SPARK & IFC present IGNITE 2016

Tackling Instability, Radicalisation and Forced Migration

16 November, Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam

Thank you so much to all those that made this year’s IGNITE Conference a huge success! We were delighted to have such an amazing range of international experts and participants present. We hope to see you again next year.

Programme of Events

Report of IGNITE 2016






Sir Paul Collier (keynote)

Sir Paul Collier, CBE, former director of World Bank’s Development Research Group...
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Mahmud Johnson (keynote)

Mahmud is the founder & CEO of J-Palm Liberia, an palm oil...
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Mokhtar Alkhanshali

Mokhtar is the Founder & CEO of Port of Mokha Coffee, Yemen,...
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Petra Stienen (host)

Petra is the host of the IGNITE Conference. Petra is a former...
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Hans Docter (keynote)

Hans is Director Sustainable Economic Development and Ambassador Private Sector & Development...
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Antoinia Norman (keynote)

Anoinia is CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, South Africa.  She...
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Michel Botzung (keynote)

Michel has held field positions in North Africa, the Middle East, India...
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Dr. Obay Al-Dewachi

Dr. Obay Said Al-Dewachi is the University President of Mosul University in...
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Wissam Hema

Wissam fled Syria and arrived in the Netherlands in 2014. Wissam has a graduated...
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Tilman Brück

Tilman is the Founder and Director of International Security and Research Center...
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Amina El Berkaoui

Amina is the Director of Capabel & Imko Educations. Amina has years...
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Eefje Blankevoort

Eefje is a storyteller and co-founder of the journalism production company Prospektor....
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Fathi Al Mudaris

Fathi Al Mudaris is Senior Advisor of Economic Relations at the Kurdish...
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Marc Schleifer

Marc is the Regional Director for Eurasia and South Asia at the...
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Nataliya Zhuhay

Nataliia Zhuhai is the Program Officer at the Center for International Private...
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Jean-Michel Severino

Jean-Michel is CEO of Investisseurs et Partenaires (I&P), an impact investing and...
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Valentina Calderón-Mejía

Valentina holds a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Chicago....
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Fernado Cantú-Bazaldua

Fernado holds a PhD in Econometrics from the University of Geneva. He...
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Neil Ferguson

Neil is an economist specializing on topics at the interface of economic...
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Stephanie Deubler

Stephanie Deubler has been working for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)...
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Barthout van Slingelandt

Barthout is a Managing Partner at XSML, a frontier market fund-manager active...
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Alban Hashani

Alban started working as a researcher at Riinvest Institute in 2006 after...
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Aki Harima

Aki is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bremen. In her...
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Abouzkeh Abdalnaser

Abouzkeh is Director-general of the Libya Enterprise for Small and Medium Enterprises,...
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Dr. Dia Eddin Sadek Abuhadra

Dia, holds a PhD in Nuclear Engineering, and currently works as  GIZ...
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Sascha Noé

Sascha is working at Cordaid Investment Management BV (CIMBV) as Manager Responsible...
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Ahmed Dezaye

Dr. Ahmed Dezaye is the University President of Salahaddin University in Erbil,...
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Ahmed Dikhil

Dr. Ahmed Dikhil is professor at Tikrit University in Irak/KRD and has...
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Brandon Oelofse

Brandon Oelofse, senior trainer and course coordinator at RNTC. Brandon has worked...
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Nasser Al Faqih

Nasser Al Faqih is a UNDP advisor and program designer for economic...
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Warda Dirir

Warda Dirir is the co-founder of Innovate Ventures, the leading start-up accelerator...
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Rasheed Ahmed Ali Shagea

In 2015 Rasheed founded the Yemen Mocha Coffee for Exporting to support...
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Rafat Al Akhali

Rafat is currently a fellow of practice at the Blavatnik School of...
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Tarek El-Ghyriane

Tarek el-Ghyriane is one of Libya’s leading professionals supporting youth entrepreneurs in...
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Heleen Cousijn

Heleen Cousijn is a Project Officer at Diversion, an organization that provides...
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Dr. Eri Park

Dr. Eri Park is Assistant Professor of Psychology at University College Roosevelt....
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Mohamed Baban

Mohamed Baban has been the Chief Technology Officer at Asia Cell in...
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Thomas Hill

Dr. Thomas Hill is a clinical associate professor at the Center for...
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David Connolly

Dr. David Connolly is Head of Research at The Hague Institute for Global...
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Ayman Tabbaa

Ayman Tabbaa is a founding member and Chairman of the Board of...
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Agnese Macaluso

Agnese is a Researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. She...
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Farooq Burney

Farooq is the Executive Director of Al Fakhoora, a programme of Education...
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Dr. Fady Yarak

Dr. Fady Yarak has been the Director General of Education at the...
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Corita Johannes

Corita Johannes is programme assistant, web editor and member of VAW campaign...
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Nada Charara

Nada Charara is an Assistant Director for Development at the American University...
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Mustafa El. Sagilzi

As General Manager of The Libyan Programme for Reintegration and Development at...
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Kurdo Mohamad

Kurdo Mohamed fled on age of five from Kurdistan to the Netherlands....
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Yavuz Coskun

Prof Dr. Coskun is the rector of Gaziantep University since 2008. He...
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Imke Greven

Imke Greven is Coordinator of the Behind the Brands project, a campaign...
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Nassira Boudhan

In 2012, Nassira Boudhan the entrepreneur behind FFORE, quit her job as...
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Ahmed Altaleb

Ahmed Altaleb is a second year Civil Engineering student at Gaziantep University,...
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Thomas Loudon

