6 Speakers to Look Forward to at the 2021 Annual Summit 1

6 Speakers to Look Forward to at the 2021 Annual Summit

As the world makes a much-anticipated return to physical events, world leaders and activists are preparing to gather in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, for the Global Citizen Forum’s (GCF) acclaimed Annual Summit.

From December 12-13, The Future in Motion will ignite vital global conversations and engage some of the world’s foremost minds on far-reaching topics — from human mobility and the migration crisis, an era of global governance, pioneering sustainable tourism and a net-zero carbon future, restoring the world’s oceans, highlighting refugee stories and redefining global citizenship in a post-pandemic world.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to an interesting phenomenon of increased connection and cooperation worldwide,” observes Talimka Yordanova, CEO of the Global Citizen Forum. “Sharing a common crisis has presented an unexpected opportunity to move forward as a more unified global village.”

Providing a platform for global citizens to dissect international challenges, connect over solutions and deepen relationships is exactly what the Global Citizen Forum is all about. And this year’s lineup of events aims to face big-picture challenges head-on with thoughtful, intimate conversations among world leaders, celebrities, philanthropists, Olympians, Nobel Prize laureates and more.


Here’s an exclusive sneak peek of what to expect at The Future in Motion, with six notable speakers we can’t wait to hear from:

Dr. Deborah Brosnan

Environmental entrepreneur and marine biologist Dr Deborah Brosnan will be taking the stage to moderate a panel dubbed “Life Below Water: A New Frontier for Impact”. The Irish-born, US-based scientist will dive deep into the topic, examining the ocean’s health and its crucial role in the planet’s resilience alongside environmental documentarians, directors and marine biologists.

Brosnan is the perfect person to lead this timely talk: As the founder of Deborah Brosnan & Associates, Brosnan works to find sustainable, nature-based solutions for companies to help combat climate change. She’s also behind The Ocean-Shot project, an initiative that aims to restore coral reefs through emerging technology with the help of local communities.


Halima Aden

Halima Aden is an outspoken Somali-American activist, noted for being the first supermodel to wear a hijab and burkini in professional shoots.

After years of fighting for what she believed in, the young woman quit the commercial fashion industry in 2020 after continued pressure to wear clothes she was uncomfortable with and a general atmosphere that compromised her Muslim belefs. But that’s not her only triumph in the face of adversity. As a child, Aden walked 12 days from Somalia to Kenya for a better life then grew up in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya. These first-hand experiences led her to work as a children’s and refugee rights activist, and we are looking forward to hearing more of her story during the GCF’s “Refugees Welcome” panel.


Yusra Mardini

Another high-profile, boundary-breaking refugee is Yusra Mardini, who will join Aden for our highly anticipated “Refugees Welcome” conversation. A world-class swimmer, Mardini competed in the sport before the war broke out in her home country of Syria. She fled the country by sea with her sister in 2015, and when their boat broke down, they swam for three hours through the Aegean Sea to reach the coast of Greece.

Following those harrowing days, she later found a new home in Germany, where she quickly picked up swimming again. She trained in Berlin, then joined the Refugee Olympic Team to compete in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. In between the two games, the UN Refugee Agency appointed Mardini as its youngest-ever Goodwill Ambassador in 2017, and she’s become a symbol of determination and a voice for refugees worldwide.


Nouriel Roubini

A Nobel Prize-winning economist, Iranian-American Nouriel Roubini has a mile-long CV. He’s known as one of the few economists who predicted the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–2008; worked as a professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business from 1995 to May 2021; served as the CEO of economic consultancy firm Roubini Macro Associates; and has been named one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine.

Roubini is also the Chief Economist at Atlas Capital Team – a fintech ecosystem that aims to mitigate global challenges ahead by supporting ESG initiatives like climate resilience, inflation insulation and sustainable assets. Don’t miss what is sure to be a forward-looking conversation with Blackrock’s Mark Wilson on “Economies in Motion: The Changing Tides of Power.”


Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Dr Gurib-Fakim is a biodiversity scientist, the founder of the Centre for Phytotherapy Research, and a trailblazing politician who served as the first female president of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018. Despite having almost no political experience when she was invited into the role by the country’s ruling party, Gurib-Fakim used her tenure to bring national scientific and ecological concerns to a broader audience.

Gurib-Fakim, who has been included in Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women in the World” and “Top 100 Women in Africa” lists, currently works to promote investment in science and technology across Mauritius and greater Africa. Gurib-Fakim will partake in a diverse panel, “A Crisis in Crisis: A New Era for Global Governance”, alongside other politicians and NGO leaders.

Noella Coursaris Musunka

As the founder and CEO of Malaika, a community-based education nonprofit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Noella Coursaris Musunka has long championed the importance of educating girls and women.

Through her organization, the Congolese-Cypriot model and philanthropist set up a free school in the village of Kalebuka to empower girls. Since then, projects have expanded to provide clean water, food, mosquito neworks, health educations, sanitary pads, professional skills workshops, financial literacy classes, sports programs and more.

Musunka has been named among BBC’s “100 Most Influential & Inspirational Women of the Year” and has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge Universities. We look forward to welcoming her as one of the key speakers on our “Meaningful Philanthropy: Building the Next Generation of Leaders” panel, moderated by Todd Krim, founder of The Krim Group social impact consultancy.


The Future in Motion is less than a month away, taking place from December 12-13. Join us for insightful conversations and inspiring discussions as we move the needle on the world’s most pressing issues.