American University of Beirut

Faculty and Guest Speakers


  • Rida Elias | Leadership Essentials​
Dr. Rida joined the Olayan School of Business at AUB on September 1, 2014. She did her
 PhD in general management and strategy at Ivey Business School at Western University. She received her MBA from the American University of Beirut with full assistantship. She earned her BBA and graduated with honor from the University of Balamand. Her research interests are in the areas of CEO succession, sense making, and learning. 
Her current research focuses on executives’ learning and more specifically, on how the designation of executives as heirs apparent affects their learning. The overarching goal of her work is to help organizations and their boards improve their CEO succession practices. Her thesis was awarded the 2013 Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award ($15,000), granted by the Canadian Foundation for Governance Research (CFGR), a foundation established by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) in Canada. She also presented her work and chaired sessions at different conferences in the management field. Her commitment to improving research quality in her field won her the 2010 and 2012 Academy of Management Outstanding Reviewer Award.

  • Dr. Yusuf Sidani | Adaptive and Agile Leadership
Dr. Sidani is the Professor of Leadership and Business Ethics at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut. He is currently the interim dean at the school. Dr. Sidani’s research focuses on business and employee ethics, gender and diversity in organizations, and international human resource management with special interest in the Middle East region. He has teaching experience in business ethics, leadership, fraud prevention and control, strategic analysis and control, and organizational behavioral courses at the undergraduate, MBA, and EMBA programs. Dr. Sidani collaborated with Edraak (Queen Rania foundation – Jordan) through the AUB-Edraak agreement and delivered an on-line course (MOOC) on “success skills” that ran twice and is now a self-paced course on Edraak platform.  

Dr. Sidani has served in various professional and non-profit organizations including the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants, the Lebanese Corporate Governance Taskforce, and the Lebanese Management Association. He has worked as a financial and managerial consultant for various profit and non-profit organizations. He was also appointed as court expert on a number of high-profile cases including the special investigation committee appointed by the Lebanese General Prosecutor for the biggest money laundering case in the Middle East (Madina Bank & UCB Bank) – (2006-2008). He is a member of several professional and academic organizations including the American institute of CPAs, the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants, the Academy of Management, and several others.

  • Dr. Yasmeen Makarem | Adaptive and Agile Leadership
Dr. Yasmeen Makarem is an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Development at th
e S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Yasmeen received her doctorate from Texas A&M University (TAMU) in May of 2019 and wa
s the recipient of the Distinguished Honor Graduate Award from TAMU for her academic achievements and leadership throughout her 4-year doctoral studies. Yasmeen has built a portfolio of work related to two core areas: (1) women in STEM and related career ecosystems, and (2) critical perspectives on management studies. The 
main body of her work has increasingly adopted an interdisciplinary, multilevel and critical lens attentive to the contextual influences of patriarchy, power differentials, cultural variations, and sociopolitical instability. In these two research areas, she seeks to contribute to emancipatory social and institutional change through questioning and critiquing scholarly work in organization and management studies. Yasmeen’s work has been published in several journals and academic conferences, including Human Resource Management Journal, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Business Research Quarterly, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Academy of Management and Academy of Human Resource Development. Yasmeen is currently completing her 3-year term as the managing editor of Human Resource Development Review.

  •  Dr. Fida Afiouni | The Inclusive Imperative
Dr. Fida Afiouni is an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and was the recipient of the Sharjah award for the best doctoral thesis in administrative sciences in the Arab world for the year 2005. Her current research focuses on the interplay of HRM, careers, and gender in the Arab Middle East with a particular interest in identifying best HRM practices in the region, HR policies in support of women’s career development, as well as individuals’ chosen career patterns and conceptualizations of career success. 
Her research agenda aims to lead to better understanding HRM realities in the Middle East, to contribute to gender mainstreaming, and to shape policy at the national and organizational level to improve the quality of life of people in the region. Her publications have appeared in several outlets, the most recent being in Career Development International, the International Journal of Human Resource Management and Women Studies International Forum.

