Smart Cities Forum

Monday 16th January

14.00 | Panel: The socio-economic need for smart cities

  • Why is the digital transformation of cities so important, and what will this bring to the lives of people living in major urban areas?
  • How do smart cities benefit society, governments and countries? 
  • Where are we on the journey, and what are the future steps for success?


Confirmed Panelists:

Dr. Nabyl Chenaf

Dean, School of Architecture, Professor of

Architecture, American University in Dubai

Farah Naz

Director of Innovation & ESG MiddleEast

and Africa, AECOM

Hala Yousef

Director – Sustainability, Energy &

Engineering, P&DS MEA, JLL

Huda Shaka

Sustainable Development City Advisor

Dr. Sami Ibrahim

City Strategist and Urban Planning Expert

Hans Moor


Hans Moore Architects

14.40 | Panel: Digitalising smart cities - imperative to attract investment?

  • Are there greater expectations now on digital technologies and apps that better monitor assets within buildings, campuses, communities or smart cities?
  • How will these make built assets connected and more efficient? What examples exist today and what can we expect in the future?
  • Without greater digitalisation, will asset owners and city developers find it more difficult to attract investment? In other words, are digitalisation and clear data insights imperative to attract investors? 

Confirmed Panelists:

Moderator: Farah Naz

Director of Innovation & ESG Middle East and

Africa, AECOM

Francisco Galan

Board Member, Masdar Green REIT and Director

of Sustainable Development, Masdar City

Gabriella De La Torre

Director, LEED Green Associate,

CBRE Middle East

Jihad Tayara



Franco Atassi

CEO Smart Infrastructure, Siemens Middle East

Board Member, Emirates Green Building Council

15.20 | Presentations: Decarbonised cities - Moving away from monotropic design

  • Looking at future community, city and urban development, and shifting design to mixed use
  • How will a greater focus on mixed-use developments promote sustainable thinking and approaches to city and community design?
  • How do city designers and municipality leaders reduce transport miles for people and goods?

Presented by:

Lukas Sokol

Head of City Design & Sustainable Planning,

Masdar City

15.35 | Presentation: Benchmarking the region's embodied carbon

  • Currently, the region is lacking the data and local benchmarks to better monitor and check a built assets carbon performance
  • Lack of data is one challenge, but what can companies do to push ahead with improved benchmarking
  • This presentation looks at how some in the industry are pushing boundaries to improve monitoring and understanding of embodied carbon through the asset lifecycle, and how to successfully measure, monitor and reduce emissions.


Presented by:

Iman Abi Saab

Technical Director, Middle East Technical

Excellence Leader, Mott MacDonald

15.50 | Presentation: Sustainable City Yas Island

Presented by:

Hadeel Al Qadi

SVP Design,

Aldar Development

16.05 | Panel: Reuse, recycle, rethink - Sustainable materials for construction

  • City development is responsible for about 40% of global carbon emissions - more when the entire value chain is considered
  • Materials are a huge contribution to direct and indirect emissions - what approaches to materials will reduce these emissions?
  • What planning should be in place to ensure materials can be recycled or reused once they need replacing? 

Confirmed Panelists:

Moderator: Youssef Diab

Professor of Urban Planning and Design,

University Gustave Eiffel France

Chris Wan

Associate Director of Sustainability and CSR,

Masdar City

Karim El Jisr

Chief Sustainability Officer

Diamond Developers

Nicolas Calvet

Co-Founder & CEO, Seramic & Assistant

Professor, Mechanical Eng, Khalifa University

Ido Sella

CEO and Co-Founder,


Adel Albreiki


Aldar Projects

16.45 | Close of day 1

Tuesday 17th January

10.30 | Panel: Digital twins - and why they need data transparency

  • Digital twins are a virtual representation of a physical asset, be that an individual building, cluster of buildings or a whole city
  • They are becoming increasingly important in the efficient and sustainable running of an asset, allowing owners and investors to better manage their investment
  • To run successfully, there needs to be data transparency, and this panel will look at why this is important, how to encourage that transparency and the benefits that will come from the city-wide digital twins being developed

Confirmed Panelists:

Moderator: Wassim Harroun

Re-founder and CEO,


Kaveh Vessali

Partner - Digital Services,


Martin Yates



Haithem Ibraheem

Property Operations Manager,

ICD Brookfield Place

Mark Coates

International Director of Public Policy &

Advocacy, Bentley Systems

11.15 | Case study: Dubai's city-wide digital twin

  • This case study will look at a successful digital twin, why it was developed and the benefits it is bringing

