Eminent global speakers to grace inaugural MENA Innovation Technology Transfer Summit

  • Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park holds marathon international summit on innovation and technology transformation 
  • Taking place on September 22, this will be 14 hours of discussion on how to best shape the future and promote sustainability
  • Summit will be followed by awards recognising global excellence and leadership 

Sharjah, UAE (19 September 2020) –  A galaxy of eminent NASA scientists, government ministers, educators, captains of the industry, public health advocates, social entrepreneurs, innovators, futurists, sociologists, mobility experts, urban planners, media moguls, and the granddaughter of civil libertarian Nelson Mandela will speak at the inaugural MENA Innovation Technology Transfer Summit (MITT Summit) happening on September 22.

Organised by Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), the UAE’s premier research and innovation hub, the first edition of MITT Summit is a marathon online conference spanning 14 hours of discussions on innovation, technology transfer and sustainability. 

MITT Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in partnership with Women in Tech (Global Movement) MTL connect (Canada) and PauseFest (Australia). 

The Summit will start at 10am (UAE time) on September 22 to enable representatives from all major time zones to participate during this 14-hour long marathon conference. It will have over 50 international speakers, 5,000 participants from 100 countries, bringing together global investors, government and private sector representatives, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and other relevant stakeholders for an immersive experience of knowledge sharing, business showcasing and networking.

Panel of experts

Some of the prominent speakers at the MITT Summit include:

> Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency. She is the woman leading the UAE's Mars Mission. She played a crucial and prominent role in the successful launch of Hope Probe, the first Arab interplanetary mission that will provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers when it reaches the Red Planet's orbit in 2021. Aside from this role, her other responsibilities include enhancing the contributions of advanced sciences to the development of the UAE and its economy.

> Hussain Ibrahim AlHammadi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Education, UAE Federal Government. He joined the Federal Government in 2014 as the Minister of Education. His responsibilities include strategic supervision of education sector across the board and prepare students in the public education system to increase their productivity and achieve sustainable development for the UAE. He graduated from the University of Embry-Riddle in the United States.

> Tarek Shawki, Minister of Education and Technical Education, Government of Egypt. He served as the Dean of the School of Sciences and Engineering at American University in Cairo and as the Secretary-General of the Presidential Advisory Councils. He served as the Director of UNESCO's Regional Bureau for Science in Arab States and as the Chief of the Section for ICTs in Education, Science and Culture. He has a PhD and an MSc in engineering, an MSc in applied mathematics from Brown University, and a BSc in mechanical engineering from Cairo University.

> Dr. Muhyieddeen Touq, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Jordan, holds a Ph.D. Educational Psychology from Purdue University, where he also received the Award of Distinction for his services to education and international relations.

> Teuta Sahatqija, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of the Republic of Kosovo, has sterling academic record from Dartmouth College on Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and University of Pristina, where she earned Master of Science in Electronic Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering. She served and held various positiosn in the Parliament and she speaks Albanian, English, Serbian, French, Turkish and Italian. 

> Dr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman and founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global (TAG.Global), has wide-ranging interests and has made seminal contributions in professional services,  Intellectual Property, education, knowledge economy, and information technology.  He has a long and engaging career with business-related international development organizations, and forward-thinking business projects in the Arab world and is recognised as the godfather of Arab accounting.

> Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Director of Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, also serves as faculty advisor to two Boston University student organizations: the “1001 Wells for Darfur,” and the “Egyptian Club.”  In 1986 he joined Boston University as Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing to promote the use of space technology in the fields of archaeology, geography and geology. Under his leadership, the Center has grown to become a leading force in the applications of remote sensing technology to environments around the world. In 1997, NASA selected it as a “Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing.” He has won numerous honors and awards, including NASA’s Apollo Achievement Award, Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and Special Recognition Award, the University of Missouri Alumni Achievement Award for Extraordinary Scientific Accomplishments, the Certificate of Merit of the World Aerospace Education Organization, and more. In 1999, the Geological Society of America (GSA) established the “Farouk El-Baz Award for Desert Research,” an annual award aimed at rewarding excellence in arid land studies by experts worldwide. 

> Swati Mandela, Humanitatian and Co-Founder at Qunu Staffing, is the granddaughter of civil libertarian Nelson and Winnie Mandela. She has been appointed as High Commissioner at the Grand Assembly of the World Business Angels Investment Forum and co-authored the autobiography 491 Days with the Nelson Mandela Foundation about her grandmother.  Swati is also co-founder of the Long Walk to Freedom Brand, a non-profit that delivers container libraries to disadvantaged communities in South Africa.  She and her sister decided to wage a battle for equality in the workplace. They founded Qunu Workforce, an organization that assists South Africans living with disabilities and the resulting stigma. Some of their passion stemmed from the struggles of their brother, who suffers from epilepsy.

