Juror Biographies

Dima Akkad Tourekmani
Ghassan Khouri
Irene Labeyrie
Mustafa Ali
Paolo Dall' Oglio
Rafee Hakky
Wael Samhouri

Dima Akkad Tourekmani

Dima Akkad is one of the few tourism experts in Syria. She holds a Masters Degree in International Tourism and Travel Management from the University of Nottingham, UK, with a thesis topic as "Branding Syria as a Spiritual Destination". She also has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the Lebanese American University, Lebanon.

Mrs. Tourekmani manages a tourism consulting company "Syria Consult" in Damascus, Syria. She is a founder of and instructor at the Tourism and Hospitality Management Academy at the University of Baath, Homs, Syria.

She is currently the president of the "Syrian Organization for Sustainable Tourism (SOS Tourism)", aiming at developing tourism in Syria in a sustainable manner. Also, she serves as Board Member of "Sincerely Syria", an NGO working on strengthening Syria's brand and image nationally and globally.

Mrs. Tourekmani served as the General Representative and Incubator Consultant to MAWRED, a Syrian non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and activating the contribution of women in the development process. She was previously the Business Information Consultant at the Syrian-European Business Centre (SEBC), Damascus, Syria.

Ghassan Khouri

(Deir Atieh, Syria, 1959)

Ghassan Khouri has a Bachelors' Degree in Architecture from Damascus University, Syria, and occasionally teaches at the same university, since 1986.

His main works of architecture include: The Cultural Center of Deir Atieh (1998), Museum of Deir Atieh (2002), Saad Tourism Compound in Palmyra (2004), and Village of Those With Special Needs, in Deir Atieh (2008).

He owns and runs a stone decoration and design workshop.

He collaborates with Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi, Nebek, Syria, and is familiar with the physical and cultural settings of its area.

Irene Labeyrie

Irene Labeyrie is a French citizen living in Syria.

She had her Architecture DPLG in Paris in 1974.

She is an archeological architect, and works in restoration and rehabilitation of ancient buildings. She also works in furniture design and exhibition-setting (scenography).

Currently, she is a professor of architecture in Syria.

Mustafa Ali

(Latakia, Syria, 1956)

Mustafa Ali is one of the Middle East's finest sculptors.

He graduated in 1979 from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus, and in 1996 from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Italy.

He is a renowned sculptor whose work has been shown throughout the region since 1979. During that time, he has developed an appreciative and devoted audience.

Mustafa's work may also be found in public and private collections across Europe and the Americas. His figurative sculptures, primarily of people and animals, often depict old Syrian mythology. He also creates furniture, in which he incorporates fine bronze sculptures in walnut.

Mustafa is a firm believer in personal and artistic growth.

Awards: Winner prize, Emmar International Art Symposium 2007; Golden prize, Lattakia Biennale, 1997; Bronze prize: Alsharija Biennale, 1992.

Monuments commissioned: Tower of Memory, Umayyad Square, Damascus, Syria with Dr. Ihsan Intabi; The Gate of Syria in the Mediterranean Olympiad, Pari, Italy.

Paolo Dall' Oglio

(Rome, November 17, 1954)

Paolo Dall' Oglio joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Italy in 1975.

By 1977, he was in Lebanon studying Arabic and Islamic culture, seeking the service of Islamic-Christian dialogue. In 1981, he was and Arabic language student in Damascus, and studied Islam as a free student at the Faculty of Sharia' at the University of Damascus.

By 1982, he started to take care of the abandoned and ruined Monastery of Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi, near the Syrian town of Nebek, organizing prayer and work camps for youth.

In 1984, he graduated in Arabic language and Islamic civilization from the Oriental Institute of Naples (l'Orientale). In the same year, he graduated in Christian Theology in the Gregorian University of Rome and was ordained a priest in Damascus according to the Syriac Rite.

In 1986, he got a Master's degree in "Missionology" from the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome and a Ph.D. from the same university in 1989 writing his dissertation "Hope in Islam".

In 1990, he went for training in the Philippines and travelled through India and Pakistan to meet inter-religious dialogue actors.

By 1991, he has chosen to stay permanently in Deir Mar Musa to establish a monastic community of monks and nuns from different Churches.

Rafee Hakky

(Ph.D., American Society of Landscape Architects)

Rafee Ibrahim Hakky has a Bachelor Degree in Architectural Engineering from Damascus University, a Master of Landscape Architecture from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

He taught in the Landscape Architecture Department at Virginia Tech for six years, in the Landscape Architecture Department at King Faisal University for twelve years, and in the Architecture Program at the University of Bahrain for the last three years and a half.

Currently, he is the Coordinator of the Interior Design Program at the University of Bahrain.

His areas of interest and research are: Landscape architecture, visual quality assessment, cultural and social issues in relation to the built environment, and the history and theory of architecture and urban design.

Wael Samhouri

Wael Samhouri is a Damascus based architect and urban designer who holds a PhD degree from The Royal College of Arts in London (1990), an MS in urban design from Pratt Institute in New York (1987), and a B.Arch. from Damascus University (1982).

Wael presided over and chaired the Department of Architecture (which he founded) in the al-Kalamoon University, headed the Department of theory and history of architecture at Damascus University, and is currently head of the department of architecture at the International University of Science and Technology, Syria.

In 2001, he was awarded the Arab Architect Award by the Arab League in Cairo. In 2004, he achieved international acclaim, as he was awarded the Cityscape Architectural Review Award, in the master planning category for the Damascus Eastern Park Competition. In 2005, he received a second Cityscape special prize for Islamic Architecture. In 2007, he won the prize to build the Syrian center and headquarters for the Syrian Information & computer Society. This year, 2008, he won the first prize in an international competition to build the center for Seerah and Prophet's Museum in Kuwait.

Wael has served as a juror in several international, regional and local competitions, notably as technical reviewer for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

His research interests lie mainly in urban morphology and its relation to cosmology, symbolism, music and sacred architecture, as well as in rationalist modern architecture, synthesized with traditionalist and local architecture.


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