future Emirati leaders to today’s global thinkers

A Special Fellows Programme will run during the Forum, designed to expose future Emirati leaders to today’s global thinkers and give 10 high-achieving Emirati young people the chance to attend and participate in the Abu Dhabi Ideas Forum.

Special Fellows Programme

The Special Fellows Programme is designed to expose future Emirati leaders to today’s global thinkers and industry experts. Chosen following a rigorous selection process, ten high-achieving Emirati young people, known as Special Fellows, are given the opportunity to attend and participate in Ideas Abu Dhabi. Special Fellows are granted full access to the Forum and the Festival, attending all sessions, lunches, and keynotes.

  • Abdullah Alhashemi

    Abdullah Alhashemi (24 years) is currently working as a Protocol officer in the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum since 2017, as part of the International and Institutional Department, where he is handling diplomatic affairs and international and regional affairs alongside protocol. Before that he spent 6 weeks training in Bain & Co. consultancy firm, and 9 months as an apprentice in Dubai Expo 2020. Abdullah is also a graduate of the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Scholars Program in NYUAD, and took part in the Youth Ambassadors Program to South Korea organized by the Crown Prince Court. Abdullah is an International Affairs Graduate from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, with a strong interest in politics, culture and cultural diplomacy.

  • Alanoud AlShamsi

    Alanoud Hindi AlShamsi, is a sophomore studying at New York University Abu Dhabi double majoring in Political Science and Creative Writing. Through her various involvements in cultural awareness programs, Alanoud hopes to show people the richness of the Emirati culture. During her travels, Alanoud not only enjoys searching for vintage books, but also learning about the country’s culture and lifestyle. One day, she hopes to help in easing the access to education for children internationally.

  • Fatma Almarri

    Fatma Almarri is a research associate and a member of the Sports Committee at Dubai Tourism. She graduated First Rank Honors from Zayed University – Bachelor of Business Sciences degree with a concentration in Finance. Fatma worked for Citi Private Bank as an investment analyst part of the global investment lab unit. It was a challenging experience that stretched her understanding of the complexity of investments. Fatma was a participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) regional program that focused on Women as Political and Community Leaders funded by the US State Department. Fatma is an NLP practitioner and an advocate for positivity and general wellbeing. She is always on the hunt for opportunities that will allow her to be involved in the society and encourage others to explore self-development.

  • Jawaher Al Hebsi

    Jawaher Al Hebsi is a current trainee diplomat at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and a cultural guide at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. She completed her bachelor’s degree in tourism and political philosophy from UAEU and her graduate degree in global affairs, with a specialization in gender studies from NYU in the United States, during which Jawaher was interning at the UAE Mission to the UN. Her particular interests are in gender and cultural diplomacy.

    Jawaher graduated 9 months of military service from Khawla Bint al Azwar in 2015 and is an Alumni of the NYUAD Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed scholars program and AlMaktoum College leadership Program. She was recently selected as a Junior Professional Officer for the United Nations. During free time, Jawaher enjoys reading, exploring art and travelling.

  • Khawla Al Mutawa

    Khawla Al Mutawa is a fourth year Psychology student at Zayed University. Her interest in psychology focuses on cultural values orient our thoughts, feelings and behavior. After graduation, she hopes to work in the educational sector to improve the school curriculums. To aid that, for her senior project, she is studying the relationship and effects of cultural orientation on cognitive development in the UAE. In her free time, Khawla attends Toastmasters’ meetings and manages PALS, a tutoring club in the university. She also enjoys reading and playing the violin.

  • Nawal Al Jaeedi

    Nawal Aljaeedi is a student at New York University Abu Dhabi as part of the class of 2021. She is an Emirati with Filipino roots, having been born in the Philippines and raised in Abu Dhabi. In her undergraduate studies, she specializes in Psychology and Music, and hopes to continue her graduate education in Forensic Science, Pathology, or Clinical Psychology. She graduated from the NYUAD Summer Academy class of 2016 and has achieved great levels of leadership and interpersonal skills through the program. She has been running and managing the local radio station of NYUAD, called “Howler Radio,” since Fall of 2018, and has just started working in the cognitive neuroscience lab within NYUAD.

  • Shaikha Al Maktoum

    Shaikha Al Maktoum is a sophomore student studying at New York University Abu Dhabi. She is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Economics. Shaikha is currently a member of Sufara’a, NYUAD’s Student Ambassador Program, where she works to enhance student knowledge and interaction of UAE culture and traditions. She previously volunteered with Strength in Vocational Education (STRIVE), where she tutored English and computer skills with Somali immigrants from the Somali Social and Cultural Centre. Shaikha’s interest in politics stems from a desire to explore patterns of conflict and cooperation in international affairs. Thus, she finds that the study of security, whether international, domestic or cyber is critical for current world order. In the future, she hopes to engage in this discourse to contribute to the assurance of political, economic and social stability.

