Conference Schedule for November 11, 2017

Entering the post-decade mark, the Arab Conference at Harvard is at a critical time where it is both continuing its legacy of delivering nuanced and substantive discussion on the Arab World and reimagining its vision towards the future.

Time Event 1 Event 2
09:00 AM Registration Wasserstein Hall Lobby, HLS
10:00 AM Navigating the Political Sphere in the Age of Nativism: Arab-American Congressional Candidates and Civic Leaders Speakers: Fairuz Saad,Nadeem Mazen Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS Art Beyond Frontiers Speakers: Hadi Zeidan, Helen Zughaib, Dr. Karameh Kuemmerle Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, HLS
11:30 AM Keynote: Dr. Khalid Al-Yahya Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS
Health System Resilience Speakers: Dr. Tamer Rabie, Professor Melani Cammett, Dr. Saba Al Zabin, Dr. Satchit Balsari, Professor Margaret Kruk Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, HLS

01:00 PM Lunch
02:00 PM Energy and Climate Change in MENA Speakers: Dr. Peter Rogers, Dr. Rabi Mohtar, Dr. Obaid Amrane, Dr. Karim El Aynaoui, Dr. Hynd Bouhia Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS Empowering a Generation - Early Childhood in the Middle East Speakers: Nadine Kaadan, Safaa El-Kogali, Nada El Atter, Nicole Eid Abouhaydar, Alexandra Chen Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, HLS
03:30 PM
Arab Americans in the Trump Era: A Legal Perspective Speakers: Hina Shamsi, Tarek Ismail, Khaled Beydoun, Dalia Deak Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS
From Local Enrichment to Economic Growth: The Integration of Protracted Refugee Populations Speakers: Dr. Fadi Halabi, Nadia Alawa, Lilah Khojah, Leah Nichles, Professor Danilo Mandic Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, HLS
05:00 PM Innovating Education to Reform Arab Societies Speakers: Deema Bibi, Dr. Safwan Masri, Dina Am Zanfaly, Anies Hroub, Alissar Nasr Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS Inspiring Arab Women Speakers: Laila Alawa, Rania Al-Mashat Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, HLS
6:30 PM Keynote Panel: Post-revolutionary Leadership: Tunisia as a Case Study Speakers: Habib Essid,Ali Laarydeh,Hamadi Jebali Milstein East Hall, Wasserstein Hall, HLS

Event Descriptions:

Navigating the Political Sphere in the Age of Nativism: Arab-American Congressional Candidates and Civic Leaders Description: The current political environment in the U.S. under President Trump's new administration has been tumultuous, rife with scandal and racial tensions. While this has been demoralizing to many in the greater Arab community, here and abroad, it has also served to galvanize civic leaders within our community to rise and advocate for grass roots change. To this end, the speakers of this panel, all congressional candidates, will discuss how they are navigating the political spheres that exist not only within the Arab-American and Muslim community but across different ethnic communities including Latino, African-American, and South Asian from Michigan to Massachusetts, with the common goal of inspiring change and creating coalitions of diversity determined to uphold the tenants of America. The panel will explore the campaigning process, motivations for change, and how best to act in the service of others during this very difficult and trying political climate.

Energy and Climate Change in MENA: Description: The Arab region is facing unprecedented challenges in frequent and severe droughts, water security, food security and evolving climate conditions to countries of high and low GDP alike. However, changes are not only limited to the ecosystem, but also the socio-economic systems. This eventually has damaging implications on country GDP. Current diversification in Arab economies needs to adopt regulations that ensure sustainability and climate resilience. Several Arab countries have been adopting plans to reduce carbon emissions and increase “green economy” projects including the development of green finance schemes to encourage green investment. This panel features experts and policymakers in the field of climate change and sustainable energy from the Arab region. Speakers will open the panel with individual presentations and accounts followed by discussions on 1) Evaluation of climate change effects on ecosystems and socio-economic systems, 2) The future of sustainable “green” innovative energy in the Arab region, 3) Paris Agreement implications and plans.

