Senior Director – Global Development,
Special Olympics Middle East & North Africa Region

Annemarie Hill serves as the Senior Director of Global Development with Special Olympics International. In this role she is responsible for cultivating and leveraging partnerships with INGOs, aid agencies, governments and development stakeholders that promote the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Previously Annemarie served as the CEO of Special Olympics South Africa during which time the Program grew by over 25% and played host to two International events including the inaugural African Unified Football Cup in 2012. Prior to taking on this role, Annemarie served with Special Olympics International for 4 years where she was responsible for the roll out of the Healthy Athletes Program in 22 African states as well as the fostering of international relationships with organizations. Annemarie holds a BSc (Physiotherapy) qualification from the University of Cape Town and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of the Witwatersrand where she focused her dissertation on the training of health care professionals on the subject of intellectual disability.

Regional President and Managing Director,
Special Olympics Middle East & North Africa Region

Ayman Wahab oversees Program operations in the Middle East and North Africa providing strategic direction, and engagement with governments and the private sector to raise awareness and gain support.

Wahab was a successful businessman and engineer who, after a career in Egyptian multinational business and telecommunications corporations, started his own business. In 1997, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Misr Language Schools, which also served as the headquarters for Special Olympics Egypt. After serving as a volunteer, he was named National Director of the Program in 1998 and began focusing on growth. In just two years, the Program grew from 2,240 athletes to more than 15,000.

In 2001, Special Olympics chose Wahab to lead the MENA region. In fifteen years as Regional President, registered athletes grew from 20,433 in 13 countries to nearly 150,000 in 23 countries. Under his leadership, in March 2019 Special Olympics will hold the World Summer Games in the Middle East for the first time.

Special Goodwill Ambassador for Zero Hunger,
United Nations

Darine El Khatib is the Senior Director – Creative Strategy & Brand Development for Turner in MENA, Turkey, Greece & Cyprus. She is responsible for strengthening Turner’s presence and competitiveness in the region through the development of new services and products. In addition, Darine leads the content and brand teams and responsible for developing the editorial strategy, as well as further driving relationships with partners such as Pay-TV affiliates. With over 14 years in the broadcasting industry, Darine’s extensive knowledge of the regional TV industry has helped develop numerous successful original programming formats and content across the region.

Recently Darine has been appointed as the UNFAO Goodwill Ambassador for Zero Hunger in the Middle East & North Africa. This recognition came after her dedicated work in shedding the light on the issue of hunger.

Prior to joining Turner, Darine held the position of Channel Director for Discovery Networks MENA and launched the leading Arabic food channel, Fatafeat in the Middle East. Darine is also a celebrated TV Host & actress with several projects under her belt. One of her most recent endeavors is her Travelogue show “My World to You”. Darine holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Directing from CalArts.

World Health Organization (WHO)

After studying Medicine and Surgery in the State University of Rome, Dr. Mariotti served the Army as Medical Officer for 3 years, and then joined the public health services where he practiced general medicine and surgery for 5 years. Meanwhile he got the post-degree PhD in Ophthalmology with research work on novelty administration for glaucoma medication. He practiced ophthalmology for 15 years as Assistant Professor at the University of Rome, followed by serving as an Ophthalmologist at NHS and as a private practitioner. He served as visiting faculty at the University of Medicine Asmara and Addis Ababa, delivering last-year lessons and participating in examinations. He joined WHO in 1994 and since then has been leading several global agendas, including the Global Trachoma Elimination for 10 years, the Glaucoma and AMD global work plan. Dr. Mariotti has assisted the Country’s Government Eyecare Service Establishment in all 6 WHO regions expanding across 80 countries. More recently, he has developed and conducted the largest assessment of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in the world (TADDS Program) and has developed assessment tools for the priority eye diseases (Refractive errors, Glaucoma, Vision Rehabilitation).

Dr. Mariotti successfully launched and concluded the international consensus collaboration on standards for vision rehabilitation. As part of his voluntary efforts, he serves as Secretary of the Sight First Program of the LCIF, as well as designs and conducts LCIF country evaluation, advises national programs on project preparation, monitoring and evaluation. Dr. Mariotti serves as an adviser in several international organizations, works in Intergovernmental working groups and inter-agencies discussion groups. He is also a member of the WHO Board of Appeal and UN Interagency Accessibility Forum.

Emirates Diabetes Society

Dr. Abdulrazzaq Ali Al Madani is a Consultant in Medicine and Endocrinology at Al Borj Medical Centre in Dubai.

After graduating in Medicine from the Ain Shams University in Cairo, Dr. Madani pursued his Postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology from Munich, Germany and obtained his Fachartz in both specialties. The Royal College of Physicians endowed Dr. Madani Honorary Fellowships from their Colleges in Edinburg and Glasgow.

Dr. Madani joined Dubai Health Authority in 1980 and from the year 1993, has held the post of Consultant in Medicine and Endocrinology in Dubai Hospital. He was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Hospital – a tertiary care facility under the Dubai Health Authority – from October 2009 to March 2014.

He has vast experience in the management of diabetes and endocrine disorders, especially thyroid gland, he has carried out more than 40,000 thyroid sonography and over 10,000 fine needle aspiration of thyroid nodules, and he has been trained in Radio Frequency ablation and laser ablation of benign thyroid nodules.

Dr. Madani was awarded the Sheikh Rashid Award for Scientific Achievement in 1988 and was honored with the Dubai Government Excellence Award (DGEP) in 2002 under the Category – Distinguished Employee.

