Raya Bidshahri is a serial entrepreneur, writer and speaker. She is passionate about transforming global education and inspiring future generations to take a cosmic perspective. Raya is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Awecademy, an online educational platform that offers global learners the opportunity to learn, connect and solve humanity’s grand challenges. Awecademy serves to empower a new generation of life-long learners and active doers. The goal is to nurture innovators and critical thinkers who can see the big picture, take a cosmic perspective, and have a positive impact in the world.
Raya is a founding member at SciFest Dubai, which serves to celebrate the science through the arts and has had a total of over 300+ events and 40,000+ audience members and participants. She is also the Co-founder of Intelligent Optimism, a global movement with 500,000+ followers that aims to serves to inspire a better future for humanity through science, technology and rationality. She is also the co-founder of Cafe Scientifique Dubai, an organization that gives the general public the opportunity to engage with the latest ideas in science & technology.
She has spoken on the topics of disruptive technologies, exponential thinking and innovative education at multiple venues including Global Education Forum, UNESCO Expo-Sciences, 1776 Incubator, Dubai Future Accelerators, EduTech MENA, EdEx Seminars and Dubai Technology & Entrepreneurship Center. She has been featured on CNN, BBC, SF Chronicle and in numerous other international magazines and newspapers. She is also a regular guest speaker on national radio shows and podcasts. Raya has organised and spoken at several TEDx events.
Raya has been an active proponent of women empowerment and leadership. Raya was a founding member and the Business Development Manager at SheWorks, a disruptive platform designed to allow women to work on the cloud in a way that works for them. She is a member of The Internet of Women, an exclusive network of accomplished female entrepreneurs, influencers and executives. She was also an operational leader for the SHE special interest group at i4j Innovation for Jobs and an projects manager at Women@TheFrontier.
A voracious reader and writer, Raya writes about the societal and existential implications of accelerating technology on our species. She is a contributing journalist to the Singularity Hub. She has organized three TEDx events and has been actively involved in the organization of multiple international conferences including the i4j Summit and Arc Fusion events. She advised on the topic of Artificial Intelligence at Sofiia.io. Raya studied Neuroscience at Boston University where she was involved with multiple Neuroscience & Bioethics research projects. Raya has been described by the media and those who know her as a futurist, a techno optimist, a communicator of popular science, and an advocate of curiosity, critical thinking, wonder, and awe.
Awecademy: An online educational platform that allows young learners from around the world to learn, do and contribute to human progress.
Cafe Scientifique Dubai: A meet up group to talk about science, technology, and astronomy, in a friendly and informal setting.
Intelligent Optimism: With up to 500,000 social media followers, Intelligent optimism is all about being excited about the future in a rational way.
SciFest Dubai: An annual festival that celebrates the sciences through the arts – with over 300+ events and 40,000+ audience members.
Raya has spoken on the topics of disruptive technologies, exponential thinking and innovative education at multiple venues including Global Education Forum, UNESCO Expo-Sciences, 1776 Incubator, Dubai Future Accelerators, and Dubai Technology & Entrepreneurship Center. She was a keynote speaker and panelist at the Dubai Science Festival and at the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority What Works conference.