MIT students design and donate sleeping bags to Syrian refugees

16 February 2018

Winters in Syria are very cold!! With over 11 million people displaced since the beginning of the country’s civil war in 2011, many millions are without adequate heating or shelter during the cold winter months. A team of six, led by MIT Sloan School of Management undergraduate Vick Liu, has created TravlerPack, a light, durable, water-resistant sleeping bag that can withstand temperatures as cold as -10 degrees Celsius, with the goal of distributing them to Syrian refugees.

Read about this heartwarming initiative here!

New program from MIT offers refugees a career boost

10 February 2018

"The MIT Refugee Action (ReACT) Hub was launched in May 2017 during a Solve Competition at MIT, with the aim of designing and deploying “new learning opportunities for displaced populations around the world". The MIT ReACT Certificate Program is part of the MIT ReACT Hub, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab Region is the inaugural Seed Partner for this Program that kicked off in Amman, Jordan in January 2018 with an intense two-week session led by MIT faculty members and students. The cohort - of which half are refugees - began a one-year course of study in computer science and entrepreneurship designed by MIT, which will earn them a certificate enabling them to obtain better-paying positions in the region.

The MIT Arab Alumni Association supported the Certificate Program with a $5,000 donation, and is discussing other forms of collaboration. Stay tuned for further communications about ways in which you can support this excellent initiative!"

Read full article here.

IFFR presents 47th edition award winners

6 February 2017

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) announced the winner of the Hivos Tiger Competition 2018.  The Special Jury Award was given to Rami Alayan (SB'02) for exceptional artistic achievement for his screenplay of his brother Muayad Alayan's film "The Report on Sarah and Saleem".  For more information read the full article and an interview with Rami and Muayad Alayan.

Synopsis and IMDB rating here! 

Worldwide change takes global effort

The American University in Cairo (AUC) will be the first school in the world to pair with MIT in accepting the DEDP MicroMasters credential to help students embark on their master’s education.  This program which consists of 5 courses, is accessible to people at any stage of life, and is affordable to everyone.  Read more here!

MISTI-Switzerland: Computational Modeling Leads to Insights on a Blinding Disease

26 January 2018

Thanks to an MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) internship in summer 2014 and again through MISTI 2.0 during IAP of that year, Maryam Zekavat SB’15, spent a total of four months in Basel working at the Roche Innovation Center Disease Modeling Department.   She helped develop a computational model to describe the dynamics of cholesterol in the retina that may assist researchers develop new treatments for AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) in the future.

Read more here!

Downtown Crossing Will Get a Robotic Restaurant This Spring

Michael Farid, SM'16, and 3 MIT graduates founded Spyce on the MIT campus last year.  A fully automated restaurant in one of the school's dining halls which offers wholesome and affordable food on the go.  This coming Spring 2018, Spyce will open a fast/ casual restaurant in Boston with a robotic kitchen in collaboration with Chef Daniel Boulad. 

Stay tuned and read more here!


Scaling Up Impact in the Face of Crises

17 January 2018

After resettling in Lebanon, Zeina Saab MCP '09, started working on the Nawaya Network; an NGO that focuses on the development of the disadvantaged youths.  In 2016, and in partnership with UNICEF, Zeina launched Impact Lab to help connect underprivileged youth to resources as to develop their true potential and discover their skills. It now reaches 2,400 young people in more than half of Lebanon and aims to become nationwide in the next year.

Read full article here!

Google AI Was Tricked Into Thinking This Photo of Machine Guns Was a Helicopter

12 January 2018

In new research released December 2017, a team of MIT computer science students managed to trick Google’s Cloud Vision artificial intelligence into thinking that a picture of four machine guns was probably a helicopter. They did it by carefully manipulating the underlying pixels of an original image, changing it in ways that were imperceptible to humans but completely disorienting for the AI.

Read full article here!

Send in YOUR NEWS!

5 January 2018

Happy New Year!!

Dear MIT AAA Members,

What great things are you up to? The MIT AAA community would love to hear from you: whether it is on the professional side: projects you were recently featured in, job promotion or change or on the personal front: got married, had a child, or met up with your old MIT professor or classmate, be sure to share your news with us. We will happily include it in our weekly postings on our Homepage, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To share your news and any relevant link, please send an email to Zena Jisr ( and include your first name, last name, class year, major, and your latest news. And don’t forget to connect with us on Social Media to stay up to date with the latest news from the MIT AAA community!

