Shape Mena 2015

"Driving Change through Innovation: The MENA Potential Unleashed”

Press Release   •   Nov 01, 2015 13:57 GMT

Dubai, UAE

October 31st 2015

Last week-end, October 23 and 24, over 170 young leaders gathered in a completely remodelled warehouse at the trendy Al-Serkal Avenue. They were all members of the Global Shapers Community, coming from as far as Venezuela and Australia, or as near as Muscat and Abu Dhabi. Over 2 days, more than 30 speakers inspired the audience with “short talk” sessions and workshop activities. Presentations covered important social issues such as population growth, migration, food waste, healthcare, space, art & culture, to developing skills in leadership, entrepreneurship or discussing the impact of technology.

The Global Shapers Community is composed of more than 5500 Shapers between 20 and 30 years old. These hubs undertake local projects to improve their communities, from acting on immediate political or humanitarian crisis, to long term educational initiatives in poor neighbourhoods. “The Shapers” all share the desire to develop their leadership potential towards serving society. The attendees of Shape MENA 2015 represented 21 of the 450 networks of city-based hubs.

The content rich agenda and calibre of guest speakers attracted up to 6 senior members of the World Economic Forum to the event. The Head of the Global Shapers community, Mr. Adeyemi Babington Ashaye, along with Mr. Wadia Ait Hamza, the Head of Interactions, announced some fascinating results from the Global Shapers Annual Survey including that “the UAE tops millennials wish list of global work locations”. Mr. Miroslav Dusek, Head of the Middle East and North Africa, and member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum tackled in his presentation the main challenges facing the MENA region.

The program of Shape MENA 2015 was built to drive innovation to impact both local and global communities. On day 1, in a power discussion titled “The City of Tomorrow”, Fahd Al Rasheed, the CEO of King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia talked about outstanding MENA achievements while discussing “the importance of human capital development” or the need to address important societal issues, such as gender inequality in the workforce, to improve cities globally.

The U.A.E’s accomplishments were also highlighted by Mrs. Huda Al Hashimi, the Executive Director of Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation, sharing that the best innovation happens “when individuals, private institutions and governments work together”. “The globe is one place. We are connected in several ways, affected by every single act from the far-east to the west” added Her Excellency Shaimaa Al Zarouni, CEO at International Humanitarian City. Hiba Darwish, the leader of Shape Mena 2015 added: “it not enough to simply connect, we need to create platforms to launch innovative ideas into action”.

One of the audience favourite was Dr. Yasar Jarrar, strategy advisor to the Director General at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai for over three years, and a former Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum). Dr Jarrar used the city of Dubai as the ultimate example of leadership achievement, and taking action or “leadership by results”. Following some of the teachings of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he encouraged shapers to “just do it, follow your passion and do the right thing!”

Passion was at the core of the fascinating story of Dr. Naif Al-Mosawi“ The 99” creator and winner of the 2014 Islamic Economy Award, Media category, who created the characters to “make a change in how Islam was portrayed in the media”. The animated series was also endorsed by Barak Obama, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the World Economic Forum and the UN, for bridging cultures and showcasing the positive values in Islam.

The journalism panel led by Sara Hamdan (New York Times) and featuring Dena Takruri (AJ+), Mohammed Al Awadhi ( and the columnist Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, also addressed the portrayal of Islam in the media. They encouraged today’s youth to raise their voice and contribute to the truth using modern technology, while creating value for people. Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi and many of the speakers also emphasised an absolute necessity for success: “be ready for the right opportunities when they come”.

For more information and press inquiries please contact

Hinde Liepmannsohn:

ShapeMENA 2015 was held in Partnership with Dubai Land Department, Dubai Media City, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) Price Waterhouse Coopers, with kind support from Al Serkal Avenue, Petrochem and Uber. The Global Shapers Community is Powered by Coca Cola and Abraaj.

Notes to Editors:

For more information about the Global Shapers Community, visit:

Become a Global Shaper at

Twitter: #shapemena2015

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