Speakers for Lebanon SME Conference 2017

Raed Khoury

HE Mr. Raed Khoury

Minister of Economy and Trade – Republic of Lebanon

HE Mr. Raed Khoury is the Lebanese minister of economy and Trade since December 2016.

Mr. Raed Khoury is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds a BA in Economics and a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Founder of Cedrus Invest Bank and Cedrus Bank SAL., Mr. Raed Khoury has extensive and diversified banking experience with a focus on wealth management, investment and commercial banking services.

As a former director at BARCLAYS WEALTH, Mr. Raed Khoury was in charge of a team of bankers covering the MENA and Arab Gulf region. He also spent more than seven years with Lebanon’s Audi Group where he held senior management positions in private banking in Lebanon, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

Born in 1975, Mr.,Raed Khoury is married with two children.

HE Mr. Ali Hassan Khalil

Minister of Finance – Republic of Lebanon

Mrs. Alia Abbas

General Director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Republic of Lebanon

Mrs. Alia S. Abbas is Director General of the Ministry of Economy and Trade since May 2014. She is also Head of Expenditures Directorate at the Lebanese Ministry of Finance since 1999.

In addition to her key role in the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Mrs. Abbas holds several other government and academic roles including:

  • Government Representative at  the National  Deposit Guarantee  Institution since 1999
  • Financial Advisor at the National Council for Scientific Research Since 1999
  • Member of the Central Council of the Banque Du Liban (Lebanon’s Central Bank)
  • Member of the High Audit Committee in charge of auditing Casino du Liban concession agreement since 2001
  • Lecturer in  General  Accounting and  public  finance  at  ENA  (école  nationale  de l’administration) since 2000
  • Lecturer in Public Finance at the Sagesse University
  • Board Member of the National Conservatoire of Lebanon
  • Ministry of Finance Representative at the permanent health commission at the Ministry of Public Health

Mrs Abbas has an M.B.A. from Saint Joseph University, University Paris-Dauphine and University Paris-Sorbonne. She also has a Bachelor Degree in Law from the Lebanese University, as well as Bachelor degree in French Literature from the Lebanese University, and a DEA in business law.

Mr. Georges Maarawi

Director General of Land Registry and Cadastre, Ministry of Finance

Mr. Toufic Dabboussi

President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture in Tripoli; and Chairman of Dabbousi Group SAL.

Mr. Dabboussi has over 33 years in of entrepreneurial experience leading, enterprises and development projects in the private and public sectors locally, regionally and internationally, towards a sustainable growth.

He carried out his responsibilities with a clear vision, along with a comprehensive and integrated strategy, which has been furbished with a distinguished reputation.  This has been witnessed by all those who cooperated and worked with him, ensuring a continuous trend of progress and growth under his leadership.

The most important of his current responsibilities include:

  • President of the board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli and North Lebanon.
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mutual Fund for the members of chambers of commerce, industry and agriculture in Tripoli and North Lebanon.
  • President of the Board of Directors of the Business Incubation Association in Tripoli (BIAT).
  • President of the Board of Trustees of the Mediation, Reconciliation and Arbitration Center in Tripoli and North Lebanon.
  • Vice President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon.
  • Chairman of the Dabboussi Holding Group (SAL).


Mr. Najib Choucair

Executive Director and Head of Banking Department, Banque Du Liban (BDL)


Banque du Liban

| Beirut – Lebanon

Executive Director – Head of Banking department

  • Active member of the open market committee and the early warning committee
  • Contributor to Doing Business World Bank
  • Have organized and participated in a number of conferences and seminars held jointly with IMF, AMF, World Bank, EIB, IFC,AFI and GIZ
  • Have launched initiatives to promote microcredit, lending to SME’s and the establishment of Registry for movable Assets, the financial Statement Center for Corporate, Out of Court workout and Single Register for Legal Entity.

