NEP 2.0: EDITION 2020

The 2020 edition of NEP is a 9-month program designed to develop Emirati technical leaders who will shape the future of 25 industry sectors critical to the UAE. 

Built with agility, health, and safety in mind, the hybrid program includes both online and onsite sessions based on the latest in learning strategy, mentoring by UAE sector leaders, immersive learning experiences, sector-specific learning, and an individual Capstone Project addressing a major challenge in each sector. 


New Sector
Social Development
Public Services Administration
Policy Making
Community & Social Services
Health & Well-being
Community Development
Third Sector
Economic Development
Business & Financial Services
Tourism Retail & Leisure
Advanced Manufacturing
Media & Creative Industries
Research & Development
Advanced Sciences & Research
AI & Robotics
Infrastructure & Environment
Sustainability & Renewables
Energy & Economy
Security & Foreign Affairs
Diplomacy & International Affairs
Security & Defense Affairs
Food & Water Security
Humanitarian Works & Philanthropy




Saif Al Ameri

Saif Al Ameri | Guidance and Control Manager, Halcon

Empowered by advanced technology, a new breed of players is reimagining the defense sector. To stay at the vanguard of innovation, the UAE has invested strategically in a highly sophisticated network of partnerships with defense and security organizations.

Saif first learned about the impact of the defense sector’s mission-oriented innovation on national policy while studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Belgrade. He earned a Masters degree followed by a PhD in advanced guidance systems while working for Emirates Advanced Research And Technology Holdings (EARTH), and is currently the Guidance and Control Manager at Halcon, a regional leader in manufacturing of precision guided systems. “The defense sector is powered by R&D, and its breakthrough technologies reinforce our national security plans and ultimately help create new markets and opportunities in other sectors. It is important that our country empowers UAE nationals in this fast-moving sector so that our national security does not rely exclusively on other nations.”

Saif showed a willingness to take on leadership roles early on at the American University of Dubai, where he served as a Google Student Ambassador. The NEP is another step in his career, for which he has ambitious goals. “It takes a great leader to lead an ambitious goal. I hope that one day I’ll be prepared to play an influential role in the UAE. They say that everything starts with a dream. I dream that one day I’ll be the Minister of Technology in the UAE and lead the UAE towards a brighter and more beautiful future.”

Fahad Al Ameri

Fahad Al Ameri | Head of Projects, Chairman Office, Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi

Government is critical to solving the hardest global challenges, from climate change to the future of urbanization or advancing on the opportunities of digital technology. Yet, public servants often lack access to the best skills and best ideas. In order to achieve these targets, governments need to become smarter so that public policy is not only used to provide resources and infrastructure but to actively promote its citizen capabilities so they can thrive at scale.

Fahad chose a career in public policy and business case analysis because he believes government’s role is to make life easier for people in all sectors. “Creating the right policies and providing the right service are at the heart of the UAE government’s goal of competing at a global level.” 

If the UAE is to become less dependent on foreign expertise, it must invest in human capital. Fahad devotes a lot of his energy into developing his employees’ capabilities, and believes the country can accomplish great things if it does the same with its people. “Our ability to sustainably and effectively execute our strategic plans is a direct function of the availability of specialized personnel. In fact, we should reach a point where our expertise is exported to other regions of the world.”

Meera AlMheiri

Meera AlMheiri | Senior Inspection Engineer, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation

Youth represents the largest segment of the UAE’s population, and the government has prioritized policies that will empower the next generation to lead, be engaged, and actively shape local and global agendas.

Meera is the first Emirati woman to become a Nuclear Safety Inspector, and was a member of the Emirates Youth Council from 2016-2018. She is also a board member of Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the Deputy Director for the Ministry of Tolerance’s Coexistence lab. She got her Master’s degree in International Affairs specializing in Espionage and Surveillance from King’s College in London, and believes that respecting other people’s opinions is an important trait for success. “I think critical thinking and tolerance, when married together, act very powerfully. Instead of fighting to reach a common end, why can’t we celebrate our differences? After all, our perception will help to uncover only a portion of the truth. So each one of us has a portion of it, but not the whole. Therefore, each opinion matter, and

each opinion counts.”

She applied to the National Experts Program because she wants to serve her country in the Government Policy and Regulations sector, an area she is passionate about. “Designing regulatory frameworks and connecting strategies to reach a political end bring so much joy to me. I just tirelessly enjoy it!”

