17th April Afternoon Keynote Speaker:

Dr Suzanne T. Ortega


Council of Graduate Schools
Washington, USA

Suzanne Ortega became the sixth President of the Council of Graduate Schools on July 1, 2014. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as the University of North Carolina (UNC) Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (2011-14). Previous appointments include theExecutive Vice President and Provost at the University of New Mexico,Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at the University of Washington,and the University of Missouri. Dr. Ortega’s masters and doctoral degrees in sociology were completed at Vanderbilt University.

With primary research interests in mental health epidemiology, health services, and race and ethnic relations, Dr. Ortega is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and an introductory sociology text, now in its 9th edition. An award-winning teacher, Dr. Ortega has also served on a number of review panels for National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health and has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on grants totaling more than $9 million in private foundation and federal funds.

Dr. Ortega serves or has served on a number of professional association boards and committees, including the boards of the Council of Graduate Schools, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the National Academies Committees on the Assessment of the Research Doctorate and Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century,the NSF Human Resources Expert Panel and Education and Human Resources Advisory Committee, the North Carolina E-learning Commission, and the UNC Press. She currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of American University in the Emirates.

18th April Morning Keynote Speaker:

Professor Roland T Chin

President and Vice-Chancellor

Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong

Professor Roland T Chin is currently the President and Vice-Chancellor and Chair Professor of Computer Science of Hong Kong Baptist University. Prior to joining HKBU, He was Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong; and Deputy President and Provost at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Professor Chin obtained his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri, USA. He worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before starting his teaching career at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Professor Chin’s research is in the areas of computer vision, image processing, and pattern recognition. His work was recognised by awards such as the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and appointments to serve on editorial boards of top journals including the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and Pattern Recognition. His research was supported by funding bodies in the US and Hong Kong, including the NSF, NASA, University Grants Committee (UGC), Research Grants Council (RGC), and Innovation and Technology Commission.

Session 4:

Professor David Santandreu Calonge

Dean, Faculty of Communication, Arts and Sciences

Canadian University Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Professor David Santandreu Calonge is Dean, Faculty of Communication, Arts and Sciences, at Canadian University Dubai. He has worked in Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia and has written extensively in the areas of education policy, MOOCs, curriculum design, and disruptive technologies in education.

David is an award-winning academic (Hong Kong, U.S, Australia), he was bestowed Chevalier (Knight) in the Order of the Academic Palms by the French Prime Minister in 2008 for eminent service to French education and was awarded the International Trophies of the French Abroad by the French Senate in 2008. He was promoted to Officer in the Order of the Academic Palms by the French Prime Minister in 2015.

Session 5:

Professor Dato’ Dr Mohammad Shatar bin Sabran


Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris

Professor. Dato‘ Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran was appointed as the 6th Vice Chancellor of UPSI on February 24th, 2017. After receiving his Diploma in General Studies from Indiana University of Bloomington, USA, he pursued his Bachelor Degree and Master at Iowa State University, Ames, USA.  His major is in Community and Regional Planning.

In the field of sociology, Professor Dato’ Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran is a renowned speaker and has delivered more than 700 motivational talks across Malaysia as well as Asia in various topics including leadership, humanities and social problems. Also, he has written more than 40 books in community development, leadership, soft skills and motivation. In recognition of his work and contributions, Professor Dato’ Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran received numerous awards internationally as well as locally.

In 2010, he was conferred with the Malaysian National Academic Award in the Arts and Social Sciences Cluster.  The award is the highest recognition given by the government to outstanding academician in Malaysia.

Mr Don Carlson

Education Lead

Asia Pacific

Don Carlon leads the Microsoft APAC Education regional team and is responsible for the implementation of the company’s efforts to empower students worldwide to achieve more. Don and his team work closely with academic institutions, governments, partners and educators to enable the Education transformation across countries. He manages a team of committed individuals in the region who are dedicated to implementing key programmes and strategies to help execute on a country’s key education initiatives.

Don has over 25 years of Education and Training experience, working in a variety of roles within the technology industry.  He worked for Microsoft from 2000-2008 and has re-joined the company in September 2015.  Don’s previous roles in Microsoft include managing the Education businesses in Australia, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe.

Prior to re-joining Microsoft, Don spent 5 and half years with Autodesk in various roles, including managing the global engagement team with a focus on implementing the company’s Design Thinking strategy in governments, schools, and Universities.

Session 6:

Prof Abdulla Y. Al-Hawaj

Managing Director

Ahlia University

Dr. Abdulla Y. Al-Hawaj, the Founding President of Ahlia University, ranks in the top echelon of educational leaders in the Arabian Gulf. His incumbency in numerous managerial posts in prestigious organizations associated with educational development at a national level, his academic accolades from esteemed institutions, attests to Dr. Al-Hawaj’s being in the vanguard of higher educational reform in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In recognition of Dr. AlHawaj’s trail blazing contributions in the sphere of educational advancement in the Kingdom of Bahrain, he was appointed — by royal decree – as a member of the Supreme Committee for the Kingdom National Charter, in which he serves as the coordinator of its Educational Committee. Among his portfolio of managerial responsibilities is his membership in Higher Educational. Moreover, Dr. Al-Hawaj, since 2001, has served as the President of the Bahrain Association for Academics. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Manchester (UK) and a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Mathematics from the University of Kuwait.