> Dr. Douglas Terrier, Chief Technology Officer at NASA headquarters, is NASA’s Chief Technologist. He is the Agency’s principal adviser on technology and guides NASA’s comprehensive technology investment strategy. Prior to this assignment he was the Chief Technologist at the Johnson Space Center. His previous leadership roles at NASA include: Deputy Director of JSC’s Strategic Partnership Office; and Associate Director of Engineering where he led teams responsible for development of spacecraft for NASA’s human exploration program. He also served in project management roles on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-22 Raptor; A-12 Lightning; National Aerospace Plane; and other classified programs. 

> Dr. James Green, Chief Scientist at NASA Headquarters, received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Iowa in 1979. He worked at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) from 1980 to 1985 in the Solar System Division. He served safety diver in the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator supporting NASA’s crewed spaceflight program, making more than 150 dives. From 2006 to 2018, he was the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters. Under his leadership several missions have been successfully executed, including the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto, the MESSENGER spacecraft to Mercury, the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, the Grail A and B spacecraft to the Moon, the Dawn spacecraft to Vesta and Ceres, and the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

>  Dr. Fabienne Casoli, President of the Paris Observatory, has solid experience in the world of administrating research within major French decision-making bodies concerning astronomy and astrophysics. From 2001 to 2007 she was Deputy Scientific Director of the National Institute of Science of the Universe INSU), CNRS, then she was director of the Space Astrophysics Institute (IAS) at Orsay. She is also the author of several works of scientific popularization and has participated in numerous cultural events. 

> Michael Peters, CEO Euronews and Africanews. Born in 1971 in Flensburg, Germany, of French and German nationality, Peters graduated from EM Lyon business school with a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering and from IAE Lyon III. He began his career at the international auditing firm of Arthur Andersen, in Lyon, France before joining Euronews in 1998 as Finance Manager and then became CFO. In May 2005, at the age of 33, and seven years after joining Euronews, he was appointed Managing Director of Europe’s leading news channel. In December 2008, Michael Peters was appointed Managing Director of the Executive Board of Euronews S.A. 

 > Carlos Moreno, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of the “Entrepreneurship, Territory, Innovation” Pantheon Sorbonne University, is a university professor specialising in the study of complex systems and in the development of innovation processes. He is co-founder and scientific director of the Chair ETI (Entrepreneurship – Territory – Innovation) at the Panthéon Sorbonne University-IAE Paris.  As a scientist and researcher, he earned several international recognitions. 

> Dr. Wei Zha,  Chief Research Officer at American University of Sharjah, joined AUS as the Chief Research Officer in 2018, having previously been Rector (i.e., President) and Chair Professor at the University of Macau since 2008. Dr. Zhao served as the Dean of Science and Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 2007 to 2008; Division Director at the National Science Foundation from 2005 to 2007; and worked at Texas A&M University from 1990 to 2007 in many positions, including Senior Associate Vice President for Research from 2001 to 2007, Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1997 to 2001, and advanced from Associate to full Professor of Computer Science. He has also held faculty positions at Amherst College, Adelaide University and Shaanxi Normal University. He earned his PhD and MS degrees from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986 and 1983, respectively.

Historic summit

Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, remarked: “MITT Summit is a historic summit not only because it’s a marathon online conference but it is an international platform that convenes the private sector, government and academia to co-innovate and co-create new business opportunities, new ventures and new technologies.”

“MITT Summit is in line with “the vision that anticipates the future” being advocated by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah,” said Al Mahmoudi, adding: “The Middle East is becoming the world’s fastest-growing marketplace for business and technology transformation.”

Al Mahmoudi noted MITT Summit will participants to build a diverse network of contacts, create synergies and opportunities, and gain access to key players in the regional and international research, development and innovation ecosystem.

“We are laying the ground for companies to elevate their brand and discover investment opportunities as they learn from international best practices and connect with different actors of the regional and global econom,” Al Mahmoudi underlined.

Awards for global excellence and leadership

Following the Summit is the first-ever MENA Innovation Technology Transfer Summit Awards that will recognise and celebrate excellence and leadership in Innovation and Technology under 3 categories: MITTS Global Award, MENA’s Rising Star and Women in Tech MENA Award. 

MITT Summit Global Award will recognise oranisations, startups, enterprise, non-profit companies that promote innovation technology and create positive impact in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Winners will receive prizes that include grants, accelerator programme and business residency at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park.

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