Angela Saadé grew up in Lebanon, studied in France and Spain, and earned a Master of Engineering from the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble (INPG). She then worked for Hespul (Lyon, France) as photovoltaic (PV) project manager, as manager of the PV section, and as an expert in energy and urban planning. She designed, developed, and managed large scale PV plants (projects with ten million Euro budgets), and European research-action collaborative projects. She also developed expertise in grid connection and was involved in national policy consultations with French administrations and the grid manager, Électricité Réseau Distribution France. For a period of four years, she worked in energy urban planning in collaboration with different European cities such as Lyon, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Hamburg. In parallel to her engineering work, Angela co-founded the French NGO Tabadol which aims to build a more equitable society reflecting its diversity and centering on social justice. She has developed several projects for the NGO, including training for youth workers, teachers, and journalists on topics related to discrimination, prejudice, and migration.
Dr Ounsi El Daif
Ounsi El Daif is a former academic who became an environmental civil society actor. He recently founded eedama, an environmental social enterprise based in Masdar City, UAE, that focuses on sustainable development education and training. He is originally a physicist who studied in France and Switzerland, earning his PhD in 2007 from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). Until 2015, he was a researcher in the field of solar photovoltaic energy in world-class scientific labs (EPFL, Lyon Nanotechnology Institute in France, IMEC in Belgium, QEERI in Qatar) as well as a university lecturer. He has lectured at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and the American University of Beirut in solar energy and physics. He develops the scientific and educational content of eedama’s project. He is also, via eedama, a renewable energies consultant, working in particular within the Zayed University research cluster, Designing Food Revolution for Social Change. He is a member of the Global Advisory Panel of the Science and Innovation Park of the United Arab Emirates University. He has authored and co-authored more than thirty publications in scientific peer-reviewed journals and ten articles in broad audience media – the list can be found here. He co-founded the Belgian non-profit L’Heliopole and has been doing broad audience communication about energy and the environment since 2009.
Eyad Houssami is laying the foundations of an alternative education program dedicated to theatre and agroecology. He makes theatre, has participated in the revitalization of an ancient organic farm in southern Lebanon, and works in management consulting, with a focus on nonprofit development. He is editor of the book Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre (Pluto/Dar Al Adab) and was editor-at-large of Portal 9, the first Arabic-English literary and academic journal about urbanism. His publications also include book translations and numerous articles, scholarly and otherwise. He is the founder of Masrah Ensemble, an international grassroots theatre organization with a focus on the Arab stage, honored as an Ellen Stewart International Award finalist for activating social change and engagement. In recent years, he directed Family Ti-Jean, a Caribbean-Serbian musical theatre project in public spaces with adult and teenage artists from refugee, citizen, and migrant worker communities, and worked as dramaturg for Sanctuary by Brett Bailey/Third World Bunfight, which toured European festivals. His plays include Mama Butterfly and the forthcoming musical Battery Dying Flying Submarine (One Space (EU)/Festival de Marseille). He is the recipient of fellowships and residencies including Theatertreffen/International Forum, The Saison Foundation (Tokyo), Sundance Institute Theatre Program, and Fulbright. A Syrian multinational, Houssami grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and studied at Yale.
Jenny Gustafsson is a journalist/writer and political scientist born in Sweden and living in Lebanon since 2009. She has reported from across the Middle East, South Asia and elsewhere, including Bangladesh, Honduras, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Libya, Tunisia, Tajikistan, India, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Her work often focuses on migration, development and other issues related to society; she also reports often on crafts and heritage. Her work has been featured in outlets including The Guardian, Foreign Policy and Al Jazeera. In 2010, she co-founded Mashallah News, an online platform on social issues and urban life across the Middle East. She has worked with organising and facilitating workshops on journalism and the deconstruction of stereotypes in the past couple of years.
Sandra Iché earned a degree in History and Political Science (University Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne : L‘Orient-Express: Chronicles of a Lebanese magazine from the 1990s, IFPO, Beirut), as well as a professional training in dance, choreography, and performance (Performing Art Research and Training Studios, Brussels). She works as a performer and researcher in the frame of the Wagons libres association that she created, questioning the logic of naturalization of constructed social realities and the ways history is being manufactured and written (art direction for the stage : Wagons libres, 2012 ; Variations orientalistes, 2014, Droite-Gauche, 2018). She is a co-founder of rodéo, a multidisciplinary magazine that acts as a meeting point for academic and artistic practices. In Lyon, she co-founded LIEUES, an experimental research space for artistic practices. In Beirut, she co-founded Mansion.
Zeina Mhaidly’s work revolves mainly around gender- and sexuality-related issues. She is currently the Program Manager at the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), an association working on women’s economic empowerment in Lebanon. In parallel, she is a consultant within the gender field, partnering with local organizations working on related topics. Zeina was the Project Coordinator for the Knowledge is Power (KIP) Project on gender and sexuality at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut. As part of her role, she worked on the development and implementation of the various project activities in the process of gathering knowledge around the work conducted on gender and sexuality in Lebanon and identifying gap areas. She also worked on different projects with the public sector and with international organizations in the humanitarian sector. Zeina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Human Resources with a Minor Degree in Psychology from the American University of Beirut. She was also the founder and president of the AUB “non-discrimination” club in 2013, the first club at the university raising awareness around issues of discrimination related to gender, sexuality, disability, and race.