Member of several executive committees

  • Member of the Open Market Committee
  • Member of Basel  implementation Committee
  • Early warning Committee
  • Contributor to Doing Business World Bank
  • Member in the Arab Monetary Fund committee for credit reporting
  • Member in the Arab Monetary Fund committee for financial inclusion

In charge of

  • Public Credit registry
  • Unpaid checks center
  • Examination of banks’ applications for the establishment of new branches and other requests
  • Supervision of the financial situations of banks as well as their sources and uses of funds, cost of Funds and interest revenues
  • Analysis of credit granted by the depository institutions to the private and public sectors
  • Utilization of the legal reserve requirement to encourage banks to lend to specific economic activities
  • Amelioration and deterioration of loan portfolio of the banking sector
SME in Lebanon speaker

Mr. Faris Al-Obeid

Advisor at the office of the Secretary General, Supreme Council for Planning and Development State of Kuwait

Faris is an advisor to HE the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development in the State of Kuwait. He has over 14 years of consulting and entrepreneurial experience contributing to strategic planning and management operations within major institutions globally, including British Parliament and the White House.

Areas of expertise include:

Strategic Planning: Big Picture Planning, Research, Branding, Change Management, Multi-Cultural Strategy Development, International Business Growth, Business Analysis / Assessment, Modelling, Creative Visualisation, Business Development

Operations Management: Team Coordination, Problem Analysis and Resolution, Consulting, Coaching, Staff Recruitment, Training, Organisational Leadership, Consulting, Budgeting, Crisis Management, Leadership Development, Full Project Lifecycle Management

Communications: Negotiations, Sales Development, Client Relations, Presentations, Speech Writing, Government Liaison, Networking, Relationship Building, Deals Closing, Marketing, Coalition Building, Conflict Resolution, Balanced Scorecard, Government Relations, Social Networking.

Mr. Mahmoud N Dalloul

President and CEO, Project Management and Control wll (PMC) – Kuwait

Mahmoud Dalloul is the President and CEO of PMC. He obtained his B.Sc (Hons) in Civil Engineering in 1979, from The City University, London, and M.Sc in Construction Management in 1991. He is a member of the Kuwait Society of Engineers, The Institution of Civil Engineers, UK and The American Association of Cost Engineers. He is also a Claims Consultant and an Arbitrator. He began his career as Design Consultant. Subsequently, he worked for a medium size contractor, until he joined PMC as a Project Manager, in 1984. Mahmoud became PMC’s General Manager, as well as Director and shareholder, in 1989. In 2005, he became the President and CEO and is still serving as such to date. In his over 38 years of experience, Mahmoud has contributed to the development of various project management systems and acted as a member of many technical and advisory panels in the field, both locally and abroad. He is currently preparing to complete major research work aimed at producing innovative Project Planning Concepts and Work Criterion. In addition to his many involvements and activities, which range in diversity from a practical top to bottom involvement in oil sector operations in Kazakhstan to the provision of uncompromising quality services to the community. Mahmoud is also actively involved in all of PMC’s current projects, providing visible and valuable input and experience to them all. Since assuming the role of President and CEO of the firm, Mahmoud has planned and executed a complete re-structuring of PMC and turned it into a multi-disciplined firm, offering services in Design, Project and Construction Management, Construction Claims and Defenses, as well as Training, Environmental Consultancy, Marketing Research and Feasibility Studies, Financial Advisory as well as high end innovative Energy and Security Solutions and Service to that market sector.


Mr. Wissam Zahabi

Head of Economic and Financial Department , Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)

Prior to his appointment at the Lebanese Petroleum Administration as Head of Economic and Finance Department, Wissam was working as Energy Advisor at the office of the Prime Minister in Beirut since 2003 as part of the UNPD team.

Wissam was actively involved in the energy sector; he was part of team that drafted the petroleum policy, the offshore petroleum law and the petroleum activities regulations and the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Lebanon. Wissam has been involved with all aspects of energy chain (Hydrocarbon Strategy, gas infrastructure, LNG project, feasibility study of the refinery, gas sales agreements).

Wissam was the Chairman of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration Board from December 2015 till December 2016.

Wissam has a master degree in engineering from AUB and an MBA in Finance from HEC Montreal and has publications on Energy resource allocation using multi-objective goal programming.

Mrs Francesca Zadro

Trade Commissioner-Italian Trade Agency

Mrs. Francesca Zadro is currently the Trade Commissioner of the Italian Trade Agency in Beirut. She holds a degree in Political Science, International Studies and a Master Degree in International Relations.

Previous to her current role she has served the Italian Trade Agency in various positions among which: Deputy Director of Milano Office; Director of Turin Office; Deputy Trade Commissioner in Tokyo. She has also been appointed UN/CEFACT Expert of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on trade facilitation and she served as technical expert in various committees.

