NEXUS MIDDLE EAST NORTH AFRICA (MENA)

History of NEXUS in MENA
The history of philanthropy in the Middle East and North African region is deeply rooted within family traditions and legacies, religious belief and practice, and the region’s customs and culture.  The motivation to ‘do good’ across the region has led to an emerging class of next generation millenials with the desire to create a strong and lasting social impact. The rhetoric of social innovation, and impact investment as a move away from the traditional notion of charity is quickly gaining momentum across the region’s aspiring and young entrepreneurial leaders.  Despite the region’s diversity, it faces common challenges that require innovative solutions from its social entrepreneurs. In September 2016, the Middle East North Africa region (aka NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas) became a formal member of the NEXUS global community, and set up its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas  is building a strong  network of regional influencers to participate in local and regional programming to improve efficiency, operations, and systematic approaches through philanthropy led initiatives. The inaugural NEXUS Arab Future Summit was hosted in Beirut on October 6-7, 2017 under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers His Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri. They look at how their entire business can create value beyond just financial returns, and acknowledge that ethical behaviour can unlock innovation and attract top talent. Members sought opportunities on how to create scalable and sustainable social enterprises in their respective countries. An Egypt chapter is currently established with active prospecting currently taking place throughout the region.

NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas is a safe haven for a collaborative community of next gen impact investors, philanthropists, change innovators, and social entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of making MENA better together.

PAST SUMMIT

NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas hosted its first annual regional Summit at Villa Linda Sursock in Beirut, Lebanon with the purpose of catalyzing positive social change and support for its members as they take on key leadership roles in social transformative initiatives in the region. The Summit gathered a very select guest list of over seventy global and regional NEXUS members. The list had a careful balance of next-generation leaders championing change in business and philanthropy, young rising stars in governments and royal families, as well as global next-generation thought leaders and innovators in social impact. Many important themes were discussed including: the refugee crisis, impact investing in the MENA region and creating a new Arab narrative aimed at bridging the existent social gaps in the region.

Goals and Actions

NEXUS MENA and Arab Diaspora’s goals are to:

 

  • Raise awareness on Impact Investment, Philanthropy and Social entrepreneurship
  • Develop a knowledge bank on Impact Investment, Philanthropy and Social entrepreneurship in the region for its people
  • Build and cultivate a network of next generation enthusiasts, emerging leaders, and social change makers of the MENA region and its diasporas
  • Empower NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas members in their social innovation endeavours
  • Leverage global and regional networks to build a strong peer-to-peer community of wealth holders & social entrepreneurs
  • Build partnerships with other networks that have a social impact mandate
  • Attract and secure impact investment from Diasporas into the MENA region
  • Establish a NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas certification of assurance on impactful social enterprises in the MENA region.
  • Create a concrete policy brief apparatus to be used as an advocacy tool for social and economic impact in the MENA region.

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM 

Lynn ZOVIGHIAN

Lynn ZOVIGHIAN

Director Emeritus of NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas

Lynn is the Emeritus Director of Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Arab Diasporas at NEXUS. She is a businesswoman by trade and a philanthropist at heart, using her learnings from the corporate and investments world to drive her problem-solving style in humanemergencies and social dysfunctionalities. Co-founder  of The Zovighian Partnership alongside her father, Lynn has built up a team of social innovation architects that design, incubate, and manage meaningful philanthropic interests of emerging next-generation leaders in the Middle East. The firm also services the Zovighian family’s philanthropic ambitions, through its in-house lab, focused on deploying

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early-stage philanthropic action in conflict zones in the Middle East and building data in high-risk environments in the region. Lynn is gearing up to formally launch her family’s foundation, the Peace Collection. It will house all prototypes that achieve proof of concept in the firm’s in-house lab, and will help expand Lynn’s personal inter-faith and minority group activism in the region. Lynn also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Ibtissam, a philanthropic commitment under the patronage of the KSA royal family to dismantle slavery marketplaces in the region. She is the Regional Ambassador for Youth of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, an initiative of the UN Foundation. She serves as an advisory board member of the Global Family Office Community in the UK. She has just completed a ten-year term on the Board of Governors at the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to founding The Zovighian Partnership, Lynn spent her career in financial services and management consulting, working at Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in Saudi Arabia, Pictet & Cie in Geneva, and The Boston Consulting Group in the GCC. Throughout this time, she worked closely with her father in his construction trading business, Sehnaoui Plant Group of Companies. During her free time, Lynn enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones, painting, reading, and jogging long distances. She is a former soprano lyrical opera singer and soloist. Lynn holds an MBA in Finance from London Business School and a BA and double minor in Political Studies, American Studies, and Islamic History.