Asma Al Azri

Asma Al Azri | Financial Expert - Budget at Department of Finance - Abu Dhabi

The family unit is an essential building block in society and a driver of economic and social development. Smart family policies improve social cohesion and engagement, community, and resilience, ultimately contributing to more cohesive societies. 

Working at the Abu Dhabi General Secretariat as a Project Manager, Asma is charged with implementing the strategic vision of the Executive Office as it pertains to Social Bonding, Social Inclusion, and Social Security. “Social and community development has always been my passion and an area I always wanted to excel at. Currently I participate in the process of analyzing points of concern, drawing up proposed solutions for each, then measuring impact to make sure that success is achieved for each approved target.”

After completing the National Experts Program, Asma wants to create programs that enhance family cohesion, working with community members from all aspects of society to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to a dignified life. “The focus on the family as a nucleus of the society is crucial. Once the family is well-developed, all other aspects of a community are impacted positively, whether it’s economical or educational.”

Dr. Salama Al Muhairi

Dr. Salama Al Muhairi | Director of Veterinary Laboratories Division, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority

A rising global population coupled with climate change and an increase in demand for water make food security one of our shared challenges as a species. Before the COVID pandemic more than 820 million people suffered from hunger, including 110 million who were living in acute food insecurity. Against this global backdrop, the UAE has taken strong steps to become more self-sufficient in food supplies by investing in innovations such as vertical farming and cultivating climate-resilient crops.

Salama works at the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Security Authority, whose mandate is to ensure food security, biosecurity, and sustainable agriculture for the emirate. She developed a Strategic Framework for Prevention and Control of Emerging Diseases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region along with experts from WHO, and has also worked in conjunction with international organizations such as the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “It is important to build up our local capacity of know-how with joint public-private partnerships and to build a local pool of experts.”

The National Experts Program is an important step towards Salama’s goal of becoming an internationally recognized technical expert in food security. She also wants to apply the mindsets taught in the program to create a culture at ADAFSA that uses innovation to solve problems in her field. “I think we should conduct more research on food security to address our knowledge gaps and provide science-based options. We need to make better use of big data, artificial intelligence, and innovation.”

Maisa Al Qassimi

Maisa Al Qassimi | Senior Project Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

The UAE strives to create a vibrant cultural sector that attracts creative talent from around the world, supports our tourism industry, and shapes new narratives of the country, amplifying the reach of our creative achievements across the world. 

Maissa grew up in a family that valued arts and culture and were passionate about visiting museums. As the Senior Project Manager of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, she is now cultivating that same passion in the next generation of Emiratis. “Overseeing a modern and contemporary art museum in the making, I have learned that the initial step is to raise awareness and provide an understanding for the future museum visitors. It takes a generation to value the accessibility to arts and culture in Abu Dhabi, and there is a need to build it from the elementary education system.”

Her goals for the Experts Program are to learn more about the government’s strategy for the culture sector and to facilitate the further development of the cultural ecosystem by networking with her peers in other sectors. “Learning to be open to others’ points of view while being able to articulate your own allows you to better understand one another.” 

Afra Al Meheiri

Afra Al Meheiri | Technical Clubs Development Specialist, Abu Dhabi Sports Council

Health, education, and social inclusion can all be enhanced through sports. Evidence reveals that organized exercise activities promote character traits such as tolerance, respect and resilience, especially in children. The UN acknowledges the role of sports in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Goal 3, ‘Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Wellbeing for All at All Ages”, and Goal No. 5 on women empowerment. 

Afra knows about the impact of sport on being goal-oriented. She is first and foremost an athlete, and she has turned her passion for the sector into a career as a Sport Coordinator at Dubai Prosecution and Dubai Sports Council. “Based on my experience, there comes a time in one's life to make a decision of where and what you want to be in the future, a decision of initiating a practical life that could only be built with specialization, capacity building and growing within a specific field.” 

She believes that sports and the soft power of sports diplomacy can be a springboard for much bigger goals, and she aspires to apply the lessons she learns in the National Experts Program to expand the impact of sports in the UAE. “I aspire to raise people's awareness through practice, by setting up specially designed programs and reward systems based on the participant's growth and achievements. But I also intend to utilize sport internationally as a soft power that contributes to the UAE’s soft diplomacy.” 