Health System Resilience: The Arab World is struggling with silent and roaring health challenges. Its political calamities have displaced millions and have brought back eradicated decades like polio and cholera. The demographic transition of our populations has brought along high incidence of chronic disease. The oil price shock has adversely affected healthcare in some parts of the Gulf, forcing cuts on healthcare and insurance. The health scene in the Region is anything but static, and our current health systems have repeatedly and continuously fallen short of tackling the health challenges we face, even with international assistance. How can we do better? How can we as the young professionals of today effectively claim the health of tomorrow’s Arab World? What does it take on the national and the regional levels to build health systems that can restore, maintain, and improve health? Can we foster resilient health systems-- health systems that recognize, are ready for, and can adapt to the rapidly evolving health demands in Region, or is that too far fetched? This panel will bring together top international experts on the topic from international organizations, the public sector, and academia. Panelists and moderator will offer their perceptions on the new area of work on health systems resilience and what it means in the context of the Arab World. They will share, debate and discuss their perceptions on how can we claim better health tomorrow.

Post-revolutionary leadership: This panel is a conversation with the Tunisian Prime Ministers who served after the revolution (with the exception of Beji Caid Essebsi, who currently serves as president). Arab Visionaries: Claiming Tomorrow is at the heart of this conversation, for most of these people were either visionaries who wanted and managed to be democratically elected even through the time of dictatorship, or people who are creating their own movements and currently leading the Tunisian Political Scene.

Art Beyond Frontiers: This cultural panel aims at highlighting innovative art or new forms of artistic expressions from around the Arab world. The panelists are either perpetuating traditional forms of art with new techniques, or engaged in groundbreaking art in the region. In different ways, they are all tackling barriers, whether artistic ones or social and political ones and are thus opening new possibilities of expressions.

Inspiring Arab Women: This panel will highlight some of the biggest female trailblazers in the entrepreneurial/media world who are of Arab descent/work in the MENA region itself. The women on this potential panel are actively combatting the harmful and reductionist stereotypes surrounding Arab women by putting themselves at the forefront of conversations in the media. They are taking control of their own narratives; their brazen approach is reflective of the tenacity of Arab women, and shows that Arab women's voices are extremely powerful. Institutional and cultural pressures have attempted to silence their voices, yet their platforms/organizations are a means through which women are empowered and resilient

From Local Enrichment to Economic Growth: The Integration of Protracted Refugee Populations: Currently there are 33 protracted refugee populations worldwide altogether accounting for 6.7 million refugees in 2015. The majority are isolated in refugee camps and banned from participating in any form of employment. The resulting increase in domestic abuse, sexual trafficking and militia recruitment are of humanitarian concern. Unfortunately, international rhetoric regarding protracted refugees fails to acknowledge the potential economic and social benefits that could result from integration. This panel will focus on the implications of economically and socially integrated protracted refugee populations. It will specifically consider different integrative methods that can mitigate the current humanitarian violations while alleviating and even improving the economic and social status quo

Innovating Education to Reform Arab Societies
The education systems in much of the Arab world do not encourage student creativity; rather they follow a traditional model of testing that falsely promotes the notation that performing well in the classroom will translate to success in the real world. The creation of prospective job opportunities lies in the hands of those students who are ambitious enough to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Our education systems must catch up and accommodate to the context of the modern job and economic market demands. Education in the MENA must be remodeled to better shape students into autonomous individuals with skills that allow them to succeed upon graduation.  This panel welcomes the leaders on cross-region research on education in the MENA as well as influencers in public and private education throughout the Arab world. The panelists will speak to (1) the impact and importance of re-inventing education curricula to fill the skills gap and promote financial literacy; (2) initiatives for innovating STEM education in specific Arab countries such as Egypt through the foundation of hands on learning spaces such as Fabrication Labs; (3) improving education equity for special and gifted students; (4) the geo-political factors that shape our education systems, and what certain Arab countries can learn from others.

Arab Americans in the Trump Era: This panel will explore the legal and practical realities faced by Arab and Muslim communities, particularly in the age of Trump.


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