The rise of the Arab MOOCs. Will education in the Arab world ever be the same?

29 December 2017 

With OpenCourseWare in 2002, MIT was one of the first institutions to offer online course material for free. Today, MOOCs have become a key driver in the transformation of education worldwide. This article looks at the rise of MOOCs in the Arab world.

Read more about it here!

Season's Greetings

25 December 2017

Alumna Aya Bdeir Inspires Kid Inventors with Star Wars

22 December 2017

Aya Bdeir SM '06 began realizing her dream while she was still a graduate student at the MIT Lab where she founded Open Hardware Summit.  In 2009 she her company started creating and selling “Bits modules” as building blocks for artistic electronic creations.  Now, "Little Bits" is making headlines with their best selling new Star Wars toys on Amazon and Walmart (Droid Inventor Kit)  and it is flying off the shelves in time for The Last Jedi and the holidays.

Aya Bdeir

Read more about Aya and her work here!

Sultanate of Oman to Host the Final Award Ceremony of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition in its 11th Edition

15 December 2017

In partnership with “Community Jameel, The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab announced the final award ceremony of The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition to be held in Oman, April the 19th of April 2018.  Semi-finalists will be announced on the 12th of January 2018 and will compete thereafter for prizes worth USD 160,000.

Read more here!

The MIT Future Heritage Lab: Empowering Refugees to Discover Their Emotional and Cultural Needs

14 December 2017

The Future Heritage Lab provides creative responses to conflict and crisis, in order to rebuild a society and preserve its history during and after a time of conflict. Professor Azra Aksamija, MIT Ph'D '11, has been working with refugees at the Al Azraq camp in Jordan since 2016 and collaborating with the residents of the camp, as well as local Jordanian academic partners.

Read more about the involvement of the MIT in the Arab region through the MIT Future Heritage Lab!

MIT Youssef Marzouk aims to improve predictions of everything from underground pollution to daily weather

Youssef Marzouk

8 December 2017

Youssef Marzouk (PhD Mech Eng '04, MS Mech Eng ’99, BS Mech Eng ’97), professor at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, works on quantifying uncertainty in complex computational models, in applications ranging from atmospheric gases, ground water contamination, and jet engines.

Read more here!

MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab: Libya's First Nationwide ENJAZI Business Innovation Competition Recognizes and Empowers Bright Entrepreneurs

29 November 2017

The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab and TATWEER Research announced the three winning teams of the ENJAZI Competition, the first nation-wide entrepreneurship competition in Libya. The announcement took place during a ceremony held in Beirut, Lebanon in the presence of Badr Ben-Othman, the CEO of the Local Libyan Fund for investment and development, representatives from the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, TATWEER Research and a number of media personnel.

Read more about it here!

MIT brainpower highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists for 2018

24 November 2017

At least 29 MIT faculty, research staff, and alumni are listed throughout Forbes’ seventh annual edition of the world’s best young innovators.  Among the listed is Omar Abuddayeh, a Palestinian MIT graduate in mechanical and biological engineering, and a Ph'D candidate.  He co-pioneered a new enzyme for editing genes, and a new technique for editing the chemical messenger, RNA.

Forbes List here!

Read more about Omar Abuddayeh's work here!

MISTI media contest showcases MIT students working to build a better world!

17 November 2017

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) — MIT’s pioneering international education program — asked the 700-plus students who studied and worked abroad this summer to submit photos and short videos showcasing the ways in which MIT is making the world a better place through the MISTI program.

Among the winners is Yara Azouni.  A Palestinian senior student who is currently studying mechanical engineering at MIT.  Her winning video, MIT-Netherlands Better World Story, showcases Azouni working on building the first 3-D printed steel bridge in the world.

Watch Yara's winning video here!

