Arab 2.0 to be featured in Rome next 13th October

Thanks to Salvo Mizzi from Telecom Italia project “Capitale digitale” we will have the pleasure to host a very special conference in Rome next 13th October 6-8pm at the nice location of Opificio Telecom, Fondazione RomaEuropa Via dei Magazzini Generali 20/A.

This meeting -the second one of the cycle “Città digitale”- is named “Oriente.com” and will feature 3 very interesting names of the emerging vibrant scene of Arab web 2.0. Have a look at their bios:

Laith Zraikat, the co-founder and chief product officer of the Arabic web portal Jeeran .

Laith started Jeeran with his friends during their college years to make it the largest online community for user-generated-content in the Arab world.

Now, with more than 10 years of experience in the online space, Laith serves as Director of Innovation, overseeing the design and development of innovative web services which propel Jeeran’s community of around 1.5 million registered users and 7 million unique visitors a month. Jeeran is now a growing family of 50 smart and dedicated individuals who thrive on the challenges they face. The Jeeran network has grown over the years and spans millions of pages of purely user-generated-content.Jeeran has also successfully launched two sister sites and is an early investor in the number one Arab comedy portal. A self taught technologist and entrepreneur, Laith has never had a job but enjoys creating jobs while pursuing his dream of building Jeeran into a major player in the global web space. Laith holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of Jordan. Enjoys coding, design, hiking, cycling, and reading. Plans to one day fly a commercial jet and own an island.

Nadine Toukan, co-founder of Creative Jordan (Urdun Mubdi3)

Nadine produced on the multi-award winning feature film, Captain Abu Raed, and developed the capacity building division for the Royal Film Commission where she curated programs for emerging Arab filmmakers with Sundance Institute, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and the AM Qattan Foundation.  She curated the first corporate social responsibility forum for the mayor of Amman, and piloted the mobile film experience for the Arab Children Congress. She is currently working on the launch of a slew of Jordanian content channels for the International Emmy Award winning company Arab Telemedia Group. She is also the co-founder and tribe leader at UrdunMubdi3, and along with her partner, economist Yusuf Mansur, they are producing a multiplatform show on entrepreneurship and creative industry companies in Jordan.  She mantains a blog http://www.arabianmonkeytales.com and a very active Twitter profile @nadinetoukan.

Habib Haddad  – co-founder Yamli.com

Habib is an entrepreneur and recently co-founder of Yamli.com, a startup focused on empowering the Arabic language on the web. Today, he drives Yamli’s vision and product strategy. The World Economic Forum recognized him as a Young Global Leader in 2009, he is also part of the 2009 “Thirty under 30” list by Arabian Business. Prior to Yamli he co-founded INLET (International Network of Lebanese Entrepreneurs and Technologists), to promote entrepreneurship in the Arab world. During the July of 2006 war he founded Relief Lebanon to support relief operations. His past work experiences also include AMD and Mok3 a Boston startup out of the MIT. Habib advises several young entrepreneurs and startups from the MENA region and often speaks about early stage development and entrepreneurship. He holds a Bachelor of Computer and Communication Engineering from the American University in Beirut and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

I’m very proud to be the coordinator and the host of such a meeting and I’m looking forward to welcoming Laith, Nadine and Habib in my home town. A big thanks to Salvo and Gilda from Telecom Italia to have made this possible. It was a lot of hard work, even in terms of logistics and particularly the visa issue. I hope this meeting will help our local community to understand the Arab world better and to start thinking about it as a vibrant place, plenty of young talented people, creativity and business opportunities.

See you in Rome on 13th, inshallah🙂


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I social media e le elezioni libanesi

Ripubblico qui sotto l’articolo apparso giovedi scorso su Nova, il bel supplemento de Il Sole 24 ore dedicato all’innovazione e alla tecnologia.

di Donatella Della Ratta

Per chi segue i cinguettii della rete, @sharik961 è il Twitter da tenere d’occhio alle elezioni libanesi del 7 giugno. Sharik -“colui che partecipa”- insieme al prefisso del Libano -il 961- è l’invito lanciato da “un gruppo di persone che amano il Libano e la tecnologia”.

