities, and assists in fundraising initiatives for the investment fund. She manages the Oasis500 Angel Investor Network, where she supports Oasis500 companies through key investment phases and prepares them for funding by angel investors and venture capital funds. She holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Business Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. For her undergraduate degree, she graduated with a diploma from Pepperdine University in California with a double major in Organizational Communication and Public Relations.



Managing Director, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, Lebanon

Fadi Bizri is the Managing Director of the Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, a leading Beirut-based entrepreneurship support organization. Bader provides continuous coaching, mentorship and access to networks of experts and investors, and also coordinates international initiatives such as Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Lebanon StartUp Cup. Before joining Bader, Bizri was one of the co-founders of Seeqnce, a top-ranked technology start-up accelerator and the first of its kind in Lebanon. Seeqnce has been featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch. Bizri advises, mentors and sits on the board of several Lebanese and international start-ups.



Head of Offline Community Outreach, Zoomaal, Lebanon 

Tamara Zakharia is currently the Head of Offline Community Outreach at Zoomaal Inc., the main objective of which is to support creative Arab minds through its crowdfunding platform. It is funded by the commissions that it receives for projects that have successfully been crowdfunded. Zakharia's areas of expertise include innovation consulting, social entrepreneurship and start-ups. She is also interested in the online media's power to transform societies. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut and an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the ESADE Business & Law School. She previously worked at Leo Burnett as a communication executive, and is also the co-founder of the social enterprise Harambee.



CEO, Algérie Focus, Algeria

Kamel Haddar is currently the CEO and owner of Algérie-Focus.com. The organization's mission is to provide top-quality and exclusive news, reports and articles, thereby making people more aware of the issues crucial to them. Its business partners include local and international TV stations, and online newspapers and magazines. It is funded through advertising, crowdfunding, information services and news-related events. Haddar's areas of expertise include general management and strategy, marketing, the Internet, online media and social media. He is also interested in new forms of media, and Internet TV in the online media domain. He studied marketing and strategy at ESCP Europe in Paris, and previously worked as a strategy consultant at BearingPoint.



Founder, StartupBRICS, France 

Samir Abdelkrim is multicultural, curious and passionate about Innovation, Startups and International Relations. He is also a specialist of "Diaspora Entrepreneurship". He is a consultant and he calls himself a "blogger-entrepreneur". He created StartupBRICS.com in 2013, the 1st French-speaking blog covering the Startup scene in Emerging countries, from Africa to Asia to Russia. He is currently travelling around 10 countries in Africa in order to meet incubators and startups for his new project called TECHAfrique (http://techafrique.co). He acquired 6+ years of experience in the management of international innovation projects in the MENA region. Samir graduated in Law and Political Sciences.



Investment Manager, Media Development Investment Fund, USA

Syed Karim leads MDIF's investment process for Digital News Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of MDIF that provides early-stage equity financing for news-related start-ups, with a particular interest in frontier markets. He also advises the companies and clients in MDIF's portfolio on matters relating to product development, digital operations, and technology strategy. Prior to joining MDIF, Karim led digital and strategic initiatives at Chicago Public Media.



International Strategist, Blendle, Netherlands 

Thomas Smolders is currently working as an investigator at the Dutch news aggregator Blendle, which is seeking to become "the iTunes of journalism". Its business partners include many major Dutch and international publishers. Smolders' areas of expertise include journalism, writing and photography. He is also interested in the future of journalism in the field of online media. He studied at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and holds a Master's degree in New Media. He previously worked at Film Fest Gent as conversation manager and press assistant.



Chief Content Officer, Transterra Media, Lebanon

Ray Homer is Transterra Media's CCO, and is in charge of the creation and distribution of news product. In his capacity as CCO, he leads the Production, Editorial and Contributor Relations departments. He has over 36 years' experience as a reporter, producer and bureau chief with ABC. His first international assignment was the 1979 US Embassy hostage crisis in Iran, followed shortly after by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He has received six Emmys over the course of a career in which he has covered, among many other stories, the Iraq War, the BP oil spill, the Rodney King riots, Tiananmen Square, the Tokyo Subway gas attack, the Lebanese Civil War, the US-led invasion of Somalia, and the People's Revolution in the Philippines.



European Commission Digital Champion, France 

Gilles Babinet was born in Paris in 1967, and is a French multi-entrepreneur. Since 1989, he has set up nine companies operating in various sectors, such as mobile music (Musiwave), co-creation (Eyeka) and big data marketing (CaptainDash). He was appointed Digital Champion in 2012 by Fleur Pellerin, the French Minister for the Digital Economy, and currently works alongside Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda in Europe. He previously served as the President of the French National Digital Council (CNN), and his "promotion" to the European Commission represents a natural progression in his career.
Babinet published his first book in January 2014, entitled "l'Ère numérique, un nouvel âge de l'humanité" [The Digital Era: A New Age for Humanity].



Executive Director, Palestinian BIC/PICTI, Palestine

Hasan Omar is currently the Executive Director of both the Palestinian Business and Innovation Centre and the Palestine Information and Communication Technologies Incubator (PICTI). The mission of these two organisations is to provide support to entrepreneurs and innovators through business incubation, and then acceleration towards successful SMEs and job creation. Their business partners include the Palestinian government, CISCO, Paltel Group, DANIDA, USAID, EBN, the EU, the EIB and Intel. Omar's areas of expertise include entrepreneurship, innovation, SMEs, business incubation and acceleration. He studied at Jordan University of Science and Technology and Bethlehem University, and holds a BSc degree in Computer Engineering and a Master's Degree in International Cooperation and Development.



Board Member of the Lebanese Press Association, Lebanon 

Malek Mrowa sits on the boards of many leading Lebanese corporations. He is the former owner and General Manager of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat, and is currently the Chairman of the Beirut-based newspaper the Daily Star. He has been a Board Member of the Lebanese Press Association since 1993, and is also Vice- President of the Samir Kassir Foundation. Mrowa is a political activist, a founding member of the Lebanese Civil Coalition and a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic Renewal Movement.


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