Before joining the Italian Trade Agency, she worked as financial analyst and project evaluator at the Council of Europe Development Bank.

The Italian Trade Agency – Trade Promotion Section of the Italian Embassy, is the Government Agency that promotes the internationalization of the Italian Companies, with particular attention to SMEs.

The ITA works to develop economic and commercial relationships between Italy and Lebanon, to increase business opportunities and to improve industrial co-operation. To this end, ITA provides a wide range


Eng. Mohamad EL Nahi

Senior Consultant, Banca UBAE S.p.A- Italy

With a background in engineering and financial management, Eng. El Nahi worked on projects stretching from  Europe to South East Asia in  Energy, infrastructure and transport.

El Nahi is currently a senior partner in various businesses with focus on energy, and  currently manages teams focused on engineering, procurement and construction services.  He serves as a senior consultant in Banca UBAE, an Italian financial institution based in Rome, where he provides business growth strategy in foreign markets. In addition, Mr. El Nahi is collaborating with major Asian, European and Middle Eastern groups, active in general contracting in the field of Energy and Infrastructure, in the MENA region.

Eng. El Nahi holds a degree in Chemical & Process Engineering from the University of Rome, and masters in Business Administration from Hult International Business School, USA.

Mr. Hassan Sabbah

Head of SME Banking Bank Audi - Lebanon

Mr. Sabbah joined Bank Audi in 2004 within Group Retail Banking where he headed several missions in the Bank’s overseas entities during their inception phase.

In April 2010, Mr. Sabbah was appointed Head of the Consumer Lending Department (CLD) where he played a prime role in establishing the department and contributed to the set up of an efficient Retail Credit framework.

In 2016 he has been appointed SME BANKING head.Before joining the Bank, Mr. Sabbah worked for Schlumberger Paris, France Telecom, Thomson Reuters, and Orange, as well as a consultant for Sinfor Paris.Mr. Sabbah got an Engineering Master’s Degree from –France- in 1997.

He then obtained an Executive MBA from ESA in 2005

Ms. Chloé Jacquin

Financial Education Coordinator, Positive Planet – International NGO

Ms. Jacquin has six years’ experience implementing Financial Education and Financial Capability programmes. She helps financial services providers and local associations improve and enhance their Financial Education Services. Ms. Jacquin has worked in 13 countries and particularly Lebanon with partners such as Al Majmoua and Makhzoumi Foundation and South Africa. She has also worked with partners in Egypt, such as ABA and DBACD, or in Palestine with ACAD to support micro-entrepreneurs financial capability. Chloe has trained about 200 staff members and supported more than 30 financial institutions and other organisations on designing Financial Education programmes.

Since 2016, Ms. Jacquin is supporting the implementation of an entrepreneurship and financial education programme that targets host communities and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. She is extensively involved in financial education programmes at a national level in Madagascar, Ivory Coast and Tunisia, and has led the innovative implementation of Financial Education Facilitation sessions integrated into SaveAct’s VSLA methodology. She has tested different innovative approaches in the past years: a customer-centric design approach, use of behavioural economics and use of digital media (online and mobile learning). In 2016, Ms. Jacquin developed automated voice messages that will be implemented as part of the national financial education strategy in Mali for smallholder farmers.

Ms Jacquin completed her Master Degree in Project Management & Sustainable Development at BeM – Bordeaux Management School.

Mr. Dani Ibrahim

Business Development Manager – MENA region / Business Development Services, Positive Planet - – International Dubai, UAE

Dani has more than 15 years of experience working extensively around the Middle East and North Africa region with focus on sustainable development, entrepreneurship and microfinance. Dani is an entrepreneur himself and has been involved in several start-ups in the fields of advisory, trade, retail and food processing. Besides his work with Positive Planet International (PPI) Dani advises the board of KIMS, a microfinance institution that is based in Somaliland, as well as managing his start-up in food service retail in Dubai. Prior to working with PPI, Dani worked as Relationship Manager for MENA Region with Grameen Jameel Microfinance Limited. Earlier in his career, Dani spent around 8 years working in private equity and transaction advisory.