Thomas Loudon is the CEO and co-founder of VJ Movement and Cartoon...
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Mustafa Othman

Mustafa Othman is the co-founder and manager at Shaqodoon Organization a local...
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Universities at the Centre of War

Obay Ahmed, Ahmed Hussein, Thomas Hill Afternoon Mosul University and Tikrit University,...
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The New Pioneers: Diaspora Entrepreneurs

Aki Harima, Stephanie Deubler, Khaalid Hassan Morning Diaspora entrepreneurship has only recently...
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Arrived, now what? Getting Refugees to the Right Work

Eefje Blankenvoort, Wissam Hema, Kurdo Mohamad, Amina el Berkaoui, Giselle Schellekens Afternoon...
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Hear from the Experts: Doing Business in Fragile States

Antoinia Norman, Mustafa Othman, Warda Diri, Mahmud Johnson, Tarek Elgheryani Afternoon Entrepreneurs...
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The Little Things: Holistic Approach to Higher Education for Syrian Refugees

Farooq Burney, Alaa Alwani, Hamza Khedr, Ahmed Taleb Morning The theme of...
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Peace-building Effects of Employment in the MENA region

Tilman Brück, Neil Ferguson, Valentina Mejía, Fernando Cantu, David Connolly Afternoon Having...
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Learning and Working: Countering Radicalisation

Agnese Macaluso, David Kenning, Sjoerd Raaijmakers Morning Recent studies suggest that access...
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Libya: How to Move Forward

Abdalnaser Abouzkeh, Dia Sadek Abuhadra, Tarek Elgheryani, Enas Lbhari, Majdalene Bentaher Morning...
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Masterclass: The Art of Coffee Making in War-torn Yemen

Mokhtar Al Khanshali Morning This masterclass promises a fully immersive lesson in...
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Strategies for Recovery from Conflict through Entrepreneurship

Marc Schleifer, Nataliya Zhuhay, Ayman Tabbaa, Alban Hashani Morning During and after...
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Striving for Education and Jobs in Iraq/KRG

Fathi Al Mudaris, Ahmed Dezaye, Mohammed Baban Morning Kurdistan Region of Iraq...
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How to Promote Sustainable Investment in Fragile Countries

Michel Botzung, Barthout van Slingelandt, Sascha Noé, Nasser Al Faqih, Jean-Michel Severino...
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Masterclass: Online Radicalisation

Brandon Oelofse Afternoon Nowadays, the internet is a frequently used instrument for...
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Rebuilding Syria

Hasan Manda, M. Yavuz Coskun, Jawad Abou Hatab, Abdulaziz Doghem, Faiz Ali Bash, Ramazan Taşaltın, Hasan Kaya, Alaa Alwani, Hamza...
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The Price of Abandoning Yemen

Rafat Al Akhali, Mohammed Al Qadasi, Rashed Shagea, Sandra Doempke Afternoon Yemen’s...
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The Impact of Women and Social Enterprises

Corita Johannes, Josette Dijkhuizen, Nassira Boudha, Edith van der Spruit, Enas Lbhari Afternoon Several studies show...
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Masterclass: Accelerating (Post-Conflict) Economic Recovery

Paul Collier Morning After his keynote in de Grote Zaal, Paul Collier...
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It was an absolute pleasure to be included in the IGNITE Conference. Truly a wealth of information that has placed me in a position to join hands in the support of entrepreneurs in regions of such fragility and pain.

SPARK and IGNITE are always an inspiration to us working in conflict and hard environments. Seeing and listening to others that are struggling and striving to make the positive change is inspiring and “Igniting”!

IGNITE brought together a fascinating group of people all interested in how entrepreneurs and job creating can help build peace and stability. The presentations were inspiring, the discussions stimulating and the exchanges outside the meetings rooms very helpful.

As someone who has recently started working with young entrepreneurs in Somalia, the IGNITE conference has been a great platform to learn about what other organisations working in similar environments are doing to overcome the challenges of working in fragile regions.

It was a valuable opportunity to meet people from many different nations and to know their efforts to overcome the local problems. The discussions during IGNITE were organised in a good manner, it is definitely perfect work!

IGNITE 2016 offered diverse presentations and workshops by various actors such as researchers, NGOs and entrepreneurs. It is such a great platform for all the stakeholders with different backgrounds to co-create solutions for the challenges post-conflict states are facing.

I’ve rarely found myself surrounded by so many constructive actors all focused on finding and implementing sustainable and practical steps to address problems caused by radicalisation and forced migration in pursuit of more peaceful societies.

What a hopeful day IGNITE 2016 was. Educators and entrepreneurs from many countries told their stories about resilience and insights on how to move forward even in the most difficult circumstances during or after conflict. 

IGNITE always brings together diverse groups of people and their innovative ideas. IGNITE 2016 was no exception. It is our privilege to partner with SPARK!

I think that IGNITE 2016 is the best scientific event I attend up to now. Speakers from different types of states and sciences discussed the problems of the world together.

More than anything, the event was exciting and optimistic, despite the serious topics at hand. Too often, I see pessimism infiltrate such serious discussions. Not here. And that was refreshing.


MAIN PARTNER:                                               SUPPORTING PARTNER:                                              MEDIA PARTNER:

                              City of Amsterdam                                OneWorld




UNDP    CIPE pngIraq-KRG Ministry of Trade and IndustryAl Fakhoora  VICEPrintSalahaddin University-ErbilWO=MEN Mosul UniversityGIZ logoTikrit UniversityrntcCordaid_logo_RGB_A1NYUXSML logoISDC