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MIT Solve names Hala Hanna as new executive director

Hanna chosen to continue building MIT Solve into a global community with lasting impact on the world's biggest challenges.
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Hala Hanna stands on a well-lit stage in front of a backdrop that reads, "MIT Solve" and "Massachusetts Institute of Technology"
Hala Hanna stands on stage during a Solve event.
Photo courtesy of MIT Solve.

MIT Solve has announced Hala Hanna as its new executive director. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation with a mission to drive innovation to solve world challenges.

Hanna has more than 15 years of experience working across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, with the purpose of creating a more equitable and sustainable world. She spent the last six years at MIT Solve, where she helped build the initiative into a global community. 

Solve uses open innovation challenges to find the most promising tech-based social entrepreneurs worldwide, with a focus on underserved communities. Solve then provides them support to scale their impact. Within the Solve community, an ecosystem that includes nearly 100 organizations spanning industries and sectors, MIT Solve has run more than 60 global and custom challenges. Solve’s challenges have received nearly 16,000 submissions, from innovators based in more than 180 countries. Solve has selected over 260 Solver teams who reach over 170 million lives globally, and facilitated over $60 million in funding to help innovators scale and drive lasting impact. 

Before joining MIT Solve, Hanna was director of strategy and impact at the World Economic Forum. Her experience includes working with the World Bank and the United Nations, advising senior officials on reform and donor engagement. Her work experience spans the Middle East, North America, Europe, and Africa. Hanna has also held numerous advisory roles, including with U.N. Women and U.N. initiatives, and the Brussels-based Women Political Leaders. Hanna holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a master’s in international development from American University, and a bachelor's degree in economics from the American University of Beirut. 

“Hala's appointment as executive director is a testament to her passion for supporting innovators from all over the world, her dedication to creating a better planet, and her ability to inspire those around her,” says Cynthia Barnhart, MIT provost and Solve Steering Committee president. “Under Hala’s leadership, I am confident that Solve will reach new heights in driving innovation to solve our world’s most pressing challenges.”

“At the core of MIT Solve's work is the belief that complex global challenges can be addressed by unlocking and supporting human ingenuity everywhere,” says Hanna. “This mission is both inspiring and essential. I am truly honored to serve as executive director, and excited to harness the power of Solve’s global community to create a more sustainable and inclusive world for generations to come.”

Hanna's first public engagement will be during Solve at MIT May 4 on the MIT campus.

Press Mentions

The Boston Globe

Hala Hanna, executive director of Solve, writes for The Boston Globe about how to empower young people to address and solve today’s problems. “Engaging young people is not just a moral imperative, it is also a strategic one,” writes Hanna. “By investing in our youth and promoting civic engagement, we can help shape a generation of passionate, informed, and engaged citizens ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow and make a lasting impact on the world around them.”

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