Currently, Dani is representing PPI as Project Manager for a programme that is targing the empowerment of host communities and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The programme is helping create new micro-entrepreneurships as beneficiaries are trained on vocations and entrepreneurship, which enables them to start their income generating activities. In 2015-2016 Dani managed and implemented a support programme for women entrepreneurs in Rural Abu Dhabi researching their needs and providing them with targeted training to address their most urgent needs in business skills. Dani continues to pursue his passion in entrepreneurship and his strong belief in it as a way to empower vulnerable communities.

Dani has an MA in Business & Enterprise Development from the University of South Wales, UK. His thesis research focussed on strategy, growth and development in micro-enterprises.

Mr. Patrick Atmé


Mr. Patrick Atme-Economist, works in the Economic development field

He graduated from the University of Paris X Nanterre with a Masters Degree in International Economics.

He has nine years of experience in the banking sector within the risk and credit review fields.

Additionally, he has six years as a UNDP consultant with the ESFD in his current position as Team Leader in charge of the business advising services delivery and management.

Mr.Gilles de Clerck

Executive Director and Managing Partner, EuroMena Fund, L.P.

Gilles de Clerck is a Partner of The EuroMena Funds since 2004. He chairs and sits on the board of several companies in the MENA region. Mr. de Clerck has more than 20 years of experience in strategy and finance, of which more than 6 years spent in the MENA region with Booz Allen & Hamilton in the restructuring and privatization programs.

He worked in France as a Senior Manager with Vertone, a leading French strategy & management consulting firm.

Prior to joining Booz Allen, he worked with L’Oreal in the UAE as an Area Manager and with Price Waterhouse Coopers as an auditor.

Mr. de Clerck holds a graduate degree from the ESSEC School of Management (Paris) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the McGill University (Canada). He holds a French Baccalaureate from the Grand Lycee Français de Beirut. He is fluent in Arabic, English and French. Mr. de Clerck is born in Kortrijk, Belgium and is married with two kids.

Mr. Nicolas Pinton

Director, Institut Europeen de cooperation et development (IECD) - MENA region

Mr. Nicolas Pinton graduated from HEC business school (Paris) in 1996, with a major in strategy. From 1997 to 2010 he worked for several telecoms operators (RSL COM, Tiscali, TDF) where he occupied various positions, both operational and in strategy and regulation. In 2010-2011 he was an associate at Booz&Co. Then in 2011 he joined Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, where he worked in the rollout of digital infrastructure. In 2015 he joined IECD (Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement), a French NGO, as Director for the Middle East North Africa region.

LSME speaker

Prof. Jassem AJAKA

Economic, strategic - expert –†University Professor

Professor Jassem AJAKA, a holder of a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, in consort with two masters’ degrees; one in financial markets & Assets Management and the other in management, is a full-time professor at the Lebanese University. He had worked as a financial expert in the financial markets in Paris before he returned to Lebanon where he has worked as a professor at the Lebanese University and a lecturer at Fouad Shehab College for Leadership and Staff. In 2014, he was appointed to the position of Government Representative at the Council of the Lebanese University, along with the position of an Adviser to the Minister of Economy and Trade for Economic Affairs.

He has among his assets more than fifty articles in scientific journals in the fields of physics, economics, and human sciences, more than 1500 articles in newspapers and magazines in the fields of economics, strategy, and philosophy, and hundreds of television interviews in the field of economics

LSME speaker

Mr. Tarek Hamdan

Chief Commercial Officer, Procons Professional consultants – Representing LinKedIn, Beirut.

Tarek Hamdan is CCO of ProCons 4 IT, the leading and largest SAP Business One Partner in Middle East plus one of the earliest Linkedin Partner in the region. He’s a senior executive with 18+ years of international business development expertise in multinational and regional companies spanning different industries including software and Information Technology. Tarek holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Lebanese American University in Beirut and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Surrey University in UK.

Mr.Samer El-Safah

General Manager – Micro Credit Program Makhzomi Foundation, Lebanon

Mr. Samer El Safah has extensive experience in the field of administrative and social work that he has acquired in more than 15 years following his graduate studies in Management and Informatics at Regent University in New York and the Lebanese American University in Beirut.
During his work as the General Manager of Makhzoumi Foundation, he participated in the establishment and management of numerous programs and units, including the Vocational Training Program, the Microcredit Program, the Health Care Program, the Relief and Humanitarian Services Unit and the Development Program.

