Director, Carnegie Middle East Center
Maha Yahya (@mahamyahya) is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, where her work focuses broadly on political violence and identity politics, pluralism, development and social justice after the Arab uprisings, the challenges of citizenship, and the political and socio-economic implications of the migration/refugee crisis. Prior to joining Carnegie, Ms. Yahya led work on Participatory Development and Social Justice at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). She was previously regional adviser on social and urban policies at UN-ESCWA and spearheaded strategic and inter-sectoral initiatives and policies in the Office of the Executive Secretary, which addressed the challenges of democratic transitions in the Arab world. Yahya has also worked with the United Nations Development Program in Lebanon, where she was the director and principal author of The National Human Development Report 2008–2009: Toward a Citizen’s State.
Founder and Director, Sawa for Development and Aid
Rouba Mhaissen (@roubamhaissen) is a Syrian-Lebanese economist, activist, community mobiliser, and development practitioner who works on development issues in the MENA region, particularly forced migration and the Syrian refugee crisis. She is the Founder and Director of Sawa for Development and Aid (founded in 2011), a non-profit organization that supports Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and Sawa Foundation UK, that supports forced migrants in Europe and the Middle East. She received her B.A. in Economics from the American University of Beirut, her MSc in Development from the London School of Economics, and an MPhil/PhD in Gender and Economic Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She also holds two degrees in exponential technologies from Singularity University. Dr. Mhaissen has worked as a freelance consultant and a researcher/teaching fellow in a range of issues pertaining to education, violence, conflict, activism, and forced migration, among others.
Co-founder and CEO, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
Samar Muhareb (@SamarMuhareb) is the co-founder and the CEO of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development – ARDD, a Jordanian NGO which she co-founded in 2008, in response to the Iraqi Refugee Crisis. Having worked as a lawyer and aid worker in many international organizations such as Oxfam-GB for many years prior, she realized that one of the most urgent needs refugees and marginalized individuals and communities face is access to justice regardless of status. With over 15 years of experience in working for the international aid community, she developed experience in the field of human rights, refugee affairs, humanitarian response, and women’s empowerment in Jordan and the Middle East. In addition, she actively supports initiatives focusing on environmental justice in the region. She has been recognized for her efforts towards furthering social justice and strengthening the role of civil society and was awarded the TAKREEM Arab World Young Entrepreneur Award in 2011.