The Shelter, Al Quoz, Dubai

Freelance Summit Agenda

6.30 – 7.00     Welcome and Seating

7.00 – 7.05     Audience Brief and Agenda

7.05 – 7.15     Nabbesh Introduction

7.15 – 7.30     Developing a Knowledge Economy in the UAE: The Importance of Freelancers

(Trevor McFarlane, Gulfstat )

7.30 – 7.45     Freelancer Panel – insights, experience and advice

7.45 – 8.00     Presentation by Sara Khoja, Partner at Clyde & Co; What does the law say     regarding licenses, permits and freelancing?

8.00 – 8.15     Break

8.15 – 8.30     Creative Zone – Business Licensing Options

8.30 – 8.45     Employer Panel – what they look for in freelancers, their experience and advice

8.45 – 9.00     Wrap up

Freelancers –           Nigel Holt, Marianne Bassil, Shelina Jokhiya, Swati Randev Verma

Employers –             Sharif Maghraby (MBC, twofour54)

                                 Nick Gonzalez (

                                 Joe Akkawi (Paz Marketing)

                                 Faisal al Yafai (The National)

Moderators – Alexandra Tohme, David Haddad

About the speakers:

Trevor McFarlane is Research Director for the Middle East and Africa at Gulfstat, an independent research group and data provider. He was previously the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Senior Editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Trevor regularly speaks and moderates at conferences, presents to senior executives and hosts Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast Radio Show as well as continuing his role as a contributing editor to The Economist.

Sara Khoja is Partner, Employment & Incentives at Clyde & CoSara provides advice on all aspects of employment law, including recruitment, termination, terms and conditions of employment (benefits, bonuses, and remuneration), and the application of quotas and training requirements for the employment of nationals in various AGCC countries.  She has contributed UAE chapters to the International Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook (published by Kluwer Law International and the IBA); Corporate Immigration (published by the Oxford University Press) and Compensating Mobile Executives (published by Taxmann).

Sharif Maghraby has worked as a director and producer with MBC, and was responsible for acquiring and negotiating international content formats such as Who wants to be a Millionaire, Fear Factor, and Biggest Loser amongst others. He has experience working with TV, VOD, IPTV and mobile content.  Sharif worked as the Managing Director of Comedy Central Studios with TwoFour54.  He is also the author of a book, “The seven gates of Phi”  He has managed a team of full-time and part-time staff including producers, directors, content development executives, writers and post-production supervisors and has developed and produced many new programs and concepts for the region.

Nick Gonzalez is the co founder of Nervora represents regional advertising for word-class digital publications in the MENA region reaching millions of readers of well-known global brands such as Conde Nast (e.g. Wired, Vogue, GQ, etc.), CBS Interactive, Hearst Media, Viacom, and Gawker Media.  Previously Nick was the first employee at and joined founder Michael Arrington to cover the burgeoning startup scene in the SF Bay Area. Nick wore several hats to keep TechCrunch running in the early days, including writing, researching, and managing the original TechCrunch website.

Joe Akkawi is the Founder and Owner of PAZ Marketing Management and Bambinoz PR providing clients with Public Relations, Events Management, Social Media and Media Buying consultancy in the Middle East and North Africa. Joe is also the TV Anchor on SkyNews Arabia doing weekly reviews and stories revolving around technology launches and advancements. Previously Joe’s experience was developing online web experiences and communication strategies with some of the Middle East’s top advertising and communications agencies including Leo Burnett, Grey Worldwide, Impact BBDO and Flip Media.

Faisal al Yafai is an award-winning journalist and essayist. He is chief columnist, features writer and editor for The National newspaper.  His journalism and essays have been featured in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The American Prospect and many other global magazines and newspapers. He is the editor of a collection of essays Women, Islam and Western Liberalism, published by Civitas in London. He conducted undercover investigations into radical and suspected terrorist organisations in the post-9/11 era. He has since reported from countries across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia. Faisal was awarded prestigious Churchill Fellowship, taking a journey to explore feminism across the Arab and Islamic worlds, from Morocco in the east to the furthest tip of Indonesia. His book on the future of feminism in the Middle East is forthcoming from I.B. Tauris, London.


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