During this period, he held several posts including Deputy Secretary General of the National Dialogue Forum, Founding Member and Secretary of the National Dialogue Forum, Member of the National Cultural Council, Founding Member of the National Network of Microfinance Institutions, member of the Lebanese American University Alumni Advisory Group Members in Adnan Kassar College of Business, member of the CSR Regional Network and member of the administrative and advisory Board of Humanitarian Funds in the Arab countries. He is also a member of several educational, training, cultural and social organization.
His long practical experience has contributed to his knowledge of strategic planning and assessment, as well as his strong experience in managing local and international relationships and partnerships.
Mr. Samer has extensive experience in the implementation of many administrative and executive consultancy in schools and local and international organizations, and in identifying training needs. He participated as a lecturer and trainer in workshops related to social networks.
He also contributed to the preparation and signing of many agreements, contracts and memorandums of understanding locally and internationally

Dr. Mohammad Fheili

Assistant General Manager, Jammal Trust Bank, Lebanon.

With over 30 years of experience in banking, Mohammad currently serves in the capacity of an Executive at Jammal Trust Bank s.a.l. (JTB) in Lebanon.

He received his college education (graduate & undergraduate) at Louisiana State University (LSU). He has been teaching Economics and Finance for over 30 years at reputable universities in the USA and Lebanon, and has successfully delivered over 2,500 hours of targeted training to professional bankers.

Mohammad previously served as:

  • Training Advisor to the Union of Arab Banks.
  • Basel II Project Implementation Advisor to Cairo Amman Bank (CAB) and Housing Bank for Trade & Finance (HBTF) in Jordan.
  • Chief Risk Officer at Fransabank
  • Senior Manager/Organizational Planning & Development at BankMed
  • Economist & Talent Development Advisor at the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL).
Lebanese entrepreneur

Mr. Jimmy Ghazal

Innovation & Digital Director, M&C Saatchi MENA

In 2002, Jimmy Ghazal joined Quantum Group, one of the leading communications groups in the MENA region, that is made up of several companies from the various industry disciplines.

His journey in the Group started at BrandCentral as a corporate identity and Arabic typography specialist. He later moved to the advertising arena with Saatchi & Saatchi, now M&C Saatchi MENA, where he headed the digital and multimedia division and helped lead the agency into the digital age. Along the way, he has worked on several iconic local, regional, and international projects ranging from F&B, Fashion, Banking, Telecom, Media to Religious, Governmental and Political.

Today, Jimmy acts as Innovation Director at M&C Saatchi MENA and Digital Director in charge of digital thinking and implementations for group companies. He is also heading the digital operations at Mercury, the specialized digital and content-driven division of the Group.

On a parallel front, Jimmy serves a strategic consultant for “Le Charcutier”(Aoun). He contributed to the growth of the supermarket to become one the largest and most established Lebanese retailer.

Jimmy is also an Instructor in Media Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB), a mentor in the Lebanon tech startup ecosystem, a public speaker, Lebanese entrepreneur and technology/innovation blogger (Techie Dad) on www.techiedad.me

Dr. Naji Abi-Aad

Ph.D. - International Energy Expert, COO, Petroleb, Lebanon

In September 2012, Naji Abi-Aad started acting as COO to Petroleb, an oil company based in Beirut and active in petroleum exploration offshore the East Mediterranean.

Prior to his move to Lebanon, Dr Abi-Aad was serving for seven years in Qatar, first as Research Advisor for Qatar Petroleum (QP) and its Board of Directors Department, and as Media and Research Strategist in the Office of HE Qatar’s Deputy Premier, Minister of Energy & Industry, before being appointed Senior Advisor to the CEO of Qatar Petroleum International (QPI).

Dr Abi-Aad studied at the American University of Beirut before being awarded a Ph.D. degree in Energy Economics from Grenoble University in France. During his 30 years of experience, he had been involved in extensive consultations, conferences and studies, particularly on oil and gas in the Middle East, their resources and supply prospects. He has authored over 80 reports and studies on Middle East energy issues, as well as a book on security of petroleum supply from the region.

SME in Lebanon speaker

Mr. George Abboud

Chief Operating Officer, Earth Technologies

George Abboud – co-founder & Chief Operating Officer of Earth Technologies group – is a renewable energy and energy efficiency integration expert with over 15 years of professional experience in the related field and other industries.

