Dates will be Announced Soon!


Ndidi Okonkwo NwuneliFounder of Nourishing Africa and GAIN and AGRA Board Member

Joumana DabbaghMarket Nutritionist Nestlé Middle East and North Africa

Joe AouadBusiness Executive Officer Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Middle East and North Africa

Damion SchwarzkachelSales Manager Certhon

Fred RuijgtMarket Developer Priva

Olav ScholteCommercial lead Agriculture Lighting Signify

Ahlam Amer Almaskari holds a bachelor's degree in public health and nutrition. She is passionate about health and wellbeing.   Ahlam is the founder of healthy and vegan on Instagram. She started her vegan blog years ago to share her recipes,reviews, and lifestyle.   Her goal is to share awareness about veganism and to showcase that vegan food is delicious and nutritious at the same time.   

Ahlam Amer AlmaskariResearch Officer Abu Dhabi Public Health Center

Mr. Elwaer, a national of Libya, holds a Ph.D. of Philosophy in Environmental Chemistry from Sheffield University, the United Kingdom, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Organizational Leadership from the Gestalt Centre of Organizations and Systems Development in the United States, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and Science Technology from the University of Sabha in Libya.Mr. Elwaer served as Secretary of Environmental General Authority (Minister of Environment) of the Government of Libya in Tripoli and was elected President of the African Ministerial Congress on Environment (AMCEN) from 2004 to 2006.In 2007, he joined the African Union as Director for Human Resources, Science and Technology, and became Director for Administration and Human Resources Management in 2009.During his career at the African Union (AU), Mr. Elwaer has supervised and managed the Establishment of several African unique initiatives and institutions.Prior to joining the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), he served as Adviser to the President on Global Advocacy and Partnerships at the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he also served as the IsDB Spokesperson and Director of Cooperation, Partnerships, Regional Integration and Resource Mobilization from 2014 to 2017. He was further appointed IsDB’s Sherpa at G20 and Heads of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).

Dr. Abdul Hakim ElwaerAssistant-Director General & Regional Representative of the Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa - FAO

Hanan ChaaibiCo-Founder & Director The Green Spoon

H.E. Mariam AlmheiriMinister Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

Co-Founder and General Partner of PeakBridge VC, Nadav is a third-generation food entrepreneur, actively built companies specializing in food applications, marketing and distribution. In 2008, Nadav co-founded the food applications lab FoodLab. The innovative developments at FoodLab lead to founding FoodLab Capital, a premier seed fund. Nadav holds a B.A in economics and political science from Tel Aviv University and an EMBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.

Nadav BergerCo-Founder and General Partner PeakBridge VC

Paul Newnham is the Director of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 Advocacy Hub, a secretariat catalysing, convening, and connecting NGOs, advocacy groups, civil society, the private sector and UN agencies to coordinate global campaigning and advocacy to achieve food systems transformation.

To this end, the SDG2 Hub facilitates a network of 1000+ chefs from over 90 countries to support chef action on the SDGs. Chefs are equipped with a simple set of actions called the Chefs' Manifesto, to drive progress to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The Hub also lead the development of the Good Food For All Campaign that has been taken on by the UN Food System Summit to drive Public

Paul is a strategic innovator and executive leader with demonstrated expertise in driving teams, connecting people, sustainability and development, and delivering impressive global solutions to complex community challenges. He is a passionate and dynamic leader with twenty five [25]+ years of proven expertise in Sustainability, Food Systems, Non-Profit Management, Communications, Campaigning and Advocacy, delivered through consistent and competitive methodologies, strong network development, superior client service and executive presence.

His extensive knowledge of the Not-for-profit sector and vast experience in managing complex stakeholder relationships is complemented by his work with communities in Africa, Asia, The Middle East, Europe and The Americas. A skilled communicator, with a narrative that entices people to get on board, Paul starts movements that make global impact and change. He possesses strong business
acumen, and exceptional advocacy skills, with the ability to build deeply engaging relationships and influence decision makers, improve practices, drive change, and deliver impactful solutions to complex problems alongside communities around the world.

Paul NewnhamDirector SDG2 Advocacy Hub and Chefs’ Manifesto

Ahmed has been working with Emirates Nature for over 2 years as an Outreach & Membership Coordinator. He has completed his bachelor’s degree in renewable energy engineering and his master’s degree in sustainable development & Policy, he Is also a certified LEED green associate under the US green building council. In his role, Ahmed aims to influence and inspire youth to deepen their connection to nature, understand the importance of protecting our biodiversity and shape them to be future sustainability leader.” he Is also a certified LEED green associate under the US green building council.   

Ahmed Abu SamraMembership & Outreach Emirates Nature WWF

Lara Rudar is a multimedia artist, filmmaker and environmental advocate, studying at Jumeirah English Speaking School Dubai. In 2020, she was named one of the 20 Official UAE Ambassadors for Nature. In this role, she worked with Emirates-Nature WWF and the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi to empower UAE youth with the experiences, knowledge, and skills to tackle environmental issues. Internationally, she has spoken on numerous panels hosted by the United Nations, CNN International and EXPO 2020 Dubai. Lara also represented Turkey at the ‘Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition’ conference in Milan to develop concrete proposals for Pre-COP26 in Milan and COP26 in Glasgow. She is currently a UN WSIS Youth Campaigner and the Education Coordinator at the Re-Earth Initiative, an international youth-led climate organization.   

Lara RudarStudent & UAE Ambassador for Nature

With a background in Sustainable Development Cooperation (M.A.), Carolin has worked in the grassroots NGO-sector in Egypt on various projects ranging from economic development and community empowerment to health and social inclusion prior to coming to the UAE. Carolin’s goal is to make a difference for the community. For her that means working on key issues, with an emphasis on social and environmental projects that can foster new ideas, establish cross-sectoral partnerships, and achieve tangible results that serve the public interest. Looking for a meaningful and impactful assignment, she joined Goumbook in 2020, sharing the enterprise’s approach that driven by the power of knowledge we can raise awareness, invigorate civic life and ultimately help solve today’s most challenging problems.

Carolin HusseinCampaign Leader Goumbook

Samantha moved to the UAE in 1993 and has seen first hand the incredible transformation of the city she calls home, Dubai. Samantha’s experience stems in the corporate world where she held regional and strategic positions across different industries. Her previous experience is varied from Advertising & Communication, Business Strategy, E-commerce, Automotive, FMCG, Food Retail to name a few. She recently headed a global initiative tasked to develop, support and implement startup innovation solution to tackle the UN SDGs and global pressing social and environmental issues, in conjunction with the various United Nations entities. Samantha holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut, a Masters in Marketing & Sales from ESADE & Bocconi Universities along with Sustainability Leadership Management certification from Cambridge University and Leading Sustainable Corporations from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School program.

Samantha KayruzStrategy Leader Goumbook

Ewa is an experienced project manager and an expert in regional development. Her portfolio includes a number of successful projects implemented and supervised by her as a governmental officer and as an NGO member. Among them are multi-annual international programmes and projects. She worked with Polish, Swiss and Norwegian governments and developed sustainable development projects tackling problems in various areas like civil society, health, environment, business. As a supporter of grass root movement aimed at ethical consumption and fair trade she founded an NGO that carried out awareness campaigns addressed to consumers and businesses. Prior to coming to Dubai, Ewa lived in Vienna where she cooperated with an international NGO supporting clean energy solutions in low- and middle-income countries based on private and public partnerships together with civic sectors.

Ewa KarolewskaPartnerships Leader Goumbook

Ms. Ryma Affani is Curator at the Emirates Soil Museum. She has extensive experience working with youth and managing, developing, and implementing a variety of integrated STEM educational programs aligned with different curricula, with a focus on hands-on learning with real-world applications. She has trained and mentored several teams winning robotics competitions in Canada and the UAE. She was also previously involved in humanitarian and not-for-profit initiatives such as the Marine Turtle Preservation and Monitoring project with Qatar University; STEM camps in Sudan; and raising funds for the WWF Canada. She is a holistic educator committed to promoting academic success and perseverance while encouraging social engagement through a scientific approach and implementation of the latest learning methods. She holds a B.Sc. degree in Environmental Geography, with a specialization in the Physical Environment, from the University of Montreal in Canada. Her studies focused on the components and mechanisms governing the evolution of natural geosystems such as climate change, soil contamination, and watershed dynamics, as well as modelling and remote sensing methods. She also holds a degree in applied Arts and Sciences from the University of Montreal and a Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, Canada.

Ryma AffaniCurator Emirates Soil Museum

Food Tech Entrepreneur specialised in creating & building leading, technology driven, consumer brands & establishing new categories.

Following a degree in Food Industry Management from UC Davis Mike participated in the creation of the fresh pasta category in San Francisco and later was among the founding team of Nespresso as the 1st Nespresso CMO and head of B2B being instrumental in the journey from startup to +100$ Million (Nespresso today is a +5$ Billion business. Following the Nespresso experience Mike was the co founder of Eden Springs Europe and as CEO built a business of +200$M, participated actively in the European Bottled Water Association which he presided, and later brought Danone as a JV partner to Eden Springs.

Mike's main focus today is on impacting positively the planet with better, more responsible water hydration with BE WTR innovates in upgrading tap water with patented technologies that positively impact taste, user experience and striving to make better, more abundant hydration.

Additionally Mike’s holding company is leading another technology company,  AudioVitality, as it stands to transform our well being and allow the maximisation of our potential through non invasive, low vibration technology. 

Mike HeckerCEO BE WTR

Johnny El Hachem is the CEO of Edmond De Rothschild Private Equity SA. He joined the EDR Group in 2002 and worked closely with all the departments of the firm, initiating numerous financial transactions, including the launch of funds, and originating transactions on the capital markets. He initiated and structured a range of Private Equity funds, including:

  • Ginkgo – soil remediation real estate vehicle, where he is a board member of Ginkgo Investment Advisor
  • Moringa – Agroforestry investment vehicle, where he is a board member of it’s investment committee, Johnny serves as a board member of Moringa General Partner and Moringa investment advisor
  • Amethis, where he serves as a member of the Investment committee and as a board member in all Amethis related entities Trajan Capital, Pearl Infrastructure and other Private Equity and Real Assets investment funds and franchises where he serves as GP Board Member and Investment Committee member

Johnny studied Financial Engineering at ESSEC Business School (Paris), Banking and Finance and Political Science at the Lebanese American University of Beirut. He is also a visiting Professor at the Business Management University of Geneva. Johnny is fluent in French, English and Arabic.