Dr. Al-Hawaj launched his distinguished academic career at the University of Bahrain, in which he held the successive posts of Dean of Student Affairs, Chairman of the Department of Computer Sciences, and Chairman of the Department of Mathematics. He attained the rank of Professor of Mathematics at the University of Bahrain and continued to serve the University of Bahrain in that capacity until 2005. Dr. Al-Hawaj’s profound contributions to the fields of Mathematics, Computer Sciences, and Education through numerous research papers, books, media debates, and public discussions are vast. His unstinting dynamism, paradigm-shattering innovation and superlative achievement in the academic and social arena have accorded him a number of prestigious awards and honorariums.

Dr. Al-Hawaj has extensive experience in leading large multi-dimensional institutions. His signature use of pragmatic and innovative thinking in solving complex educational and business issues stems from his strong managerial and educational background. He is widely acclaimed as a pioneering architect of the private university in the Arabian Gulf and a leading proponent of excellence in Higher Education in the whole of the Middle East. Recently, he was elected as the President of the Association of Private Universities in the GCC countries and the Chairman of the Executive Office of The Association of Arab Private Institutions for Higher Education.

Professor Mansoor Alaali


Ahlia University

Prof. Mansoor Ahmed Al-Aali was born in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K., 1989. He has a M.Sc. in Computer Science (1984) from University of Aston in Birmingham, a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computing (1983) from Teesside University, UK.

He worked as a lecturer in the Computer Science department in the University of Bahrain from 1989 to 2009. He occupied a number of managerial positions in the University of Bahrain, University of Sunderland, Greenwich University, and Ahlia University and in a number of private and government organization. Prof. Mansoor worked as chairperson of the Computer Science Department (1991-1994) in the University, and the Director of Continuing Education (1996 – 2000) in University of Bahrain.

He joined Ahlia University in 2009 in the College of Information Technology and worked as the Dean of Student Affairs from 2005 to 2015. Currently, Prof. Al-Aali is the President of Ahlia University.

Session 8:

Professor Dr M. Iqbal Saripan

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International)

Universiti Putra Malaysia

Professor Dr. M. IqbalSaripan was the recipient of Top Research Scientist Malaysia (TRSM), 2013 National Young Scientist Award and 2012 The Young Outstanding Malaysian Award (TOYM). In 2016, he received an Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Surrey. He was also listed as Top Ten Creative Young Malaysian by Top Ten Magazine in 2015. He received his Bachelor degree in Electrical-Electronics Engineering from UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia and then completed his PhD from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom in the area of digital image processing (nuclear medical image acquisition).

Currently, he is a Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International) at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He is a Chartered Engineer registered with Engineering Council UK and actively involved in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE).

Session 9:

Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha


Universiti Tenaga Nasional

Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha has been Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (The National Energy University) since 5 May 2015. He has had vast experience in the academia since 1984 and served in various management positions at UNITEN for over 12 years.

He retains a stated passion for higher education transformation, interdisciplinary research and communicating his own enthusiasm for science and scholarship as a whole to the public, in particular the young generation. His research has been in the field of structural fire engineering and forensic studies for buildings. Upon his appointment to steer UNITEN’s direction, Professor Kamal has emphasized that in order to survive and succeed as an institution is fundamentally governed by our ability to excel in research and education whilst transforming the lives of the individuals and communities who are connected to us. Professor Kamal is responsible for the conception of the new transformation wave for UNITEN which is better known as BOLD2025 (Building Opportunities, Living Dreams). Under this dynamic initiative, UNITEN is embarked to accelerate its transformation journey in becoming a globally competitive, energy focused university. It has been carefully designed in such a way to alleviate academic and research excellence while offering an outstanding campus-based student experience.

Professor Kamal also plays a major role in cultivating and sustaining UNITEN’s relationship with its many key external stakeholders. Aspiring to be a successful academician, in 1994 Professor Kamal took a leap of faith in establishing one of the earliest private institution of higher learning in the country. This was strongly driven by his pioneering concern for social mobility of the underprivileged through science and technology education.

Mr Nazmi Othman

Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO)

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)

Mr. Nazmi Othman is currently the Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO) in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) which is the only electric utility company in Peninsular Malaysia and also the largest publicly-listed power company in Southeast Asia. He is a Certified Public Accountant of Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

He is also a Member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants. Mr. Nazmi’s career in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) started in September 2004 as Head (Financial Reporting and Budget) and became General Manager (Operation) in June 2006. In February 2008, he was appointed as Senior General Manager (Group Finance/Group Accountant). He has successfully demonstrated his leadership capabilities in business development and as a result, Mr. Nazmi was appointed as Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO) for TNB on 14 February 2014. His job responsibilities include governing the adhering of policies and procedures within the Investment Management Division and Tenaga Nasional group-wide, including subsidiaries.

He also monitors the performance and achievements of Tenaga Nasional subsidiaries in hitting targeted investment goals. Besides that, he has to discover investment opportunities through the subsidiaries to penetrate markets abroad, in order to bring Tenaga Nasional Berhad to the global stage.

Bronze  Sponsor

Organising Partner for 2019

Dead Sea, Jordan