Mr. Abboud co-founded Earth Technologies in 2010 which swiftly transformed into a leading group of energy solution companies with global presence in the Middle East & Africa markets including Lebanon, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Rwanda, and Nigeria.

Mr. Abboud is highly dedicated and focused on technologies that are an integral driver for human development as well as Earth preservation. As such, Mr. Abboud also ventures in the fields of aquaponics, hydroponics, telecom technologies, and IOT.

Mr. Abboud holds a bachelor degree in business marketing (2002) and an MBA (2006).

LSME speaker

Mr. Joseph Chatta

Chief Executive, Bureau Veritas, Beirut, Lebanon

Joseph Chatta is the Chief Executive of Bureau Veritas – Lebanon Since January 2005.

Joseph is a registered Civil Engineer in Lebanon. He graduated in 1982 from the Ecole Superieure des Ingenieurs Beyrouth (ESIB).

His Career Started in 1982 as civil engineer with a Lebanese Real Estate Developer. He held various positions and responsibilities: including structural design, site engineering, execution of projects and project management.

Joseph joined Bureau Veritas France – Region Ile de France, in 1990 as Ingenieur Charge d’Affaires. In 1994, he joined Bureau Veritas Lebanon – as Ingenieur Charge d’affaires and as Lead Auditor of Quality Management System.

Before his current role, he assumed the responsibility of Building and Facility Manager in Bureau Veritas Lebanon, between January 2001 and January 2005.

SME in Lebanon speaker

Dr. Elie Daher

Lebanese Petroleum Business Network / Executive Vice President - CMO, United Safety Internatioinal, Dubai, UAE

Dr. Elie Daher is an accomplished senior-level executive with over 30 years track record of successful strategic and tactical leadership in both public and private organizations within the Energy, Education and IT industries.

Throughout his executive career, Dr. Daher has held various top executive and leadership positions such as CEO of a Joint Venture, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Global VP of Strategy and Marketing, Head of Consulting division among other roles while working across four continents with both medium size and fortune 100 companies like Schlumberger.

He has authored more than 20 papers on scientific, human resources and leadership related subjects in the Energy, Technology and the Education sectors.

Dr. Daher sits on various committees and advisory boards mainly: SPE global HSE Advisory board, IADC advisory committee, the Chief Marketing Officer Council Advisory board, The American University of Dubai Advisory member for both Engineering and Business Schools and many others.

Dr. Daher Holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the “Ecole Superieure D’Ingenieurie De Beyrouth”–ESIB-Beirut, a Master in Business Administration MBA and a Doctorate degree in Business Administration DBA from Southern Cross University – Australia.

LSME speaker

Dr. Jad Melki

Chairperson - Department of Communication Arts - Lebanese American University (LAU)

Jad Melki, Ph.D., is associate professor of the journalism and media studies and chairperson of the Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University (LAU) and the director of the Institute of Media Research and Training.

He is also a visiting faculty at the Salzburg Academy and an affiliated researcher with ICMPA at the University of Maryland. His research is at the intersection of digital media literacy, journalism, war, and gender studies, and focuses on Arab media education. Previously, Melki was founding director of Media Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and has taught at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Towson University.

As a former journalist, Melki was part of a team that won a Webby Award and a National Press Club Award for covering the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war. In 2015, he won the UNESCO-UNAoC International Media and Information Literacy Award for advancing media literacy education in the Arab region through founding the Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut (MDLAB). Melki received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

LSME speaker

Mr. Fawzi Rahal

Managing Director of Flat6Labs Beirut, Flat6Lab Beirut

Mr. Fawzi Rahal has over 15 years of digital creative, marketing and strategic expertise, gathered by working with multinational brands and local startups across a variety of verticals. Heading the regional digital business at Grey in the Middle East & North Africa, Fawzi worked with brands to create innovative digital products and services. Before joining Flat6Labs, Fawzi lead Gamutt, a consultancy working with brands, startups and content owners to set transformation strategies and that adapt with the digital age. Fawzi has a passion for typography and a love for tinkering with gadgets.

LSME speaker

Mr. Wassim Hassanieh

Managing Partner, Procons, Professional consultants – SAP Products, Beirut.

Wassim Hassanieh is the CEO and co-founder of procons-4it, a master value added reseller for SAP and a key player in the SME market in Middle East region. Wassim holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in computer science and an MBA from the Lebanese American University (LAU) with over 20 years of experience in the ERP and SME business.