Johnny El HachemCEO Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity

Dilara OzmericCo-Founder & Head of Research The Green Spoon

Anabel GonzálezDeputy Director-General World Trade Organization (WTO)

Felipe HernandezCEO Hexagro

Abdulrhman ElhalafawyCo-Founder and Chief Business Officer Cupmena

Marko CubricMusic Producer Music Producer

Alex KaneCEO Volta XR

Christine GouldCEO Thought for Food

Alp ErginSteward Prime DAO

Jason RomeroOperations Lead KlimaDAO

Sara BadranMENA Regional Coordinator Thought for Food

Utsav SoniLeader One Young World

Zina AkroutSenior Associate Sia Partners

Marie Brueser Thought for Food

Shashwat GangwalCEO InfinityBox

Mitchell GoldmanCOO Volta XR

Svein Tore HolsetherCo-Chair Generation Africa and Steering Committee Member AGRF

Khadija HasanFounder & CEO KRISPR

Ceylan ÜrenCo-Founder The Waste Lab

H.E. Johanna ChurchillParliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation), United Kingdom

From 2019, Dr Dino Francescutti Motis is the Sub-regional Coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen , FAO Representative in the United Arab Emirates. He is Mexican and Italian, with a Ph.D. in Economics and a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the USA and a B.Sc. in Animal Husbandry from Mexico. From 1982 to 1991, he worked in Mexico as Project and Financial Analyst and in the USA as Researcher and Professor while completing his graduate studies. In 1991, Mr Francescutti joined FAO as Food Security Officer. From 1995 to 2019, he worked as Economist and Senior Economist of the FAO Investment Centre, in Rome (Italy) and Santiago (Chile). He was often Officer-in-Charge for the Investment Centre Service, covering Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, North Africa and Middle East. He provided substantive technical support to most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also in some countries in Africa and Asia. He was instrumental in the development of capacity development tools of FAO for investment related work, from identification to results assessment. Currently, he leads the development of the FAO programme of work in several GCC States, in support of the food security strategies of member countries. In the UAE, he currently facilitates policy and technical dialogue between FAO, other UN agencies and the Government in support of strengthening strategic frameworks and actions around food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and livestock development 

Mr. Dino Francescutti Sub-Regional Coordinator FAO

Jennifer Croes is a Conservation Scientist and Associate Director at Emirates Nature – WWF. She has successfully transitioned and reinvented herself to blend her extensive business strategy and management skills with conservation science and has recently turned her talents to being on-camera, producing and presenting wildlife and eco-tourism documentaries, to raise awareness and make conservation relevant in everyone’s lives.
A nomad, adventurer, and animal crusader, she took a leap of faith in 2005 to follow her passion for conservation and had an epiphany working in the Amazon Basin in Bolivia, rehabilitating wildlife
rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and pet markets. She is particularly interested in looking at the
link between human behaviour and our relationship to nature. She has a Master of Science, (MSc) in
Conservation Science from Imperial College, London and a double degree, Bachelor of Arts and
Commerce. Her conservation portfolio is extensive including, Project manager at an Orangutan
rehabilitation center in Borneo, leading the largest citizen- consultation process for the United
Nations COP 15 to combat Climate change, Earth Hour 2010 National Manager, Biodiversity
conservation consultant at WWF-Australia, working on various species’ rehabilitation and
preservation projects and campaigns.
Relocating to the United Arab Emirates in 2018 to work at Emirates Nature-WWF, she developed and
implemented the innovative Conservation Education and Leadership programme, ‘Connect with
Nature’, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD), to inspire and motivate
youth to be part of the solution for long term, sustainable change.
In 2021, with a sudden diagnosis of breast cancer, she was instrumental in creating an awareness and
support group to support other women and has been vocal in bringing attention to this disease and
speaks of the role Nature and Food plays in recovery and living well. Leveraging of her own experience
and journey, resulted in creating and leading a new campaign, Food for Life, highlighting the need to
transition to healthy diets from sustainable food systems, focusing on personal health and planetary
wellbeing. In collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE), Ministry
of Health & Prevention, (MoHAP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the aim is to
create mass mobilization and support the UAE’s vision towards building a healthy society and
sustainable ecosystems towards a green (and blue) recovery, in a post Covid-19 world.
Jennifer has extensive media and public speaking experience and is invited to speak at numerous
global events and science conferences on various conservation topics and make conservation science
fun and engaging and has presented and spoken at TEDx events. In 2017, she was the first female
granted access in Indonesia, to accompany and set up an Anti-poaching patrol team in Sumatra,
Indonesia. In addition to conservation consulting, she runs her own media production company,
producing documentaries and videos on conservation storytelling and engagement.
She has lived, studied, and worked in several countries in Europe and Southeast Asia, Africa, South
America, China, and New Zealand and has travelled the globe extensively. She is now based in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates and hopes to inspire all to be part of the solution for a sustainable tomorrow.

Jennifer CroesAssociate Director & Campaign Lead Emirates Nature-WWF

H.E. Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-OsorioChairperson Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

Mr Lim is appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Food Agency on 1st April 2019, statutory board established under the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment to oversee food safety and security. SFA brings together food-related functions previously carried out by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Sciences Authority (HAS). Prior to assuming the post of CEO, SFA, Mr Lim was the CEO of AVA from 1st October 2017. AVA was the national authority entrusted with the mission to ensure a resilient supply of safe food, safeguard the health of animals, fish and plants, as well as facilitate Agri-trade for Singapore. Mr Lim joined AVA from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), where he held various key appointments including Deputy Commissioner of Police (Policy), Director Operations and Commander of Bedok Police Division.  

H.E. Lim Kok ThaiCEO Singapore Food Agency

Dr. Andrew Yip is Senior Manager of Technology and Innovation within the NEOM Food sector, where he oversees key areas including digital infrastructure, data governance, innovation services and ecosystem building. Prior to NEOM, he held consulting roles in the public sector in advanced analytics and data governance, led business and digital curriculum design for regional talent development, and spearheaded technology and social entrepreneurship initiatives in Saudi Arabia. A Ph.D. graduate in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Yip has been a NEOM pioneer since 2019, shaping the future of food through human-centric designs and partnerships.  

Andrew YipHead of Technology and Innovantion, Food Sector NEOM

Mr. Sky Kurtz is the Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Pure Harvest Smart Farms and is a pioneer in the Agritech sector. Pure Harvest develops world-leading controlled-environment agriculture technologies to deliver the best quality fresh produce. The Company’s hybrid growing solutions provide precise climate and environmental controls, enabling increased productivity and reduced waste (including water, energy, time, & transport).

Since its inception, the Company has raised more than $270 million making the Company the second most funded startup in the Middle East in 2021, ranked by Forbes Middle East. In March 2021, Pure Harvest secured $60 million in growth funding to support regional expansion in a first-of-its-kind structured Sukuk financing solution.
Pure Harvest currently supplies premium quality, sustainably-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to key retailers and HORECA accounts across the UAE and is now expanding across the Gulf Region. Last year, the Company entered into a first-of-its-kind , multi-year offtake and retailer-integration partnership with The Sultan Centre (TSC) in Kuwait – creating a ‘farm center’ that will include edutainment, a retail farmers’ market, & an integrated café – emblematic of the Company’s innovative approach to delivering food security, water conservation, economic
diversification, and sustainability.

Prior to founding Pure Harvest, Mr. Kurtz Cofounded Vence – a wearable technology solution for animal protein farming that semi-automates rotational grazing, reinventing livestock management. Mr. Kurtz also served as a Senior Executive with Francisco Partners, a $24 billion tech investment firm based in California and an affiliate of Sequoia Capital, a world-leading venture investment firm. Mr. Kurtz invested in and served on the boards of numerous companies across many sectors, with annual turnover ranging from $25 million to $2 billion dollars.

Mr. Kurtz was awarded an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a B.S. in Finance from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was named the Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior (valedictory honor).

Sky KurtzCo-founder, Vence; Advisor, Ocean Harvest, Founder & CEO Pure Harvest

H.E. Luis PlanasMinister Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Spain

H.E Abbas AlHajj HasanMinister of Agriculture Ministry of Agriculture, The Republic of Lebanon

Dennis Levine,Water Garden Organics

Hon. Clay Glennford SweetingMinistry of Agriculture and Marine Resources Bahamas

Dr Ismahane Elouafi is Chief Scientist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United
Nations, and part of FAO’s core leadership structure.
With nearly two decades of experience in agricultural research and development in Asia, Africa
and the Middle East, Dr Elouafi is known for promoting neglected crops, non-fresh water in
agriculture, and women in science.
Dr Elouafi has been a member of numerous boards and research institutes. Her contributions to
science have been recognized with prestigious awards and accolades, including the Excellence in
Science Award from the Global Thinkers Forum.
Dr Elouafi holds a Ph.D. in Genetics.

Dr Ismahane ElouafiChief Scientist Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Julien is leading our Agriculture Practice in France and part of our EMEA Agriculture leadership team.   Over the past 10 years, Julien has developed sound expertise in a broad range of food & agriculture segments (e.g., milk & dairy, cereals, vegetables, ingredients). He has led a wide range of impact programs, mainly on growth and transformation-related topics (e.g., M&A, post-merger integration, commercial transformations, innovation, sales force effectiveness).   Julien is passionate about technology for Agriculture and particularly keen on appreciating how technology will help Food & Agriculture to accelerate its sustainability transition. Julien co-leads the Agriculture Knowledge development for McKinsey.

Julien RevellatPartner, Food & Agriculture Practice McKinsey

Mark Tester is professor of plant science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Associate Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture and co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Red Sea Farms LLC. In 2019, he was Head of the Food Sector at NEOM. Prior to joining KAUST in February 2013, he was an ARC Federation Fellow and professor of plant physiology at the University of Adelaide, where he established The Plant Accelerator. Previously, he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he also received his PhD in 1988. Mark is now enjoying developing saltwater-based agricultural systems, to improve sustainability of food production.

Mark TesterProfessor of plant science King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Dr. Maximo Torrero CullenChief Economist Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Dr. Gunhild A. Stordalen, a physician who also holds a PhD in pathology/orthopedic surgery, and an environmentalist,  is the Founder and Executive Chair of EAT, a global, non-profit platform for food system transformation. She sits on several boards and advises on councils including the United Nation’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Stewardship Board on Food Systems, the UNICEF’s Advisory Group, member of Africa Europe Women Leaders Network, and the international Advisory Board of the SRC. In addition, Gunhild is an ambassador for Friends of Ocean action, a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP) for the Blue Economy, and a part of the International Leadership Committee for a Net Zero NHS. In 2019 she was the recipient of the UN Foundations’ Global Leadership Award. Gunhild is the Chair of the 2021 UN Food System Summit’s Action Track 2: Shifting to Healthy and Sustainable Consumption Patterns.  

Dr. Gunhild StordalenCEO EAT Foundation

Deirdre has extensive experience in the food industry with a strong track record of driving impact through by embedding sustainability into business strategy.

In her role as Director of Quality Assurance and Origin Green at Bord Bia, Deirdre is responsible for driving the Origin Green ambition; that farms and food manufacturing businesses throughout Ireland sign up to the sustainability agenda, with progress independently measured, assessed and verified.  Origin Green plays a crucial role in driving continuous improvement across Ireland’s food and drink sector, with significant reductions achieved to date in carbon emissions on farm and in energy and water use in processing and manufacturing.  The ultimate aim of the programme is to safeguard Ireland’s global reputation and competitive advantage as a producer of quality sustainable food.

Prior to her appointment, Deirdre was Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Lidl Ireland & Northern Ireland, where she led the development and implementation of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s sustainability strategy. From 2013 to 2015, as part of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Ambassador programme, Deirdre was responsible for building trade awareness globally for the sustainability credentials of Irish food and drink producers. 

Deirdre has also held positions with leading dairy exporter Ornua, Nestle Switzerland, and Metro Group, the world’s fourth largest retail group.

Deirdre holds an MSc in Business Sustainability and an MBS in International Business from UCD Smurfit Graduate School, and a Commerce International with Italian from University College Dublin.  She is also an Irish Olympian; she competed in the high jump at the London 2012 Olympics. Deirdre is also a board member on the Board of Sport Ireland since July 2021.

Deirdre RyanDirector of Quality Assurance and Origin Green Bord Bia, Irish Food Board

Prasad Gopalan is the Global Sector Manager of Agribusiness and Forestry for IFC. He has been with IFC for more than 20 years and is currently based in Washington D.C. Prasad has worked on client engagements across various sectors and over the past 15 years has focused on the Agribusiness and Forestry sector. Prior to IFC, Prasad worked as a process engineer/infrastructure consultant in the U.S. and Europe. He has graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Prasad GopalanGlobal Manager, Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services IFC

Sharon has been at the forefront of building and growing the global food and agtech ecosystem for the better part of a decade. Her work with start-ups, corporations, investors, policymakers, institutions and youth landed her the title of one of Forbes’ most powerful women shaping the future of food.

Cittone believes in connecting the dots, creating opportunities for others, and facilitating the collaboration that will lead to systemic change within the food system. This dedication to finding collaborative solutions and engaging the next generation has become the backbone of her new endevour. In 2021 Sharon founded Edible Planet Ventures, a systemic platform that aims to reshape our food system by convening leading voices and visionaries to collaborate and innovate around the most pressing challenges of today.

