SPARK presents IGNITE 2017
This year, the 5th edition of the IGNITE conference, will focus on improving access to higher education, developing entrepreneurship and promoting sustainable leadership amongst young people in conflict-affected regions. Hear from refugees, entrepreneurs, education experts, private sector, government and NGO representatives from across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Share knowledge on how to rebuild economies and societies.
Prof. Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, a Fellow of Jesus College, and Director of the Oxford Centre for the Study of African Economics. Since 2011 he has been Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID), the UK’s government department in charge of aid policy and spending.
Scarlet is the Senior Director of Private Sector Partnerships at the Tent Foundation, launched by Hamdi Ulukaya, the CEO of Chobani yogurt, to mobilise the private sector to respond to the global refugee crisis. She oversees the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a coalition of 80+ companies that have made commitments to support refugees. Prior to Tent, Scarlet worked at the Clinton Foundation for nearly eight years.
Kilian Kleinschmidt is a humanitarian and refugee expert with over 25 years of experience in a wide range of countries, emergencies and refugee camps as United Nations official, Aid worker and Diplomat. He is the founder and CEO of Innovation and Planning Agency (IPA), which connects marginalised parts of the globe with technological resources needed to catalyse change. Kilian managed the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan from 2013-14 on behalf of UNHCR.
Dr. Abdigani Diriye is a research scientist and a manager for the financial services research group at IBM Research Africa and the co-founder of Innovate Ventures, the leading startup accelerator and technology fund in Somalia. In 2017, Dr. Diriye became a TED Fellow, Next Einstein Forum Fellow and has been listed as one of 35 innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review.
Linda Kromjong is the Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) in Geneva. The IOE is the largest network of the private sector in the world, with more than 150 business and employer organisation members. The IOE is also the founding father of the GFMD Business Mechanism. Kromjong serves on the Advisory Boards of the UN Global Compact, Mega Sporting Events (MSE) platform for Business & Human Rights and UNHCR Livelihood.
Ahmad Bayram is Middle East and Africa Regional Manager at Techstars, a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market. Ahmad is also Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Program Advisor, Training Bootcamp Manager and Techfugees Adviser, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Aliqtisadi.com. His website is also one of the most prominent blogs in the Arab world that tackles the power of the sharing and collaborative economy.
Buke Cuhadar serves as Vice President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a platform of programmes and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November. Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people in 160+ countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures.
Dr. Fadlo Khuri is the 16th president of the American University of Beirut. Khuri has published over 300 peer reviewed articles, and his work has been cited over 16,000 times. He has been recognised with several major awards, including the 2006 Nagi Sahyoun Award, the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award. Khuri serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cancer.
Ahmed Ben Mussa is a leader in entrepreneurship ecosystem development in Libya. He currently leads the Tatweer Entrepreneurship Campus programme, which aims to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country in such devastating times. He has published several articles promoting the necessity to cease the opportunities that political instabilities and the technological advancements provide for the people of Libya. Ahmed is also a lecturer of entrepreneurship in several institutions.
Abdirizaq Abdullahi is a Somali entrepreneur who grew up in the Netherlands. In 2012 he visited Somaliland and fell in love with it. He opened a tourism business to enable the world visit the beauty of the ‘visiting-is-not-advised’ area. Four years later, at IGNITE2017, he will tell us about his journey to success: from his first trip to Somalia, to partnering with international organisations and creating a gender balanced workplace.
Farooq Burney is the Executive Director of Al Fakhoora, a programme of Education Above All in Doha, Qatar, which works with partners to offer access to higher education for marginalised youth by providing scholarship and empowerment programmes. EAA are also involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the education sector in Gaza. Mr. Burney has over 15 years of experience in the NGO sector.