Dr. Wafaa Haidamous Hallasou

Managing Director / Senior Consultant, BCTS – Lebanon

Dr. Wafaa is a leading International consultant for SMEs, Senior Trainer, and Coach in different industries. She has conducted more than 5,000 sessions of behavioral and technical training programs, seminars for different kind of industries in Lebanon and the MENA region and participated in different international conferences and summits since 1998 as a Speaker and Moderator.

She has been selected for many projects with USAID, EU, GIZ, GOPA and others for Lebanon and abroad. In 2002 she has been accredited from UK in TMSDI (Team Management Systems Development International), certified in 2009 from the Coaching Academy-UK, Master NLP practitioner from Richard Bandler-UK and from The BEST (Projet Renaissance)- Dr. Wen Winger-USA in 2011. She is a holder of a MBA in Management & Marketing, and a PHD in Economics.

Wafaa is the Founder and the Managing Director of BCTS (Business Consultancy and Training Services-Lebanon) since 2002 after a long experience with International Consulting firms. She is certified from Pearson International as a senior Trainer and Dr. Philip Kotler for Marketing Programs Training. She has been selected as Senior Member of ISTD (International Society for Trainers & Developers) since 2014 and created her own school of “ISTD” in Lebanon.

LSME speaker

Mr. Joseph Yaacoub

Digital Marketing Strategist & trainer

A consultant, speaker and trainer in Digital & Social Media Marketing for local and regional organizations; he has more than 8 years of client Digital Marketing experience whereas he helped corporations in using the online field to drive visibility and generate leads.

Joseph holds a dual MBA in Marketing and in Communications in addition to a Bachelor degree in Journalist (TV/Radio). He acts today as the Digital Marketing Strategist for USEK, he manages all the Digital Marketing Strategy including Online Advertising, Mobile Marketing and Social Media.

Prior to his career in Digital Marketing, Joseph was a Media Analyst for a period of 4 years; he also spent several years as a Journalist. Over the past 8 years, Joseph developed and delivered Over 25 Online Marketing Plans, managed over 40 Social Media Projects and delivered several training sessions related to Digital and Social Media Marketing. He also acts as a Consultant for several local advertising agencies and has been delivering projects in the areas of SEO, SEM, Social Media, SMM, Mobile Marketing, Email Marketing, Website Planning.

As a Digital Marketing Trainer, Joseph developed and delivered workshops to corporations in the areas of: SEO Basics, Advanced SEO Marketing Techniques, Online PR, Social Media Marketing, Online Personal Branding and LinkedIn Sales.

Mrs. Ghada Ballout Zaytoun

Journalist “Al Hiwar Al Iktisadi” (The Economic Dialogue) Program Producer and Presenter

  • Master’s in Political and Administrative Sciences.
  • Specialisation in the development economic media and international and regional conventions.
  • Discussed and monitored in its program the globalization challenges facing the Arab Countries and the resulting modernisation and promulgation of laws and regulations… under the auspices of the Ministries of Economy and Trade in Lebanon and the Arab World, ESCWA, FAO, UNESCO, Arab League, Union of Arab Banks, Union of Gulf Chambers.
  • Was officially charged by the Arab League with the task of preparing and organising a series of media seminars to keep pace with and discuss the private sector recommendations for the Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait in 2009 as part of its program “Al Hiwar” (The Dialogue).
  • Monitored within the frame of its program Al Hiwar Al Iktisadi (The Economic Dialogue)/Arab Woman Satellite the preparation and organisation of the regulatory and legislative frameworks of the petroleum file with the Petroleum Management Authority and the Ministry of Energy.
  • Acted as the economic media advisor for the FAO and the Secretary General of the Gulf Chambers Union.
  • Was awarded numerous awards for its role as a leading economic development journalist.

Mr. Sebastiano Mattia Gennaro

Co-founder and Director Tadwil

Mr. Sebastiano Mattia Gennaro is co-founder and director at Tadwil and part of the Clifford Chance Finance & Capital Markets Department, Milan office.

As associate at Clifford Chance Mr. Sebastiano Mattia Gennaro has acquired a significant experience in the banking and finance field, focusing mainly on assisting banks and corporations in the setting up of structured finance, regulatory and derivative transactions.