Sharon is active in several other roles. She currently sits on the Advisory Board of the WFP Italia, is Founding Board Member of the AgrifoodTech Italia Association, is an Advisor to two funds and is a Mentor for both Rockstart Agrifood and the FoodTech Accelerator. Furthermore, she is also Global Chair for Food Innovation for the G100, the eminent and empowered group of global leaders all joined in a pact of purpose to create massive opportunities for women worldwide.

Sharon Cittone Forbes Magazine’s Powerful Women Shaping the Future of Food; Founder & CEO Edible Planet Ventures

Tomasz Telma, Senior Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services at IFC, member of the World Bank Group.

a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Based in Washington DC,   he is responsible for managing IFC’s investment and advisory services in a broad range of sectors including agribusiness, manufacturing, health, education, tourism, retail and property. He leads a team responsible for over $5 billion of new investments annually and a portfolio of over $20 billion of investment and more than 100 advisory projects.

Tomasz has more than twenty-five years of experience leading investment transactions in emerging markets.  Immediately prior to his current assignment, he was IFC’s Director for Europe and Central Asia. In that role, he was responsible for the full range of IFC’s investment and advisory operations in that region. 

TOMASZ TELMASenior Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group

Based in Hilton’s MEA Regional Office in Dubai, Sebastian oversees culinary offerings in EMEA. He is responsible for identifying new trends, implementing campaigns and ensuring culinary excellence across Hilton’s portfolio.
Sebastian started his career in his native Germany, quickly progressing to a Senior Sous Chef role at a Michelin star restaurant in London. In 2004, he moved to Dubai where he joined the Burj Al Arab in Dubai as Chef de Cuisine. Sebastian then took on an Executive Sous Chef role at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, and later moved to the US to serve as Executive Chef at the Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach.
Sebastian moved back to the UAE in 2009, eventually becoming Resort Executive Chef at Madinat Jumeirah, responsible for the 25 restaurants that the resort had at the time. In 2013, he became Director of Culinary at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and later his remit was expanded to include an additional property. Sebastian joined Hilton in January 2020.
Sebastian’s talent has been recognized with several accolades. He has been awarded a place in Hotelier Middle East’s Power 50 list five times and has also won the MEA Hotelier Magazine Executive Chef of the Year in 2013. In 2018, he was awarded the Time Out Middle East Special Contribution Award.

Sebastian NohseSenior Director Culinary EMEA - Hilton

Meiny PrinsFounder Sustainable Urban Delta Foundation

Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies. Henry earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, coursework in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. In 2014, Henry responded to a global need for technology-agnostic guidance on urban agriculture by launching the advisory firm Agritecture Consulting which has now consulted on over 150 urban agriculture projects in over 35 countries.  

Henry Gordon Smith CEO Agritecture

Mr. Christopher Hegadorn Secretary, Committee on World Food Security (CFS) The World Bank

SG Ban Ki MoonCo-chair Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens & 8th UN Secretary-General

Yazen Al Kodmani Deputy General Manager Emirates Bio Farm

Martien Van NieuwkoopGlobal Director, Agriculture and Food World Bank Group

H.E. Jeffrey Salim Waheed is a staunch advocate of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and was a key diplomat responsible for realizing several global environmental and sustainable development frameworks. As a diplomat, he leveraged the Maldives’ relatively neutral geopolitical, geostrategic, and development positions to build bridges between nations and their senior representatives to produce consensus-based agreements that empowered and safeguarded the world’s most vulnerable populations. Internationally, he consistently seeks to create sustainable resolutions and promote holistic development solutions in the pursuit of the common good, while advocating for good governance, accountability, cohesion, and transparency at home. A former Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, Mr. Waheed also served as his nation’s representative to the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), United States, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, and Turkey; each for a tenure exceeding three years. Mr. Waheed has served as a Special Advisor to his President, and to several private sector entities as a crisis management specialist. At the UN, he helped Chair the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and led negotiations for both AOSIS and the Group of 77 and China (G77) on their engagement on disaster risk reduction, development financing, development priorities and climate change, representing over one fifth and two thirds of the UN membership respectively. Mr. Waheed currently heads the SEAS Institute, focused on supporting and progressing SIDS.

H.E. Jeffrey Salim Waheed Former Deputy Minister, The Republic of Maldives & President, SEAS Institute

                                    المسؤول الإقليمي للبرامج بالمكتب الإقليمي للشرق الأدنى وشمال أفريقيا – منظمة الأغذية والزراعة، القاهرة، جمهورية مصر العربية هو مستشار زراعي ومتخصص في إدارة الموارد المائية، ولديه أكثر من 30 عامًا من الخبرة في التعامل مع القضايا المتعلقة بالتنمية الزراعية في الشرق الأدنى وإفريقيا وآسيا، مع التركيز بشكل خاص على قضايا الأراضي والمياه، والتكيف مع تغير المناخ وسبل العيش الريفية. في عام 2015، انضم إلى الفريق المسؤول عن تطوير برنامج الفاو الاستراتيجي للزراعة المستدامة. ومنذ فبراير 2019، ينسق السيد فوريس جميع البرامج لمنظمة الأغذية والزراعة في إقليم الشرق الأدنى وشمال إفريقيا.

Mr. Jean-Marc Faurès FAO

Enock Chikava is interim Director of the Agricultural Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Growth and Opportunity division. He leads the Agricultural Development team whose aim is to support country-led inclusive agricultural transformation across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, by developing and scaling products, services, policies, and system-wide innovations that benefit smallholder farmers, empower women, and improve nutrition.  

Enock, has more than 30 years’ experience in Agriculture, with a career spanning Farmer Organizations, Seed Industry; Agribusiness, Food Processing and now Philanthropy. Enock Chikava is former president of the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA). Previously, he was Director Business Development, SSA, and Commercial Lead for a Seed, Chemistry, and Biotech for several MNCs. He studied Agricultural Economics, Marketing Management and Business Strategy.  He was born and raised on a small-scale farm in Zimbabwe and during his career in Agriculture, has worked with farmers and partners in 30+ countries in SSA and lived in Kenya, Malawi, Switzerland, and South Africa, before moving to the United States.

Enock ChikavaInterim Director, Agricultural Development Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

H.E. Dzoba TarasDeputy Minister for Digital Development Digital Transformations and Digitalization, Ukraine

Yousef HamidaddinCEO AgriTech Accelerator, Jordan

Clément RayCo-founder & CEO InnovaFeed

Palmi PalmasonManager Open Aquaculture, Food Sector NEOM

Hon. Oumer HussienMinister of Agriculture, Ethiopia

Hon. Hussein Mohamed BasheMinister of Agriculture, United Republic of Tanzania

Tatiana Antonelli Abella is the Founder and Managing Director of Goumbook, a Social Enterprise dedicated to raising awareness among the local community on Sustainability and Green Living: launched in 2009 it was the first green information resource for the MENA region.

Goumbook is one of the oldest Social Enterprises in the UAE and today it manages different projects such as Sustainable Mena, a business directory dedicated to promoting sustainable products and services in the region; the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program, the only tree planting initiative of the GCC with over 95,000 seeds planted in the past 10 years, and the Drop It - Rethink Plastic campaign to help businesses and individuals stop using single use plastic.

Tatiana sits on the Engage Committee, under Dubai Chamber of Commerce·V umbrella and has been nominated Environmental Ambassador for the Middle East Youth Expo. She also acts as an advisor to events such as Art Dubai or the Emirates Literature Festival to help them be more sustainable. Since 2012 she has been proud to be a judge of the Gulf Capital SME Awards fRU Whe ¶MRVW SXVWainable BXVineVV Rf Whe YeaU·. In 2020 Tatiana also joined the Advisory Board of the Gulf Sustainability Awards.

In April 2019 Tatiana started Forward Talks, a weekly podcast highlighting leaders and professionals who, through their work, entrepreneurship and commitment promote positive impact and sustainability in the UAE and beyond.

During her 16 years in the UAE, Tatiana has garnered a strong reputation and she is actively involved in the green arena: considered one of UAE's top environmental influencers, she contributes regularly to media and at conferences in her role as a green business leader in the country

Tatiana AntonelliFounder and Managing Director Goumbook

Dr. Juan Carlos MotamayorExecutive Director, Food Sector NEOM

Meghna is a Serial Entrepreneur with fifteen years of global experience in various industries. Her ambition is to create a positive impact by providing sustainable solutions lead her to creating three start-ups in sustainability, filling a necessary market gap from consultancy to sustainable products (One Modern World) and a sustainability app, (Optas). 

Having lived and worked in various countries gave her a better understanding of different cultures, industry trends, and market practices. 

She turned her passion for sustainability into reality thanks to persistence and dedication. Prior to launching sustainable business concepts, she achieved significant corporate knowledge in business development, with expertise in international business expansion and growth in new markets. 

She aims at creating, living, and breathing the start-up cultures, values, and behaviour. Setting strategy and directions, implementing short and long-term plans without never losing faith and confidence in what she does.  

Meghna LakhaniFounder & CEO Optas app & One Modern World

Alex WardCOO Tindle

Dr. Nouf Khamis Al AliDeputy Director, Health Education & Promotion Department Ministry of Health and Prevention

As President & CEO of Enactus, Robyn S. Fehrman is a results-driven, nonprofit executive with 20 years of experience intentionally scaling impact enterprises to achieve systemic change. She joined Enactus after serving as Managing Director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Prior to her work at CASE, Fehrman led Teach For America - Eastern North Carolina as Executive Director and held various roles at the local, state, and national level advancing philanthropy, economic development, and public health. Outside of Enactus, she serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Global Grassroots, a social enterprise working in East Africa to catalyze women and girls as the leaders of Conscious Social Change in their communities. Robyn received a B.A. in English and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband and two children

Ms. Robyn Schryer FehrmanPresident & CEO Enactus

Amine BenCOO Verticroft Holdings

Ahmad Al HaddadCOO Parks and Zones, DP World UAE

Susanne StulemeijerVP Communications, Public Affairs & Corporate Responsibility Talabat

Dr. Johan SwinnenGlobal Director Systems Transformation, CGIAR & Director General, IFPRI

Leslie holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning for Developing Countries with emphasis on nutrition, food security and livelihoods from IUAV University of Venice, Italy. She has an Advanced Degree in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs with focus on development policies from the University of Bologna, Italy. Leslie has more than 16 years of international professional experience in nutrition, food security and food systems governance, policies, planning, programmes, advocacy, methodologies, technical issues, resource mobilization and partnerships with different actors. At country level, she has extensively worked in Ethiopia, the Gambia and Nicaragua, with focus on food and nutrition insecure and vulnerable households, children, gender, HIV/AIDS, community and rural development. She joined FAO Headquarters in Rome in 2007 where, for more than 13 years, she worked in the Food and Nutrition Division, covering technical, policy and programme roles. From October 2020, she works for the FAO’s Subregional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen, in the UAE, where she is Programme Officer with a coordination role. She also leads the integration of the nutrition and healthy diets agenda and related agendas (e.g. food safety and food loss and waste) in the food systems activities of the GCC States.

Leslie AmorosoProgramme Officer Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

Shirley SaharCo-Founder and Business Development Director DANA

- H.E Salem Abdullah Issa Al-SoqtariMinister of Agriculture and Irrigation and Fish Wealth – Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Fish Wealth, The Republic of Yemen.

