PROJECTS + BOARDS + ADVISORIES
My lifework and interests evolve primarily around three topics:
- Impact of technology on social systems, designs, and everyday relationships, especially in developing markets. AI/ machine learning/ mobile phones/ open source intelligence/ data analytics/ actional data. Digital security + encryption.
- Narratives and national identity: are we too statist for the current and future systems? Should cities be our foremost method of identifying ourselves? Is the notion of statehood a Western or universal idea? The importance of narratives as a nation’s grand strategy in the formation of a national identity above all other forms of identity.
- Entrepreneurship as a form of empowerment and livelihoods.
Technology- related Projects
Omelas, global. Partner. Omelas is a firm at the intersection of P/CVE/CT and technology. Encompassing three arms, its aim is to prevent and eradicate violent extremism. Omelas Consulting works with clients, including civil society, corporations, and governments in Europe and the Middle East on the integration of data analytics tech to make their work more efficient. Omelas Tech is an OSINT algorithmic and data analytics platform that aims to turn data/information into cohesive action. Omelas Data is our internal research group, whose work has been featured in numerous industry specific publications. 2016- Present.
Project io, Amman, Jordan + Sunnyvale, CA. Co-founder + Chief Partnership Officer. Project io is a mobile 3-D visualization and image processing company in wide range of industries, from ecommerce to prosthetics fitting. Our mission is to rid the question of “will this fit?” from our everyday lives. The flagship product is Zori, a 3-D imaging smartphone application that allows consumers to find the perfect-fitting shoes while cutting down returns and increasing online shopping sales for eretailers. Anaken app allowed caretakers and amputees to scan their residual limbs for better fitting prosthesis. A venture capital-backed company, our tech team was from Pakistan, Spain, and Argentina. May 2014- Oct 2015. Awards: MIT Pan Arab Competition, ArabNet competition, Top 50 Global Startups by the White House, 1776 Challenge Cup- Jordan, etc.
Client work, global. Ranging from innovation strategies consulting for a telecommunication company to directing the public health strategies for a global health technology company to CVE consulting for government agencies and NGOs, I’ve worked on projects relating to low-cost RIS/PACS health hardware for developing markets and the usage of mesh networks and satellites in areas with heavy censorship and spotty infrastructure. I also trained CSOs and Iraqi government in Iraq on mobile data collection tools to tackle societal problems. 2014-Present.
Peacestories.af, Kandahar, Afghanistan. Senior ICT4D Consultant and Master Trainer. I was brought in to implement a tech solution to bridge the information gap coming out of Kandahar, particularly stories that are not about bombings and violence. With the team (local Afghan company, US contractor, and US donor), set up a SMS/IVR system connected to an online dashboard, to which 37 media partners had access, in a province with little electricity and spotty internet. 2014.
g.Maarifa, Tunis/ Amman/ Nairobi. (g= “global”; maarifa= “knowledge” in Arabic and Kiswahili). Co-Founder + CEO. g.Maarifa is a mobile enterprise tech company that works with organizations on their feasibility, design, and implementation of mobile strategies. Focused primarily on the Middle Eastern and African markets, g.Maarifa’s Orion is a bespoke platform that allowed organizations and companies to educate, train, track, and analyze the capacity of their workforce, beneficiaries, and consumers on the mobile phone through interactive SMS/ USSD/Android app tailored to work in offline and/or low-bandwidth areas. (WordPress for mobile learning). g.Maarifa has worked on projects in various industries, from consumer packaged goods companies to business management education to financial services.2012- 2014. Update: In Q1, 2017, Orion will be merged with a US global learning management system and will be open sourced.
Trained in human-centered design, ethnography, and red teaming. All facilitation projects are for clients under non-disclosure, but two examples:
Gaza2020 Health Matters, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. For a global humanitarian aid agency present in 60+ countries, I used a localized blend of HCD and red teaming to work with 23 stakeholders in Gaza2020 health sector to come up with a cohesive solution for emergency and non-emergency contexts.
Military Legal Veterans Network, Washington DC. Using HCD to get various stakeholders, from local and national governments to NGOs, to organize legal aid for veterans.
Defense Entrepreneurship Forum (DEF), Berlin, Germany. DEF Germany Lead. DEF is an independent, 501(c)(3) registered, not-for-profit group of emerging Defense leaders that strive to solve national security problems from the bottom-up by exposing Defense professionals to the techniques and experiences of civilian innovators and social entrepreneurs. DEF Germany has a special focus on cyber- and online collaboration between civilians and defense professionals. It aims to bring people from different backgrounds and worldviews to explore and implement innovative private-public models and partnerships. December 2016- Present.
Polithon, Washington DC, USA. Co-Founder and Member of Director. A 501(c)3 headquartered in Washington DC, Polithon crowdsources Millennial viewpoints to hack the policymaking system in the US and develop bipartisan policy solutions. We are bringing together those who think differently to move beyond the challenges and gridlock of the current policy making process in order to find tangible solutions to critical issues facing our generation. We believe in fostering the next generation of responsible citizens and leaders by moving beyond dialogue, making policy development more inclusive and focusing on solutions that work for all sides. August 2014- Present.
The University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative (UCMI), now the Chicago Social Finance Group. Founder + Board of Directors. CSFG creates the next generation of social finance leaders by giving them the opportunities to consult on social finance, specializing in microfinance, for organizations such as the Center on Economic Progress, CARE International, and ACCION. To date, 160 leaders have gone through CSFG’s year-long program, working on more than 30 consulting projects, and over 1,000 have participated in its immersive workshops. CSFG is also a organizing member of the Chicago Microfinance Conference series. Executive Director: 2010- 2012. Board of Directors: 2012- 2014.
Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago, IL, USA. Communications Fellow + Extracurricular Coordinator. Sparked by my passion for urban education reform, I joined Chicago Public Schools’ only vendor for managing its turnaround schools. Basically, we were given the worst academically performing elementary and secondary schools in the district and asked to turn them around by injecting new unioned teachers and principals, most of whom went through AUSL’s own urban teaching program, physically transforming the schools, and engaging the parents and communities. When the schools reopened, they continue to be neighborhood (versus charter) schools. I worked on grant proposals amounting to $13 million, helped develop extracurricular programming, and did communication work with the Mayor’s office. 2011
Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County President, Chicago, IL, USA. Deputy Field Director. In the US’s 18th largest constituency body, we managed 8000 volunteers and $3 million in the war chest and put together a field strategy that also ensured a win for the Democratic Party of Chicago, of which Toni was the President. We also integrated and heavily used the new microtargeting proprietary database system, VoteBuilder. March 2010- November 2010
Boards and Advisories
Re:Coded. Board of Directors. Re:Coded runs certification English and coding schools for refugees and IDPs in refugee camps in the Middle East.
Code to Inspire. Board of Advisors. CTI runs coding schools for Afghan women in Western Afghanistan.
United Nations Women. Advisory Committee on Entrepreneurship. Helped UN Women roll out its entrepreneurship training tech platform, iLearn, in multiple countries.
Ibtikaar Afghanistan | Safaricom Academy @Strathmore University | Microsoft Imagine Cup- Tunisia | Founder Institute- Kabul. Mentor and judge. Mentoring and teaching entrepreneurs at these incubators and judging pitch day competitions.