Presented by:

Eng. Maitha Al Nuaimi

GIS Network Section Manager

Dubai Municipality

11.30 | Panel: Why the metaverse will matter for smart cities

  • It sounds like a buzz word, but companies are investigating how they can move into the metaverse to improve the way they run their business
  • Globally, significant sums are already being spent on metaverse real estate, and those sums are forecast to continue to rise
  • This panel will investigate how the metaverse is being used by companies and why its influence will grow - ignore it at your peril


Confirmed panelists:

Moderator: Karl Tlais

Founder & CEO,


Wassim Harroun

Re-founder & CEO


Sunder Jagannathan


Square Yards

Leila Hurstel

Board Member and Chief Metaverse Officer,


Ellis Wang

Executive Board & Advisory Team, The Private

Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum

12.15 | Panel: How the retrofit market can support government net-zero ambitions

  • This discussion will give an updated insight into the evolving retrofit and Esco market, looking at the benefits it can bring
  • It will discuss how the sector can work with major infrastructure owners, such as hotels, hospitals, campuses, malls and warehouses, to both aid their individual decarbonisation strategies and contribute towards government net-zero targets
  • This will include key opportunities and challenges, along with tangible examples of how different, real retrofits in the region have improved energy efficiency and occupier comfort

Confirmed Panelists:

Moderator: Dr. Pablo Izquierdo

Manager - Energy Services, Energy Efficiency

& Renewables Office, RAK Municipality

Elie Matar

Head of Electricity,

RSB Dubai

Dr. Waleed Al Nuaimi

Acting CEO

Etihad ESCO

Henrique Pereira


Taka Solutions

Suhaib al Marzooqi

Director of Business Development,

Abu Dhabi Energy Services

Hassan Younes

Co-CEO & Founder,


13.00 | Networking Break

14.30 | Panel: Tangible strategies to reduce transport emissions - part 1: Mass transit

  • For countries to decarbonise, more mass transit and electrification is required, with alternatives such as hydrogen and biofuels used where this is not possible.
  • With local travel, options such as rail and metro come to the fore when such strategies are adopted. For longer distances, how do aviation and shipping put in place low carbon operations - strategies of high importance when the major international hubs and trading ports are considered 
  • This panel will discuss the strategies and approaches governments are investing in to improve public and mass transport options and encourage their use

Moderator: Morsi Berguiga

Partner, Advisory, Head of Transportation

& Logistics, KPMG

Tamer Salama

Managing Director - GCC


Mariam Musallam AlQubaisi

Head of Sustainability & Business Excellence,

Etihad Airways

Xavier Eiglier

Head of Regional Office,


Steve Scott

EMEA Market Leader – Future Communities,


15.10 | Presentations: Transport technology focus

15.10 | Case study 1: Low carbon fuels

Presented by:

Alejandro-Rios Galvan

Director, Sust. Bioenergy Research Consortium

Chief Research Scientist, Khalifa University

15.25 | Case study 2: AI for Road Safety & Traffic Management

Presented by:

Dr. Thierry Lestable

Executive Director

Technology Innovation Institute

15.40 | Case study 3: EV charging infrastructure tech - and how to ensure reliability

Ahmed Samir Elbermbali

Sustainability Market Leader, Middle East

Bureau Veritas

15.55 | Panel: Tangible strategies to reduce transport emissions - pt 2: EVs, hydrogen and the last mile

  • Switching to electric or hydrogen private vehicles and trucks has some environmental benefits – but introduces new challenges – however, this does not reduce the number of vehicles on roads
  • What can be done to reduce private journeys – and encourage ‘digital’ journeys
  • Given that vehicles are still needed, how do governments encourage a switch to cleaner alternatives and what last mile options can be sensibly introduced?


Confirmed panelists:

Moderator: Stephen Severance

Director of Growth,

Masdar City

Nada Jasim

Director, Safety & Risk Regulation and

Planning, Roads & Transport Authority

Jaideep Dhanoa

Co-Founder and CEO,


Nasir Al Shamsi

Managing Director,

Beeah Transport

Christina Struller

Vice President Corporate Affirs,


Kyle Weber

Customer Journey & Innovation Manager,


16.30 | Close of Day 2