Thin Lei WinFood and Climate Correspondent Thin Ink

Bernhard KowatschHead of the Innovation Accelerator United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Steve RossHead of Added Value Products Unit Tanmiah

Dr. Farshad ShishehchianGroup Chief Executive Officer and Founder Blue Aqua International

Jehaina Al AliManager Permits and Applied Nutrition Section, Dubai Municipality

Greg MaselliCEO SAVRpak

Miguel CalatayudChief Executive Of?cer iwi Life

Rizwan MajeedHead of Smart Agriculture Siemens Middle East

Mohamed AissaouiCEO & Founder My Farm Dubai

Ahmad Mukhtar is working as Senior Economist and leading the Policy Team at the Regional Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for Near East and North Africa, based in Cairo, Egypt. He is leading the economic analysis and reporting on FAO’s priority areas in the Near East and North Africa to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including the socioeconomic aspects of food security, rural transformation, food and agricultural policy, institutional reform, sustainable and healthy food systems, natural resource conservation and climate change impacts. He carries over 20 years of experience in public, private and international development sectors, working on national and international/multilateral assignments in the areas of international economic and trade policy, agriculture economics and trade, commercial diplomacy, bilateral and regional trade issues and implementation of trade and investment policies. Prior to joining the FAO regional office, he worked at the FAO office in Geneva, while previously he worked with the UNCTAD, UNDP, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the WTO, Ministry of Commerce Pakistan, Board of Investment Pakistan and with donor projects of USAID and the EU Technical Assistance. He has also led the multilateral negotiations on Domestic Regulations for Trade in Services as Chairman of the WTO Working Party on Domestic Regulations (2010-2011). He has educational and professional qualifications in Economics, Law, Public Policy, Finance, and Biotechnology.

Mr. Ahmad MukhtarSenior Economist FAO

H.E Ambassador Pio WennubstPermanent Representative of Switzerland United Nations Organizations in Rome, Italy

Samer AbdelJaberCountry Director World Food Program, Palestine

Guillaume Besson Director of Sales

Varun DeshpandeManaging Director Good Food Institute Asia

The new Library of Alexandria, inaugurated in 2002, is currently, Emeritus Librarian, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria.  He serves as Chair and Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions, including as co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), and serves as Patron of the International Science Council (ISC).  He has held many international positions including as Vice President of the World Bank (1993–2000). He also co-chaired the African Union’s high level panel for Biotechnology (2006) and again for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2012-2013, and was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013).  Dr. Serageldin has received many awards including: First recipient of Grameen Foundation (USA) Award for a lifetime commitment to combating poverty, (1999); Pablo Neruda Medal of Honor, awarded by the Government of Chile (2004); The Bajaj Award for promoting Ghandian values outside India (2006); Order of the Rising Sun – Gold and Silver Star awarded by the Emperor of Japan (2008); Champion of Youth Award by the World Youth Congress, Quebec (2008); Knight of the French Legion of Honor awarded by the President of France (2008); Africa Millennium Excellence Award for Lifetime Achievement Prize, Ghana (2010); The Public Welfare Medal, by the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC (2011); Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters awarded by the government of France (2011);   and the presidential medals from the republics of Azerbaijan (2015), Montenegro (2016); Albania (2017) and Macedonia (2019).   He has lectured widely all over the world including delivering the Mandela Lecture (Johannesburg, 2011), the Nexus Lecture (Netherlands, 2011), the Keynote Address to the First International Summit of the Book (Washington DC, 2012). He was distinguished professor at Wageningen University and at the College de France.  He has published over 100 books and monographs and over 500 papers on a variety of topics including biotechnology, rural development, sustainability, and the value of science to society. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cairo University and Master’s degree and a PhD from Harvard University and has received 40 honorary doctorates. 

Dr. Ismail SerageldinEx-Vice President & Founder/Director World Bank & Library of Alexandria

Jawad AbbassiHead of MENA GSMA

Lola is an Investment Associate at VentureSouq, working on the Conscious Collective thesis investing in early-stage technology companies in Food&AgTech, ClimateTech, Financial Inclusion and HealthTech. Prior to VentureSouq, Lola has worked in banking, consulting and foundations. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Finance from New York University Abu Dhabi. 

Lola Fernandez FloresInvestment Associate Venture Souk

Praveen AgrawalCountry Director World Food Program, Egypt

Mr. Elwaer, a national of Libya, holds a Ph.D. of Philosophy in Environmental Chemistry from Sheffield University,  the United Kingdom, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Organizational Leadership from the Gestalt Centre of Organizations and Systems Development in the United States, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and Science Technology from the University of Sabha in Libya. Mr. Elwaer served as Secretary of Environmental General Authority (Minister of Environment) of the Government of Libya in Tripoli and was elected President of the African Ministerial Congress on Environment (AMCEN) from 2004 to 2006. In 2007, he joined the African Union as Director for Human Resources, Science and Technology, and became Director for Administration and Human Resources Management in 2009.  During his career at the African Union (AU), Mr. Elwaer has supervised and managed the Establishment of several African unique initiatives and institutions. Prior to joining the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), he served as Adviser to the President on Global Advocacy and Partnerships at the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he also served as the IsDB Spokesperson and Director of Cooperation, Partnerships, Regional Integration and Resource Mobilization from 2014 to 2017. He was further appointed IsDB’s Sherpa at G20 and Heads of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).

Dr. AbdulHakim Elwaer

Hon. Mr. Bwino Fred KyakulagaMinister of State for Agriculture (MoSA), Uganda

Syed Zulfiqar Hamadani is the Chief Executive Officer of Tanmiah Food Company, the 2nd largest fresh poultry brand in Saudi Arabia. Zulfiqar Hamadani is a professionally qualified accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Pakistan. He started his career with the ITM Group as Financial Manager in 2000, rising to be the Financial Controller for the Asia Pacific region based out of Dubai, UAE.   Zulfiqar joined the Tanmiah Food Group in 2007 as the Group Chief Financial officer, followed by taking over as the Chief Operating Officer in 2012. In 2019 Zulfiqar Hamadani was appointed CEO of the company, and in 2021 presided over a successful and heavily oversubscribed IPO that released 30 percent of Tanmiah’s shares onto the Saudi Stock Exchange. He has been instrumental in spearheading the sustainability initiatives at Tanmiah, four times revenue growth in eight years, and is also a recipient of multiple awards & certificates; and regularly speaks at regional and local conferences.  

Today, Tanmiah employs over 2,500 people across its operations. It slaughters approximately 350,000 birds per day, supplies quality processed chicken products to fast-food giants like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway, and is heavily invested in creating a circular economy.

Syed Zulfiqar HamadaniCEO Tanmiah

Sarah Kanaan is the Head of NHW at Nestlé Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which owns and operates eighteen factories. Nestlé MENA provides direct employment to over 13,000 people and indirect employment to several thousand more.

Sarah started her career at Nestlé Middle East as a Market Nutritionist in 2013, then became NHW Manager in 2016 and is currently holding the position of Head of Nutrition, Health and Wellness for Nestlé Middle East and North Africa. In her role, Sarah is responsible to strengthen Nestlé’s NHW drive across all business categories such as Dairy, Food, Coffee, Nestlé Breakfast cereals, Nestlé Nutrition, Confectionery and Nestlé Health sciences; focusing on Innovation &Renovation for tastier and healthier products portfolio while ensuring responsible brand NHW communication and compliance to marketing to children policy.

Prior to joining Nestlé Middle East, Kanaan worked at the National Defense of Canada, managing health promotion programs, and at Dairy Farmers of Canada, overseeing early childhood programmes. She has also worked as an instructor at the Nutrition and Food Sciences Faculty at the American University of Beirut, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in infant and adult nutrition. She also served as a Clinical Dietitian specializing in diabetes at Dubai Health Authority.

Kanaan is a regular spokesperson on nutrition and has contributed a wide range of articles to a number of international magazines on hygiene, food safety, HACCP, nutrition during pregnancy, infant nutrition and other areas of public health.

Kanaan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from the American University of Beirut and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition & Food Sciences from the University of Montreal, Canada.

Sarah KanaanHead of Nutrition Health and Wellness, Nestlé

Fatema Al MullaDirector Partnerships & Special Projects Department, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, UAE

Mr. Ayman Amin Sejiny is chief executive officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private-sector arm of Islamic Development Bank Group. He has more than 28 years’ experience in investment and corporate banking in local, regional and international markets. He previously served as CEO of Barclays Capital Saudi Arabia and worked at Citibank, Saudi American Bank and Saudi Hollandi Bank. Mr Sejiny is a board member of Kidana Development Company, a joint-stock company owned by the Royal Commission for Makkah Al-Mukarramah and the Holy Sites, and a member of the investment committee of the King Abdullah Foundation (Almadena Almonawara). Mr. Sejiny is Board and C-Level performer with vast experience in innovating financial processes and products. Mr Ayman holds a BA in Finance from Eastern Michigan University, United States.

Mr. Ayman Amin Sejiny Islamic Development Bank Group, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Raman Saxena is the Director of Digital Products for Cargill in Asia Pacific and founder of Digital Saathi. This digital solution—built for smallholder farmers—improves direct access to markets and supports farmer livelihood and mutual stability across the agri-value chain. Raman has more than twenty-four years of experience in information technology. In his 20-year background with Cargill, he has been instrumental in building IT capabilities across the Asia Pacific region. He has been part of major IT transformation strategies and executed them with excellence. In his last role as IT leader for Food Ingredients and Animal Nutrition business in Cargill’s Asia Pacific region, he led the Process Data Technology strategy, driving digital innovations and major IT investments and solutions for the enterprise.

His stints before Cargill include four years with Philips India as part of corporate IT. Raman has a post graduate degree in Business Administration and graduate degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

Raman is married with two children and lives in Delhi, India. Outside work he likes traveling, spending time with family and friends and watching sports.  

Raman SaxenaDirector Digital Products – Asia Pacific Cargill India

Dr. Ernest A. Umakhihe has over Thirty-One (32) years of working experience in various functions in the Public Service. He started his professional career in 1988 as an Accountant with the National Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and rose to the position of Director Finance and Accounts in 2007.

He transferred his services to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in 2012 where he served as Deputy Director, Audit Monitoring Department. Dr. Umakhihe also served as Director, Finance and Accounts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he supervised the Finance and Accounts functions of the Headquarters and the Nigerian Diplomatic Missions Overseas.

His first posting as a Permanent Secretary was to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning in 2019, after which he was redeployed to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation as the Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office. Thereafter, he was served as the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing until 2020. He currently serves as the Permanent Secretary of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); Chartered Institute of Administrators of Nigeria (CIAN) and a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe holds a PhD in International Diplomacy and conflict Resolutions from the Nasarawa State University, Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Benin and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the same University.

H.E. Ernest Afolabi UmakhihePermanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria

Qu DongyuDirector-General Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Michael has been the General Manager of Ripe Organic since 2018 where he has overseen the expansion of the company’s organic fruit and vegetable import and distribution business.   Ripe Organic has an extensive network of farming partnerships both in the United Arab Emirates and overseas to ensure the consistent supply of premium quality organic F&V through retail distribution in the UAE and Bahrain.     Ripe Organic plays a core role in the coordination of imported organic F&V in UAE through direct partnering with international certified organic farmers to plan production and consolidate import to market where growing conditions do not permit farming production in the UAE.       

Michael CraigGeneral Manager Ripe Organic

Karim AbdelghaniProgramme Coordinator Arab Regional Office, International Telecommunication Union

Dr. Kalibata has served as the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2014. She leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Under Dr. Kalibata’s leadership, AGRA is working to increase the incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11 African countries by 2021 through targeted investments to strengthen 3 core areas: state capability and policies, input delivery systems in agriculture, and partnerships for inclusive agricultural growth.

From 2019-2021, Dr. Kalibata also served as the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit. In this role, Dr. Kalibata worked with the United Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic direction for Summit, ensuring it successfully served as a catalytic process at the start of the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement.

Prior to joining AGRA, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country from a food insecure to a food secure status and became a reference point for other countries that sought to deliver agriculture transformation.

Dr. Kalibata also sits on various boards, councils and commissions including the Global Commission on Adaptation, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the Global Panel for Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, and Africa Risk Capacity, among others.

Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She was awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège in 2018, an Honorary Doctorate from McGill Univeristy in 2019, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in April, 2019 for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy thereby improving livelihoods of stallholder farmers. Dr. Kalibata holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Dr. Agnes KalibataPresident AGRA

Rumaitha Al Busaidi is an Omani marine scientist and environmental activist actively working on implementing sustainable solutions to battle against climate change. Back in May 2021, Rumaitha debuted her TED talk garnering over a million views worldwide where she looks at women as the key to our climate future.

Rumaitha currently serves as Group Manager for Business Development and Sustainability for Oman’s fisheries investment arm, Fisheries Development Oman. Recently named member of the Arab Youth Council on Climate Change, Rumaitha has previously worked with the Omani government on implementing sustainable diversification strategies in food production, and internationally advised the Biden administration on developing a climate resilience standard for US foreign aid focusing on empowering women as a form of climate mitigation. Rumaitha holds multiple Masters degrees from Utrecht University and Harvard University. 

Rumaitha Al BusaidiEnvironmental Affairs Lead Fisheries Development Oman

Honourable (Hon) Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto graduated from the University of Ghana (Legon) with a Bachelors Degree in Agricultue. He also holds M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Cambridge, England. He worked as an Economist, Senior Economist, Principal Economist, and Chief Economic Advisor over a period of 18 years at the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in London, England. He has also worked as a consultant to the World Bank and the United Nations on Soft Commodities (Cocoa, Coffee, Sugar). Between 1995 and 2007, he was the CEO of two international commodity companies, Goldcrest Commodities Limited and Plantation Resources Limited both based in Ghana.

In 2008 he was elected to the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. He spent two terms as Member of Parliament for Kwadaso Constituency in Kumasi, Ashanti Region. In Parliament, he held the positions of Deputy Ranking Member and subsequently the substantive Ranking Member for the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs until 2017.

In 2017 he was appointed the Minister for Food and Agriculture. In this role he has spearheaded the design and implementation of the Government of Ghana’s popular and transformational agricultural flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).

Under the leadership of Hon. Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto Ghana has been transformed into the breadbasket of West Africa – moving from “not being on track” in 2017 to “being on track” in 2019 on the African Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS). In that same year (2019), Ghana was ranked fourth on the African continent by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its Global Food Security Index (GFSI).

In February 2019, Africa Seeds which is the intergovernmental Seed Agency of the African Union, conferred on Dr Akoto the title of SEED CHAMPION OF AFRICA. Later the same year, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO), a pan-African organisation promoting the interest of coffee producers on the continent; a term he finished serving in December 2020.

He is the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Specialised Ministerial Technical Council for Agriculture (CTMS Agric) and in June, this year was unanimously appointed Chairman of the Steering Committee for the newly established Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative

HE Owusu Afriyie AkotoMinister for Food and Agriculture Ghana

Prof. Ayesha Al Dhaheri is currently the Associate Provost for Students Affairs at United Arab Emirates University. She served as Vice Dean of Health Sciences for the College of Medicine and Health Sciences and for the College of Food and Agriculture from 2017-2020. Prof. Al Dhaheri is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the UCL Division of Medicine by the University College London (UCL), the Coordinator for MEFOODS and GULFOODS for FAO-Rome, and the President of Emirates Nutrition Association. Prof. Al Dhaheri also served as the Chairperson for the Nutrition and Health Department at UAEU from 2012-2017 and served as the Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Nutrition from 2012-2015, where she worked to promote greater awareness in the prevention and treatment of nutrition related diseases. Prof. Al Dhaheri has conducted significant research in nutrition and has experience as a consultant in major research/projects in her field with national and international agencies such as MOH, HAAD, WHO, FAO, ICCIDD. As well as, she has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a Regional Facilitator for the introduction and dissemination of the WHO growth curves since February 2007. Prof. Ayesha is currently involved in supervising PhD students in the Nutritional Sciences PhD Program and Master Degree students from UAE University and other international universities.  

Prof. Ayesha Salem Al DhaheriAssociate Provost for Students Affairs United Arab Emirates University

She has over a decade’s experience in sustainability, climate change, clean energy, and organizational management. Having lead business development, strategic growth and communications at an international non-profit organisation for clean energy access, she combines her academic backgrounds in language studies and international development to enhance the impact of SDG-related projects, programmes and organisations.

Katrin has managed projects in Africa and Asia in partnership with UN agencies, the EU, and development agencies, where she put her focus on capacity building, market development and public-private dialogue, sustainability in agri-food value chains and in managing international knowledge exchange amongst experts in energy efficiency, energy regulation and international law.

Katrin HarveyChief Operating Officer Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Anna Campagna. Vice Mayor of Milan since 2016 and Deputy Mayor for Education.

From 2017 she is in charge of the Milan Food Policy. As City Councilor, in the mandate 2011-2016, she focused on rural-urban linkages, becoming also Metropolitan Councilor and member of the board of the Agricultural Southern Milan Park.
She has a Master Degree in Physics, and she worked on data analytics and learning tools.

Anna ScavuzzoVice Mayor of Milan since 2016 and Deputy Mayor for Education.

Chef Manal Al AlemGoodwill Ambassador UN World Food Program

Robert Di Franco is an American Entrepreneur with over 15 years experience in F&B, Real Estate Development,  Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo's Coal Fired Pizza Company that has set its sights on expanding their business in The Middle East and Partnering with Thumam Investment, LLC in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and SAVRPak, USA to set their sights on revolutionizing the food delivery and agtech market segments.  

Robert Di FrancoManaging Director and General Partner SAVRPak Middle East

Dr. Lawrence HaddadExecutive Director Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

A Creative Systems Thinker and Successful Social Entrepreneur with Innovation at Heart

Carla is a successful entrepreneur with strong social leadership. A citizen of the world with deep intercultural understanding and international experience having lived in 3 continents US, Middle East and Europe, she’s leading a global initiative for the future of Food & Agriculture. She started working from a young age and managed to have successful exits. Carla is the co-founder and managing partner of Industry Disruptors-Game Changers (ID-GC), a non-for-profit organisation empowering the youth towards innovation and entrepreneurship in Greece and abroad. Carla is focused on the Future Agro Challenge (FAC –, a global agrifood innovation platform, which is the main initiative of Industry Disruptors as an effort to create a new generation of farmers and agripreneurs. FAC, since its inception in 2015, is continuously growing now operating in 64 countries across 5 continents. Carla has recently been called upon to become the Dean of the Institute at ACS Athens, a premiere school empowering individuals to transform the world as architects of their own learning. Carla, is also a visiting lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the top-rated international MSc program of the Athens Medical School (internal evaluation 2016) in collaboration with Alexander Fleming Biomedical Science Research Center, in Molecular Biomedicine, training the next generation of Biomedical Researchers and Innovators. She is part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, a TEDx advocate and organizer, as well as, a member of the United Nations Committee of World Food Security Private Sector Mechanism and Youth Council Advisory.

Carla TanasCo-Founder Industry Distruptors Game Changers and CEO Agro Challenge

Thomas LarssenPresident ALPS Inc.

Dalia is a development practitioner and sustainability researcher with 15 years of experience in the Middle East. As an Economist at FAO’s Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, Dalia is responsible for several cross cutting areas of work including territorial development, rural migration, decent employment, youth and social protection. Her work ties together the need for accelerated poverty reduction and inclusive growth through sustainable and integrated natural resource management. Prior to joining FAO, Dalia led assessments in the fields of waste to energy, alternative fuel and solid waste management as well as worked with USAID on building regional research capacity in the area of climate change adaptation and water scarcity. She holds BA in political economy from the American University in Cairo and an MSc in environment and development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dalia AboulfotuhEconomist FAO RNE (moderator)

Tarek AlkhouryRegional Coordinator of the Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption and Production, West Asia UNEP – United Nations Environment Program

Laurent Zimmermann is the Founder and CEO of Green Fields LLC, based in Sharjah (UAE). His passion about systems of production, control climate, supply chain led him to set up a mushroom and vegetable farms in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates. It is the concept of vertical farming and hydroponics that has inspired Laurent to take a “leap of faith” and be part in tackling the food security challenge. Today, Green Fields Farms manage about 10 acres of farmland with a special focus on hydroponic systems in order to reduce and save water consumption. We can harvest daily and year-round leafy vegetables and gourmet mushrooms to supply the leading supermarkets and hotels restaurants of the country. Also, the company has recently started to provide agricultural services to help other growers or landscapers to realise their dreams and ambitions such as advising or contracting for greenhouses projects, irrigation systems and other solutions.

Laurent ZimmermannFounder & CEO Green Fields LLC

Daria carries expertise in international economic law, particularly on trade barriers and international agreements. She has undertaken extensive legislative research in the field of technical and SPS regulation in the international trade. She also conducts capacity building and training courses at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. At present she is working with Agroexport under Ministry of Agriculture, Russia, primarily focused on analysis of market access conditions and non-tariff barriers.
In her previous assignment, Daria participated in governmental working groups on export support and served an expert in the WTO trade disputes. From September 2018 until March 2019, she headed the Legal Department of the International Trade and Integration Research Center. She participated in the creation of the “Interactive Guide for Russian exporters” and led a project on use of ionizing radiation in the food industry.
As an independent expert, Daria has participated in numerous expert councils of the Eurasian Commission and has been a team-leader in three international research projects, concerning surveillance transformation and dispute resolution in the Eurasian Union. Nowadays she is working on building the quality infrastructure on the territory of the Eurasian Union.
Since June 2019, she has also been a Responsible Secretary of the Committee of the Eurasian Business Committee on trade and economic relations with China.
Daria holds a Master degree from Russian Foreign Trade Academy and a Bachelor from Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL).

Daria ZinovievaHead of International legal department, FGBI Agroexport, Russia

Athar Siddiqui is the Executive Vice President Factory Automation & Motion Controls at Siemens LLC. He joined Siemens in 2006, after graduating in industrial electronics at NED University of Engineering and completing his MBA at ZABIST, and held various positions in the automation division in the Middle East and Germany.  

Athar SiddiquiExecutive Vice President, Factory Automation & Motion Controls Siemens Middle East

Abdulaziz’s interest in food security began during his time at McKinsey & Co. working extensively with GCC governments addressing a variety of national risk challenges. A serial investor in disruptive technologies (Lyft, Indigo Ag, among others), he is dedicated to addressing the food security challenge. He dedicates time to the region’s food ecosystem as a mentor at Savour Ventures, the Middle East’s first accelerator focused on food. Previously a banker with HSBC, Abdulaziz holds a BA from University of Pennsylvania and MBA from Wharton.  

Abdulaziz Al MullaFounder & CEO Madar Farms

Rabie Shawwa is the owner and Managing Director of Xpitrade, the Middle East and Africa representative for EPIC Total Water Solutions LLC (

Rabie has 18 years of experience in Procurement and Supply Chain and co-founded and built Spree Trading ( into a well-known international multidisciplinary procurement and project supplies company that has done significant business with global EPC players and the US Government.

Rabie also co-founded two water investment ventures, Global Resources Investments Holding Ltd (UK) and Mai Resources International AG (Switzerland), which have since merged to form International Water Bank, a first-of-its-kind bank dedicated to financing water projects worldwide.

Rabie ShawwaManaging Director EPIC Total Water Solutions

Ismael Roig is president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, leading strategy and growth activities across the region. Ismael also oversees the company’s efforts to improve the efficiency and environmental footprint of its operations and is a member of ADM’s Executive Council.

Ismael joined ADM in 2004 and previously served as president, Strategy. He has also served as president, Asia-Pacific, and vice president, Planning and Business Development.

Prior to joining ADM, he spent 11 years with General Motors Corporation in various finance and control positions in Brazil, Singapore and Belgium. ‪He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Reading, UK, and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK. He holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst® credential.

Ismael RoigADM President EMEA

Mr. André Laperrière joined the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)initiative as its first Executive Director, in September 2015. During his career, Mr. Laperrièrehas led/managed numerous projects on behalf of large Private Corporations andsubsequently, within the United Nations and the World Bank. In this context he played asenior role in the design and the implementation of major reforms within a number ofagencies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), the World Health Organization(WHO) and UNICEF. He has extensive work experience in the Americas, Caribbean, Africa,Europe and the Middle East, in particular in developing countries and in conflict/post conflictenvironments.

