Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

April 19, 2017 - 9:00 am

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th ST NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

A conversation with:

Julia Nesheiwat
Presidential Deputy Envoy for Hostage Affairs
US Department of State

HE Majid Al-Suwaidi
Consul General
Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in New York 

Salah Tabbara
General Manager
ALBina Industrial Construction Company

Moderated by:

Mirette F. Mabrouk
Deputy Director and Director of Research and Programs,
Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

Atlantic Council

Introduced by:

Bilal Y. Saab
Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Peace and Security Initiative, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

Please join the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, April 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.  
Across the Middle East, countries are pursuing energy innovation. Last year, Saudi Arabia announced its “Vision 2030” goals, by which the country aims to transform the economy and reduce its dependency on oil. Turkey plans to prioritize research and development (R&D) in the energy sector in the coming years, while Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has set a goal of renewables providing 20 percent of all power used domestically by 2022. In the United Arab Emirates, Masdar is committed to the mission of renewable energy by investing in education and R&D. 
We hope you will join us to discuss examples of private and public sector energy innovation in the Middle East, what more can be done to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in this sector, and how today’s efforts will impact the region’s security and stability in the future. 

On Twitter? Follow @ACGlobalEnergy and @ACScowcroft and use #MidEastEnergy

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record.



Julia Nesheiwat is the presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs, strengthening diplomatic efforts to secure the safe return of Americans held hostage overseas. Working closely with the families of American hostages, foreign governments and the interagency Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, she represents the United States on hostage-related issues. Previously, Nesheiwat was appointed as deputy assistant secretary of state for implementation in the Bureau of Energy Resources. She also served as a political-military advisor and visiting professor at the US Naval Post Graduate School's national security affairs department. Nesheiwat has held positions as chief of staff and senior advisor to the undersecretary for economic affairs and US special envoy for Eurasian energy security. A former US Army military intelligence officer, Nesheiwat served consecutive tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nesheiwat was an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Governing Advisory Council for the World Economic Forum. She earned a PhD from Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan; an MA in security studies from Georgetown University; and a BA in religious studies and sociology from Stetson University.

HE Majid Al-Suwaidi is the consul general of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in New York, appointed in September 2015. Majid, an expert in international negotiations, has led the UAE Mission to the United Nations’ (UN) engagement in matters covering a wide range of issues relating to economic growth and development. Most recently, Al-Suwaidi served as lead negotiator on climate change, energy, and sustainability for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He worked closely with the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to negotiate the landmark climate change agreement, which was adopted at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. Al-Suwaidi was also instrumental in the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which set an international mandate to take action on global sustainability issues. Majid previously worked as a reservoir geologist in the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). He has nearly ten years of experience in the oil and gas sector, in all stages from exploration to development. An ADNOC Scholar, Al-Suwaidi received his undergraduate degree from Brunel University in the United Kingdom and graduate MSc degree from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Salah Tabbara is currently the general manager at AlBina Industrial Construction Company and acting chairman at Sustainable Environmental Solutions – Beirut, Lebanon. In addition to this role, he is founding member and managing director of the 82.5MW Sustainable Akkar Wind Energy Project. He received his bachelors of commerce in international business and a certificate in international trade from Concordia University in Canada. Tabbara is on the board of several businesses and cultural associations across Lebanon.
Mirette F. Mabrouk is deputy director and director of research & programs at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Her area of research focus is Egypt, particularly economic reform, civil society, media, and international relations. She was formerly director of communications for the Economic Research Forum, the foremost economic think tank for the Arab countries, Turkey, and Iran. Mabrouk capped almost twenty years in journalism by becoming the founding publisher of The Daily Star Egypt, (later renamed The Daily News Egypt) the country’s only independent English-language daily newspaper. Mabrouk graduated from the American University in Cairo in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. A year later she obtained her master’s in broadcast journalism from the same university.

Bilal Y. Saab is a political-military analyst on Middle East security and US policy toward the region with more than fifteen years of experience. His geographical research focus is Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Currently, he is senior fellow and director of the Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, where he chairs the Gulf Policy Working Group and Middle East Crisis Simulation Series. He is also a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations. A native of Lebanon, Saab has fluency in both written and spoken Arabic and French, and experience living in the Middle East for more than two decades. He is a recipient of the Thought Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council and the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Award from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Throughout his career, Saab has held analytic and managerial positions in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe at reputable research organizations including Brookings, CSIS, the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, the Middle East Institute, and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. A prolific and widely published author in prestigious and peer-reviewed academic and policy journals (for a list of publications and speaking engagements please consult his personal website, he is often called upon to brief various executive and legislative agencies in the US Government and other governments around the world. He holds an MA in international security policy from the University of Maryland, College Park; an MLitt in international security studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland; and a BA in political science and public administration from the American University of Beirut.