Speakers and Lecturers

Prof. Dr. Dr. Ayad Al-Ani

is the co-founder and academic director of MENA Digital Summer School. As an economist and political scientist he is an expert on digitisation and digital transformation. Prof. Al-Ani is a fellow at the Einstein Center Digital Future, Berlin, Associated Professor Extraordinary School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is a board member of Candid Foundation and co-founder of the Digital Arabia Network. 

Ines Amri

is the Director of Business Development and Innovation at the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce in Berlin, and a researcher in platform economy and trust in digital services at Einstein Center Digital Future, Berlin. She holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from ESMT Berlin. 

Rafaella Canvandoli

is an international lawyer specialized in innovation protection and commercialization, with over 20 years of professional experience gained in four continents, including the MENA region. She currently works at PROvendis, a subsidiary of 28 German universities and one of the largest European service providers in the field of technology transfer and IP management.

Ismail Chaib

is the General Manager of the Product & Technology department at Yassir, the leading App for on-demand and payment services in French-speaking Africa. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer at TESOBE / the Open Bank Project, a financial technology startup that provides open APIs to regulators and financial institutions worldwide. Ismail lives between Berlin and Algiers.

Daniel Gerlach

is the director-general of Candid Foundation and an expert on the contemporary Middle East. He co-founded the MENA DSS. Gerlach studied History and Middle Eastern Studies at Paris IV Sorbonne and Hamburg University. He is also the editor-in-chief of zenith Magazine.

Dr. Carsten Gerhardt

studied theoretical solid-state physics, Anglo-Irish literature, and economics. As a management consultant, he works with a focus on sustainability. He is chairman of the civil society network Wuppertalbewegung e.V. Since 2020 he has been committed to positioning the wider Rhine-Ruhr area as Circular Valley, a region in which globally leading solutions for a Circular Economy are developed.

Lisa Günther

is the founder of Colors of Life coaching and of Yoga Thinking. She works as a design thinking coach. Her greatest motivation is to support people in individual processes or in creative teamwork, to stay connected to themselves, to draw on their own potential and in this way to develop meaningful and sustainable solutions.

Bassant Helmi

is the Founder and Managing Director of the Berlin-based non-profit association Global Project Partners, which implements projects to support Arab businesswomen, vocational and educational training in developing countries, and knowledge transfer in the field of renewable energies. She is also the founder and CEO of MENA Business GmbH in Berlin and the Co-Chair of Digital Arabia Network.

Dr. Naseef Naeem

is a legal scholar and expert on state and constitutional law. He studied law in Damascus, Aleppo, received his PhD from the University of Hannover and taught at the universities of Göttingen and Freie Universität Berlin. Dr. Naeem is the research director of the Middle East consultancy ZENITHCOUNCIL, a fellow at Candid Foundation, and chaired several sessions of the Iraqi National Dialogue Initiative.

Prof. Tobias Nolte

is Professor for Media in Architectural Design at Leibniz University Hanover, Germany. He co-founded Certain Measures (CM), a hypothesis driven creative studio based in Berlin and Boston. Previously, Prof. Nolte was Director at Gehry Technologies in New York and Paris. He was a research fellow at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Prof. Nolte studied architecture at TU Berlin and the Southern California - Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles.

Rania Reda

is an internationally recognized Augmented Reality expert and a serial tech entrepreneur with 22 years of experience in the tech field. Her latest venture, Augmania, is a storytelling solution that uses AR and Machine Learning to allow marketers to integrate digital assets into a new media that can be published on the web.

Christin Schäfer

loves data. She is an expert on the management of data driven digital systems. Together with her team at acs plus, she supports companies in creating value from data. Beside she serves as a board member at Binance and at the Institute of German Economics.

Prof. Dr. habil. Thomas Wrona

is Professor and Director of the Institute for Strategic and International Management at Hamburg University of Technology. Previously, at the ESCP Europe Business School, he headed the Chair for Organization and Empirical Management Research. In 1998 he received his doctorate about globalization strategies. His research interest lie in the intersection of strategy process research and organization studies, in particular strategy-as-practice, strategy and technology, performative effects of algorithms, corporate digital responsibility, and hybrid organizations.

Dr. Carsten Siebert

is the chancellor of the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. He studied philosophy, linguistics, German and English literature in Munich, Berlin and Philadelphia. He holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Humboldt University. Dr. Siebert has lectured at Humboldt University and the University of St. Gallen and worked as a researcher at Leuphana University Lüneburg on internet-based learning platforms (MOOCs).

Ambassador Dr. Tobias Tunkel

is the Director of Middle East and North Africa at the German Federal Foreign Office. He served previously as head of department for Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Eastern Partnership. Dr. Tunkel was posted in various countries of Eastern Europe and the MENA region. He studied German Literature, History in Freiburg, Berlin, Vienna, and Jerusalem.

Lina Yassin

is a neuroscientist, focusing her research on neuroplasticity, learning and memory. With 20 years’ experience in neuroscience, her focus is on combining research with teaching. Lina has experience working as a scrum master, Lean trainer, and agile coach at different industries. She is an organizational designer and performance manager at Taxfix and the founder of Numo.

Dr. Mennatullah Hendawy

is an interdisciplinary urban planner working on the intersection of cities and technology toward equity and sustainability. Hendawy Assistant Professor at Ain Shams University in Cairo. She is affiliated with the Center for Advanced Internet Studies and Impact Circles e.V. in Germany. She holds a Ph.D. in Planning Building Environment from TU Berlin, Germany. Hendawy is Co-Founder of Cairo Urban AI.

Dr. Nina Hahne

is a speaker for networking and promotion of young talent. She works for the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum, where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the networking strategy. She is also in charge of the programme for doctoral students at the CAIS and the open network for doctoral students PhDnet@ CAIS.

Julia Ostrode

is a project manager of the Smart City Innovation Unit in the town Bochum. The city of Bochum redefines economic and social change through future-oriented urban development, thereby turning it into a smart city. Having studied Japanese Studies, International Politics & Economics she then did a master’s degree in Eonomic Policy Consulting at the Ruhr-University of Bochum.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind

is a German politician (Green Party) and economist. Since November 1, 2020, he has been the mayor of the Bergisch city of Wuppertal. Until 2020, Schneidewind, who is one of the 100 most influential economists in Germany, was President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy in Wuppertal.

Samuel T. Simon

is a photographer by education, and working for the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum since 2020. At the CAIS he is a leading the project “Agile Science”, where he is concerned identifying relevant research topics such as the development and implementation of innovative structures for interdisciplinary cooperation. He is also an expert for Service Design, Design Thinking und Future Forecasting.

Dr. Michael Baurmann

is the Director of the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum. He is also a professor for sociology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. His research focuses on general social science theory and social epistemology, and in digitalisation research he is interested in epistemic dynamics of trust formation and internet-mediated democratic participation processes. He is also co-editor of the scientific journal Analyse & Kritik focusing on philosophy and social theory.