Before joining GODAN, Mr. Laperrière was Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) in Washington DC. Among other positions, he has also been thefirst Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court (ICC),Director of the Administration and Finance Division in the World Health Organization (WHO),and Coordinator for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities under the responsibility ofUNICEF in Iraq.

Prior to his career in the UN, Mr. Laperrière was Director in the International Services ofPrice Waterhouse. In this position, he led multiple large scale business evaluations,privatizations, mergers and structural reform projects in Europe, Africa, the Americas andCaribbean. Mr. Laperrière was born in Canada, where he completed postgraduate studies inAdministration and in Industrial Relations. Mr. Laperrière is an expert in internationaldevelopment.

André LaperrièreExecutive Director Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)

He is the current Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries a position he assumed on 21st June 2021. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development from December 2019 to June 2021, Minister of ICT and National Guidance from June 2016 to December 2019 and Minister for the Presidency and Kampala Capital City between 2012 and 2016. He has been the Member of Parliament representing Kibale County and currently Kibale East in Kamwenge district since 2006 on the National Resistance Movement political party ticket.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in education specialising in Math and Physics from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, a Masters in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies, a Masters in Public Health from Makerere University and a Masters of Business Administration of ESAMI (pending graduation). Prior to joining elective politics, he among others worked with Uganda Revenue Authority as a Customs Officer and Office of the President as Special Presidential Assistant on Research and Information.
He is passionate about Governance, Agriculture, ICTs for development, Innovation and communication. He is a frequent author on topical issues in the traditional and wider media platforms.
He hails from Kamwenge district in the Rwenzori region, Western Uganda.

H.E. Frank Kagyigyi TumwebazeMinister of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries, Uganda

Ken Rutkowski is an acclaimed international speaker who is favored for his ability to accurately predict any industry’s future trend and how to successfully navigate it through communication, technology, and data. Ken customizes content like no other speaker in the world! His custom talks directly impact audiences with current, valuable, and relevant takeaways, lessons, and trends that can immediately affect their businesses. He has spoken to companies and organizations all over the world including the likes of Google, MIPTV, Milken Global Conference, Mobile World Congress, NATPE, NAB and Canada Music Week.

Ken RutkowskiFounder METAL International

Holding a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from King’s College London, Greg Ohannessian has dedicated his career to developing policy and strategy at the intersection of the public and private sectors. Delivering projects in coordination with the UN, DP World, the UAE Ministry of Defense, MoCCaE, and Dubai Government, and AgriTech projects focused on market-entry analysis in the UAE for a leading global CEA company as well as conducting investor due diligence for a UAE-based CEA incumbent, Greg has over a decade of experience and is committed to long-term sustainable growth in the region. Greg is a founding partner of SOMA MATER.

Greg OhannessianFounding Partner SOMA MATER

Eric Parkin is the Digital Leader at Cargill; where him and his team are focused on developing new technology solutions to help build a smarter, safer, and more sustainable food system.  Eric has had 15+ years in helping bring new technology across all parts of the world.  He has spent time based in Europe and North America, leading teams that have helped drive change in the industry.  

Eric ParkinDigital Leader Cargill Inc.

Jessica Fanzo, PhD in the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics and Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

She holds appointments in the Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She serves as the Director of Hopkins’ Global Food Policy and Ethics Program, and as Director of Food & Nutrition Security at Hopkins’ Alliance for a Healthier World. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Global Food Security Journal and leads on the development of the Food Systems Dashboard, in collaboration with GAIN. From 2017 to 2021, Fanzo served on the Food Systems Economic Commission, the Global Panel of Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition Foresight 2.0 report, and the EAT-Lancet Commission. She was also the Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report and Team Leader for the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition. Before coming to Hopkins, she has also held positions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and College of Medicine, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN World Food Programme, Bioversity International, and the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya. In 2021, she published her first book, Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? and co-wrote Global Food Systems, Diets, and Nutrition: Linking Science, Economics, and Policy. Fanzo holds a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Arizona and completed a Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship in immunology in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Columbia University.

Jessica FanzoBloomberg distinguished professor Global Food Policy and Ethics and Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

Maryam Rezaei is an agro-food industry officer with FAO's regional office for the Near East and North Africa. She leads the work on value chain development, provides technical support and strategic guidance on agribusiness, market linkages and food loss and waste. Previous to this role, Maryam was a Food Systems Advisor with the Food Systems and Food Safety division at FAO.
Prior to joining FAO, Maryam worked with governments, private sector agri-food businesses, NGOs and international development organisations. She managed and supported the design, implementation and evaluation of projects and programmes, focusing on improving sustainability and resilience of agri-food value chains.
Maryam has an MSc in Food Science and Technology from Ecole Supérieure d'Agricultures d’Angers in France.”

Maryam Rezaei Agro-food industry officer FAO's regional office

Food lover and passionate entrepreneur, Alvyn decided to launch a company aiming to have a positive impact on the food industry. Alvyn is leading the development of the company in France and in the USA. Drawing on culinary savoir-faire and biotech, Algama is designing great-tasting food products enhanced with algae that meet consumers’ needs and respect the environment.  

Alvyn SeverienCEO & Co-founder ALGAMA

Henry Gordon SmithCEO Agritecture

Dr. Khalil Ammar has a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Utah State University, USA, and MSc in Water Resources Management from IHE-Delft, Institute of Water Education, the Netherlands, and BSc in Civil Engineering from An-Najah National University, Palestine. Dr. Ammar has 24 years of experience in water resources management. He is working as Program Lead, Sustainable Natural Resources Management, and a Principal Scientist in hydrology at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai. Since he joined ICBA in the year 2009, he has led several research for development works such as: 1) “Collaboration Program Euphrates and Tigris”, a five-years Sida funded program to support collaboration between the riparian countries of the Euphrates and Tigris basin. The program helped in providing a scientific platform to exchange knowledge and understanding about important water issues and the way forward to improve water management and agricultural water productivity in the basin; 2) United Arab Emirates Agricultural Strategy which included matching the best crops to be grown in different land and water zones according to groundwater quantity and quality and soil suitability; 3) United Arab Emirates Water Conservation Strategy”; 4) Developing Federal Environmental Standards to Manage Discharges to the Marine from Desalination Plants” for the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates; and 5) Oman Salinity Strategy. His contribution to different national strategies and plans helped the decision-makers take the right decisions that brought change in water and agricultural sectors. Before joining ICBA, he worked for the Palestinian Water Authority as Head of Planning Department where he contributed to several national and sectoral plans that helped the establishment of a reliable water sector in Palestine.

Dr. Khalil AmmarProgram Leader on Sustainable Natural Resources Management International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA)

Director of Strategy at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University. Prior to his current position, Dr. Serraj was the Delivery Manager of the Regional Initiative on Small Scale Family Farming and Rural Transformation, in Near East and North Africa, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Senior Project Officer with the Secretariat of the Science Council of the CGIAR. From 2010 to 2012 he was Director of Diversification & Sustainable Intensification of Production Systems (DSIPS) at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Dr. Serraj has an extensive experience in research and development and occupied several positions in various international research centres and organizations such as IRRI, IAEA, ICRISAT. He holds a PhD in crop science and agronomy from Montpelier University, France in 1987. He is author of more than 250 publications and several books, international reports, and studies.

Dr. Rachid SerrajDirector of Strategy Mohammed VI Polytechnic University.

Ramy Boujawdeh joined Berytech in 2014 as the Deputy General Manager. He has been leading the Incubation and Entrepreneurship Business Development arm that supports innovative Lebanese startups and SMEs, providing Business Support, Mentorship, Coaching, Fundraising, Hosting, Networking and Internationalization and part of Innovation and Entrepreneurship regional programs. He designed and leads the A.C.T. Smart Innovation Hub initiative, a first of its kind in MENA focusing on both Agtech and Cleantech. He is also the manager of the Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) in the MENA Region for the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) challenge fund.

Between 2000 and 2014, Ramy amassed a diversified knowledge in the fields of change management, quality management, operations, as he filled roles in General and Regional Management in different industries across 3 continents. He is keen on mobilizing his knowledge and connections to the best interest of the stakeholders he supports. He advises startups in Lebanon and is an Angel Investor with SEEDERS.

Since his return to Lebanon, Ramy has been actively supporting social causes such as education, sustainability, agriculture, environment, gender equity and economic development.

Ramy is the Vice President of a Lebanese NGO – Rural Entrepreneurs, and is part of the External Advisor Board of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at the American University of Beirut. He is also a member of the council of representatives at the order of Engineers and Architects. Ramy was named as a Board member representing all Non-EU Members including Lebanon, in the European Business & Innovation centers Network (EBN).

Ramy holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering from AUB, and a master’s degree in Business Management and Economics.

Ramy BoujawdehDeputy General Manager Berytech

Emma Sawko is a French serial entrepreneur and a pioneer in vegan territories. In the past decade, this cosmopolitan has built a reputation as a global tastemaker in Paris, Dubai, New York and Amsterdam.

She began her journey into health and wellness in the region back in 2012, with the true passion to introduce the first real "healthy" cafe in Dubai, renowned concept store Comptoir 102. Three years later, considering the potential and warm welcome of her first venture, Emma opened Wild & The Moon in 2015, before making her way to Paris in 2016. The multi-award-winning concept, including Leading Cafe and Best Vegan-friendly Restaurant in the region, is based on the simple belief that food should be good for you, good for the planet, and delicious !

Born in New York, Emma Sawko was raised in the bounds of a truly holistic, plant-based lifestyle. Her passion for sustainable living is most evident in all her ventures, particularly Wild & The Moon, which is all about planet Earth, recycling, and minimising wastage while giving back to where it all began. Her one true vision with Wild & The Moon is born on the belief that there is no better business than a business that does good. Wild & The Moon has been created to add a bit of nature to our busy lives through real organic, seasonal, and ethically sourced ingredients.

Emma SawkoFounder Wild & The Moon

Demonstrated history of working in the information technology and in the horticulture/agriculture industry.

Educated knowledge about greenhouse technologies, indoor farming, food safety and sustainability

Amanda Müessli Entrepreneur and CEO Green Tech Global

Saifullah Khan is an International Trade, Technology and Policy Lawyer, has extensive experience in the
areas of international trade policy, privacy and personal data protection, both in advisory and policy roles.
He has a special focus over data space, where he has critically studied the General Data Protection
Regulation of the European Union and has carried out a benchmarking of the same with personal data
protection laws of other jurisdictions like Pakistan, Malaysia, California, Brazil, Canada, Bahrain, UAE etc.
He is advising his international clients about the compliance requirements that are to be met once law on
this subject is enforced in Pakistan. He has prepared and reviewed the privacy policies and intra-group
agreements concerning cross-border transfer of persona data.
He is studying the evolving postulate “data as a right or data as an asset” and in this regard is analyzing
potential regulatory issues in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, trading, services etc.
He has contributed a number of articles on privacy and data protection published by Global Legal Group’s
International Comparative Legal Guide, Mondaq, Lexology, Financier Worldwide, OneTrust etc.
He is member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and has done a course from
London School of Economics and Political Science on “Data: Law, Policy and Regulation”.

Saifullah KhanPartner Bizilance Consultants

Sheikh Dr. Majid Sultan Al Qassimi. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Saint Istvan University in Budapest, Hungary.

