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Meet the Speakers

Mishaal Al Gergawi (Moderator) Current affairs commentator and columnist for Gulf News

Mishaal is an Emirati consultant and current affairs commentator. Holding a BA and an MSc. in finance, he began his career as an investment banker, shortly afterwards he helped his family set up a building materials business which he would later be named CFO. After maintaining a popular weekly opinion column in the local papers, he was asked to join to the Dubai government to establish its contemporary cultural projects strategy. Mishaal continues to write a column with specific focus on the GCC region. He analyses the challenges and opportunities of the region, its member states and cities from geopolitical, economic and socio-cultulral considerations. Mishaal also provides advise and support to groups interested in setting up in the Gulf.

Michael Peel Middle East correspondent / Financial Times, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Michael Peel is the Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times where he has reported extensively on the unrest in Libya as well as Syria and Egypt. His book "A Swamp Full of Dollars" focused on oil and corruption in Nigeria and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 2009. Peel previously served as the legal correspondent and West Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. His work has also been published in Granta, the New Republic, the New Statesmen and the London Review of Books.

Robin Mills Expert on Middle East energy strategy and economics

Robin is an expert on Middle East energy strategy and economics. For the last six years, he worked for Dubai government companies on energy investments and project developments. Before that, he spent a decade in business development and economics roles for Shell, with particular focus on the Middle East and former Soviet Union, and was described as the "Shell expert on Iran". He is the author of two books, "The Myth of the Oil Crisis" (Praeger, 2008) and "Capturing Carbon" (Columbia University Press/Hurst, 2011), the first comprehensive overview of carbon capture and storage for the non-specialist. He comments regularly in the media, including Bloomberg, BBC World, CNN, Sky News and others, publishing a weekly column in Abu Dhabi's leading English-language newspaper The National and writing for other publications including Foreign Policy magazine. Robin holds an MA (First class) in Geological Sciences from Cambridge University. A native English speaker, he speaks Arabic and Farsi, as well as Dutch and Norwegian

Kate Dourian Middle East Editor, Platts.

Kate Dourian started her career as a journalist in 1980 and has travelled extensively since then covering major events, both political and economic for both print and broadcast media.

Kate jointed the Associated Press in Beirut in 1980 as a correspondent. After three years, covering mainly the war in Lebanon, the assassination of Anwar Sadat in Egypt and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Kate moved to Reuters, where she spent 17 years working first as a correspondent in Beirut then on assignments in Cairo, London and finally in Morocco, where she was the first bureau chief. After a few stints on the energy desk in London, she moved to the central editing desk in London as chief editor before leaving in 2000.

During that time, Kate travelled with Mother Theresa, interviewed leaders such as Muammar al-Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat and pop stars like Elton John. She covered the civil war in Lebanon, when both her home and her car were bombed, and a series of airplane hijackings.

She left Reuters in 2000 and joined Platts, energy information division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, as Middle East editor covering energy developments throughout the Gulf and North Africa. Kate has been published widely on energy matters in recent years and is a regular commentator on radio and television on energy matters. These include regular appearances on BBC television and radio, CNN, Al-Arabiya and CNBC. Kate is also in demand as a speaker and moderator at international energy conferences.

Kate is Armenian, born in Cyprus and brought up in Beirut. Carries dual British and Swiss citizenship and speaks fluent Arabic, French and Armenian.

Leisure activities include tennis, swimming, piano, long walks with my two dogs and reading mainly historical and biographical books.