Admissions Event for MIT Sloan in Saudi Arabia

10 November 2017

On Sunday, October 29th, the MIT Saudi Club hosted an MIT Sloan Information Session for prospective students with Rod Garcia, Senior Admissions Director at the Sloan School of Management. The event had more than 200 attendees and the panelists included: Omar Al-Madhi (MIT Sloan 2007), Yamen Al-Hajjar (MIT Sloan 2015) and Mohammed Kurdi (MIT Sloan LGO 2017).

The event was followed with a dinner for MIT Alumni in Riyadh hosted by the gracious Majid Al-Ibrahim (MIT Sloan/HKS 2017).

Affectiva's Emotion AI Humanizes how people and technology interact

6 November 2017

Rana El Kaliouby (MIT Ph'D 2006) an Egyptian-born American, is the co-founder and CEO of a company called Affectiva in Waltham, Massachusetts.  She has helped develop a facial recognition technology and a wristband to measure skin conductance associated with emotional arousal and can be used to detect anxiety in real time.

Read about Rana's work in the MIT Technology Review here

A View from Rana El Kaliouby here

Energy transition through aesthetics and culture

4 November 2017

MIT faculty member Rania Ghosn, assistant professor of architecture and urbanism, hosted an event between MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the School of Architecture and Planning which addressed this question and engaged in a discussion with MIT faculty of architecture and humanities, arts and social sciences.

Read more about it here!

Watch the video

DERQ raises $1.5m to use AI to reduce vehicle accidents and opens US office in Detroit

29 October 2017

MIT AAA’s own Georges Aoude (PhD ’11, Aerospace Engineering) has been hard at work on Derq, a startup he co-founded in Dubai and Detroit. Derq, which uses AI and vehicle-based communication to predict traffic incidents and then notify impacted drivers, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding after graduating from Techsters Mobility Accelerator. Next in its sights is trialing the technology in Dubai, and growing its team. Read more here!

MIT Alumni Dinner in the UAE

27 October 2017

On Monday, October 23, Hadi Solh (MBA '04) and Noor Sweid (MBA '04) graciously hosted an MIT UAE Alumni dinner with Rod Garica, Admissions Director at the Sloan School of Management. One of the MIT Arab Association board members, Maysa Sabah, attended this lovely evening where she caught-up with old friends and made new ones.  Everyone enjoyed the amazing food of Chef Yasser's team, led by Mazen Abdin (Msc '84)!

MIT Alumnus Hani Asfour appointed Associate Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation


20 October 2017

MIT alumnus Hani Asfour appointed as Associate Dean of the new Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Hani is the co-founder of Polypod, a multi-disciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon. He has served as President of Beirut Creative Cluster and joins DIDI from the Lebanese American University (LAU). DIDI’s curriculum is developed in collaboration with MIT and Parsons.

Read more about it here.


13 October 2017

The Design Biennial Boston recognizes emerging architects, landscape architects, and designers who have created inspiring and innovative practices in New England.

Among the winners is Rania Ghosn; an architect, geographer and partner of Design Earth. She is currently assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture + Planning. Her work critically frames the urban condition at the intersection of politics, aesthetics and technological systems.  Read about Rania's initiative here.

BSA Space!

MIT Leadership Conference at MIT

27 September 2017

Four MIT board members attended the annual MIT Alumni Leadership Conference at MIT (Sep 15-16) to connect and learn from hundreds of alumni volunteers from dozens of local and international alumni clubs, swapping stories and sharing advice on a wide range of issues such as engagement, communications, platforms, and - of course - taxes! On the sidelines of this conference, the board members had their own meeting to plan for upcoming events - stay tuned for announcements soon!

MIT Luncheon at the ALC

24 September 2017

MIT AAA hosted a luncheon on Friday, September 15 on campus to meet with students as well as representatives from Arab student clubs. It was an opportunity to update attendees on the status of the association and upcoming events, as well to hod an open discussion on possible collaboration and how the association could strengthen its linkages to the student body.

Arab Conference at Haravard 2017

Entering the post-decade mark, the Arab Conference at Harvard is at a critical time where it is both continuing its legacy of delivering nuanced and substantive discussion on the Arab World and reimagining its vision.


6 October 2017

Registration is now open for the Arab Conference at Harvard! It's largest pan-Arab conference in North America and will be held from November 9 to 12 at Harvard University.

