Speakers

ICSW is dedicated to connecting inspiring women of all backgrounds and generations, from sports fans to sportswomen, academics to professionals.

Our unparalleled line-up of speakers and panelists are some of the most inspirational figures in women’s sport and culture - industry leaders, barrier-breakers, sporting icons and influencers.

ICSW is your chance to listen to, and be a part of, great debates and in-depth discussions on the issues that matter to women, and to learn from some of the most experienced industry figures and sporting icons in the world.

Check back with us regularly to find out the latest news and announcements about our speakers, panellists, moderators and MCs in 2017.

Keynote Speakers

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a former Olympic athlete, a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a former President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Sports have always been an integral part of HRH Princess Haya’s life. At the age of 13 She became the first female to represent Jordan internationally in equestrian show jumping. In 1992, HRH Princess Haya became the first and only female to win a Pan-Arab equestrian medal when She won the individual bronze at the Pan-Arab Equestrian Games. In 2000, She represented Jordan in show jumping at the Sydney Olympic Games, and was Her nation’s flagbearer at the event. Two years later, Princess Haya competed for Jordan in the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. She was the first Arab woman to qualify for and compete in an equestrian world championship.

Recognizing the positive and empowering impact sports have had on Her own life, HRH Princess Haya has worked to give others, especially young girls, a similar experience. Her work as President of the FEI and as a member of the IOC was motivated by the belief that sport improves lives, empowers women, and breaks down barriers between people and nations.

In June 2015, HRH Princess Haya was awarded the prestigious Longines Ladies Award to celebrate Her achievements and positive impact had on equestrian sport. In January 2016, She received the Award for Local Sports Personality from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.

Speakers

Loretta Claiborne

Loretta Claiborne was born in Pennsylvania in 1953, partially blind and unable to walk or speak until the age of four. Despite being pressured to admit a young Loretta to a mental institution, Loretta’s mother refused to bow down, believing in her child’s potential.  At school, Loretta would escape the taunts of her classmates by running away. From then on, running became a passion through which she would find her path to global recognition.

In 1971, Claiborne was introduced to Special Olympics, which she described as a “turning point” in her life. She won her first gold medal in the 1983 World Games, and has since won dozens of medals at various events, and is a seasoned athlete in karate, skiing, skating, and basketball. She holds the women’s record for the 5,000m run in the Special Olympics World Games for her age category and has featured in the top 100 women at the Boston Marathon twice.

Aside from her athletic career, Claiborne is a global spokesperson and a member of the current Board of Directors for the Special Olympics.  She has also been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards including induction into the World Sport Humanitarian Hall of Fame 2007 and the Women in Sports Hall of Fame (2000). In 2000, her story was immortalized in the Walt Disney TV film production, The Loretta Claiborne Story.

Panellists

Raha Moharrak

PANEL:

THE MAKING OF A 21ST CENTURY ROLE MODEL: THE RISE OF SPORTS WOMEN IN THE ARAB WORLD

Raha Moharrak grew up in Saudi Arabia and throughout her life felt a longing to break free and to set off on her own adventure. She began searching for that adventure upon finishing her undergraduate studies, when she found what would become her life-long passion: mountain climbing.

At the age of 25, Moharrak successfully reached the peak of Kilimanjaro, and just two years later shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the youngest Arab, and first Saudi, woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Now 30 years old, she has completed several immense climbs of some of the highest peaks across the world.

While continuing to pursue her adventures, Moharrak utilizes the fame she has attained to spread a message of empowerment to other women, encouraging them to get active and to confront societal expectations. Moharrak also plays a role in pursuing the cause at a higher level through her involvement in campaigns by organizations such as the Human Rights Watch, who are lobbying governments to actively boost women’s role in sports.

May El-Khalil

PANEL:

BEHAVIORAL CHANGE: SPORTS AS THE NORM

In 2001, May El-Khalil suffered a near-fatal accident while on her routine run that put her in a coma and left her unable to walk. After two years of struggling with her injuries, El-Khalil began walking again. Out of her own struggle, she was inspired to start a movement that would create a sense of community, inspiring others to overcome the adversities in their lives. This is when she founded the Beirut Marathon Association.

