Khalfan Belhoul

Khalfan Belhoul is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). Belhoul brings more than a decade of experience as a driving force in transforming businesses and organizations that contribute to Dubai’s strategy of economic diversification.

As CEO, Belhoul leads the DFF strategy across its five strategic business units that include imagining and understanding the future, disseminating future knowledge, building future capacity, designing, accelerating the future, and seeing and experiencing the future. Under his supervision, Dubai Future Foundation continuously works towards achieving its vision and goals of placing Dubai as a leading city of the future, and a hub for innovation and technology.

In his current role, Belhoul’ s focus is to ensure Dubai Future Foundation acts as a catalyst in prompting change and promoting innovation. This is implemented by bringing together individuals, organizations, and government entities to turn their visions into realities, and achieve sustainable and effective business operations. Under Belhoul’s supervision, DFF is home to several initiatives that also provide the environment and resources needed to promote disruptive, positive change through prototyping, accelerating and knowledge sharing.

Prior to his role at DFF, Belhoul served as the Vice President of Strategy at Dubai Holding, where he was responsible for formulating Dubai Holding’s strategic direction and enhancing its investments and its role in the diversification of Dubai’s non-oil economy. Earlier in his career, Belhoul played a key role in setting up the Belhoul Investment Office, responsible for launching a sophisticated asset allocation strategy spanning private equity, alternative investments, real estate and conventional assets.

Belhoul holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Management Information Systems, and a Master’s degree in E-Commerce, both from Boston University in the United States of America (U.S.A).

Khalfan Belhoul currently holds various memberships across several entities in the UAE; these include:
• Chairman of Dubai Future Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem
• Board Member of Emirates Schools Establishment
• Board Member of Emirates Development Bank (EDB)
• Board Member of UAE Football Association (UAEFA)
• Board Member at Rashid and Latifa Schools Establishments
• Member of Higher Education and Private Sector Council
• Chairman of Future project Committee – Regulations Lab
• Member of Committee of vetting visa requests – Entrepreneurs & Special talents
• Member of Committee for Policies and Legislations – Fourth Industrial Revolution Council
• Member of Dubai International Communication Committee (DICC)

Alexis Lecanuet

Alexis Lecanuet is the Regional Managing Director for Accenture in the Middle East. In his role, he is responsible for Accenture business in the region including defining and executing Accenture’s strategy, leading the portfolio of clients, and managing the local operations.

Previously, Alexis led and grew the company’s products portfolio in the MET region, and focused on onboarding and retaining the largest names in the retail business. Over his 22-year career with Accenture, he has commanded large, complex transformation projects across Europe, MENA and Turkey.

His breadth of experience in handling large deals in such diverse markets was successful, particularly in regard to large transformation trends in channel rebalancing, staying relevant to the needs and dreams of digital customers, and retail data.

Alexis holds a MBC from ESCP Europe Business School, and a degree in Business Finance from SKEMA Business School. He is married with four children and is currently based in the UAE.

Mark Beer, OBE


Mark is a solution-orientated, innovative and client-centric lawyer with experience working in big law firms, in-house, in finance, in Government and in the judiciary. Mark’s extensive, global and diverse experience allows him to find answers where others find problems, and has led him to be twice named as one of the ‘Top 50 most influential Brits in the UAE’, as one of the 100 most influential people in Dubai and by Forbes Middle East as one of the top 50 most influential expats in the UAE. Mark was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her 2013 Birthday honours list for his work in strengthening relations between the UK and the UAE, was twice shortlisted by the Law Society of England and Wales as the UK’s Solicitor of the Year – In-House, and in 2018, Mark was awarded The Association of Corporate Counsel Middle East Achievement Award for his work in developing Dubai’s judicial system.


Mark has advised Heads of State, Ministers, Chairmen and C-suite executives of some of the world’s largest organisations. He is also comfortable working with innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and others looking to design the future. Mark brings a commercial and proactive approach to business building, with a risk-based, holistic and pragmatic approach to problem-solving and dispute avoidance. He is described as ‘brilliant, honest, charismatic, and eloquent, and someone who is seen as having boundless, optimistic energy’.