He started his work as a veterinarian in the zoo and conservation field and moved into an administration role in 2013 as a Director to oversee the Terrestrial Biodiversity and conservation activities at the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi. From 2015 to 2021 he was the Chief Veterinary Officer of the UAE and Advisor to 2 Minister regarding all things Food and Agriculture, at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, UAE.
His work as a policy maker brought him to the center of Food Security, Sustainability and Biodiversity for the UAE and the Arab world, looking to create clear direction for the UAE and the Middle East on how technology, sustainable agriculture and traditional practices can create a food production revolution in the region. After Developing the Food Diversification strategy for the UAE with the Food and Agriculture Organization, Sh. Dr. Majid has the ability to see both a holistic "all of country" approach to Food Security, as well as dive down into specific technical subjects to navigate challenges and opportunities. He sits on multiple boards of Accreditation Authorities, UAE Food Safety Committee, and on multiple other Food, Animal and Agriculture Boards.
He is a founding partner at SOMA MATER where he continues to develop Food Security and Sustainability strategies and solutions for private sector and governments.
He has a keen interest in engaging the youth to further career choices in STEM subjects, and as one of the first veterinarians from his country, he plays a vital role in supporting veterinary education and awareness, through public speaking, advising the university curriculum.

Sheikh Dr. Majid Sultan Al QassimiCEO SOMAMATER

Daniel SolomonCo-Founder EroeGo

Fresh On Table founder and CEO Atul Chopra is a serial entrepreneur and recognized game-changer.Starting his professional journey as an Investment Banker he pivoted to become a Tech entrepreneur in early 2000.He went on to create one of India’s early success stories of Telecom product companies which went global.Post that he turned into an active investor, mentoring, and seeding several startups.He founded Fresh On Table in 2019 with a vision is to boost sustainability through food, by cutting the travel times and distance of produce.

From a modest proof of concept in France, his company are among those at the forefront of the UAE’s food security ambitions, which today remains an evolving benchmark for food security in the entire Gulf region.He has teamed up with some of UAE’s most revered hotels and restaurants, opening their eyes to the UAE’s incredible choice of local produce and ingredients

With this comes greater transparency and traceability, improved freshness and taste and reduction of carbon footprint.

Atul is a Chartered Accountant and lawyer by training.


Atul Chopra Founder and CEO, Fresh On Table

Daniele is the insights director of the AgriTech programme at the GSMA, the global association of the mobile industry uniting more than 750 operators with 400 companies in the mobile ecosystem. GSMA AgriTech brings together and supports the mobile industry, agriculture sector stakeholders, innovators and investors in agritech to launch, improve and scale impactful and commercially viable digital solutions for smallholder farmers in the developing world.

Daniele is the insights director of the AgriTech programme at the GSMA, the global association of the mobile industry uniting more than 750 operators with 400 companies in the mobile ecosystem. GSMA AgriTech brings together and supports the mobile industry, agriculture sector stakeholders, innovators and investors in agritech to launch, improve and scale impactful and commercially viable digital solutions for smallholder farmers in the developing world.

Daniele TricaricoInsights Director GSMA AgriTech programme

David was named by Future Agro Challenge (FAC) as Global Agripreneur of the Year 2018 for his work as CEO of AgUnity helping lift low-income farmers out of poverty. AgUnity provides a smartphone and blockchain solution that improves trust and cooperation for smallholder farmers and is also used as a platform for a range of problems including mobile banking for the financially excluded, and data collection for developed world farmers.

The work by David and AgUnity has been globally recognised by the likes of IFC World Bank, Mastercard Foundation, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Oxford University and more.

Previously, David has been the Founder and CEO of several successful FinTech, SaaS, and mobile start-ups and spent over a decade in senior roles at global investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Nomura & Standard Chartered Bank.

David DaviesCEO AgUnity

Sarah Asmar is a trilingual Marketing Specialist with a motivation for challenges and a firm belief in the importance of more green and sustainable practices. Sarah has a Bachelors in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut (2013) and a specialized Masters in communications & marketing from INSEEC Paris (2015). For the past 6 years, she has been working at Lebanese international company as Marketing Director focusing on product sustainability. During this period, Sarah was able to work with different departments and thus develop skills in: Marketing and Social Media Platform development, Workshops & Training and Communication. Sarah launched a Sustainable Academy in 2018 to be the first of its kind within the field, which allowed her division to partner with the EU Program “Minjara” in Tripoli. Sarah joined the United Nations Environment Program West Asia office as sustainable lifestyle expert for the past 6 months. During that period Sarah launched the Recipe of Change campaign that focuses on raising awareness and shifting behavioral change at the consumer level, also within the field of sustainable fashion she has developed the West Asia Sustainable Fashion Academy with a particular focus on advancing the sustainable fashion program.

Sarah AsmarSustainable Lifestyle Expert UNEP West Asia

Dennis Levine has been described by many industry insiders as one of the most influential and creative dealmakers of his generation. As a skilled and innovative investment banker for more than 45 years, Dennis advises many institutions and other prominent clients by providing strategic advice on M&A transactions, capital formation, business development and technology commercialization. His unique combination of skills has allowed Dennis to be a trusted confidant to some of the world’s most important C-suite innovators and entrepreneurs. In a world screaming for safer and higher quality grown foods and a stronger food delivery system, Dennis is focused on emerging food, water and agricultural technologies to address global issues of resource scarcity, supply chain logistics, food security, climate change and the deployment of groundbreaking solutions. With every part of the Agri-Food chain in flux, and sustainability and technology convergence as the key drivers, Dennis formed Water Garden Organics to meet the most exacting standards for high quality production and ESG/Impact investing. Dennis blends his deep background in finance and transaction structuring with compelling Controlled Environment Agriculture and AgTech solutions to meet today’s global food production and resource challenges. By creating profitable and safer production facilities in strategic markets, Water Garden is a fusion of Agriculture, Technology, Engineering, Science and Logistics to enhance the supply chain and create long-term value for consumers and investors. Dennis began his career on Wall Street in 1976. While ascending the investment banking ranks at Citibank, Smith Barney and Lehman Brothers, it was at Drexel, Burnham, Lambert where Dennis emerged as one of the industry’s leading dealmakers. He executed everything from intricate multi-billion-dollar mergers to complex financings for Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms and influential family offices, creating innovative business solutions which continue to define the international corporate finance world today. Dennis has chronicled his storied career in the book, Inside Out: An Insiders Account of Wall Street – a defining book about Wall Street during the 1980s. While describing his experiences with many high-profile personalities of the time, Dennis takes an honest and candid approach to the heady deal days of the era. As he reconciles his own mistakes, Dennis describes a powerful morality tale and the redemptive process that has helped to shape his current professional path. Dennis continues to serve as an advisor and strategist to many leading companies and private investors for the past 35 years through his consulting firm, Adasar Group. Dennis works with his network of high-level relationships spanning the global business and financial community from the Far East to the Middle East, relationships that continue to bring value to his companies today. Dennis also continues to share his life experiences to help guide young professionals. He regularly lectures throughout the world at major universities and organizations on a host of contemporary issues from business ethics to entrepreneurship and emerging technology trends. Dennis holds BBA and MBA degrees in Corporate Finance from CUNY’s Baruch School of Business. He has been happily married to his wife for over 40 years, and they have two grown children.

Dennis LevineCEO Water Garden Organics

Dr. Badawi, is the General Manager of Emirates Biofertilizers factory, Al Ain UAE. Dr Badawi is a professor of soil science in Soils, Water and Environment Research institute, Agriculture Research Center, Giza, Egypt.
Dr. Badawi, obtained his B.S. (Soil Science) College of Agriculture, Ain- Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, 1978, with final grade excellent. And Ph.D in 1992 from USA on Controlled Landfilling of Combined Village Wastes to produce Biogas and Compost. In 2005, he became a Professor in Soil Science, and presently the General Manager for Emirates Environmental Solutions (Mualaja) Holding Company, and Emirates Bio Fertilizer Factory.
Dr Badawi Participated in several national and international conferences in the areas of applied microbiology, waste management, bioenergy, Biotechnology and Organic Agriculture.
Experience in the Industry

In UAE, Dr Badawi obtained managerial positions for the Research and Studies Department of Dubai Composting Plant from 1996-1999; and became Manager of Production, Development and Quality Control for EBFF from 1999 to 2007 and later became the General Manager until today.

EBFF is successfully leading the business of organic fertilizers because of Dr. Badawi’s introduction of Value-added products for organic farming and inputs for Hydroponic Agriculture. Dr Badawi introduced several biofertilizers and natural products to UAE and Arab market e.g. Slow release fertilizers, Magic fertilizers, Liquid Biofertilizers, “Vermicomposting” technology and natural water saving products which can save 50% of irrigation water.
1. Dr Badawi is a member of the Editorial Board of Agriculture, Food and Development Journal.
2. Dr Badawi participated in the exams of Msc and PhD graduate students among the committee for graduate students in several universities in UAE and other countries
3. Dr.Badawi conducted training sessions for UAE University students, Agriculture Engineers from ADFSA, MOCCW and farmers.
4. Member of ENARP (Egyptian National Agricultural Research Project). (1989-1992).
5. Member of European Commission Project "Rural Development Through Integrated Waste Management, project". (1995-1996).
6. Member of IAEA/FAO project for Evaluation of organic manuring & Sandy soil reclamation.
7. Principal investigator of Organic Farming EBFF, (2000-Now).
8. Co-Investigator of UAE University Res. Project (Env. Dpt., College of Eng.: Leachability of heavy metals from fertilizers applied to agric. Land. (2001/2002).
9. Co-Investigator of UAE University Res. Project (Evaluation of Biofertilizer Under UAE Soils. (College of Science, Biology Department, (2002/2003).
10.Co-investigator (Agriculture Department) Evaluation of some vegetables production under UAE Conditions using organic farming systems since 2001).
11.Co-investigator (Agriculture Department) Evaluation of Dates production under UAE Conditions using organic farming systems since 2001 till now).
12. Principal Investigator, Evaluation of water saving products under UAE conditions. (2004-Now).
Dr Badawi published more than 45 papers and book chapters in national and international publications and journals.

Dr. Mohamed BadawiGeneral Manager Emirates biofertilizers Factory

Edwin Vanlaerhoven is a senior executive with life-long experience in international hortibusiness. He did several studies in this field and has a masters degree in food management. Currently working as business development director at Certhon where he is building new partnerships, managing the commercial department and taking care of business growth. In the past he had several commercial leading roles in exporting companies of ornamental plants and fruit and vegetables.

Lifelong experience in hortibusiness and food management. Expertise in commercial partnerships and export.

Edwin VanlaerhovenBusiness Development Director Certhon

Erich has 18 years of experience as a Partner with Nestlé’s strategic venture fund manager. Formerly, Erich was an executive at Nestlé, the World Economic Forum, and the German Finance Ministry. Erich holds a B.A. in business, economics, and law from HSG University of St Gallen, Switzerland, a tri-lingual MBA of EAP-ESCP (Paris-Oxford-Berlin), and an L.LM. in financial law from Geneva University, Switzerland.

Erich SieberFounder and General Partner PeakBridge

Eric Egberts is an experienced director and entrepreneur in the agricultural an horticultural sector and has worked for several high class companies in this field. He has been CEO of Dutch Greenhouse Delta since 1 November 2018 ( Dutch Greenhouse Delta aims to contribute to the provision of sufficiently healthy, affordable, nutritious and safe food, produced sustainably and locally. We promote the Dutch horticultural sector worldwide. Dutch Greenhouse Delta is the one-stop shop for complex, large-scale projects concerning food and floriculture issues in growing megacities. By working together with Dutch state-of-the-art partners in horticulture, we bring an integrated Fork2Farm solution that offers a complete ecosystem consisting of science, enterprise, education, and the government.

In the first phase of his career, Eric Egberts worked at various international breeding companies in the flower and plant sector, including Ball Seeds from Chicago. From 2004 he fulfilled the role as Sales Lead North Europe for De Ruiter Seeds / Monsanto. In 2012, Eric completed an Executive MBA in the field of Food & Finance at the Nyenrode Business University.