The first Beirut Marathon was held in 2003, attracting 6,000 participants, and soon becoming a globally acclaimed event. In 2009, the marathon received accreditation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), and in 2016 attracted over 47,000 participants from 104 countries. It has also received recognition from prestigious organizations across the globe, being awarded the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) Power of Sports Award 2010, the Laureus “Sports for Good” Award 2010, and May El-Khalil was invited to speak about the Beirut Marathon project at the world-renowned TED Global Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2013.

Today, the Beirut Marathon Association organizes multiple running events alongside the Beirut Marathon, including a ladies-only race designed to empower women through running, and youth races to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the next generation.

Sister Madonna Buder

PANEL:

SPORT ACROSS GENERATIONS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Born in 1930 in Missouri, Sister Madonna Buder was active from an early age as a keen equestrian and tennis player, but was never the seasoned athlete she is today, aged 86.

At 23, Sister Madonna decided to follow her “true calling” by becoming a nun. Years later, she took up running which soon became a passion. She completed her first running race aged 47, her first triathlon aged 52 and her first ‘Ironman’ triathlon aged 55.

To date, Sister Madonna has competed in 37 marathons and 377 triathlons, including 45 ‘Ironman’ triathlons - an extraordinary feat which has earned her the title ‘The Iron Nun’. In 2012, she broke the record for being the oldest person to complete an Ironman triathlon at age 82.

Away from her life as a triathlete and a nun, Sister Madonna is a motivational speaker who seeks to spread her message of positivity and love to the entire world, and contributes to a number of non-profit organizations.

Zahra Lari

PANEL:

THE MAKING OF A 21ST CENTURY ROLE MODEL: THE RISE OF SPORTS WOMEN IN THE ARAB WORLD

22-year-old Lari, a three-time UAE national figure skating champion, is the first Emirati figure skater to compete on the international stage. At 11 years-old, Lari was inspired to try figure skating after watching the Disney film ‘Ice Princess’. Two days later, Lari skated onto the ice rink of the UAE capital’s Zayed Sports City for the first time, embarking on what would become her life-long passion.

Despite her father initially encouraging her to keep figure skating as a hobby, Lari made her international debut three years later at the European Cup in Canazei, Italy. It was here that she received a ‘deduction’ in points due to her hijab. As the first international-level figure skater to compete wearing the hijab, it was left to Lari to successfully challenge the deduction with the International Skating Union (ISU) who have since allowed headscarves to be worn in competition.

Lari, an athlete sponsored by the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), now has her sights firmly set on making history by becoming the first Emirati to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

Samar Nassar

PANEL:

THE MAKING OF A 21ST CENTURY ROLE MODEL: THE RISE OF SPORTS WOMEN IN THE ARAB WORLD

Samar Nassar boasts over 20 years’ experience within the world of sports – both as an athlete and within the sports management industry.

Nassar competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games as a swimmer, and was appointed as Chief of Mission for Jordan’s 2012 Olympics delegation, she also served as a board member of the Jordanian Olympic Committee.

Following her Olympic career, Nassar was chosen to spearhead Jordan’s bid to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016, an ambitious project that was crucial to the development of the women’s game in the country.

In December 2013, Nassar and her team’s efforts were rewarded with the selection of Jordan to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016. Nassar was appointed as the CEO of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016, leading the tournament to a successful delivery and marking the first time the tournament has been hosted in the Middle East.

Nassar was educated in Europe, with an Undergraduate Degree In Molecular Biology and Genetic and a Master’s Degree in Sports Management.

Kate Bosomworth

PANEL:

BEHAVIORAL CHANGE: SPORTS AS THE NORM

Described as an exceptional and energetic leader, Kate Bosomworth has worked in the sports arena for almost 20 years. Having built one of the most successful independent sports PR agencies in the UK, Bosomworth now provides strategic consultancy to a select group of clients worldwide. Bosomworth has worked with a host of global sports and wellness brands and rights holders including adidas, The Ryder Cup, UEFA, The North Face, Unilever and GSK.

