On the occasion of President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University, please join the Atlantic Council, hosted by Ambassador Michael McFaul and Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, for a conversation with Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, and a panel of Arab entrepreneurs to discuss the Middle East’s burgeoning startup scene. 

How tech entrepreneurship is transforming the Middle East 

Introduction by

Michael McFaul
Professor of Political Science, Director and Senior Fellow, 
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Stanford University

Opening remarks by

Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State 

A conversation with

Ala’ Al Sallal
Founder and CEO

Ahmed Alfi
Sawari Ventures

Ruba Al Hassan
Chairman and Cofounder
Global Youth Empowerment Movement

Christopher Schroeder
Author, Entrepreneur & 
Atlantic Council Middle East Strategy Task Force 
Working Group Convener

Moderated by

Stephen Hadley
Former US National Security Advisor and 
Co-Chair, Atlantic Council Middle East Strategy Task Force

The Middle East is not just a region rife with war, economic and political woes, and human rights issues. Despite the challenging political and security conditions in the region, there are positive entrepreneurship trends underway driven by young people using the latest high-tech innovations. These young entrepreneurs, and the companies they are founding, are already having a large impact on their home countries, and could fundamentally change the entire region for the better. 

In 2015 and 2016, author and entrepreneur Christopher Schroeder, who explores the Middle East’s burgeoning tech industry in Startup Rising, convened a Working Group on Economic Recovery and Revitalization as part of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force Co-Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Schroeder’s Working Group engaged with some of the Middle East’s most talented entrepreneurs and educators and recently issued a report that takes an unapologetically optimistic look at how youth and technology are transforming the Middle East. The Atlantic Council, with the generous cooperation of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, will convene a panel of experts to discuss this hopeful new vision for the region. 

The Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) is a bipartisan Atlantic Council initiative Co-Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley. The Task Force’s aim is to better understand the underlying dynamics behind the current crises in the region and develop a long-term framework for US policy that will seek to support a stable, prosperous order based on legitimate, well-governed states. 

The Atlantic Council is a non-partisan Washington, DC-based think tank that promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Trans-Atlantic community’s shared values and central role in meeting global challenges.

Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

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