Kalthoom Ali

Kalthoom Ali | Chief of Strategic Partnership Officer, GEMS Schools

Right now the next generation of UAE leaders is sitting at a desk in our schools, or busy with distance learning at home. To train this generation, teachers will use technology to transform their role and education systems will no longer conclude with a university diploma. Instead, our personal education journeys will be redesigned along a continuum of lifelong learning where everyone acquires and refreshes a mix of valuable skills to become irreplaceable. 

Before joining the education company GEMS, Kalthom worked at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. Her 10 years there included stints as Director of Institutional Development for all private K-12 schools in Dubai, and Executive Director of Education Development. “Learning doesn’t stop after you graduate. Every day you have the opportunity to learn something, you just need to be aware of what is happening around you, and take advantage of that opportunity.” 

Kalthom aspires to put her skillset into action after the NEP and look for ways to collaborate with regulators on a study with other experts in fields that can serve the education sector. “Education is in the heart of every sector, since without it people would not be up to date with latest changes and trends within their own sector.” 

Sara Alhashemi

Sara Alhashemi | Assistant Project Manager, Ministry of Community Development

The Social Development Sector is moving towards empowering citizens of all abilities and ages to become contributing members of societies. Recent initiatives of the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) in the UAE actively seek to promote volunteerism, the social integration of People of Determination, and the transformative role of technology to deliver social services. 

After graduating from the American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication, Sara began work as an Assistant Project Manager at MOCD where she has contributed to projects on National Family Policy, Inmate Rehabilitation, and Community Schools. “The Social Development sector is a diverse sector which incorporates many variables, but most importantly, it is a human sector. It is my belief that as a society, we do better when we rely on each other to thrive and that the success of one is the responsibility of all.” 

In her career she has learned that leadership requires a combination of creative problem solving, working with diversity, and harnessing positive energy. She strives to apply her experience in the NEP to benefit the community. “It is my goal to apply these new skills and to disseminate them within the community so we can strengthen ties and create a more knowledge-based and happier society.”

Hajer Madhi

Hajer Madhi | Senior Project Manager, Sandooq Al Watan

After working as the Academic Program Manager at New York University, Hajer joined Sandooq Al Watan - a national initiative launched by Emirati businessmen to support research in sustainable development - as the Strategic Program Manager. “What fascinates me about this sector is the voluntary nature of community development and the effective community engagement aspect that's completely away from profit making. This spirit finds strong roots within our giving and philanthropic Emirati community.”

In 2017 Hajer earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government and served as a member of the Abu Dhabi Youth Council until 2018. She aspires to use her experience at NEP to secure more adaptable regulations, policies, and other types of interventions to support the Third Sector. “Building the capacity of our Third Sector is crucial to ensure our global and regional competitiveness as well as maintaining a sustainable trajectory of development and growth through which communities are active players.”

Sultan Al Junaibi

Sultan Al Junaibi | Associate, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

The Global Financial Sector is changing, adapting business models to new customer expectations and a broader view of stakeholder interests. Legacy institutions are being challenged by smaller, and more agile players empowered by digital technology and data-driven approaches with fewer infrastructure requirements. 

Sultan aspires to empower those working in the financial services industry by applying AI technology to new market opportunities. His love of numbers, business analysis, and technology led him to his job in Private Equity at ADIA. But he did not start out on this path. He realized after starting university that the major he chose did not inspire him, a misstep that taught him a valuable lesson. “I learned that for a person to do well in any career, one must have passion for it. Passion drives people to give their maximum potential, learn continuously, read more, stay up-to-date with the sector, and think long-term. For our country to further advance, we need to have the passion of continuously improving and doing our best to achieve that goal.”

Sultan also wants to establish a non-profit organization to guide entrepreneurs and startups to compete internationally. “My ambition for this sector grows by the day. I will not rest a minute from growing and enhancing it, not even when the UAE becomes the role model to the world in this sector. I genuinely believe that with the great leadership of the UAE and our ambitious, talented Emiratis, this is achievable.”

Moammar Al Marzooqi

Moammar Al Marzooqi | Planning & Partnerships Senior Executive, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the global tourism industry, forcing governments to reconsider investment plans, safety procedures and sustainability concerns. But the industry had already been disrupted in the last decade as a result of the digital revolution, and was leading a transformation in how people select travel experiences. 

