Prior to joining DIDI, Mohammad Abdullah served as Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Park and Dubai International Academic City, Dubai’s principal vehicles for advancing academic learning and corporate training. He is responsible for aligning over 500 businesses and 27 universities with Dubai’s long-term strategy for creating a sustainable, knowledge-based economy.
Mohammad was formerly Managing Director of TECOM’s Media Sector comprising of Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City and Dubai Studio City. Drawing on two decades of journalistic experience, Mohammad built a thriving media community of 1,800 companies. Prior to joining TECOM Group, he was Executive Vice-President of CNBC Arabiya, where he was responsible for guiding company strategies and implementation of the corporate vision.
He also held key media roles with Emirates Media Inc. as Director of Strategy and Planning, Director of press and Head of News Centre at Abu Dhabi TV.
Mohammad holds a Bachelors’ degree in Mass Communication and French literature from UAE University and a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, USA.
Sass Brown is the Founding Dean of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. Prior to joining DIDI, Brown was the Interim Dean for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) School of Art and Design in New York, and was Acting Associate Dean, and the Resident Director of FIT’s campus in Florence, Italy.
As a fashion designer with a background in sustainable design, Brown has been an advisor for Sustainia100, the annual Danish sustainable solutions guide that honors developments in sustainability across a multitude of industries. She was also an Associate Design Researcher on The Textile Toolbox, the web platform for the MISTRA Future Fashion consortium that advises on the integration of sustainability into mainstream fashion.
As a researcher, writer and educator, Brown’s area of expertise is ethical fashion in all its forms; from slow design and heritage craft skills to recycling, reuse and alternative business models. She has published papers and spoken around the world on the topic of sustainable fashion and served as a sustainable design advisor to women’s cooperatives, educational institutions, governmental agencies, NGO’s and small and medium sized enterprises around the world. She has also authored two books on sustainable fashion: Eco Fashion and Refashioned.
Brown holds a Master’s in Global Fashion Management from FIT, a Bachelor in Fashion Design from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, UK, and is a PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
Hani Asfour is the Associate Dean of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. Prior to joining DIDI, the MIT and Harvard-trained architect was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, teaching in the departments of Architecture and Foundation Studies. Asfour’s academic experience also includes teaching positions at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, American University of Beirut and American University of Sharjah.
Asfour was the Founding President of the Beirut Creative Cluster, and is an advisor to Beirut Design Week. A frequent public speaker, he has previously presented Design Matters at TEDx Beirut, and has served as keynote speaker and mentor for data4chan.ge, whereby visual storytellers come together with human rights organisations that have fascinating original datasets and powerful stories to tell.
He is a Founding Partner of Polypod, an award-winning multidisciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon, that offers integrated design services in strategy, architecture, interior design, branding, web design and development, graphics, and information design for local and international clients.
As a practicing designer with over 20 years of experience, Asfour combines a mix of design expertise with entrepreneurship skills and academic depth, allowing him to combine practical and theoretical approaches in his teaching methods at DIDI. Asfour holds a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Leigh Ann Jones-Khosla is the Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Having led the initial project development team to establish DIDI, Jones-Khosla is responsible for all non-academic functions of the Institute including HR, Finance, IT, Marketing and Communications and Student Services.
Prior to joining DIDI, Jones-Khosla worked for TECOM Group as the Director of Business Development for the Education Cluster. Previous to this role, she was the Education Practice lead consultant in TECOM’s strategy department. Her role in both strategy and business development involved evaluating education related investment opportunities and leading research studies related to TECOM’s education business.
Before joining TECOM Group, Jones-Khosla held a number of marketing and business development positions in Switzerland, spending four years with strategic software company Think Tools AG. Prior to joining Think Tools, she worked in the marketing department of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Jones-Khosla is a graduate of Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s in International Business, and Michigan State University with a Master’s in Law.