Thematic Keynotes

Smart CitiesSmart MobilitySmart EnergySmart HealthSmart SocietySmart NegotiationSmart SustainabilitySmart Business EnvironmentSmart ICT

Prof. Nicos Komninos

Prof. Nicos Komninos
Aristotle University

Nicos Komninos is a professor of Urban Development and Innovation Policy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He holds a Master’s Degree of Architect-Engineer from the Aristotle University, post-graduate studies in Semantics, and PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He teaches courses on “Digital, Smart, Intelligent Cities: Theory and Strategies”, “Design and Development of Applications for Smart Cities”, “Strategic Planning for Urban Development”, and “Learning Regions: Innovation and Regional Development in Europe”.
He is director of the Urban and Regional Innovation Research (URENIO) at the Aristotle University and his research interests are on “intelligent cities” and “cyber-physical systems of innovation”. He has coordinated about one hundred projects under the European research and territorial development programmes (H2020, FP, CIP, LDV, Interreg, SEE, MED) and has been honoured with the Award for Excellence and Innovation of Aristotle University for achievements in competitive research. He has worked as an expert of the European Commission in the development of technology parks, regional innovation strategies, and actually in the assessment of research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) and digital growth strategies across many regions of Europe. He has participated in the UNIDO activities for regional innovation in developing countries and has been member of the group of experts for drafting the OECD innovation strategy.
He has published extensively on urban and regional development, innovation territories, smart and intelligent cities, and he is the author of twelve books including the trilogy “Intelligent Cities: Innovation, knowledge systems and digital spaces” (Routledge, 2002), “Intelligent Cities and Globalisation of Innovation Networks” (Routledge, 2008), and “The Age of Intelligent Cities: Smart Environments and Innovation-for-all Strategies” (Routledge, 2014).
He is associate editor of the “Journal of Smart Cities”, the “Journal of the Knowledge Economy” and the “Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship” and member of the editorial board of other eight academic journals. More at

Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen
Oregon Drive

Jeff Allen was hired in December 2011 as the first Executive Director of Drive Oregon, a state-supported initiative to catalyze the growth of Oregon’s electric vehicle industry. Drive Oregon has leveraged over $15 million in outside investment in Oregon’s rapidly growing electric vehicle industry. Under an MOU with the Governor and Oregon Department of Transportation, Drive Oregon also leads the “Energizing Oregon Coalition” to promote electric vehicle deployment. The Portland Business Journal awarded Drive Oregon an Innovation in Sustainability award in 2013, and Sustainable Business Oregon named Jeff one of its “15 people to watch” in 2014. Jeff previously served as Executive Director or organizational development consultant to several nonprofit organizations, including the Oregon Environmental Council, where he served as Executive Director from 1996-2006. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan.

CJ Vizas 2015

Christopher Vizas

Mr. Vizas spent his business career in leadership teams developing successful technology companies. He was a founder in Trinity Cellular, Orion Network Systems, Asia Pacific Space and Communications, Quo Vadis International, SmartSenseCom and Fiber Optic Sensor Systems. He managed investments in emerging technology companies (in telecommunications, IT and sensing – including experience in financing bio and medical technology) in North America, Europe and Asia. He served as an Officer and Director of public companies in the United States and Asia. He served in the Ford White House and advised the Carter White House, was appointed by President Ford as Special Counsel to the US Privacy Commission, and served in various positions on congressional staff; he has represented the United States in international conferences and negotiations and served from time to time on various governmental advisory committees. He is currently Chairman of SmartSenseCom, Inc., a sensor technology company which is commercializing technology developed by the U.S. Navy, as well as a director of Point Semantics Corporation, another technology commercialization effort by the U.S. government, and a director of Sutton Hoo Studios, an archival film development company. He served for over a decade on the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library. He currently serves on the Board of the Center for International Business Research and Education at George Washington University. He is a Fellow of Branford College, Yale University. He received his undergraduate, graduate and legal education at Yale, and spent two post graduate years as a Fellow in the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago.


Dr. George Sanzero
Sandia National Labs

Sandy Sanzero is currently Manager of Robotics, Intelligent Systems, and Cybernetics at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He is currently the laboratory point of contact for new initiatives that involve Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and industrial base customers for systems solutions that will impact warfighters and national security problems of the military as well as first responders to emergency disasters.
Dr. Sanzero has been involved with the creation and development of systems solutions for a variety of customers as technical project lead, program manager, product research & development manager, and business development director for Sandia National Laboratories, PPG Industries, Celanese, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin.  His technical contributions (patents, publications, and program management) have mainly been in the areas of material and structural design for aerospace systems, as well manager of New Product Development, and robotics systems that encompass unique manipulation, mobility, perception, and energy.  He has also served as the Resident Director (in country) for Central Europe for Lockheed Martin.  He has used specific proprietary industrial design tools coupled with modeling/simulation and testing to create and develop new products for customers.  His technical work has had an emphasis on composite systems and their non-linear behavior and manufacturing as well as unique and innovative unmanned systems.

