Speakers

ICSW is dedicated to connecting inspiring women of all backgrounds and generations, from sports fans to sportswomen, academics to professionals.

Our unparalleled line-up of speakers and panelists are some of the most inspirational figures in women’s sport and culture - industry leaders, barrier-breakers, sporting icons and influencers.

ICSW is your chance to listen to, and be a part of, great debates and in-depth discussions on the issues that matter to women, and to learn from some of the most experienced industry figures and sporting icons in the world.

Check back with us regularly to find out the latest news and announcements about our speakers, panellists, moderators and MCs in 2017.

Keynote Speakers

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a former Olympic athlete, a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a former President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Sports have always been an integral part of HRH Princess Haya’s life. At the age of 13 She became the first female to represent Jordan internationally in equestrian show jumping. In 1992, HRH Princess Haya became the first and only female to win a Pan-Arab equestrian medal when She won the individual bronze at the Pan-Arab Equestrian Games. In 2000, She represented Jordan in show jumping at the Sydney Olympic Games, and was Her nation’s flagbearer at the event. Two years later, Princess Haya competed for Jordan in the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. She was the first Arab woman to qualify for and compete in an equestrian world championship.

Recognizing the positive and empowering impact sports have had on Her own life, HRH Princess Haya has worked to give others, especially young girls, a similar experience. Her work as President of the FEI and as a member of the IOC was motivated by the belief that sport improves lives, empowers women, and breaks down barriers between people and nations.

In June 2015, HRH Princess Haya was awarded the prestigious Longines Ladies Award to celebrate Her achievements and positive impact had on equestrian sport. In January 2016, She received the Award for Local Sports Personality from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.

Speakers

Loretta Claiborne

Loretta Claiborne was born in Pennsylvania in 1953, partially blind and unable to walk or speak until the age of four. Despite being pressured to admit a young Loretta to a mental institution, Loretta’s mother refused to bow down, believing in her child’s potential.  At school, Loretta would escape the taunts of her classmates by running away. From then on, running became a passion through which she would find her path to global recognition.

In 1971, Claiborne was introduced to Special Olympics, which she described as a “turning point” in her life. She won her first gold medal in the 1983 World Games, and has since won dozens of medals at various events, and is a seasoned athlete in karate, skiing, skating, and basketball. She holds the women’s record for the 5,000m run in the Special Olympics World Games for her age category and has featured in the top 100 women at the Boston Marathon twice.

Aside from her athletic career, Claiborne is a global spokesperson and a member of the current Board of Directors for the Special Olympics.  She has also been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards including induction into the World Sport Humanitarian Hall of Fame 2007 and the Women in Sports Hall of Fame (2000). In 2000, her story was immortalized in the Walt Disney TV film production, The Loretta Claiborne Story.

Panellists

Raha Moharrak

Raha Moharrak grew up in Saudi Arabia and throughout her life felt a longing to break free and to set off on her own adventure. She began searching for that adventure upon finishing her undergraduate studies, when she found what would become her life-long passion: mountain climbing.

At the age of 25, Moharrak successfully reached the peak of Kilimanjaro, and just two years later shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the youngest Arab, and first Saudi, woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Now 30 years old, she has completed several immense climbs of some of the highest peaks across the world.

While continuing to pursue her adventures, Moharrak utilizes the fame she has attained to spread a message of empowerment to other women, encouraging them to get active and to confront societal expectations. Moharrak also plays a role in pursuing the cause at a higher level through her involvement in campaigns by organizations such as the Human Rights Watch, who are lobbying governments to actively boost women’s role in sports.

May El-Khalil

In 2001, May El-Khalil suffered a near-fatal accident while on her routine run that put her in a coma and left her unable to walk. After two years of struggling with her injuries, El-Khalil began walking again. Out of her own struggle, she was inspired to start a movement that would create a sense of community, inspiring others to overcome the adversities in their lives. This is when she founded the Beirut Marathon Association.

The first Beirut Marathon was held in 2003, attracting 6,000 participants, and soon becoming a globally acclaimed event. In 2009, the marathon received accreditation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), and in 2016 attracted over 47,000 participants from 104 countries. It has also received recognition from prestigious organizations across the globe, being awarded the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) Power of Sports Award 2010, the Laureus “Sports for Good” Award 2010, and May El-Khalil was invited to speak about the Beirut Marathon project at the world-renowned TED Global Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2013.

Today, the Beirut Marathon Association organizes multiple running events alongside the Beirut Marathon, including a ladies-only race designed to empower women through running, and youth races to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the next generation.

Moderators

MCs