 Dr. Alan Shihadeh appointed Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the AUB in Beirut - Lebanon

8 September 2017

Our warmest congratulations and best wishes on the appointment of Dr. Alan Shihadeh (PhD'98) as the new Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the American University of Beirut! Dr. Shihadeh was selected for his vision, energy, accomplishments, and ingrained passion and conscience to make a difference to AUB and the world at large!! Read more about it here!

Eid Mubarak!


31st August 2017

MIT scientists control water using only light

29 July 2017

Engineers from MIT and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals have been working together to develop light-guided liquid manipulation systems that could be used to separate water from oil more efficiently and effectively. Read more!

Khutoutna App: An Alternative Way to Navigate Amman

1st July 2017

How can Jordan's public transportation system become more accessible and easier to use? Read about the recent activities of Ma'an Nasel, Jordan's public transport campaign that MIT AAA board member Hazem Zureiqat (MIT '08) helped found!

Congratulations to the Class of 2017


12 June 2017

MIT to spur global education hub for displaced

21 May 2017

The ever dynamic Hala Fadel (MBA ’01) is one of the founding members of Refugee ACTion Hub (ReACT), announced at the SOLVE at MIT’s annual flagship event. ReACT will develop digital and blended learning opportunities and serve as a catalyst for anyone dedicated to solving the problem of refugee education. Read more!

Software Developer is a voice for Muslim women

13 May 2017

Meet Layla Shaikley SM ’13! Software developer, entrepreneur, ex-NASA intern, co-producer of a viral YouTube video, co-founder of Tedx Baghdad, skateboarder and so much more!!! Read more here!

Happy Easter to all!


9 April 2017

Dr. Aziz Asphahani elected member of the National Academy of Engineering

2nd April 2017

Dr. Aziz I. Asphahani, past MIT AAA board director and generous donor to MIT AAA education scholarship has been elected member of the National Academy of Engineering

Please join us in extending our warmest congratulations to Dr. Asphahani! Dr Aziz is the chief executive officer of QuesTek Innovations. He has been nominated for his executive leadership in STEM education, integrated computer design of materials, and invention and production of corrosion-resistant alloys. Read more about it here!

11th International Symposium of Dubai Police 

25 March 2017

MIT AAA Board Member, Georges Aoude (PhD 2011) participated in the Innovation Panel at the 11th International Symposium of Dubai Police, where he talked about the future of self-driving and connected vehicle technology and legislation and Derq, the Dubai-based MIT spin-off that George founded to eliminate road accidents and save lives by using machine learning and V2X technology. Participants included representatives of the FBI, INTERPOL HQ and many other Police organizations. For more information click here!

George Aoude

WATER Labs aims to bring toilets into individual homes


7 March 2017 

There are more than a billion non-sewered households around the world. To address this challenge, Change: WATER Labs, founded by Diana Yousef, Huda Elasaad and other colleagues, is developing a compact and evaporative toilets. Read more about it here!

Tekuma Is Changing The World Of Art Galleries

1st March 2017 

Cool! Marwan Aboudib (MSRED, 2016) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tekuma, which connects emerging artists and their art with property owners and their multifamily residential and commercial properties. By transforming properties into galleries, Takuma adds value to real estate while showcasing artworks and the stories behind their creation.  Read more here!

Celebrating Diversity

21 February 2017

MIT celebrates its diversity, featuring Ihssan Tinawi, a junior double-majoring in electrical engineering and computer science and economics, who "grew up in Damascus".

Read the article and watch the video here!

An app that connects refugees to volunteer translators via Facebook Messenger

10 February 2017

Tapping tech for refugees! Tarjimly was founded by a group of MIT Alumni from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the USA, including MIT AAA board member, Yamen Al Hajjar, Abdulla Al-Mentheri, AbdulAziz Al-Ghunaim, Abubakar Abid, and Atif Javed. The idea for the application was inspired by a trip one of the Tarjimly founders took to a refugee camp in Northern Greece, where the need to interpret and translate between the refugees and the different parties at the camp became paramount. The team came together to address this problem, leveraging Facebook Messenger as a platform and developing a bot that connects refugees to translators around the world.

Read more about it!