As co-founder and director of Tadwil, Mr. Sebastiano Mattia Gennaro has also acquired a significant experience in the internationalization transactions, assisting Start Up, SMEs and Big Companies in studying and designing the most suitable business model for their entrepreneurial goals assisted by a team of consultants, legal experts, and communication and media experts.

Dr. Khaled A. Taki

President, Arab Franchise Association CEO, Franchise Business Consultants – Beirut Lebanon

Dr. Khaled Taki, founder and FBC – Franchise Business Consultants CEO 2002 , was the first conusltant to introduce Franchising to Lebanon and the Arab world and carries with him an extensive 15 years experience in the field of Franchising , assisting companies to become Franchisors , both internationally and at local scene in the Middle East and the Arab world , while offering a diverse selection of services to both the franchisee and franchisor. Dr Taki has been referred by The Daily Star  as Franchise Guru interview 2005.

Dr Taki, is Lebanese , fluent in 3 languages , educated in the USA , UK and Lebanon, completed his Highschool at IC , Bachelors Degree HR ’81 at the University of San Francisco,  Masters Degree in Public Administration ’86 at the AUB and Ph.D. in Public Administration ’91 at Somerset University – UK . He is also an author of several books and has been involved in a promotional franchise campaign for the Arab World since 2002.  He is a firm believer that franchising will continue to grow in the Arab world and continues a vigorous lobby campaign to pass the first legislative law which would cover franchising in in the Arab world. The Liwaa – Legislative Campaign for a Franchise Law 2007.

Dr. Khaled Taki, began giving Franchise seminars in 2000 and is a regular contributor to publications, newspapers and magazines including Fran excel in Dubai Hospitality Magazine – Franchise Tips and different organizations, business clubs, private companies, banks, educational institutions, various government agencies and continues to give lectures and training across the Arab world and in the GCC, most recently in Saudi Arabia.

He has also given talks about franchising, and is known for his ability to explain how an SME can be a Franchise incubator and interact with the audience and unique ability to carry on lectures and seminars simultaneously in both in English and Arabic languages when a mix audience is in attendance.

He is also one of the founders and President of the Arab Franchise Association since 2010 and  continues to lecture throughout the Arab World on Franchising an innovate tool for expansion in  the Arab World .

Mr. Naji Bejjani

CEO, NBTS International Training and Consulting Company, Beirut Lebanon

Dr. Naji Bejjani is 59 years old and speaks 7 languages.

He made Doctoral studies in Econometrics at La Sorbonne, with a Double “maitrise” in Econometrics and in International Relations from Université Dauphine in Paris, and a double M.B.A. from I.E.S.E., Barcelona, and from HARVARD External program.

He taught 6,000 students for 23 years in important Lebanese universities in senior courses, MBAs, and Doctoral programs.

He is an international management consultant, coach and trainer, and a key note speaker in leading conferences in Lebanon and 22 countries across 4 continents.

Was a regular columnist in many magazines (E.g: “Le Commerce du Levant”, “Masculin”, Al Iktissad wal Aamal”), being on the cover story of two of them.

Over more than two decades, he has provided 60 consulting assignments.

He trained more than 50,000 people from thousands of companies.

Private coach of businessmen, politicians, and opinion leaders often on Leadership and on speaking in public.

He has been coaching entrepreneurs since 1999 first in universities, then also in BERYTECH since 2002. He was a jury member in the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition and in BERYTECH.

He was a guest in many talk shows on Lebanese TV.

Mr. George Awad

Programme Officer in Communication and Information, UNESCO

Mr. George Awad brings in an extensive experience in the field of Information and communication technology, media development at both private and public level sectors. His experience spread over the past 23 years following his graduate studies in Computer Science, applied Mathematics and communication at Sydney university – Australia.

As the Communication and Information Programme Officer at UNESCO Regional office in Beirut, Mr. Awad planned, implemented and evaluated many projects related to ICT in education, online platforms, FOSS, e-learning, media development in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

His long practical experience has contributed to his involvement in strategic planning and assessment of national, regional and international projects dealing with various donors.
Mr. Awad has also extensive experience in the implementation of projects related to  Internet technologies, call centers, software development, prepaid calling cards system, telecommunication and training development in Lebanon as well as Africa. He took the leading role towards the implementation of 5 Internet service providers in central Africa