In 2011 Eric Egberts founded E Two Consultancy and advised various flower trading companies, breeding companies and vegetable trading companies. In 2015 he founded BloomyPro together with the VANAD GROUP. BloomyPro develops SAAS software solutions for the agro sector. Worldwide, flower trading companies and their suppliers are currently using BloomyPro software.

Eric EgbertCEO Dutch Greenhouse Delta

Ryan Singlehurst is the Founder and CEO of Verticroft Holdings. Ryan dedicates all of his time to bringing food security to the Middle East under the banner of Verticroft Holdings. Ryan has a true passion for food security and has spent years researching and developing sustainable Agri Technologies that can bring food security to Arid Climates. Ryan, spends most of his time on the ground developing practical and scalable solutions in the to answer some of the UAE's food security challenges. He has in depth understanding of these challenges and the solutions required to make farming sustainable and viable in the UAE. Ryan believes that whatever solutions we come up with to answer the regions challenges, they must be sustainable, profitable and scalable in order for real change to take effect.
Ryan has a diverse business background with a specialization in finance, sales and marketing. He started his career at a boutique commodity trading house in Spain after serving three years in the British parachute regiment.
Ryan quickly founded Inari capital limited, a consultancy business offering sales, marketing and structuring services with a focus on the Agritech space in 2010. Since then Ryan has created and built sales and marketing strategies for companies enabling them to sell over 150,000,000 USD in products and services.
He is also the founder of Sample Me App which he sold to private equity in 2016 and the founder of Ofika group which is the fastest growing subscription print company in Eastern Europe.

Ryan SinglehurstFounder and CEO Verticroft Holdings

A serial entrepreneur, Ramie Murray started his career when he founded a property marketing design agency, "The Big Picture FZ" in 2005, following his studies in Industrial and Product Design from the London South Bank University. He later co-founded the Oman-based renewable energy company "Mahd Energy". While working in Oman, he realized how untapped the Eastern coastline of Fujairah and Oman was, despite pristine and nutrient rich waters. Coming from Scotland, where salmon farming is king, and growing up in the UAE, with it's rich seafood heritage, Ramie always had his eye on aquaculture. He first attempted lobster farming, then realised that the conditions were better for producing oysters. After a successful pilot study, he established Dibba Bay oysters, perfecting the best gourmet oyster possible, and pioneering the pivot from the traditional Arabian pearl oyster industry to the farming of an edible oyster species in the region. Since its inception in 2016, Dibba Bay has grown tremendously, producing over 200,000 oysters a month with a projected growth to 600,000 oysters a month, harvesting throughout the entire year, with an expanding presence in the UAE and beyond.

Ramie MurrayFounder & CEO Dibba Bay Oysters

H.E. Jeffrey Salim Waheed is a staunch advocate of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and was a key diplomat responsible for realizing several global environmental and sustainable development frameworks. As a diplomat, he leveraged the Maldives’ relatively neutral geopolitical, geostrategic, and development positions to build bridges between nations and their senior representatives to produce consensus-based agreements that empowered and safeguarded the world’s most vulnerable populations. Internationally, he consistently seeks to create sustainable resolutions and promote holistic development solutions in the pursuit of the common good, while advocating for good governance, accountability, cohesion, and transparency at home.
A former Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, Mr. Waheed also served as his nation’s representative to the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), United States, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, and Turkey; each for a tenure exceeding three years. Mr. Waheed has served as a Special Advisor to his President, and to several private sector entities as a crisis management specialist. At the UN, he helped Chair the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and led negotiations for both AOSIS and the Group of 77 and China (G77) on their engagement on disaster risk reduction, development financing, development priorities and climate change, representing over one fifth and two thirds of the UN membership respectively. Mr. Waheed currently heads the SEAS Institute, focused on supporting and progressing SIDS.

H.E. Jeffrey Salim Waheed Former Deputy Minister The Republic of Maldives & President, SEAS Institute

Jennifer is the acting managing director AGRF and Head of Partnerships AGRA. She is an experienced professional in the development and facilitation of international Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), with a particular focus on agriculture. Prior to joining AGRA, Jennifer was the Deputy CEO of the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor (SAGCOT) Centre Ltd in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The SAGCOT Public Private Partnership has over 100 partners who pledged more than USD 1 billion in inclusive public and private investments in Tanzanian’s Southern Corridor. At the SAGCOT Centre Ltd, she was responsible for communication, operation & events, and the management & facilitation of SAGCOT Partners.
Before joining SAGCOT, Jennifer was an Associate Director at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, Switzerland, where she helped develop the WEF’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative. Jennifer spent several years in financial services at Rabobank International, identifying growth opportunities in food and agribusiness and developing key insights into the agricultural sector worldwide.
Jennifer holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands.
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Jennifer BaarnActing Managing Director AGRF and Head of Partnerships AGRA

Winnow builds artificial intelligence tools to help chefs run their kitchens more efficiently focusing on helping them understand and prevent food waste. Since launch, Winnow has been deployed in 40 countries and has saved its customers over $40m by reducing food waste. Clients include global brands but not limited to IKEA, Compass Group, AccorHotels, Marriott, Hilton and IHG.
Kamran comes from a family business in the hospitality sector, supplying hotels and caterers in the UAE with seafood and other foodstuff. By combining Kamran’s family business background, growing up with the importance of food and his interest in start-ups and technology, Kamran now helps Winnow grow its presence in the region, building relationships with hotel chains, restaurants and caterers.


Presently a specialist in Food and Beverage Supply Chain Management and Procurement, Kunal heads the Global Supply Chain for Bateel Group (based out of Dubai) that has operations in over 11 countries from US to Middle East to South East Asia.
He has been instrumental in opening and managing over 200 F&B outlets during his F&B Supply Chain tenure. Major brand names include Bateel café’s and boutiques, Godiva Café’s , Tim Hortons, Coldstone Creamery and Sbarro Pizza.
Awarded as ‘Emerging Leader in Supply Chain Management – Middle East’ by Institute of Supply Chain Management, ISCM in Dec, 2018.
Travel and food continue to be his passion that gets him going every morning.

Kunal GuptaSupply Chain Director Bateel International

Love has a diverse network of industry contacts and investors across the UAE and is an accomplished restaurant developer, operator, and business manager with over 15 years of hospitality experience. His hospitality experience spans globally across the US, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. He boasts deep technical knowledge under his belt and has a natural entrepreneurial spirit. His solid hospitality training, exposure to technology, extensive experience with start-ups, and creative flare combined has helped him create and launch several fantastic F&B concepts across the MENA region. Through the course of the pandemic, Love has gained hands on experience in last mile logistics with a focus on maintaining cold chain for perishable items. He plays a senior role in growth and automation through digital transformation, implementation of processes, and the strategy side of the logistics business. As Product Owner at Gourmet Hub, he is responsible for the product vision, strategy, logistics, design, research and development.

Love MansukhaniProduct Owner Gourmet Hub

As urban-gro’s Vice President of Controlled Environment Agriculture, Lucas has over 15 years of crop management experience which allows him to bridge the gap between commercial horticulture and controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

Leading urban-gro’s Cultivation Space Programming, Lucas has worked with hundreds of growers across North America and Europe to develop innovative facility design and operational practices to deliver efficient and profitable cultivation facilities.

Lucas’ diverse background in a variety of crop types makes him an asset to the highly regulated CEA industry. His experience has provided the framework for the development of successful solutions to indoor growing challenges, as well as the ability to integrate best practices from more established and regulated industries into this rapidly evolving market sector.

Lucas has a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on sustainable agriculture from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

Lucas TargosVice President Controlled Environment Agriculture, urban-gro, Inc.

Mansour Memarian, an Iranian chef with German origins who has 25 years industry experience, has had stints at some of the world’s best restaurants, and he has held executive positions at many luxury brands including the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, as well as the award-winning Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland. Before this, he was the Chef de Cuisine at the Burj Al Arab’s signature restaurant, Al Mahara.
Before arriving in the United Arab Emirates in 2010, Memarian, the first Iranian Michelin starred chef, rose steadily up the ranks working in some of the most prestigious hotels and dining establishments in Europe. He earned his first Michelin star in 2006, at Jagdhof Glashütte in Germany, in just eight months as Head Chef. After this successful story, Memarian moved to Innsbruck, Austria, to open Pavillon restaurant and shortly he added the second Michelin star to his culinary career.
In 2008, he was named the “Best International Chef” in Austria and his cookbook “Gourmet Raffinessen” was voted Best Cookbook in the same country.

Chef Mansour Memarian has brought extensive experience and a wealth of talent to Palazzo Versace Dubai, where he oversees the five-star hotel’s culinary and F&B operations including its six restaurants and two bars, as well as the catering services. In his role as Hotel Manager, Memarian heads all dining operations, leading the culinary team in enhancing Palazzo Versace Dubai’s reputation for world-class, curated dining.

In the past year, Mansour and the team focused on elevating the F&B concepts at Palazzo Versace Dubai to increase the revenue, yet adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions and rules.
All the offerings have been revised and revamped to cater to the COVID-19 guests - cautious to go out, yet very keen on experiencing new things.
Hence, new concepts have been added to Palazzo Versace Dubai's portfolio of offerings - Prusiana Brunch at Enigma (Friday evening brunch concept showcasing the best of Iranian and Peruvian cuisines), Into the Jungle brunch at Giardino (a no-fuss family Friday brunch focusing on entertainment for the little ones) and Dubai's first opera brunch at Vanitas.
By implementing these new concepts, Mansour and the team have managed to double the revenue compared to 2020 (the pandemic year) and increase it by 40% compared to 2019.
In the past year, Mansour and the culinary team started a management plan which gives preference to sustainable, local, fair-trade and environmentally friendly goods. Local farms and local suppliers have been prioritised when it came to sourcing ingredients and produce. The hotel also has a waste management plan to minimize disposal to landfill and food waste, recycling and encourage reused material. Effective training strategy for the team has been implemented to learn more about sustainability.

Mansour MemarianHotel Manager Palazzo Versace

Nikita is a social entrepreneur at her core. Passionate about microfinance and impact investing at university, she graduated from the Wharton School in 2014. Nikita is the third generation of her UAE-based family business and leads the food distribution vertical. Nikita is the founder of one of the UAE's first indoor hydroponics vertical farms with the purpose of strengthening the UAE's food security capabilities and reducing the country's food mileage and environmental footprint, promoting greater transparency and sustainability in our food systems. In 2019, she founded Oasis Greens which is proudly a UAE-based hydroponics, vertical farm in Dubai where they grow pesticide-free, fresh leafy greens and herbs under their own home-grown fresh produce brand. The company supplies primarily to the HORECA sector in the UAE. Oasis Greens will be diversifying into growing fruiting vegetables. Nikita is always looking for the next problem to solve through creative and impactful business solutions and believes in the power of social enterprise to create lasting positive impact.

Nikita PatelFounder Oasis Greens

Vanessa Adams, Vice President Strategic Partnerships at AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), and Chief of Party of the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Innovation in Africa (PIATA) is a proven leader with strong private sector, investment facilitation and project management experience.
Vanessa Adams has over 25 years of professional experience, including with Fortune 500 companies in the US. She has 18 years’ experience working in 28 African countries with governments, businesses and farmer cooperatives to increase productivity, meet buyer specifications, access finance, and compete in international markets. She partners with governments, donors and businesses to develop and implement strategies which increase productivity and international trade, expand investments, improve business environments, access financial services as well as reduce constraints to economic growth.

Previously, Vanessa led $70+ million USD projects with multi-cultural teams, facilitated over $300 million in exports from Africa, and catalyzed over $70 million in investments as well as over $140 million in credit. She contributed to the foundation of three pan-African NGOs including the African Cashew Alliance, Borderless Alliance, and Global Shea Alliance, as well as initiating the Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network in Ethiopia.
She is fluent in English, French and speaks conversational German and Bambara. Vanessa holds an executive MBA from INSEAD.

Vanessa AdamsVP Strategic Partnerships & Chief of Party, PIATA; Responsible for Digital, Youth and Women AGRA