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AUS business leadership symposium attracts industry leaders, experts and academics from around the world
International business leaders, industry experts, scholars and researchers debated the importance of innovation and agility, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, and sustainable business models in challenging economic times at a virtual symposium hosted by American University of Sharjah (AUS).
Entitled “Reshaping Paradigms: Leading into the Future”, the virtual symposium was organized by The Said T. Khoury Chair of Leadership Studies at the AUS School of Business Administration (SBA). It was attended by over 400 participants from all over the globe who took part in discussions pertaining to leadership challenges and opportunities in today’s volatile and uncertain world.
“This symposium connected the world of academia with the broader business community and strengthened the practical relevance of academic research that relates to leadership. It aimed to bridge the pervasive gap between theory and practice by breaking domain-related silos and fostering cross-disciplinary dialogue. It also offered scholars and practitioners the opportunity to engage in a fruitful exchange of opinions and points of view, to raise relevant questions and provide viable solutions to extant leadership challenges,” said Dr. Virginia Bodolica, who holds The Said T. Khoury Chair of Leadership Studies and is Professor of Management at SBA.
Samer S. Khoury, Executive Vice Chairman of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and son of Said T. Khoury, co-founder of CCC, was the guest of honor at the event. The symposium also featured a keynote address by Dr. Salwa Khoury, Adjunct Associate Professor at American University in Dubai and daughter of Said T. Khoury, entitled “A Glimpse into the Past to Delineate the Future: Building on the Legacy of Said T. Khoury.” The highlight of the event was an inspirational speech entitled “Leading With Agility” delivered by the symposium’s honorary inaugural guest, His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder and Chairman of Alabbar Enterprises and Emaar Properties.
In her keynote address, Dr. Salwa Khoury recalled the history of the creation of CCC and spoke about the key leadership traits of Said T. Khoury. Among them, the most salient were his “people skills, ability to inspire, motivate and create cohesion, willingness to live and work in new lands, hard work and determination, ability to choose skilled people and focus on the right goals, willingness to learn from others, and propensity to look for new challenges,” said Dr. Salwa Khoury.
Addressing the participants, Samer S. Khoury, talked about what it takes to successfully manage and lead CCC, the largest engineering construction company in the Middle East, employing over 120,000 people. Among the key features he credited for setting successful companies apart were “creating a purpose and an organizational culture, leading by example, adopting an open-door policy, communicating openly at all levels, protecting the company brand, creating a learning organization and continuing to innovate.”
The event featured four moderated panel discussions and four related roundtable reflections on the key outcomes from the symposium. His Excellency Alabbar signaled the start of the panel discussions with his inaugural panel speech. The panel “Leading with Agility” debated change and innovation, agile thinking, artificial intelligence, technological advancement and a boundaryless economy. The “Diversity in Leadership” panel focused on knowledge and experience diversity, generational specifics, closing the gender gap at the top, and women in leadership. The “Responsible Leadership” panel considered issues of accountability, board of directors, corporate governance, ethics and social responsibility, and community impact. The panel on “Leadership Development” looked at issues of soft skills’ development, cross-silo leadership, closing the skills gap, future leadership skills and talent management. The roundtable discussions centered on the identification of relevant research priorities for academics to assist practitioners in overcoming extant leadership challenges, forming the basis of an impactful agenda for future inquiry in the field.
Symposium participants came from a wide variety of national and international institutions and organizations, such as Hult International Business School, Abu Dhabi University, Consolidated Contractors Company, Ajman University, Dubai Holding, American University in Dubai, Transnational Academic Group Middle East, NEOM COVID-19 Task Force, University of Wollongong in Dubai, World Business Angels Forum, United Arab Emirates University, Pearl Initiative, Al Ahli Holding Group, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, Accuro Consultancy, Emirates National Oil Company, Zayed University, Emarise, Kanoo Group, Al Falah University, University of Sharjah, Heriot Watt University Dubai, Khalifa University, Canadian University Dubai, Prince Sultan University, Westford Education Group, Sohar University, Middlesex University Dubai, The British University in Dubai, American University in the Emirates, and Saint Petersburg State University.
Established in 2019, The Said T. Khoury Chair of Leadership Studies at AUS aims to honor the legacy of the co-founder of CCC and is dedicated to the development and dissemination of impactful knowledge base about leadership that manifests itself across different levels of analysis, transcending disciplinary silos, functional areas and industry boundaries. The Chair strives to conduct a series of closely interrelated activities in three mutually reinforcing areas, namely youth engagement, scholarly production and non-academic outreach.
For more information about The Said T. Khoury Chair of Leadership Studies at AUS and its initiatives, please visit www.aus.edu/sba/partnerships/our-partners/the-said-t-khoury-chair-of-lea....