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Keynote Speakers

12, May, 2018

Tawakkol Karman (born Feb 7, 1979) is a Yemeni human rights activist, journalist, politician, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in non-violent struggle for the expression rights, women’s rights and peace-building work in Yemen.

She became the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to that date.

She is the president of the Women Journalists Without Chains, the general coordinator of the Peaceful Youth Revolution Council, a member of the advisory board for the Transparency International and several NGOs.

Bold and outspoken, She has been imprisoned on numerous occasions for her pro-democracy and pro-human rights protests. Among Yemen’s youth movement, she is known as “mother of the revolution”, “the iron woman”, and “the lady of the Arab spring”

She earned an undergraduate degree in administrative and economic science from the University of Science and Technology in Sana’a and a post-graduate degree in educational psychology from the University of Sana’a.

She was granted honorary doctorate in International Law from University of Alberta, Canada, in 2012. And most recently, she has received honorary doctorate from Peruvian César Vallejo University for her efforts in defending rights and freedoms. She is a mother of three children.


Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), 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 is advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister in matters concerning culture, science, and museums. 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 on the Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report for 2013 and 2016, as well as the UNESCO-supported World Water Scenarios (2013) and the executive council of the Encyclopedia of Life (2010) and Chairs the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (2010).  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); Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters awarded by the government of France (2003); 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); The Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection (Chennai, India, 2010); Millennium Excellence Award for Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize, by the Excellence Awards Foundation, 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);   Nizami Ganjavi Gold Medal of the Republic of Azerbaijan awarded by Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (2015); The “Dostlug” Order (Order of Friendship)  of Azerbaijan awarded by President of Azerbaijan (2015); Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation Award (2016);  Honorary Sign of the President of the Bulgarian  Academy of Sciences (2016).

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.

Serageldin 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 has hosted a cultural program on television in Egypt (over 130 episodes) and developed a TV Science Series in Arabic and English. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Cairo University and a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University and has received 38 honorary doctorates.