Keynote Speakers

His Excellency, Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani
Ambassador, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States

His Excellency Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America, assumed his post in Washington D.C. in December 2016.

Prior to serving as the lead Qatari diplomat in the U.S., Ambassador Al-Thani was the Qatari Ambassador to France from November 2013 to October 2016. For three years, he dedicated his expertise and efforts to strengthening the Qatari-French bilateral relations and the EU-Qatari relations at large.

Previously, Ambassador Al-Thani served as the Permeant Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations from July 2011 to October 2013. During his time at the UN, Ambassador Al- Thani spared no effort in intertwining Qatar’s 2030 National Vision with the goals of the various UN agencies.

Before joining the UN Mission in NY, H.E. Al-Thani served as Ambassador of Qatar to Brussels from October 2007 to July 2011. During his time as Ambassador to Brussels, H.E. Al-Thani chaired the Qatari Mission to the EU. He previously acted as the Qatari Liaison with NATO, as member of the Qatari diplomatic mission in the Belgian capital from November 2004 to July 2007.

His Excellency Meshal Al-Thani is not new to the United States. He served as member of the Qatari diplomatic mission in Washington D.C. from October 2000 to October 2004. He also joined the Qatari Mission to the UN in New York from August 1998 to September 2000.

Ambassador Al-Thani debuted his diplomatic career at the Department of European and American Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from May 1997 to August 1998. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service since March 2009.

Ambassador Al-Thani received his Master’s in international relations from the American University, Washington D.C. in 2004. He is married with three children.

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autism Society of America

Scott Badesch is the president and chief executive officer of the Autism Society of America, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots organization helping all those affected by autism. As president and CEO, Mr. Badesch has transformed the organization by partnering with 84 state and local Autism Society affiliates, staff and supporters to develop strategic initiatives aimed at assuring people with autism can maximize their potential and achieve the highest quality of life. Prior to becoming the president of the Autism Society of America, Mr. Badesch served as the organization’s vice president of development and operations. His experience with the Autism Society began at the grassroots level at the Autism Society of North Carolina, where he served as their chief executive officer. Before working with the Autism Society, Scott spent 23 years serving in executive level positions with the United Way, serving as president and CEO of the United Way of Palm Beach County and United Way of South Carolina.

Throughout his career, Mr. Badesch has been recognized as a national leader in partnership development, public advocacy, fundraising, and outcome-based service delivery. He has testified before the United States Congress, advised elected officials, presented at international and national conferences, and has received numerous accolades for his dedication and commitment to advancing life outcomes for all living with an autism diagnosis.

Mr. Badesch received a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois. Mr. Badesch and his wife Phyllis have four adult children, including a son with autism who works and lives independently in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.