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5. Satellite and the Transformation of the Humanitarian System

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Presenter: Mr. Samer Halawi, CEO, Thuraya

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 10:00-10:1004_Samer Halawi_IMG_0205

In this keynote, the CEO of Thuraya looked at how the satellite industry will help transform the humanitarian system within the digital economy and how Thuraya envisions the future technological landscape for communications.

The digital transformation in relief work is dependent on safe, secure and reliable connectivity in order for relief workers to conduct their critical transactional activities and to save lives. Communities and citizens affected by crisis have a need to communicate externally with their families, their governments and the global community that is supporting them. To relief workers, establishing communication links is essential for first responders to assess the scale of the disaster or organize an evacuation, as well as for ongoing coordination and the set-up of relief operations such as hospitals or vaccination clinics.

Satellite technology remains an integral part of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, enabling first responders and relief workers to establish vital communication links when it matters most.

Mr. Samer Halawi, CEO, Thuraya

04_Satellite and the Transformation of the Humanitarian System_photo_Samer HalawiSamer Halawi has served as Thuraya’s Chief Executive Officer since January 2011. Drawing upon his extensive experience in ICT and the global satellite communications industry, Samer is responsible for leading Thuraya’s strategic positioning and driving its growth as a prominent global Mobile Satellite Services operator.

Throughout his career, Samer has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to connecting the disconnected via satellite. He has supported a number of non-profit organizations including the ITU, SOS Children’s Villages, NetHope, the Rory Peck Trust and the International News Safety Institute with free airtime and satellite equipment enabling rural and remote communications. Samer has been responsible for leading the close collaboration between the Company’s Service Partners, NGOs and government organizations to provide satellite communications during times of emergencies in China, Japan, the Philippines and Sierra Leone. Thuraya’s services have resulted in countless lives being saved when terrestrial networks were damaged or destroyed.

Before joining Thuraya, Samer played a leading role in starting-up and growing a new venture involved in the digital space that focused on mobile content, IPTV, mobile advertising and web management. Prior to that, Samer was part of Inmarsat’s global strategy team where he was responsible for running operations for the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Samer’s other telecommunications experience relates to his roles at Flag Telecom and ICO Global Communications. His role at ICO followed a private placement for the shares of the company that he led during a three-year period he spent in investment banking in the Middle East.

Samer started his career in the automotive industry where he was part of the Chrysler Corporation and Ford Motor Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the U.S.

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6. Satellite, Critical Infrastructure for First Response

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Presenter: Mr. Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO, Yahsat05_Masood Mahmood_IMG_0009

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 10:10-10:20

Satellite is impacting people’s lives around the world, providing connectivity that helps promote social well-being.

The CEO of Yahsat spoke about the critical role that satellite plays in emergency response, in particular highlighting three trends that promise to drastically change the way the humanitarian community connects in the field: improvements in the ability to deploy satellite connectivity equipment; the broadening areas satellites cover; and the increasing bandwidth readily available through satellite connections.


Mr. Masood M. Sharif Mahmood
, CEO, Yahsat

05_Satellite Critical Infrastructure for First Response_presentation 05_Satellite Critical Infrastructure for First Response_Photo_Masood M. Sharif MahmoodMasood Mahmood is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, Yahsat, the UAE based satellite communications company. He is also a Board Member of DU Telecommunications company and a member of both DU’s Investment and Nomination & Remuneration committees.

As CEO, Masood is responsible for the overall management and full deployment of Yashat’s operational capabilities, on both government and commercial fronts, expanding the business’s global footprint to provide first-class satellite communication solutions. Since joining, Masood has carried on the business’s trajectory extending the growth of the company into new markets, which will include Latin America in 2016, as well as leading its aspirations on being the region’s best-in-class multipurpose satellite operator. The company continues its key role to support the UAE Government, as well as furthering its commercial reach with its various services from YahClick satellite broadband, YahLink IP Trunking & backhaul, as well as Yahlive TV broadcasting (Yahlive is a joint venture with SES).

Appointed as CEO in June 2013, Masood brings with him a wealth of experience, having served on the board of several other companies from financial, industrial and manufacturing industries as well as real-estate. This in addition to having served as Deputy CEO at Yahsat prior to being appointed as CEO, as well as having worked with Mubadala, as Vice President of their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) unit, where he was in charge of corporate strategy and asset management of the ICT unit’s portfolio. This included companies such as DU, EMTS, Injazat, as well as Yahsat.

Masood also has significant experience in investment management and business development, having served for more than a decade at a number of high profile government and semi-government entities in the UAE, such as Dubai Holding and the Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohamad bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Masood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Boston University, Massachusetts and holds an MBA in Finance from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

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