The first “Innovators Under 35 MENA”, was launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, on July 2018, coinciding with the launch the MIT Technology Review Arabia.
Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, deputy CEO and COO of Dubai Future Foundation said: "Organizing this global event in Dubai attracts talents from key future sectors, supports innovation and emerging technologies and allows Arab talents the opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas to International companies and government entities.
“This initiative is a global platform that aims at shedding light on successes achieved by young Arab innovators in developing emerging technologies, their ability to cope with rapid changes, and contribute positively to the global civilization" AlJaziri added.
The committee includes a selection of thought leaders, university professors, deans, investors, entrepreneurs and researchers from various Arab countries who have long and pioneering experience in different sectors including artificial intelligence, investment, medicine, genomics, media, agriculture, languages, software, biotechnologies, and others, in order to contribute to the evaluation of applicants each according to its field of expertise.
The list includes, Huda Al Hashimi, Assistant to the Director General for Strategy and Innovation at the Prime Minister’s Office, Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City, Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohamed Smart University, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi, Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, Deputy CEO and COO of Dubai Future Foundation, Bashar Kilani, Region Executive, Gulf Countries & Levant, IBM Middle East, Dr. Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, at Mohammed bin Rashid University for Medicine and Health Sciences and Dr. Maryam Matar, Founder and Chairperson, UAE Genetic Diseases Association.
This year’s judges also include, Abdulsalam Haykal, CEO of Haykal Group, Ossama Hassanein, Chairman of Rising Tide Fund, Ziad Sultan, Product Lead of Google News, Habib Haddad, Managing Director of E14 Fund, Hassan Sawaf, Director of Artificial Intelligence at Amazon Web Services, Rania Khalaf, Director of IBM Research AI, Cambridge MA, Sharif El Badawi, Partner, 500 Startups; Chairman, TechWadi, Shahd Attar, Principal Director at Accenture, Adil Al Zarooni, CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments (ZEI), Abdulrahman Al Jadhai, CEO of Elm, Abdo George Kadifa, Managing Director at Sumeru Equity Partners, Fadel Adib, Founding Director at Signal Kinetics Research Group and Assistant Professor, MIT,Fatimah Alhamlan, Scientist, Research Centre at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Assistant Professor at Alfaisal University,Lamya Al Haj, Assistant Professor at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
Additional judges include, Mohammad Hajjiri, Interventional Electrophysiologist, Member-Board of Trustees, KHCF-USA,Mohamed Qasem, Assistant professor in Electronics Engineering, and a consultant to the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, Latifa M. Alabdulkarim, Artificial Intelligence Advisor, MCIT, Moataz Al-Nozhi, Dean of Computer Science, Computational and Electrical Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Malak Abed Al-Thagafi, Chairperson of Genomics Research Department- Saudi Human Genome Lab site, KACST-KFMC ; Medical Director Saudi Diagnostic Lab, KFSHI, Nabeel Koshak, CEO, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Nizar Habash, Associate Professor of Computer Science, New York University Abu Dhabi,Nidhal Guessoum, Professor at the American University of Sharjah, UAE, Hani Enaya, Partner, STV, Hala Hanna, Director General of the Solve Community, one of MIT's initiatives and Hala Qanadilo, Sr. Dir of Operations, Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology Covering North America and International Developed Markets.
Nurturing the Leaders of Tomorrow
Members of the committee stressed the importance of such awards in motivating young Arab minds to adopt creative thinking in designing solutions and future initiatives aimed at improving the lives of individuals and communities.
Razan Al Mubarak said: "We live in an age of fast-paced transformation, which fuels the urge to rethink how we live and interact with our environment. As leaders of tomorrow, the responsibility is in the hands of young innovators who break the traditional ways of thinking to find new sustainable and effective solutions for future challenges.
Mansoor Al Awar said: "Innovation has always been the main pillar for progression and prosperity of nations. However, in recent decades, innovation and the ability to create futuristic solutions is what ensures the existence and continuity of a nation. Giving youth support and guidance is key to creating a thriving future."
Digital Transformation and Economic Growth
Bashar Kilani, IBM Middle East, Regional Executive of Gulf Countries & Levant, said: "Digital Transformation is the largest economic opportunity for our region in the coming years. With more than two-thirds of the population in the Middle East under the age of 35, the impact of a community like IU35 is profound. The expectations are high! It gives me great pleasure to participate as a judge in the IU35, and I look forward to an exciting experience."
Inspiring the Generations of The Future
Hala Hanna, Managing Director, Community at Solve – an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Boston, said: "I'm delighted to be a judge for IU35 MENA. Innovators see a problem and defy the odds to decide to solve it for the rest of us. Showcasing them for our region sets a spotlight of hope and inspiration for this generation and the next."
Dr. Malak Abed Al-Thagafi Chairperson of Genomics Research Department - Saudi Human Genome Lab site at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and King Fahad Medical City said: "It is very inspiring to be selected as a judge for the creators of the future. The Arab world is full of talents that will work together to build a more advanced and prosperous society. It's an excellent opportunity to bring together a group of innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders in one place. "
Moreover, Dr. Lamya Al Haj, Assistant Professor at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman said: "I feel privileged to be hand-picked as an IU35 judge for 2019. Having this role in such a prestigious competition helps further enhance my profile as an academic and a scientist. I encourage more of the qualified people in our region to support our youth in such awards."
Fatimah Alhamlan, Researcher and Assistant Professor at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Alfaisal University said: "Judging at Innovators Under 35 MENA is a special honor. I am thrilled to be among the first to view the amazing projects and innovations provided by these talented individuals, who have poured their very beings into the research and development required to create awe-inspiring technologies that may one day change the world. These people are our future, and whether an individual project is recognized with an award, each entrant has already accomplished an incredible feat."
Hala Qanadilo expressed that she's looking forward to engaging with emerging innovators in the region and helping them bring new ideas to market based on her extensive global experience. Throughout her career, mentors played an instrumental role in guiding her success, and she looks forward to enabling the success of a new generation of innovators in science and technology in the region.
Shahd Attar said: “The digital revolution has exposed abundant value opportunities; our research suggests that there is more than $400 billion of trapped value in the Middle East. It is only by building and growing strong innovation capabilities and disrupting traditional ways of thinking can we begin to uncover these incredible opportunities for the region.
The “Innovators Under 35” award was launched in 1999 by MIT Technology Review. Over the years, it honored innovators who marked modern history, such as the founders of Facebook and Google.
© Press Release 2019