In his four years with the Department of Culture and Tourism, Moammar has promoted Abu Dhabi as an international destination for heritage and cultural tourism. “The Tourism Sector is among the most intriguing and diversified sectors because it encompasses a range of multi stakeholder dialogues with business and cultural organizations. I have gained valuable skills in my career, such as building relationships with people, communication skills and understanding how to optimize customer experiences.”

Moammar sees the National Experts Program as an opportunity to learn more about how other sectors affect his, and to apply that knowledge to formulating appropriate policies and actions within a new Ministry of Tourism. “I believe that Abu Dhabi in specific and the UAE in general have all it takes to be one of the most successful tourism destinations in the world. In the future, I aspire to one day set new strategic benchmarks for our country’s tourism industry as the Minister of Tourism.” 

Khalifa AlQama

Khalifa AlQama | Head of Dubai Future Labs, Dubai Future Foundation

The use of robotics and Artificial Intelligence will streamline production processes, helping us make more effective decisions. Many economists believe that though automation will replace one-third of all jobs by 2030, more positions will be created overall than lost. However, governments need to make sure their citizens aren’t overlooked in the movement towards automation and should start looking at policies to regulate new technologies so they remain transparent. 

As the Head of Labs at the Dubai Future Foundation, Khalifa is in the process of establishing the Gulf region’s first applied research center focused on robotics and automation. To accomplish this he has traveled throughout Europe and North America to build a network of industry-leading partners and attract R&D to the UAE. “Our country has an unparalleled infrastructure, especially for manufacturing. Corporations are looking to diversify the location of their supply chains, and this provides an excellent opportunity for the UAE to attract new foreign direct investments.”

With the experience he gains in the National Experts Program he wants to help take Dubai Future Foundation to the next level. “We want to become the region’s experts in applied tech R&D tech space. There is an abundance of space and energy that could be leveraged for setup and expansion. The country is geographically and socially well positioned, which helps in transporting what is produced effectively and  also helps in attracting talent from around the region and the globe to the sector. 

Taif Al Amiri

Taif Al Amiri | Government Communication Director, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technologies

To transform our societies and avert ecosystem collapse from climate change, we will need the best storytellers to win the battle for people’s hearts and minds. Evidence, combined with powerful stories is the magic key to inspiring consumers into action and to transforming unsustainable consumption patterns.

Creating inspiring stories has always been Taif’s passion. She studied Media and Mass Communication at the American University in Sharjah, and parlayed her Bachelor of Arts degree into communications jobs at the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and at Masdar City, before taking on her current position at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. At the Ministry, Taif leads and mentors a team of communicators, working closely with the Minister. “I’ve learned that creating meaningful, stimulating content that touches all segments of society is a key enabler of positive change and forward-thinking governments.”

Taif is studying for a Master’s degree in Marketing, Advertising, and Communication at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, and hopes to change the media landscape in the UAE. “This is a time of unprecedented media innovation. As a content creator and communication strategist, it is exciting to see new platforms connecting us all. At the same time, I want to make sure that we raise public awareness in the UAE of media propaganda techniques and that we are prepared to counter any efforts to disrupt our nation’s social fabric through adversarial media campaigns like ‘deep fakes.’ ”

Major Dr. Rashed Al Ghafri

Major Dr. Rashed Al Ghafri | Director of Training and Development, Dubai Police

The future of research and development in the security sector will include a heightened focus on ensuring safety in a digitally-driven world. To counter cyberattacks, governments will look to partnerships with the private sector in R&D, as well as collaborating with academics and civil society. 

In addition to working for the Dubai Police for more than 15 years, Rashed became one of the first and few people in the UAE to earn a PhD in Forensic Genetics, a field in which he is now a regional expert. “I chose the security sector because it is one of the most important pillars to build up the base of a country and its society. The UAE’s strong security will allow us to scale up our quality of life.”

Combining his experience with the wisdom he gains from the National Experts Program, Rashed wants to establish an R&D center in the security field. The center, based on partnerships between the private and the public sectors, would contribute to making the UAE one of the safest countries in the world. “I believe that research and development is a main pillar for facing current and future challenges. We always want to be at the high end with technology, and we can be pioneers in this area.”