  • Dr. Wissam Samouri | Digital Leadership
Dr. Wissam Samouri is a tech-loving data scientist and entrepreneur with a Doctoral degree in predictive data mining algorithms. He holds a PhD in Data Mining, Big Data, Association rule Mining, Pattern Mining, and Machine Learning from the French Institute of science and technology for transport, development and network (IFSTTAR). He is Co-founder of Pixis, which is a future form of college counseling.  Alongside, he is the author of several articles in the field, alongside his admiration in the power of artificial intelligence for education. He won several international prizes for his projects, such as the French Tech international prize, Trophée de services innovants, Vivatech positive impact challenge prize, Qatar Foundation WISE acceleration award and was supported officially and publicly by the French government, president and media. ​He is also a lecturer in several different universities for data mining, computer science, digital marketing, growth hacking and entrepreneurship. These universities include ECE Engineering School in Paris, Universite Paris Descartes, Universite Paris Dauphine, Universite Saint Joseph de Beyrouth, Lebanese American University and the American University of Beirut.

​​​​Guest Speaker

  • Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, President & Founder, Arab International Women’s Forum Fellow, Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow 2017
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani is President & Founder of the Arab International Women’s Forum recognised in Arab and international government, private sector and NGO circles as a high-impact change agent focussed on women’s leadership and youth empowerment, working for progress, inclusion, peace and prosperity in the Arab region and internationally.

Haifa founded the Arab International Women’s Forum in London in 2001 as a development organisation committed to supporting women’s leadership in social and economic growth in the MENA region and internationally and creating equality of opportunity for all. Haifa served as the Chair of AIWF for nearly 20 years and under her leadership, AIWF has become one of the world’s most respected development organisations for the economic empowerment of women and young people, working at the highest levels with a global network of corporate, institutional and global advocacy partners to advance momentum for women’s leadership in all sectors and spheres.

Haifa is a development economist, an alumna of the American University of Beirut and read for a Diploma in Economic Development at Oxford University, a Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative 2017, and a Commissioner of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work (2017-2019). She brings a wide range of skills and experience to her personal mission of encouraging greater cultural understanding and sustainable economic growth and reform, supporting a strong role for women and young leaders at the heart of that process.

Haifa holds senior roles in several cultural, educational, non-governmental UK, MENA and international organisations. She is a Board Member of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce in London, a Director of the East-West Institute in New York, a Board Member at the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard, and a member of the Harvard ALI Director’s Advisory Council. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Global Thinkers Forum, a former Advisory Board Member of the Imperial College Business School, and also served as an Advisory Board Member of the London Middle East Institute at the SOAS University of London.

Haifa was appointed as the only Commissioner from the Arab world to the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work in August 2017, and also served in 2012 on The Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She was the first Honorary Member of the Euro Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development (2012). She became a Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative in 2017, spending a year in Cambridge MA to undertake the year-long intensive Fellowship to research and address global sustainability challenges.

Haifa Al Kaylani has received international recognition and numerous regional and global awards. Most recent awards include her inclusion by Women in Business Arabia as one of their 365 Inspiring Arab Women 2020, and in Cranfield University’s Women to Watch 2019 supplement launched alongside the Female FTSE Board Report. In 2018, Haifa was the honoured recipient of the Outstanding Golden Shield Award presented by the Arab Women Council in Cairo for her exceptional efforts to enable and advance women and youth through education and economic opportunities in the MENA region and beyond. Also in 2018, she was honoured by the American University of Beirut when she was named amongst the leading women alumni recognised and featured in the book For All Conditions of Men: Stories of Women at AUB, and she has been featured in Forbes Middle East’s LeaderBoard: Standing Out list of High Achievers (July 2017), recognised for her leadership of AIWF and her commitment to encouraging cultural exchange and understanding between communities and promoting gender equality around the world.

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