Appartenenze politiche diverse, ma desiderio comune di “supportare la trasparenza nella politica libanese”, una delle più complesse al mondo, retta da un sistema elettorale che rende conto delle confessioni religiose. Wissam Badine della EastlineMarketing, che si è occupata di social marketing per molti partiti libanesi, osserva che il Libano online è “lo specchio della geografia offline del territorio, diversificata e frammentata. Incasinata, ma ricca”.

Lo stesso vale per la geografia politica, con i due schieramenti sfidanti – “14 marzo” e “l’8 marzo” – che raggruppano trasversalmente l’uno i musulmani sunniti di Saad Hariri e la destra cristiana delle Forze libanesi; l’altro Hezbollah, i comunisti, e il resto dei cristiani. Internet –Facebook per primo- è il campo di battaglia di queste diversità. Gli spot più cliccati sono quelli delle fazioni avversarie: “I libanesi sono curiosi, vogliono informarsi.. senza il web sarebbe impensabile far arrivare un messaggio politico sulla pagina del “nemico””, sottolinea Badine.

Internet fa anche da collante: Twitter impazza fra i libanesi che, a colpi dei 140 caratteri via web, cominciano a incontrarsi davvero. Sana Tawileh dell’incubator KuvCapital racconta che il “cinguettio” della rete produce scambi di idee e iniziative per un Libano “di tutti”, oltre le appartenenze politico-religiose. Sharik961 va in questa direzione, chiamando a raccolta i cittadini reporter per contribuire al monitoraggio elettorale.

La mappa raccoglie e gestisce le segnalazioni degli utenti grazie alla piattaforma Ushahidi, creata nel 2008 da attivisti africani per monitorare le violenze postelettorali in Kenya. Un progetto open source che aggrega i feed provenienti da cellulari, email, web, posizionandoli sulla mappa in tempo reale. Al Jazeera l’ha adottato per la guerra di Gaza, Sharik961 si prepara ad usarlo per l’election day. E per formare nuovi giovani cittadini reporter Rootspace -ong membro di Sharik961- ha lanciato Sawt as Shabbab (“la voce dei giovani”), come usare il web 2.0 per fare attivismo. Mentre SMEX, altra ong che partecipa a Sharik961, promuove un training sul web 2.0 rivolto alle aree rurali, e in lingua araba.

Nonostante la diffusione di inglese e francese, è infatti l’arabo a impazzare nella campagna elettorale. Ma quello “da chat”, traslitterato in lettere latine affiancate dai numeri che rendono i diversi suoni. Quello “à la libanaise” di Yamli.com, motore di ricerca di Habib Haddad, la nuova generazione libanese appena incoronata dal World Economic Forum.

Global Enterpreneurs’ Week started in Amman today

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is over, but it looks like Amman is going to stay as the place to be for talking business and creativity for the next upcoming days.

Queen Rania Centre for Enterpreneurship (QRCE) is organising the Global Enterpreneurs’ Week (GEW), a full week of interesting talks and insights focused on how to foster creativity and innovation in business. The week -which will last until 21 may, programme can be found here:www.qrce.org/eweek – was inaugurated today by HRH Princess Summaya bint al Hasan who chairs the Princess Sumaya University of Technology in Amman.

Mohamed Khawaja, deputy director at QRCE, invited many interesting people to address opening speeches, among them Mohammad Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, a big Dubai holding who was also presenting a shared project with argentinians and south-africans about supporting young students interested in opening new businesses.

Joi Ito, Ceo of Creative Commons, was talking about innovation and its costs, which were dramatically lowered by the Internet. Basically the Internet is like an open free and very creative R&D department accessible to everybody, if we keep it open:)  Innovation without permission was basically the successfull model on which all Silicon Valley -and, more in general, the US model- is based but cant’ be exported like it is in other places.  Jordan, like as the other Arab countries, has to find its own path to innovation, maybe insisting on a couple of creative and bold local enterpreneurs to change the way to do business and then extend it locally and regionally.

Habib Haddad, Lebanese entrepreneur now based in the US, co-founder of Yamli.com and recently nominated at WEF as one of the Young Arab Leaders of Tomorrow, inaugurated the GEW with his keynote speech entitled “From idea to reality”, describing the creation of a start-up just like building the layers of an onion.

The GEW has a very interesting programme which underlines how Amman is quickly becoming an hot spot in the Arab world to discuss business and creativity issues. Jordan is very cleverly pushing on the greatest resource it has got: its population, made up by a majority of young people under 30 that have the energy and the creativity to innovate and set up new ideas and businesses.