Sultan Alhajji

Sultan Alhajji
Total E&P

Sultan Al Hajji is Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer of Total E&P United Arab Emirates.
He holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and Public Affairs from USA and post graduation higher diploma in Human Resources from France. He is associated with various forums and events in the UAE, regional and international level related to human resources, corporate social responsibility, communications, diversity and leadership and is recognized as a developer of organizational leadership, management methods and strategy. He is an ardent promoter of Emiratization and Feminization. As an accomplished presenter on these subjects and having qualities of a motivational and leadership speaker, he has been a facilitator, panelist, moderator and participant in live radio talk-shows and TV at events in the UAE, Europe and USA.
In the Total Group, he is a Representative of the UAE -Total Employees Shareholders and Total Shareholders Supervisory Board Member since 1994. He had been Representative of the UAE Sustainable Development (2003 – 2010), Total Global Diversity Council Member (2004 – 2012) and is a founder of Total ABK Academy.
He is Chair of the College of Science Advisory Board of UAE University, Customer Advisory Board member of Du Telecommunications, Chairman of Management & Administration Committee of Higher College of Technologies board, Vice President, Alliance Française Abu Dhabi as well as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Manzil (Center for Challenged Children in Sharjah –NPO). Promoter and establisher of Toastmasters Clubs in Abu Dhabi.
His notable honors are Diversity and Inclusion Award for Youth Empowerment / Middle East Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Forum held in Dubai in 2014 and HR Professional of the Year, The Middle East HR Summit Excellence Awards in 2009. Under his leadership as Vice President (Institutional Development), Total UAE won Best CSR Project in MENA Region at ADIPEC 2013 for “Alreyada – Connecting Leaders”. When he was HR Manager, Total ABK won 2007 Dubai Human Development Award for Best HR function in the industry.

Dr. Laila Maroof

Dr. Laila Marouf
Kuwait University

Dr. Laila Marouf is the Assistant Vice President for Research at Kuwait University. She is an Associate Professor in Library & information science at College of Social Sciences, Kuwait University. Dr. Laila holds a Ph.D in Library & Information Science from University of Pittsburgh with a focus in Knowledge Management. She earned her B.Sc. in Computer Science and Mathematical Statistics from Kuwait University. Dr Laila was awarded the “Best Young Researcher in Arts and Humanities from Kuwait University in 2010/2011” and the “The Harold Lancour Award for Excellence from University of Pittsburgh in 2005.
She teaches courses in Knowledge management and Knowledge Sharing & CoPs at the Master’s program in the department of library & Information Science at Kuwait University. She has published around 30 articles in the areas of Information and knowledge management, Knowledge sharing and Information Behavior and has conducted many workshops in the same area.

Eliane Kasklian

Prof. Eliane Kasklian
Sorbonne University

Eliane Karsaklian, PhD, has lived and worked in several countries for more than 20 years, and has extensive knowledge and experience in intercultural relationships and negotiation techniques. She has mastered five languages and spends half of her time researching and teaching international business and half consulting with companies in their international activities’ development. She lives in Paris, is professor at Université Sorbonne and is the founder of Ubi&Orbi, specializing in accompanying companies in their settlements worldwide.
In Paris, she is the director of the Master Program in International Negotiation at Sorbonne. Her research activities have led her to develop tools to work with international negotiators, expatriates, and diversity managers. She has published several articles and books in the field of international business, most recently The Intelligent International Negotiator (2014) and From Foreign to International: Lessons from a Citizen of the World (2015). Dr. Karsaklian is a board member of the Marketing Management Association in the United States. More recently, Dr. Karsaklian has launched a program tailor made for Executives. It is a round-the-world trip in which participants learn about negotiation, marketing, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation from local experts for immediate results –



Prof. Pierre Jacquet
President, Global Development Network

Pierre Jacquet became in 2012 President of the Global Development Network (GDN), a public international organization that strengthens research capacity in social sciences in developing countries and transition economies and mobilizes local research to inform public policies. He had previously been the Chief Economist of the French Development Agency (AFD) between 2002 and 2012 and also served as the Executive Director of AFD in charge of strategy from 2002 to 2010. Before, he was Deputy Director of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI) and was Chief Editor of IFRI’s quarterly review, Politique Etrangère. From 1994 until 2012, he was President of the Department of Economic and Social Sciences of the Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC), a renowned French engineering school. He has been since 1992 Professor of International Economics at ENPC and he is currently a member of the ENPC Scientific Council. He is a former (elected) Chairman of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee Poverty Reduction subsidiary body. He is a member of the Cercle des Economistes, an influent group of 30 French economists. From 1997 to 2006, he was a member of the French Prime Minister’s Council of Economic Analysis. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the French FARM Foundation, promoting world agricultural and rural development. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique (1978) and Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (1981). He has over 80 publications and more than 200 press columns on international economy, trade, economic policy, development and the governance of globalization. He has notably co-authored the textbook Economic Policy: Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2010) and co-founded in 2007 and co-edited until 2012 a yearly book on sustainable development, Regards sur la Terre / A Planet for Life (published in French by Armand Colin and in English by TERI Press).