Nouf Al Hameli

Nouf Al Hameli | Associate Director, Research Public Outreach & Research Assistant Program , New York University Abu Dhabi

Technology is disrupting the very nature of work leading to downsizing and machine labor in some sectors while entirely new jobs are created and grow rapidly in others. An innovation-driven mindset combined with leadership experience in multiple fields is valued more than ever, and adaptability is a trait in increasing demand in the job market.   

Nouf earned her Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of Sheffield, and worked as a Senior Molecular Laboratory Technologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. She believes this background served her well in her new strategic position at New York University Abu Dhabi. “Adaptability, interdisciplinary skills, and dedication to approaching challenges with a growth mindset are key for success. My career started in a very technical job, which prepared me for the operational aspect of an organization. This is a skill that I was lucky to acquire with experience rather than a formal education, and that in itself is what makes it valuable.”

After she finishes the National Experts Program she hopes to return to her original field of study and contribute to the development of a research ecosystem in the UAE. “My specific interest would be to establish a hybrid model of innovation that would enhance the current pipeline of collaboration between Industry, Government and Education to further advance research and development, which in turn would contribute to the common goal of a stronger economy.”

Hassan Alnoon

Hassan Alnoon | CEO, Multiverse Innovation Consultancy

Artificial Intelligence will play an increasingly important role in the way we conduct our lives. Businesses already use AI to streamline management jobs and customer service, and AI is used to upgrade functions in everyday products from smartphones to home appliances. In the near future AI and machine learning will lead to better predictive analysis in the areas of recruitment, price optimization, retail sales, and supply chains.

Hassan, whose consultancy company, Multiverse, offers solutions and advice to businesses looking to expand to the UAE, is passionate about AI and wants to be part of making the UAE a global leader in the technology. “We are entering a new age, the age where AI is key, and it has the potential to disrupt the way our society works and interacts. I am truly ambitious to continue learning and growing my skillset. AI is my passion and where the future of the world, and especially our country that is already highly advanced in technology, is leading towards.” 


In addition to his passion for AI, Hassan’s diverse experience has given him other skills that he wants to put to service in the new knowledge economy. “Everyone has their own method of understanding a complex task, especially in the niche field I work in. Learning how to patiently listen and collectively brainstorm with others has been fundamental in strengthening ideas, and it has very often brought very insightful, outside-the-box perspectives.”

Mohamed Al Marzooqi

Mohamed Al Marzooqi | Senior Investment Manager, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Iterative Critical Thinking (ICT) is a core component of the reskilling revolution tied to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. ICT is a framework approach for problem-solving that breaks down complex challenges into a series of simpler tasks, collects evidence to test hypotheses, and applies rigorous data analysis to build conviction for a course of action. 

As an investment professional, Mohamed uses ICT to analyze financial metrics and identify attractive business models for the UAE to invest in and develop locally. “My work experience has offered me a comprehensive thinking process to tackle problems with. It has given me the confidence to know that we can solve any problems that we face, and that there are no challenges that cannot be overcome one step at a time.”

He is excited to learn from senior leaders in the Financial sector and discover how they develop long-term visions and strategies. After completing the NEP, he wants to apply his new skills to help the UAE grow. “My ambition is to add tangible value for my country in a way that can be felt and measured. I would like to look back knowing that I was able to make an impact on the UAE economy. The reason being is that we have enjoyed many benefits as citizens of this great country, which have enriched our lives in many ways. It would be deeply gratifying to be able to give back if only a fraction of what we have received by benefitting our country.”

Omar Al Braiki

Omar Al Braiki | Acting Unit Head-Environmental Permitting (Projects & Facility), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi

Achieving sustainable paths to equitable and inclusive growth will require a deep, systemic change of our social and economic systems that will only be possible through innovation and collaboration. It will take the efforts of many, empowered by tested expertise and skillsets to identify and amplify solutions that advance the sustainable agenda.

Omar has developed his special bond with nature through university studies in sustainable planning and the preservation of the environment. Through external research programs in Asia, he conducted studies to compare environmentally sustainable practices in China, Singapore, and South Korea. His passion has led him to his current position at the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi. “I try to live by the words of our late father Sheikh Zayed, who taught us to cherish our environment, take only what we need from it, and preserve it for a succeeding generation.”