Dr. Madani is the President of the Emirates Diabetes Society and the President of the Gulf Group for Study of Diabetes. He is the Editorial Board Chairman of the “Diabetes Positive Living Magazine” a social initiative of the Emirates Diabetes Society.

He has acted as the chairman of the local organizing committee of IDF Congress in Dubai 2011 and is the chairman of the local organizing committee at the coming IDF Congress in Abu Dhabi 2017.
His publications in Clinical Diabetes include “Recommendations for Management of Diabetes During Ramadan”, “Diabetes Care, Algorithm for Management of Type 2 in the Middle East”, “Diabetes Education in the Arab World, A Call for Action” , Driving and diabetes mellitus in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries: Call for action. and “UAE National Diabetes Guidelines 2008 and 2011”, and Diabetes and Ramadan: Practical Guidelines (IDF/DAR).

Supporter Development Facilitator,
The School of St Jude, Tanzania

An international strategic Communications Consultant, Leonie is considered a pioneer of the PR profession in New Zealand, driving the advancement of women alongside the professionalism of the industry.

Having left NZ in 1997 for Australia, she went on to head up PR projects in the Middle East, working throughout MENA, gaining a Masters in Organisational Communication and developing a speciality in crisis communications.

She has extensive experience in education, health, humanitarian organisations, hotels and tourism, telecoms, Government bodies, agriculture, facilities management, FMCG, as well as arts, construction and real estate.
With a specific interest in developing links throughout the Middle East, Leonie is now located in Arusha, Tanzania, as Supporter Development Facilitator for The School of St Jude, whose mission is fighting poverty through education.

Leonie is passionate about working in a multi-cultural environment and developing the skills of women, achieving equity outcomes for all.

University of Dar es Salam

Judica grew up in the rural village of Moshono, Arsuha, Tanzania, the youngest of nine children.

She joined The School of St Jude in 2003 when she was 7 years old as a student in one of the very first classes. 12 years later, Judica graduated secondary school and chose to give back to her community in thanks for the free education she was able to receive because of the generous supporters who covered the costs of her education at St Jude’s. Through the Beyond St Jude’s program, Judica spent a year as a volunteer teacher in a local government school which, like many schools in Tanzania, was chronically under-resourced and under-staffed.

She is now in her third year at The University of Dar es Salaam, studying for a Bachelor of Commerce in Banking and Financial Services, and was also chosen to be a leader by her fellow students.

“WE GROUP” Women Empowerment Group

Renowned Fashion Designer, Sahar Madani was born in Cairo-Egypt. Sahar, who has lived most of her life in the United States, has built her career in fashion by following her own set of rules. Known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, Sahar has taken the fashion industry by storm with her unique and original Abaya designs. Her commitment to remain true to her one-of-a-kind vision has afforded Sahar continued success in the ever-evolving Abaya design industry.

With an Art background, Sahar has been surrounded by art for most of her life – right from her education as a Fine Art Major and then as a Graphic Designer. Having studied Interior Design and Architecture from in Washington DC, Sahar exquisitely intertwined the cultures of both Saudi Arabia [her motherland] and the US [where she grew up]. She combined her knowledge and taste of the two worlds, East and West, and brought a completely new approach to her Abaya collection, adding rich fabrics with some colors to enhance the apprentice, elegance and femininity of the Middle Eastern women.

Sahar emphatically believes that Abaya designs these days are not just a cultural image but also a fashion trend that most women follow to keep updated. Sahar believes all women have the right to be independent, strong and to show their personality through her designs. Her knowledge in graphic designing and advertising fields helped Sahar encapsulate a design philosophy that looking beautiful should not be a luxury, but the right of every woman. Testing new limits every day with creativity from her advertising experience, Sahar is her own worst critic, which helped accentuate every woman’s confidence and femininity.

For someone who pursued fashion designing with passion, determination and hard work, Sahar’s childhood aspirations to be a designer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for creativity and inspiration, which is still evident in her designs today. Her trademark Abaya look has the perfect mix of everything – inspired flowing fabrics, detailing and, most importantly, a fabulous fit, coupled with the ethnic styles identifiable with the Middle East.

Both the woman and the label, Sahar is constantly moving forward and continues to build a strong foothold in the fashion industry. Her love of detail and design is evident in everything she does in life and in business. Her enthusiasm, creativity and boundless talent is set to keep her at the forefront of fashion will keep her going for years to come!

Serial Entrepreneur, Publicist, Rights Procurement Specialist, Founder of Play:Date App

Hailing from a Kiwi-Arab background, Shamim Kassibawi is a publicist turned serial entrepreneur and appreneur. She has over a decade worth of public relation skills and has led successful media campaigns for various industries including Healthcare, FMCG, Aviation, Lifestyle, and many more.

Shamim possesses a strong network and database of key external stakeholders, media, influencers, government entities and celebrities across the globe, and has established working relationships with marketing and branding teams across various advertising, PR agencies, giving her access to key decision makers of brands.

Passionate about children and aunty to nine gorgeous munchkins, Shamim identified a gap within her community where parents and children, especially expats, had very little or no access to playgroups and most importantly, no opportunities for socializing – an important contributor to a child’s positive development in their early years.

Applying her communication experience and intertwining it with the imminent rise of the digicultural age, Shamim founded Play:Date in a bid to promote social activities for children, create a safe space for parents to connect with others to discuss trending subjects on children, and develop a platform that offers discounts on popular brands and services with a conscious understanding of how expensive parenting can be.

Shamim, a Business and Marketing grad from the Auckland University of Technology, currently manages a team of PR and digital experts, along with overlooking and liaising talent management for brands including Coca-Cola, Unilever and P&G.