Bassem Youssef

Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian comedian and columnist and former cardiothoracic surgeon.

He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, where he also earned his PhD. In cardiothoracic surgery, and worked shortly as a professor. He traveled to the United States and Europe to work in the cardiac surgery and transplant technologies field, and earned his surgeon license in the United Stated in 2005, Bassem's breakthrough in comedy was through his satirical show “The B+ Show,” that was inspired by the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, which he launched on Youtube to earn five million views in less than three months. He went on to sign with the Egyptian satellite channel ONTV, where he started hosting “Al Bernameg” (The Program), with a budget of half a million dollars. The show was then renewed for a second season on another channel, CBC, and the production studio was changed to Radio Theater in Cairo. The second season consisted of 29 episodes and has recorded one of the highest viewership ratings on both TV and internet with 40 million viewers on TV and more than 120 million combined views for his show on YouTube alone. Due to legal conflicts with the channel, Bassem's contract with CBC was terminated after completing one season and three episodes. The third season of the show has aired on MBC MASR.

In 2013, Bassem was named one of the "100 most influential people in the world" by TIME magazine and one of Foreign Policy magazine 100 Leading Global Thinkers.

He was also awarded with the International Press Freedom Award of 2013 from the Committee to Protect Journalists and was announced the most searched figure in 2013 by Google. Al Bernameg was chosen by South by Southwest, one of the largest international interactive festivals, as the first and most successful internet to TV conversion story in the Middle East. Al Bernameg YouTube channel was the first channel in the MENA region to reach one million subscribers and was awarded the gold button trophy.

In January 2015, Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, announced that Youssef will be a Resident Fellow for the spring semester.

Stephen Sackur

Stephen Sackur, the presenter of HARDtalk, BBC World News’ flagship current affairs interview programme, has been a journalist with BBC News since 1986. Broadcasting across BBC World News, BBC News Channel and BBC World Service, Stephen has interviewed many high-profile guests.

In November 2010, Stephen was awarded the ‘International TV Personality of the Year Award’ by the Association of International Broadcasters.

Before taking over HARDtalk, Stephen was based in Brussels for three years as the BBC’s Europe Correspondent.  He travelled across Europe to cover major stories around the continent, including Europe’s worst terror attack of recent times in Madrid in 2004, and the expansion of the European Union from 15 countries to 25.

Prior to this, Stephen was the BBC’s Washington Correspondent from July 1997.  With a keen interest in politics, he has interviewed President George W. Bush, covered the 2000 US Presidential Elections, the Clinton scandal and impeachment trial, and the ways and means of lawmaking, including campaign finance reform. He also made a documentary for the BBC’s current affairs programme Panorama on the topic of guns and weapon manufacturer lawsuits in the US.

Stephen has also been the BBC Middle East Correspondent in both Cairo (from 1992 to 1995) and Jerusalem (from 1995 to 1997), covering the peace process, the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the emergence of the Palestinian Authority under the late Yasser Arafat.  To prepare a documentary on Islamic fundamentalism, he lived with Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon for two weeks.

In 1990, Stephen was appointed as a BBC Foreign Correspondent.  He was part of the BBC’s team of correspondents covering the Gulf War, spending eight weeks with the British Army when the conflict began. He was the first correspondent to break the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait City, marking the end of the war. He travelled back to Iraq just after the downfall of Saddam Hussein and filed the first television reports on Iraq’s mass graves which contained the bodies of thousands of victims of Saddam’s regime.

In Eastern Europe, as witness to Communism’s last days, Stephen offered a unique perspective on the rocky road to democracy and stability for this area.  Serving as correspondent for BBC national radio, he reported on Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution and Germany’s reunification.  He has contributed countless articles to The Observer, The London Review of Books, New Statesman, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Born in Lincolnshire, England, Stephen was educated at both Cambridge and Harvard University.

Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor is a noted American technology writer and former columnist for the San Jose Mercury News. He was one of the leading chroniclers of the Silicon Valley dot com boom and its subsequent bust. Gillmor is also the author of a popular weblog covering technology news and the Northern California technology business sector, criticizing rigid enforcement of copyrights, and commenting on politics from a frequently left-wing perspective.

Gillmor worked at the Detroit Free Press and the Kansas City Times before moving to the San Jose Mercury News in 1994. He left the Mercury News in January 2005 to work on a grassroots journalism project, called Bayosphere, launched in May 2005. After closing Bayosphere, Gillmor moved on to a new project, the Center for Citizen Media, a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School.

In 2007, Gillmor co-founded Dopplr, an online travel application project.

In November 2007, Gillmor was named founding director of Arizona State University's new Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Dan Gilmor is a board member of the Global Editors Network since its creation in April 2011.

Gillmor won the EFF Pioneer Award in 2002 and the World Technology Award for Media & Journalism in 2004.

He is also the author of a book, We the Media, published in August 2004, chronicling how the Internet is helping independent journalists combat the consolidation of traditional media. He has released the book under a Creative Commons license.