Omar will seek to leverage his experience with the NEP to reassess how to approach some of the most significant environmental challenges. “It will give me the opportunity to make a long-lasting difference in the sector and the country. I want to positively influence decision-making in my sector and ensure that we have stronger and better equipped Emirati experts.”

Ali Alshimmari

Ali Alshimmari | Offshore Construction Manager, National Petroleum Construction Company

The energy sector is currently encountering major changes both in scope and speed. This transition has introduced uncertainty, but it has also created an opportunity to remake the economy so that it is more sustainable, affordable, and inclusive. 

Ali has followed his passion for exploring and creativity, first in Engineering school at university, and then in his work with the National Petroleum Construction Company. “From my childhood, I have developed a vision of innovating new things. The new technologies that are leading to the emergence of new and more complex energy systems fascinate me.”

Ali is eager to work with the outstanding mentors and advisors in the National Experts Program and wants to be part of the team driving the transformation of the UAE’s energy sector. “The most important thing to me is I believe I should give back something to my country and society overall.” 

Azza Al Raisi

Azza Al Raisi | Senior Specialist, Sustainability, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

The UAE has a unique mix of arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid ecosystems. And the people who know the terrain intimately are the ones who have lived on it for generations. 

Azza chose to study Environmental Sciences at Zayed University in 2007. In her work with the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, she has worked to integrate the idea of sustainability into other sectors such as Energy with the understanding that clean air and water are the foundation of life. “There weren’t a lot of Emiratis specializing in the sector then, and I thought it was important to have Emiratis in this field to be aligned with the country’s vision who understood the sensitivity of the UAE’s ecology.”

Her ambition is to create a plan to move the country’s economy from a traditional “take, make, dispose” system to a circular “make, use, reuse, remake, recycle” model. A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. “I would like to develop a home-grown, holistic strategy based on Emirati values with a clear action plan for the UAE to be leading internationally to support the environment through minimal waste production and pollution.” 

Fatima Al Shamsi

Fatima Al Shamsi | Head of Space Regulations and Policy Section - Acting, UAE Space Agency

The mission of the UAE’s Space Program to reach Mars by 2021 and build the first settlement there by 2117 has the larger goal of propelling Arab expertise in space sciences forward, into a new era. As this new sector emerges, the UAE is building new governance frameworks and new forms of public-private collaboration, especially with universities, to inspire young Emiratis to join the Space sector.

Fatima joined the brave new world of space exploration in 2018, after completing a Master’s in Computing and Informational Science from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and working at the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, where she helped create the city’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy. At the UAE Space Agency she leads the Space Sustainability and Cyber Risks file. “My choice to join the Agency was inspired by the fact that the Space sector in the UAE is in the early stages. We are still studying the sector’s socio-economic impact and laying down plans for government initiatives over the next 50 years. Working with the teams at the Agency, you feel like you are having direct impact on the direction of change in the industry.” 

At the Space Agency, Fatima works on developing 71 initiatives for the National Space Strategy 2030 in conjunction with an international United Nations group. She is committed to using the connections she makes at the National Experts Program to build strategic partnerships that help develop the sector. “To become a successful global hub in the space sector and transform our economy, the UAE will need to develop unique regulatory and business environments. I have learned that our success on that front is built around the principles of integration and cooperation, which are unachievable without intensifying efforts building on our strengths and capacities in the future growth industries.”

Salem Al Shamsi

Salem Al Shamsi | Head of Projects and Initiatives Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Managing complexity in a multipolar world disrupted by digital technology makes communication skills – the cornerstone of diplomacy – even more central to our job in international relations. To be ready for tomorrow, diplomats need to reskill to become more creative problem-solvers, better experts and to feel comfortable mixing disciplines and creating communities and emergency task forces. All of it in a social media context where timeliness and transparency are more important than ever.  

Salem studied Business Administration in the University of San Diego and earned an MBA at the American University of Sharjah in 2016. Since then, he has been working at the Strategy and Future Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC). “One of the most important skills I learned in university is negotiation and how to master it to achieve goals. I want to apply it to my career in diplomacy, to open new dialogues, build stronger economic ties, exchange cultural knowledge and resolve conflicts.”