  • Shaima Aljneibi

    Shaima Aljneibi is a recent Information Technology graduate from Zayed University. Recently, her senior research paper,’ Addressing the Level of Internet Privacy Awareness in The Emirates Using Data Analytics’, has gained recognition in conferences nationally and globally, and it will be part of this year’s World Congress on Undergraduate Research (WCUR) in Germany. Previously, she was a Research Intern at New York University Abu Dhabi’s Center for Cyber Security. When she is not programming or reading, Shaima enjoys volunteering in her community. Shaima is a believer in gender equality and is a self-proclaimed feminist. In the future, Shaima hopes to continue her graduate studies and devote herself to helping others.


    Abdulla Al Hussam is a civil engineer with the Infrastructure Coordination Committee of Dubai, as well as an international volunteer, environmentalist, and Emirati cultural ambassador. Abdulla has participated in a scientific expedition to the South Pole, worked on the first successful corals plantation project in the Arabian Gulf, started a non-profit plastic recycling factory, and holds the world record for raising a flag on a self-standing underwater pole. Abdulla looks forward to studying his MA in politics at NYU and work as a diplomat.


    Ghareesa is studying Biology, with a minor in Applied Mathematics, at NYU Abu Dhabi. For her senior thesis she is working on determining the activity of a hammerhead ribozyme found in the genome of a star-nosed mole (Condylura Cristata). Ghareesa works with the Girls’ Education Network to support young women, and with the Future Center helping young children with mental disabilities through rehabilitation.

  • Hamda Al Ameemi

    Hamda Al Ameemi is an International Studies student at Zayed University where she hopes to continue on to a graduate degree in Human Rights and International Law in order to work for the betterment of women’s and children’s rights. Hamda enjoys volunteering, event planning, and seizing every opportunity to travel and learn about different cultures. Hamda loves gymnastics, figure skating, ballet, and playing the piano.

  • Hayat Al Hassan

    Hayat Al Hassan is a student at NYU Abu Dhabi majoring in Computer Science. Her senior Capstone project is focused on developing an artificial intelligence tool that enables face-to-face dialogue between humans and a digital avatar. Last summer, Hayat served as a software developer in Kumawu, Ghana, with NYUAD’s Center for Technology and Economic Development, which uses technology to study and enhance economic activity. She has volunteered through various programs, including the Engineers for Social Impact in Mumbai. Hayat hopes to serve her community by supporting the growth of STEM fields and the development of the UAE education system.

  • Mahaba Al Saleh

    Mahaba Al Saleh holds a BA in International Studies from Zayed University and an MA in Urban Planning from the American University of Sharjah. She is currently Deputy Director for Technical Cooperation at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where she helps manage three international cooperation portfolios, including technical assistance, private sector engagement, and national projects. Previously, Mahaba had joined the office of Minister of State HE Reem Al Hashimy in 2012 where she worked on multiple portfolios including International Affairs and the Expo 2020 Dubai bid, post-bid international relations, as well as a number of mandate countries including India.

  • Maitha Al Suwaidi

    Maitha Al Suwaidi is a student of political science at NYU Abu Dhabi as well as a cultural engagement intern and contributing writer to Sail E-Magazine. She is a professional archer and an accredited archery coach, representing the UAE in the national team. She volunteers at international competitions for people with disabilities and participated in the World Travel Market conference representing the UAE.

  • Majida Al Maktoum

    Majida Al Maktoum is from Dubai and a student at NYU Abu Dhabi where she is pursuing a BA in Political Science. She currently interns at the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) where she focuses on the adaptability of the UAE energy sector to climate change, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. She was selected by the Crown Prince Court to be a UAE Youth Ambassador to China, and has previously interned at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN. Majida is also interested in digital photography, equestrian riding, global governance, and cultural diplomacy.

  • Mariam Al Haddad

    Mariam Al Haddad is a Human Capital Professional with 4 years’ experience in various critical areas of Human Resources within the Healthcare sector. She holds a BA in Human Resources Management from Zayed University. In her professional role, Mariam works closely on projects and assignments related to revision of workplace policies, workforce, and organizational design. She is career focused but enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family, especially her three children. She loves travelling and shopping.

  • Nouf Khan

    Nouf Khan is a Biology major from NYU Abu Dhabi involved in both the WESTEM (Women in Science) and Pre-Med programs as part of the American Physician Scientists Institution. She also has a passion for literature and painting.

  • Sami Al Marzooqi

    Sami Al Marzooqi is the Acting Head of Planning and Quality in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, working with the Protocol Division on excellence, policies and procedures where he oversees a project management system, and produces annual, quarterly, and event reports. Sami has a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Business Administration from Dubai Men’s College.

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