Emmanuelle Ntakiributimana is the Managing Director of a fruit processing company in Burundi. Focused on economic development, in his capacity as President of IPFB, he connects different players of the fruit sector, working towards cohesive economies. The federation provides capacity building, coaching and facilitation of loans for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Emma Ursich is Director of The Human Safety Net at Generali, a global insurance company based in Italy. Together with SPARK, Emma is launching an ambitious programme for empowering refugees to set up successful enterprises, starting in Germany and France. Emma has spent 15 years in corporate communications and identity. Throughout her work, Emma followed her belief that a company’s image depends on its actions.
Besan Abu-Joudeh is co-founder and CEO of BuildPalestine, a crowdfunding platform for social impact projects. Born in the US, Besan always felt a connection to her homeland. When she moved to Palestine, she saw local organisations struggling to get projects off the ground and that’s when the idea for her business struck.
Dr. Obay Said Al-Dewachi is the University President of Mosul University in Iraq. Dr. Al-Dewachi holds a Master degree in Agricultural and Food marketing from the Newcastle upon Tyne University, England. Furthermore, he has a Ph.D. in Marketing from Clermont Fd. University, France. Dr. Al-Dewachi has been leading Mosul University during the past years during the occupation by Islamic State.
Prof. Tilman Brück is the Founder and Director of International Security and Research Center (ISDC) in Berlin and Team Leader of Development Economics at Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), Germany. Brück is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the ‘Households in Conflict Network (HiCN)‘, a global research network studying the intersections of conflict and development at the micro-level.
Enas El Bahri is a Libyan business woman, co-founder and CEO of Mozart Catering company, located in Libya. The company was established in 2010 with 3 employees and now employs over 300 workers and has opened 10 branches inside Libya. Enas’ goal is to provide a Libyan product with international standards that competes internationally and provides job opportunities for the Libyan youth.
Rebin Khailany is the founder of KurdSolar; a branch of a Dutch-based company. The company was founded in 2017 to offer customers renewable energy solutions for their energy demands. Rebin’s mission is to stimulate the use of sustainable energy technologies in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Through this initiative, Rebin hopes to provide a solution to the major energy & utilities challenges in this area.
Teeba Mohammed Naqash is as a translator and a member of the faculty of culture at the University of Mosul. She is passionate about connecting cultures and bridging gaps. She is involved in international discussions about education and peace in Iraq. The hard working patriot puts “all her passion and energy” into rebuilding her homeland.
Neil is an economist specialising in economic development, political instability and conflict. In 2011, he joined the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, working first on the EUSECON programme and later, the WISIND programme. In January 2012, he moved to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), where his research included development and analysis of a jobs quality index for Kyrgyzstan.
Alice Barbe is a social entrepreneur and director of SINGA France, which strengthens connections between refugees and host societies, promotes innovation of asylum through digital tools and participates in the creation of platforms, spaces and programmes to welcome refugees. Alice also works as a CSR consultant and develops expertise on social innovation and social business.
David Wheeler is editor of Al-Fanar Media, a publication focused on education and youth in the Arab world. For 25 years prior, David worked as a science writer, international editor, and managing editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education. David has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and was awarded a Vannevar Bush Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Following several years in the political sphere in Iran within think-tanks and as adviser to the former Prime Minister, Hamze Ghalebi is now president of Singa France. Singa valorises diversity by empowering newcomers through entrepreneurship. Hamze is also developing an expertise in international business within emerging countries using his experience in leadership, negotiation, and intercultural management.
Martin Spicer is currently Director, Blended Finance at the International Finance Corporation, where he is responsible for co-investments originating from $1.0 billion of blended finance facilities, including climate, agribusiness and SME themes. He also manages the IDA18 Private Sector Window, a $2.0 billion blended finance facility focused on the poorest, most fragile and violence-affected countries (FCS/IDA countries).
Petra is the host of the IGNITE Conference. Petra is a former diplomat, senator for D66, entrepreneur and Arabist. She works as an independent advisor to ministries, governments, embassies and NGO’s. Furthermore, she regularly gives political comments to media on the Middle East, diplomacy and human rights. She has received several prestigous awards for her writing, including the Women in Media Award and the Aletta Emancipation Prize, 2016.