Dr. Fadel Adib joins Media Lab faculty

4 February 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Fadel Adib on joining the Media Lab faculty!! You make us all so proud!! Read it all here!

Meet Hamed Mounla, this year’s MIT Arab Alumni Association Scholar!


28 January 2017

In Hamed’s words: “The world I come from is a world of conflict and corruption injected in many aspects of society. It is a hub of social injustice and missed opportunities. It is a place where potential is lost and productivity is inefficient. Lebanon is a brain drain. At the same time, my 60-year-old Sudanese student at the Migrant Community Center still shows up to class every Sunday hoping to improve his language abilities. He proves to me that there still is opportunity in this world, which we must capitalize on. I thus dream of a world of high productive efficiency, a world where globally accessible technologies meet people's 21st century needs. I aspire to become a leader in creating these technologies. I care about maximizing human potential and human capital in a sustainable manner.”

Please support the MIT AAA Scholarship Fund

Dr. Omar Razzaz appointed Jordan's Minister of Education

21 January 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Omar Razzaz on his new appointment as Jordan’s Minister of Education! We wish him every success in his new role. Dr. Razzaz graduated from MIT in 1987 with a Masters Degree in International Development and Regional Planning and was the Ford International Assistant Professor at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1991-93 and 1995-97. Read more about it!


Dr. Iyad Rahwan on how Artificial Intelligence challenges our mortality


14 January 2017

Cars have to make trade-offs on the road. Trade-offs often require ethics. How then do we think about those trade-offs for driverless cards? To find out, watch Dr. Iyad Rahwan’s TEDx Cambridge talk here!

Rudayna Abdo, founder of Thaki -a non-governmental organisation that collects used but working laptops from donors

6 January 2017 

Last year MITAAA Board Member, Rudayna Abdo, took a side step from her career in urban planning to found Thaki, a non-profit that distributes donated computers, loaded with educational content, to organizations and education centers working directly with refugee and disadvantaged children.

In just the proof of concept roll out, Thaki has distributed 265 computers and electronic devices to 11 organizations that are now helping serve over 3,500 children. There are over 25 organizations in Lebanon that are awaiting to receive devices from Thaki – with a reach of thousands more children. Read the full article

More about Rudayna's work here

Wishing you happy holidays!

Device can read emotions by bouncing wireless signals off your body

12 December 2016

Excited, happy, angry, or sad?

Check out the fascinating work on predicting people’s feelings by Dr. Dina Katabi, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and Fadil Adib, a doctoral student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab! Read more about it here!

Syria : A living history

4 December 2016 

Have you seen Nasser Rabbat's inaugural speech at the opening of his new exhibition, "Syria: A Living History"? Learn more about the exhibition, which brings together artifacts and artworks to inspire a new understanding of Syria’s past and present, inviting new ways of thinking about its future. On view at the Aga Khan Museum through February 26, 2017.

Akpia Mit Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT MIT Department of Architecture MIT School of Architecture + Planning

Welcome to MIT AAA!


MIT Arab Alumni Association (MIT AAA) is a Pan-Arab affinity club that brings together all Alumni from Arab origin or working in any part of the Arab region. We are here to serve you in cooperation with the local Arab MIT clubs. So please help us in achieving your aspirations and goals by joining in and participating!



For a 3rd consecutive year, MIT tops university ranking!

Click here for more.


Hashim Sarkis named dean of the School of Architecture and Planning!

Hashim Sarkis — a prominent scholar of architecture and urbanism, a practicing architect whose works have been built in the United States and the Middle East, and a leading expert on design in the Middle East — has been named the new dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), effective in January.

Congratulations Dr. Sarkis!

Click here for more.

 Hashim Sarkis


24 Hour Challenge, March 14th 2018

The Scholarship Fund

Your GIVING is making a difference!

Please give to the MIT AAA Scholarship Fund

The Annual Scholarship report 2017

8th MIT Pan-Arab Conference

Record attendance made it very successful

Join us for the next one!

The conference focused on the role of innovation in fostering growth and enhancing economic diversification and job creation in the region.

In the mean time, take a look at the Proceedings from the 7th MIT Pan-Arab Conference to find out why you cannot miss the next conference.