In 2013, Bosomworth was appointed to the Board of Sport England as board lead for the ground-breaking women’s campaign ‘This Girl Can’ – a movement to celebrate active women and to help women overcome the fear of judgement that prevents them being active. Bosomworth has been instrumental in the creation and development of this hugely successful campaign. More recently Bosomworth was asked to join the UK Government’s Sport & Business Council.

Bosomworth has two children and lives in London.

Julie Kitchen

PANEL:

SPORT ACROSS GENERATIONS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Julie Kitchen is widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest martial artists in the world.

Born and raised in England, as a child she was very shy. However, she loved P.E and was a physically gifted youngster.

In 1989, Kitchen enrolled in the Sea Cadets, and by the time she was sixteen had worked her way up the ranks to Petty Officer – a journey she attributes as a major part of overcoming her shyness.  

After giving birth to twins in 1999 at the age of twenty-one, Kitchen joined a local gym to lose weight and quickly developed a passion and talent for Muay Thai. Kitchen’s professional debut was in 2002, where she wore two sets of shin guards and a head guard! Her previous shyness now faded, she became completely addicted to fighting.

Over Kitchen’s professional fighting career, she faced fighters from fifteen different countries, and became the first British woman to win a WBC title. Kitchen officially retired in 2012.

Kitchen’s inner strength and spirit continues to inspire female athletes across the globe, and she is extremely proud to be considered The Queen of Muay Thai, a name given to her by her supporters. 

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi

PANEL:

EMPOWERING WOMEN: SPORTS AND LEADERSHIP

Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs in February 2016. In this role, H.E. Noura Al Kaabi acts as the key link and facilitator between the Cabinet and the Federal National Council

Noura is Chair of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Chair of the Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54; andChair of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC Group). She is also on the committee of TCA’s Museum Acquisition Committee and is part of the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and Qasr Al Hosn. She is also a board member of the UAE’s National Media Counciland theNational Archive

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi holds B.A. in MIS from UAE University and has also completed the Executive Leadership Programme from London Business School.

Moderators

MCs

Houriya Taheri

WORKSHOP:

UAE SUCCESS STORIES: THE SECRETS TO ESTABLISHING A SUCCESSFUL SPORTS BUSINESS

Houriya Taheri is a role model who is recognized as having played a leading part in the development of a women’s football culture in the UAE. She is the first Arab woman to receive a professional coaching license and the current UAE Women’s National Team Assistant Coach.

Taheri started her career as a goalkeeper and was once rated as the best Arab goalkeeper in the region. Having had to pause her playing career due to the lack of an official women’s national team, she decided to undertake her coaching qualifications and began to play a part in the development of the women’s game in her home country.

She has been awarded her ‘C’, ‘B’ and ‘A’ coaching licenses by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and has played an integral role in the transformation of women’s football in the UAE, including the formation of the UAE Women’s National Team.

Since she began working, women’s football in the UAE has expanded apace. Taheri has helped grow the domestic game from the point of having just seven registered female players to, in 2017, over 2,000 active players in the UAE, 8 clubs in the first league, women’s Under 14 and Under 16 leagues, and eight dedicated training centres. All of which receive support from the Women Football Committee and UAE FA.

Reem Maziq

wORKSHOP:

DISNEY’S HEALTHY LIVING COMMITMENT: INSPIRING HEALTHY LIVING THROUGH STORYTELLING AND CHARACTERS

Reem Maziq joined The Walt Disney Company in 2012 as part of the Corporate Strategy and Business Development team during which she worked on the planning and development of several new businesses including Disney Life, Disney Party and Healthy Living, in addition ti the acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd and Germany’s Das Vierte TV Channel. Maziq now holds operational responsibility for Healthy Living EMEA - a corporate wide business strategy encouraging life-long healthy behaviours in children and their families through story-telling, imagination and fun.

Since its adoption in 2014, the company has used Disney, Marvel and Star Wars stories and characters to position healthy eating and physical exercise as fun and accessible to children and their families. As a result, Healthy Living has resulted in the rapid growth of Disney’s licensed healthy food portfolio and sportswear products.

Prior to Disney, Reem worked as an investment banking professional for 10 years across a number of financial centres in London, New York and Dubai.

Maziq speaks Arabic, English, Italian and French and holds a Bachelors of Law (LLB) in Law and European Law from King’s College, University of London.