Before joining MOFAIC, Salem studied at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and completed the Strategy Execution Program at INSEAD. The National Experts Program represents an opportunity to meet peers from different sectors and learn about the impact of collaborative brainstorming formats. “Diplomacy should strengthen our interests across all economic sectors. A personal long-term aspiration is to engage deeply with colleagues from future growth sectors to set creative strategies that successfully integrate with our foreign policy.” 

Ahlam Al Marzooqi

Ahlam Al Marzooqi | Head of Certification Section, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology

Our food system is in need of profound transformation if it is to provide access to healthier and more sustainable nutrition. Bio-innovation – the interplay between biotechnology and our policy models for food security – will play a critical role in bringing about this holistic change. Revised industry standards and practices need to combine with performance-led approaches by government to strike a productive balance between quality, consumer protection regulation, and the need for creative solutions in agriculture.

Over the last eight years, Ahlam has worked for the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology in initiatives to reduce and recycle waste in agriculture and to regulate biodegradable plastics. She sees opportunity for a new kind of conversation in today’s bio-innovation space, fueled by fast-paced structural transformation. “I have a strong appreciation of the important role that technical standards play in creating market opportunities for innovators, especially when it comes to locally based sustainable agriculture. I believe I can be an asset on the team that overcomes the challenges facing the sector.” 

Ahlam wants to set her sights on opening new markets abroad for local farmers and to help shape standards and policies that boost food production in the UAE. “I want to be part of the movement to shift the UAE’s consumer-based economy to a technology-intensive economy, helping to reduce our current food trade balance gap of AED31 billion in the process.”  

Al Anood Al Abdool

Al Anood Al Abdool | Deputy Director of Foreign Assistance Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

It is time to build 21st century strategies for volunteering and philanthropy focused on maximizing social impact and integrating technology to amplify transparency and outreach capacity. As a sector, philanthropy faces a number of challenges, including questions of transparency and efficacy, and finding ways to build effective partnerships to tackle urgent and complex global issues such as climate change.

The UAE regularly tops the world’s rankings for charitable donations and prioritizes volunteering for youth. But philanthropy can also involve the giving of one’s time. In college, Al Anood joined the Friends of Cancer Patients in Sharjah, where she is now the head of volunteers. “My altruistic nature has been a part of me since childhood. Initiating and sustaining a lending hand to the less fortunate is a valuable and an important learning lesson of humility. It reminds me that I or anyone else could be in their place.”

Combining her experiences in volunteering and philanthropy with what she will learn in the NEP, Al Anood wants to become an Emirati Ambassador of Goodwill. “Connecting people together is my most valuable skill. My previous career experiences and interactions helped me connect with many of current local and international networks, and I aspire to use this knowledge to empower families affected by crisis and provide resilience through education and job creation.”

HE Ohoud bint Khalfan Al Roumi

HE Ohoud bint Khalfan Al Roumi | Minister of State for Government Development and the Future

HE Maryam Al Hammadi

HE Maryam Al Hammadi | Secretary-General of the UAE Cabinet

HE Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid

HE Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid | Minister of Community Development

HE Dr. Maha Barakat

HE Dr. Maha Barakat | Director-General of the Frontline Heroes Office,The Fakhr Al Watan Office

HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi

HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi | Minister of Culture and Youth

HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi

HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi | President of the UAE Football Association

HE Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi

HE Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi | Minister of State for Public Education

HE Salama Al Amimi

HE Salama Al Amimi | Director-General of the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an

HE Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili

HE Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili | Chairman of the Department of Community Development

HE Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh

HE Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh | Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market

Gerald Lawless

Gerald Lawless | Former CEO of Jumeirah Group

HE Faisal Al Bannai

HE Faisal Al Bannai | CEO and Managing Director of EDGE Group

HE Mona Ghanem Al Marri

HE Mona Ghanem Al Marri | Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office

HE Humaid Abdullah Al Shimmari

HE Humaid Abdullah Al Shimmari | Deputy Group CEO, Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer of Mubadala

HE Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri

HE Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri | Minister of State of Advanced Sciences

HE Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al-Kuwaiti

HE Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al-Kuwaiti | Head of Cyber Security for the UAE Government

HE Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari

HE Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari | Minister of Economy

Mohammed Jameel Al Ramahi

Mohammed Jameel Al Ramahi | CEO of Masdar

HE Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber

HE Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber | Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology

HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak

HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak | Managing Director of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD)

Engr. Omran Sharaf Al Hashemi

Engr. Omran Sharaf Al Hashemi | Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission Hope Probe

Robert Howard

Robert Howard | Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin in the Middle East

HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb AlMheiri

HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb AlMheiri | Minister of State for Food and Water Security

HE Saeed Mohammad Al Eter Al Dhanhani

HE Saeed Mohammad Al Eter Al Dhanhani | Chairman of Dubai Future Council for Humanitarian Work

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan | Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

program philosophy

This is not an ordinary training course—it is a workspace to create, reflect, critique and stretch to new places. The NEP teaches mindsets to help the participant become a better critical thinker across their sector, regardless of job title. The experience will change how they think, reflect and work.

The NEP is designed for high-performing and open-minded Emiratis with 4 to 8 years of sector–specific work expertise who want to level up their ability to foster change, deepen their understanding of sector trends and practices, and contribute to the UAE’s centennial vision for economic renewal and growth.

This program is not meant as a deep dive into technical competencies. However, participants will have opportunities to build up sectorial expertise through personalized micro-learning tasks and resources.

Creating is the best way to learn and the NEP will engage participants’ creativity with a series of small sprint assignments, Personal Development Planning (PDP), dialogue with practitioners in their field, in-class exercises with professors, and a major Capstone Project to put ideas into action.

The experience is underpinned by mindset-based learning comprised of five enduring, well-rounded building blocks for lifelong development: self-reflection, looking outward and embracing diverse perspectives, interpersonal skills, critical thinking and problem solving and making change happen.

Along the way, participants will receive personalized support through one-on-one mentorship with industry leaders, advising from sector experts, and peer networking during and after the program.


The NEP uses a hybrid model of virtual and in-person transformational learning. Participants will engage in team-building immersion, mentoring from accomplished sector leaders, dialogue with top professors and guest VIPs, site visits, creating a Personal Development Plan (PDP), learn-by-doing assignments, and a Capstone Project, including coaching and support for post-program implementation. 

Mentoring with Sector Leaders

Each participant will be assigned to a sector leader who acts as a Mentor throughout the program. Interactions include one-on-one dialogue on sector issues and Capstone ideas; shadowing to see their daily engagements in action; potential to join Mentors on key sector conferences/missions; rotating across different departments in their organization; and Capstone guidance from the Mentor and their technical team.

Capstone Projects Addressing Sector Issues

Throughout the program, each participant will individually develop solutions to actual challenges in their sector and pitch their project to senior panel members.The Capstone journey includes 6 checkpoints with submissions.

Immersive Experiences

Community Growth Initiative:

This immersive experience involves gaining a holistic view of a remote UAE community’s critical needs and challenges. Guided by a specialist in design thinking and working hand-in-hand with local members of a community, participants will strategize and develop solutions for positive change.

Site Visits:

All participants will make immersive half-day field visits to local industry innovators with links to specific learning outcomes, such as AI/Smart Technology or Building a Positive Workplace Culture.

Sprint Assignments:

Brief, peer-reviewed project assignments will put selected module learnings into practice, including a video of each participant's presentation skills, a summary of communication dynamics in the workplace, and a SCRUM-Agile assignment.

Sector-Specific Coursework

Sector Micro-learning

A variety of personalized opportunities will be offered for participants to build up their sectorial expertise and understanding.

Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Revisited throughout the program, this self-created roadmap provides a chance to step back, start with the end in mind, and establish where participants are headed and how to get there.

Success Plan

The overall Success Plan strategy is formative. Evaluation of participants’ learning will take place throughout the program as they engage in hands-on activities individually or in small groups. It will include self, peer, and faculty review. Evaluation includes the following components:


Capstone Project
  • 1 Integration of key principles
  • 2 Oral presentation
  • 3 Final presentation


Overall Program Participation
  • 1 Attendance
  • 2 Readiness
  • 3 Written summary report
  • 4 Mentor interaction


Personal Development Plan
  • 1 NEP insights
  • 2 Career mission statement
  • 3 Development objectives
  • 4 Action plan


Sprint Assignments
  • 1 Project solution
  • 2 Organization
  • 3 Knowledge


Applications for the 3rd edition of NEP will be launched soon. Stay tuned!