Career History

Mark started his career as a commercial lawyer in the United Kingdom, moving to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1997 with Clyde & Co. He then moved to Switzerland, designing hedge funds for Man Investments and in 2003 he was appointed General Counsel for MasterCard’s South Asia, Middle East and Africa region. He then moved to the DIFC Courts and became one of the world’s most highly regarded Court leaders. During his 10 years with the DIFC Courts, Mark took the institution from a start-up to becoming recognised as one of the top 3 commercial courts in the world. Mark was also instrumental in the establishment of the Dubai World Tribunal, the DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority, the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration and Mediation Centre, the DIFC Academy of Law and the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry. Mark’s connection to Kazakhstan began in 2015, when he negotiated the signing of an enforcement memorandum between the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan and the DIFC Courts. In that year he also negotiated the agreement pursuant to which the DIFC Courts advised the National Bank of Kazakhstan on the establishment of the Astana International Financial Centre, particularly the dispute resolution mechanisms. In 2016 he was appointed to the International Council of the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, and since then he has played an active role in the development of both the Supreme Court and the AIFC. In 2019 he was appointed Senior Advisor on Legal Technology to the Astana International Financial Centre Authority and in 2020 he was appointed by the AIFC Governor as Chairman of the AIFC LawTech Advisory Council. Mark also became the first person from a Middle Eastern Court to be appointed President of the International Association for Court Administration, and more recently he has worked with Governments, Ministries and Judiciaries around the world, including his appointment to the International Council of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As well as being a co-Founder of Seven Pillars Law, and a professional associate at Outer Temple Chambers, Mark now sits on a number of advisory boards providing input on judicial reform; enhancing effectiveness; and implementing a transformation agenda, including in the context of LegalTech and CourtTech.

Other Positions

Mark is Chairman of The Metis Institute, which advises Governments and Judiciaries on economic diversification through enhancement of the rule of law and effective justice; co-Founder of the Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab at Oxford University; a visiting fellow at Oxford University; and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Expert Network. He is also the Immediate Past President of the International Association for Court Administration; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Global Legal Action Network; a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Taskforce, part of the UK Government’s ‘LawTech Delivery Panel’; advisor to the Boards of Resolve Disputes Online, and Pheonix Advisors; a member of The Innovation Working Group of the Task Force on Justice focussed on addressing UN SDG 16.3; a Professional Associate with Outer Temple Chambers; and a member of the International Council of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Legal Technology

Mark also works with Ministries, Judiciaries, NGOs and the private sector on rule of law initiatives, particularly on the use of technology to enhance access to justice. He is a speaker and lecturer about LawTech; the future of law, commerce and dispute resolution (with a particular focus on blockchain, smart contracts, virtual assets and crypto-enforcement); and the implications and legal issues surrounding China’s Belt and Road Initiative, having addressed Governments, Universities, Research Centres and the Private Sector in, among other places, China, Europe, the Middle East and Europe.

Previous Experience

Mark served as the Chief Executive of the Dubai International Finance Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority, Registrar General of the DIFC Courts and a Small Claims Tribunal judge for over ten years, before returning to the UK in 2018. He was also Registrar to the Dubai World Tribunal. During his 21 years in the United Arab Emirates, Mark also held various board positions, including four years as Chairman of the British Business Group, Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Before joining the DIFC Courts in 2008, Mark served as Regional Counsel for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, and then Vice President, Sales and Corporate Services, for MasterCard. Before that, he started his career as a company and commercial lawyer for Edge and Ellison before joining Clyde & Co in Dubai. He has also worked as a corporate finance lawyer at Man Investments in Switzerland.

Trevor McFarlane

Trevor McFarlane is the Founder and Chief Analyst of Emerging Markets Intelligence & Research (EMIR) and he runs its flagship product EMIR Boardroom, the Middle East’s most influential corporate intelligence network for CEOs and government officials. Over 300 business leaders, from the region’s largest companies, subscribe to his analysis and reports while he personally advises over 100 of the Middle East’s top CEOs. Before founding EMIR, McFarlane was Senior Contributing Editor for the Gulf at The Economist Group. Prior to this, Trevor covered the Middle East & Africa at The Economist Intelligence Unit. With over a decade of experience in the Middle East—living and working in Istanbul, Doha, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai—he and EMIR’s analysts have become trusted advisors to multinationals, family trading companies and regional governments. Trevor regularly speaks and moderates at conferences, presents at board and ministerial level and formerly co-hosted Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast Radio Show. He frequently offers commentary on current affairs for international media, and his analysis has been featured by the BBC, CNN, CNBC Arabia, The Economist and the Financial Times.