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Future-focused policymaking priorities & why associations (need to) matter

Dubai has built a global reputation as an innovation hub by bringing together the strongest global talent to work in sectors that have been identified as most important for this region’s future economic growth and societal progress. Leaders from a range of Dubai’s most creative institutions will discuss their priorities and aspirations for their sectors, and discuss new ways in which associations related to these sectors could play a stronger role in shaping strategy and delivering societally important goals. Dubai Association Centre itself is a key element in Dubai’s plans, creating valuable cross-fertilisation of ideas and knowledge between sectors, and helping to create a vibrant association eco-system.

Moderator: Martin Sirk, Owner, Sirk Serendipity


21 February 2022


10:35 am - 11:00 am




  • Dr Mahmoud Hesham El Burai
    Dr Mahmoud Hesham El Burai
    Senior Advisor, Real Estate Regulatory Agency Dubai & Chairman, Middle East Sustainable Development Institute

    Mahmoud AlBurai is currently serving as senior advisor in Dubai mandated to work on a plan to make Dubai more competitive. Mahmoud leads Middle East Cities Centre at the American University in Dubai working on research and development related to field of sustainability and competitiveness.He is also Chairman of UNDRR ARISE network in the UAE and Director of Middle East Cities Center at the American University in Dubai. Before this role Mahmoud has served as the CEO of Dubai Real estate Institute for 10 years in which the institute graduated 80,000 real estate professionals from the region. He was chosen in 2021 as one of 10 City Changers by the World Urban Campaign of the UN recognizing his role in lobbying stakeholders to advance SDGs and deal with climate change.

    He is also the Vice President of International real estate federation, FIABCI Arabic Countries since 2016 , Chairman of FIABCI Emirates and sits on the board of International Real estate Federation, the world largest global real estate network of more than 1.5 million associate members. Before that he served on the board of International Real estate Society (IRES) for 5 years and the board of National Association of Realtors(NAR), 1.3 million member real estate network based in Chicago for the years 2019-2020.

    He served as the Chairman of UN Global Compact UAE from 2015-2020 and represented MENA region in UN Global Compact advisory board for 2016-2018. In his role as UN Global Compact MENA representative led many SDG’s driven initiatives. He started youth ambassadors programs in seven UAE universities recruiting over 150 youth, train them to help businesses become more sustainable. He also led establishing Women empowerment principles platform in the UAE with 60 companies signing on WEPs commitment. To promote SDGs among business, Mahmoud launched SDGs pioneers UAE celebrating SDGs success stories of private and government organizations. Mahmoud has been selected to be FIABCI representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for West Asia (UNESCWA) and UNECE (Geneva).

    Recently Mahmoud established his Think Tank in Geneva under the name of Middle East Sustainable Development Institute to lobby governments, businesses and communities to action on SDGs in the Middle East. His mail role is to lobby private sector in the region to be actively involved in SDGs, during his presidency, UAE local network became the fastest growing network internationally. Moreover, Mahmoud leads the affordable Housing working-group at World Economic Forum. Mahmoud also serves as an advisor-MENA region at Happy City Lab, headquartered in Canada which works on integrating happiness into urban design.
    Prior to his position in Dubai Real estate Institute, Mahmoud worked as Senior Director of Real estate Sector development at Real estate Regulatory Authority of Dubai and few years as a Development Associate Manager at Dubai holding.

    Mahmoud completed his bachelor’s degree in engineering at the American University before continuing on to earn his Master’s in Real Estate from National University of Singapore .Mahmoud completed his MBA in Finance from his alma mater, American University of Dubai in 2010 and Master of Cities at London School of Economics and Political Science(LSE) in 2019 and DBA at Grenoble ecole de management in France in 2020 .

  • Hoda Barakat
    Hoda Barakat
    President, International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Dubai Chapter

    Hoda graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK with an Honors and Masters degree in Law.
    Having trained and worked with a leading Intellectual Property (IP) firm in the City of London from 1991 to 1995, she moved to Dubai where she established and led the intellectual property department of a leading regional firm for 15 years and became Managing Partner of the same firm for 5 years.
    In 2011, Hoda established her own boutique law firm Hoda Barakat Legal Consultancy focussing on providing clients with strategic advice on IP and commercial matters. She has worked closely with both private and public sector and often acted as the bridge between the two.
    Today, Hoda is still seen as a leader in the field of IP and sits on the Board of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association and is the current President of the AIPPI-UAE National Group. She also sits on the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Mediation and Arbitration Panel as a Neutral on their Domain Name Disputes Panel.
    Hoda also sits on the Boards of several companies in an advisory, non-executive capacity.
    In recognition of her work, Hoda has been awarded several awards and accolades over the years; including:
    − The Professional Achievement Award in the Women’s Middle East Achievement Awards 2003
    − The Emirates Business Woman Award in the Dubai Quality Group Emirates Women Awards 2005

  • Ramy Zaki
    Ramy Zaki
    Vice President Public Policy, Mastercard & Chairman, Multinational Companies Business Group Dubai

    Ramy Zaki joined Mastercard in February 2020. He is the Vice President Public Policy for Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai. His responsibility spans more than 80 markets.
    Prior to that, he served as the Global Government Relations and Public Policy leader for Procter & Gamble (P&G) operations in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa and the Global International Trade Policy leader for P&G.
    Between 2008 and 2014, Ramy was part of P&G Government Relations and Public Policy team in Brussels, where he oversaw the Company’s portfolio of International Trade & Tax Policy for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and led the public policy portfolio in Central & Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In addition, he led the public policy and market access strategy of P&G growth plans in 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the strategic planning for a number of partnerships with governments in EMEA. He also led external efforts for P&G’s Middle East & North Africa environmental sustainability voluntary initiatives.
    Prior to this assignment, Ramy served as External Relations Senior Manager at P&G Near East, with a scope covering the company’s business in Egypt, the Eastern Mediterranean region and Northeast African markets.
    Between 1994 and 1998, he served as a diplomat with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in various assignments including the Palestine Desk, Consular Affairs and the Ministry’s Databank. Prior to that, he worked for Bechtel as Business Development Assistant Manager. Ramy took his first career step in 1992 as an engineer with the General Dynamics Company.
    Ramy received a B.Sc. Engineering from Cairo University in 1992 and an M.Sc. Environmental Science, Legislation and Management from Brunel University in the UK in 1996. In 1994, he attended the Cairo Diplomatic Institute and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He also took part to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Program on “the Practice of Trade”.
    Ramy is a co-founder and member of the board of an environmental NGO. He is a member of the LIONS Clubs of France, the Order of Engineers, AmCham EU, BusinessEurope, the Harvard KSG Alumni Association, the Association for Graduates and Trainees from Britain and the Alumni Association of Jesuit Schools. Since 2017, he chairs the Dubai-based Multinational Companies Business Group (MCBG). He also sits on the Policy Committee of the UAE Circular Economy Council and was nominated to join the Supreme Legislative Committee in Dubai.

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