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Mutassem DAABOUL

Mutassem DAABOUL

Director of NEXUS MENA

Mutassem Daaboul is an aluminum innovator and a family man who aspires to use aluminum to save the planet and create beauty by improving the lives of families and social impactors. Daaboul is an active second generation Board Member of Daaboul Holding, and the Managing Director of Canex Aluminum, one of the main operational companies of the group. He started as a manager of a small business from the group of companies. Starting with a small business taught him entrepreneurship methods and approaches at its core. He performed all operations first hand; grew the small company he restructured in 2005 from a $600,000 turnover

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company to over $10 million before he stepped out. Being part of a family business, he started performing feasibility studies and business plans for many new ventures for the family holding. Canex Aluminum, is a project he has been working on since 2009. It was more of an idea, which he was able to turn into reality by 2013. It is one of the most diverse aluminum extrusion companies in the MENA region, exporting 70% of its output to North America, Europe and the Middle East. During his aluminum carrier he registered a patent for a an aluminum facade system that gained recognition as one of the most environmentally friendly systems. Daaboul loves spending times with his kids, enjoys experiencing different cultures through travel, and finds pleasure connecting with diverse families and individuals through various business networks of which he is a member of. He holds an MBA in Family Business from Kennesaw State University – Michael J. Coles College of Business, USA, and an Honours Bachelors of Administrative Studies specialized in Marketing from York University in Canada.

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SORAYA HOSNI

SORAYA HOSNI

Anthropologist and Serial Entrepreneur
Soraya Hosni is an anthropologist and serial entrepreneur. Her polyglotism combined with a journey from Parisian suburbs, to remote pacific islands or conflict zones allows a unique societal understanding that she brings into the most innovative problem solving. After an active executive and academic career she decided to repatriate to Tunisia, and work from within to preserve culture and advance impact in Business.

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Her latest ventures include The New Medina, an initiative to build heritage centered models for urban development, starting with her ancestral home and the UNESCO World Heritage Medina of Sousse in Tunisia.

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Dayna Bahig

Dayna Bahig

Egyptian Country Ambassador

Dayna Bahig is very passionate about education, particularly among underprivileged communities and for the transformative effect it can have on economies. Her goal at NEXUS is to collaborate on how to build a sustainable platform to connect the talents of social entrepreneurs with the capital of impact investors; and assist in the development of a vibrant ecosystem that encourages learning, personal growth and one that can capitalize from the opportunities within our network.

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 She would also like to help redefine some of the assumptions of what impact investment is, and what it can do for the communities and people it touches, as well as the Egyptian economy as a whole.   Six years ago, she helped establish a summer school scholarship programme within the top international schools in Alexandria, successfully graduating over 700 students from humble backgrounds. Dayna is also a founding member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation in Egypt, an honorary ambassador of the Alexandria Trust Foundation based in London, UK and is a board member of the Cosmopolitan Club of Alexandria.   Dayna is currently based in Alexandria where she is a partner and the operations manager of her family business which operates in the oil & gas services sector. Outside of work and not for profit obligations, she is a keen traveller, and loves to explore new cultures and cities.   She gained her undergraduate degree at Boston College in economics and international studies. As part of her passion for continuing education, she is currently undertaking a global executive programme to obtain a master’s degree in management at the London School of Economics.

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Mohammad Asfour

Mohammad Asfour

NEXUS Jordan Ambassador
As a green global citizen; Mohammad, served as the Regional Head for the WorldGBC’s MENA & Africa Network. He was also a board member and chaired Jordan Green Building Council. He served as a Senior Adviser at the USAID Energy Sector Capacity Building Program and as the Environment, Water and Energy Sector Lead at the USAID Jordan Economic Development Program. Mohammad, was appointed as an adviser to the Board of Trustees at the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, founded the Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship and worked on developing the concept behind El Hassan Science City. He also worked at the Jordan Investment Board and served as a consultant for the UNDP, UNIDO, and USAID ‘s AMIR Program. He was appointed as a regional advisor to OECD’ s MENA Investment Program, chaired UNEP – SBCI’s Advocacy Committee and is currently the Chair of WADI NGO and a board member at the Jordan Trail Association.

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He also co-founded Ahel Al Balad, which is a non-political grassroots’ movement that aims at spreading positivity in the community through volunteering.

Mohammad received his BA in Business from the University of Jordan and his Masters in Positive Leadership and Strategy from the IE Business School in Madrid and has continuously maintained a presence in the business world through a fourth generation diversified family business.

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What We’re Up To

Summits

In October 2021, NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas will reconvene in Tunisia to dream of a new Arab narrative and work together to build it.

Salons

We host regular Salons through the MENA region and the Americas that are meant to bring together business leaders and social entrepreneurs and inspire learning and collaboration between this uniquely powerful network of peers.

Strengthening the Bonds of Connection

NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas seeks to cultivate and develop next generation of wealth as well as the social entrepreneurs in the region and among its diaspora by developing strong peer-to-peer connections.

Delegations to NEXUS Global

NEXUS MENA & Arab Diasporas is proud to send yearly Delegations to our NEXUS Global Summit in New York to participate in NEXUS Global’s flagship event and network with NEXUS members from around the world.

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Policy Paper

Following its Summit in Beirut, NEXUS MENA is producing a policy paper highlighting the recommendations that followed the Summit. The paper will focus on the three tracks discussed (The refugee crisis, impact investing in MENA and creating a new narrative for the region) and will be presented to His Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Get in Touch with NEXUS MENA

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