Trump’s executive order, despite a stay from a New York federal court on his temporary ban, has shaken the American startup ecosystem in a major way
The executive order that was signed on Friday by President Donald Trump sent shockwaves as the world attempted to form a response to the outrageous ban on citizens of seven Muslim majority countries.
According to the yet to be fully understood decree, citizens hailing from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Syria are to be denied entry from the US. There remains some confusion as to whether this pertains to green card holders as well.
The horrific violence that has hit many of these places throughout the region has created a stream of refugees seeking safe harbor, of which a small percentage have sought to reach the shores of the United States. They make this journey just as so many have before, dreaming of a better life for themselves and their families.
While perhaps in less desperate circumstances than refugees fleeing conflict, many in the tech world could find themselves unfairly locked out of the US, based solely on their country of origin. If we block people from entry due only to their national affiliation, we not only encourage extremism across the globe, but harm our own future as well.
Had such policies regarding America’s borders been in place in years past, then we would have missed out on some incredible talent that helped bring us to where we are today.
These profiles are just a sample of names who have previously worked in or with the US in their capacity as founders and technology ecosystem leaders. They should give perspective on what might be lost should the Trump ban be reinstituted by the courts.
1. Omnia Eteyari (Co-Founder/CEO at Mazadah) LIBYA
Eteyari is the co-founder and CEO of both IT training services company Mazadah and business management for Arabic-speakers startup Raakez. Her company is a diamond in the Libyan rough based in Triploi.
She is also the co-founder of Global Shapers Community’s Tripoli Hub and a coach at Startup Weekend Tripoli. Recognized for her impact, she is a US State Department partner, having participated as a fellow with the department’s TechWomen initiative.
She holds an Executive Education Certification from Harvard.
2. Moumen Mohamed Abd-Almonim Ali (Co-Founder and CEO of Tenchologya) SUDAN
As far as technology resumes go, Ali would be impressive in any country. He is the co-founder of digital services company Tenchologya based in Khartoum, where he has been an instrumental contributor to the local ecosystem. He was an organizer for both Startup Weekend Khartoum and Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2014.
“I think the ban came [in] on the wrong time, since the Sudanese ecosystem [has] started to expand, raising the awareness about it among the young entrepreneurs,” Ali told Geektime, saying many Sudanese entrepreneurs had recent been accepted to accelerator programs in the US. “When President Trump singed the EO, it changed a lot of plans for Sudanese startups on a scalability level.”
He carries a Certificate in Innovation and Design Thinking from the United National Development Program. He graduated from the Sudan University of Science & Technology with a B.S. in computer and software engineering.
3. Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO of Expedia) IRAN
As CEO of travel booking site Expedia, the Tehran-born Khosrowshahi helped build the TripAdvisor network into an empire.
Having been graduated from Brown in 1991, he has brought his touch for the digital to business and the media, having been recognized for his talent by the New York Times when they elected him to their Board of Directors in 2015.
4. Salar Kamangar (Executive at Google) IRAN
Starting off his career as Google’s 7th employee, Kamangar has worn a number of hats at the Mountain View internet giant, including heading up big name products like YouTube and Google Groups.
Born in Tehran, he was graduated from Stanford in 1998. Still a senior executive at Google, he was responsible for their initial business plan. He oversees Google AdWords and other big money projects that make this a very profitable company.
5. Martin Hermez (Founder and CEO of Tivvi) IRAQ
Hermez and his family escaped Iraq in the early 2000s, arriving in Detroit on July 4, 2003 of all days.
Hermez is a Chaldean Christian, a minority that in theory would not get the same type of restriction as Iraqi Muslims. But with broader application of the executive order against green card holders and perhaps even dual citizens by Homeland Security, it is a concern that minorities targeted under ISIS like Christians and Yazidis will be disproportionately affected by further restrictions on refugee intake.
“If social networking 1.0 was about manifesting your real life identity through an online presence then the next level is about making the experience of sharing more life-like,” he told the Huffington Post back in 2014. Tivvi is meant to allow users to express themselves better, as the multi-dimensional beings they are.”
This piece was co-authored with Gedalyah Reback.