Johan te Velde is the co-founder and senior consultant at Double Loop Advisors. He conducts capacity building, baseline studies and evaluations for a variety of government and non-governmental organisations on peacebuilding and service delivery in fragile countries. He was engaged in action research in a SPARK programme promoting employment in agricultural value chains in Burundi and South Sudan.
As General Manager of the Libyan Programme for Reintegration and Development at SESRIC, Mustafa has overseen Libya’s ex-combatant reintegration programmes, which have served over 162,000 beneficiaries to date. Mustafa has twenty years experience of entrepreneurship in the IT sector and four years of experience in politics, public management, social services management and SME’s development.
Lara Shahin is a Damascus-born Syrian. She fled to Amman, Jordan in 2014 where she set up her handicraft company, Syrian Jasmine. Syrian Jasmine provides a platform for Syrian refugee women to sell their homemade crafts. Her company now gives creative trainings to women, turning them into self-dependent entrepreneurs. Watch her video.
Mariel Mensink is Rural Finance Advisor to, among others, the MAVC programme in Burundi, which closely collaborates with the SPARK programmes in Burundi. Mariel has previously worked in rural and agri-business development, small enterprises and micro-finance, market linkages and supply chain development. She has experience in policy advice, organisational development and private sector policy development.
Firas Deeb is one of SPARK’s Regional Programme Managers working on higher education and entrepreneurship in fragile states. He has more than 8 years experience in the MENA region (Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon) and another 7 years in the EU working with international institutions, such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Commission.
Annelies Withofs is Programme Manager for the IKEA Foundation’s ‘Reshaping Humanitarian Response’ portfolio. Annelies works closely with humanitarian partners, such as UNHCR, and international response agencies and innovative initiatives. Together, they develop programmes that stimulate the sector to innovate and catalyse self-reliance of refugees, and for displaced communities to become less vulnerable to climate change.
Ambassador Gerard Steeghs is the NL Special Envoy for Syria. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985, and has a broad experience as an ambassador and political advisor. He worked among others in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Russia, New York and Washington, and at multilateral and regional departments in The Hague. He also worked as Deputy Director for the UN and International Financial Institutions.
Simone works within the SME Finance and Development Group at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), where she specialises in product development and SME policy dialogue, and oversees the SME work under the Bank’s Refugee Response Programme in Turkey and Jordan. She has been with EBRD since 2009; as an Economic Analyst; supporting the Banking team in SME capacity building; and coordinating SME advisory services in Western Balkans and South-East Europe previously.
Emmanuelle Ntakiributimana, Firas Deeb, Johan te Velde, Mariel Mensink
This workshop will address the NGO perspective on how to provide long-term employment support during conflict. The workshop will focus on the cases of Yemen, Burundi and South Sudan. Analysis has shown that for many countries currently enduring conflict, agriculture is often a key driver for economic development. With an aim to bringing stability to troubled regions, agricultural development is currently carried out by a few NGOs in the focus countries. Representatives from these NGOs will give their perspective and share lessons learned.
Hamze Ghalebi, Alice Barbe, Emma Urwich, Heleen Vink, Gemeente Amsterdam
Obay Ahmed, Ibrahem Mustafa Al-Hsan, Teeba Naqash
Last year, in the first edition of the workshop, we explored the challenges facing Iraqi universities in conflict. This year, in the 2nd edition, we’ll dive deep into post-IS universities, Raqqa and Mosul, and see what can be done and offered to students who have now returned to their classes. How to customise curriculums to empower students to rebuild their country? How to encourage their enthusiasm and build their confidence? Think along with students, experts and representatives from local and international universities to find solutions.
