Prof Dr Dr Ayad Al-Ani

is the Professor for Change Management and Consulting at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF). He is a professor extraordinary at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and Reader for Digital Culture at University of Basel. Professor Al-Ani has over 20 years of experience in business consultancy and has served as president of the ESCP Business School, Berlin, where he also taught. His research focuses on organisational change, as well as transformations in the fields of society, economics and education. He served as the Research Director of the MENA Digital School Report.

Daniel Gerlach

is a German journalist, author and political analyst specialising in Middle Eastern affairs, particularly Syria and Iraq. In addition to his work as the Candid Foundation’s director general, he is the editor-in-chief of zenith magazine, co-chairman of the research and consultancy group zenithCouncil, and co-founder of the Deutscher Levante Verlag GmbH. Gerlach is a frequent media contributor and has also written and directed numerous documentaries on the Middle East, for which he was recognised with the National German Television Award in 2013. Prior to becoming a journalist, ­Gerlach studied History and Middle Eastern Studies in Hamburg and Paris. His latest book, Der Nahe Osten geht nicht unter (The Middle East is Not Going Under), 
was published in March 2019 by Edition Körber.

Leo Wigger

is the Project Manager of the MENA Digital School at the Candid Foundation. A political scientist by training, he has a master’s degree from SOAS, University of London. Over the past five years he has worked on global dimensions of the digital transformation and political and religious movements, migration and security in the MENA region, as well as South and Central Asia. Wigger is a regular contributor to zenith magazine and previously worked as a trainee speechwriter for the President of the European Parliament.


Dina Khadum

is a Project Assistant at the MENA Digital School Project. A recent graduate of German and Arabic Studies at the University of Oxford, she has been carrying out research on Iraqi current affairs and has experience working with local community initiatives in Germany and the Middle East. Her key focuses are migration, diaspora and civil society values.