David Wheeler, Nigel Pedlingham, Lennart Hofmann
Investors, donors, governments, nor the public at large is keen on hearing what’s going on in fragile states. What makes the ‘fragile state’ story so difficult to tell and so hard to sell? Storytellers, media experts and journalists get together and produce the ultimate fragile state pitch and share their ideas how to go about it. How to tell this story? How to work together with journalists? How to get to the right information, and how to use the right media channels to achieve your goals.
Besan Aboujoudeh, Abdirizaq Abdullahi, Rebin Khailany, Ange Muyumbira, Enas El Bahri, Lara Shahin
By bringing together entrepreneurs and small business owners from the world’s most fragile states, such as Libya, Burundi, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, stakeholders have the opportunity to discuss the reality of entrepreneurship in fragile contexts. For example, obstacles such as corruption, slow government and lack of competition or capital have a major influence on the future of businesses. Hear real-world accounts of how entrepreneurship, job creation and development of local economies can contribute to conflict-prevention, stemming refugee flows and counter radicalisation efforts.
Simone Zeh Atanasovski, Ahmed Ben Mussa, Buke Cuhadar, Rebin Khailany
During war and in post-Arab Spring countries such as Libya, and post-conflict regions such as the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, entrepreneurship has risen out of necessity, as a tool for survival. How to support entrepreneurship in ongoing and post-conflict circumstances? How to face the challenges of building an eco-system where it has been badly damaged? Hear the stories of entrepreneurs and experts who are rebuilding futures through entrepreneurship development.
Annelies Withofs, Scarlet Cronin, Emma Ursich
Across the world, 65 million people have been forcibly displaced. So, there’s a strong need for support to end this global refugee crisis. In this session we look what the private sector can do: how businesses and their partners can join forces, how they can leverage their knowledge and expertise to provide solutions for refugees and their hosting communities. And how we can anticipate on a possible return to their home countries and reconstruction of their communities.
Thousands of Syrian refugees are looking for a way to study in the region. How can we better provide them with scholarships and meet their wishes? Equally important: how to scale up scholarship programme for Syrian refugees, as we are only reaching a small amount of the refugees out there? And how do we link entrepreneurship and civic leadership to these scholarship programmes to prepare students for next steps once they have finished their degree?
Lara Shahin, Mustafa El Saghezli
Doing business in fragile states requires a specific approach. Entrepreneurs need to have skills which enable them to be successful in conflict affected environments. How to mitigate the risks involved? How to do your market research? How (not) to deal with politics? This training shows in a nutshell what the conflict-sensitive business practice is all about. Fancy taking on a real challenge?
International Organisation for Migration
The International Organisation for Migration’s second annual Global Migration Film Festival is coming to IGNITE to showcase some astonishing filmmaking and engage participants in discussion and Q&A with some inspiring guests after the film screening.
Tilman Brück, Neil Ferguson, Marthe Pauwe, Job Arts, Maren Kroeger
Education vs Employment for Stability will focus on the debate as to whether it is better to first prioritise education or employment given the fact that time and resources are limited. It is designed to draw on the wider debate on livelihoods vs. development strategies. Academic perspectives on employment will be represented by the International Security and Development Center (ISDC) and their latest research into the effects of employment on stability in fragile states. The argument for higher education will be presented by SPARK and UNHCR.
German entrepreneur and former UNHCR director of the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan tells his story: about his experiences in Za’atari, the role of entrepreneurship in refugee camps and his unorthodox views on the refugee crisis.
Do you live in a conflict-affected country or a fragile state? Do you have a business idea or an existing business under 1 year old that can contribute to rebuilding or supporting your local community? We want to hear from you. This startup competition offers the chance to win up to €10,000.00 to get your business idea started. Apply here.
Organised by SPARK and the Young Advisory Group.
If you wish to be part of the international IGNITE conference on ‘Rebuilding Futures: Empowering youth and entrepreneurs in fragile states’, please register your interest in becoming an IGNITE Volunteer here.