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AUS holds annual Business Forum
The American University of Sharjah (AUS) annual Business Forum was inaugurated today, March 16, by Sheikh Salem bin Abdul Rahman Al Qasimi, Director of the Office of the Ruler of Sharjah. Senior officials from the government and the private sector, industry leaders and academics attended the opening ceremony. Both the AUS Business Forum and Career Fair, which will be held tomorrow, provide an opportunity for policy makers, scholars and business leaders to share dynamic experiences, professional advice and trade opportunities with tomorrow's regional and global leaders. This year, a number of alumni also shared their own success stories.
The Sixth AUS Business Forum, entitled "The Global Economy: Prospects, Risks, and the Impact on the MENA Region," had panel discussions that examined what the state of the business environment means for our daily lives and what changes we can expect in the years to come. The forum was an excellent venue for business development by virtue of its networking opportunities.
Welcoming the delegates on the occasion, Dr. Björn Kjerfve, AUS Chancellor, spoke on the topic "Education, Research and the Importance of Human Capital." "Economies across the globe are bound together in partnerships that are constantly evolving. The dynamic exchange and transfer of information has reduced distances and made national borders porous. Factors such as innovation, entrepreneurship and new technology have assumed enormous importance in all societies," said the Chancellor. "In order to keep in step with dynamic and constant change, organizations must invest in interdisciplinary resources that help them innovate to deal successfully with the challenges they face."
Dr. Kjerfve reiterated His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan's vision that AUS become "organically linked with the economic, cultural and industrial sectors of society in productive cooperation" as well as become "a center of research for solving problems faced by society." Since AUS opened its doors to students in 1997, it has been committed to following that path.
To further this point, Chancellor Kjerfve spoke of how AUS is now taking this collaboration between higher education and industry and technology to the next level, by setting up a Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Park close to campus. "In the next several years, we envisage this project to be established as a dynamic center of research and innovation populated by leading global technology companies. These companies will work in collaboration with AUS and other local academic institutions and the highly qualified human capital provided, and develop a vibrant environment for research, technology and innovation, and with incubators and high-tech products and services that suit Sharjah and the regional demands. The RTI Park will also serve as a base for non-profit organizations and appropriate local companies in a tax-free zone and will serve as a place for research and development and where technological start-ups are nurtured," said Dr. Kjerfve.
Dr. Kjerfve then introduced Adel Ali, the keynote speaker and Board Member and Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, who gave an address entitled "Growth and Investment Amid Changing Circumstances."
"Learn your business from the bottom. Don't be a chief but be a leader," Ali advised the delegates. "The days of sitting behind a desk as a chief and the days of telling people what to do are gone. Today is a day of leadership. If you want a successful business, you have to demonstrate to people that you are willing to lead."
The AUS Business Forum allowed the sharing of bold, creative ideas on business development and growth in the region, and bridges industry and higher education to promote economic development.
It also provides students the chance to engage leaders from a broad range of industries and public agencies as they address critical contemporary issues. Together, they attempt to analyze key challenges and arrive at solutions uniquely tailored to the Gulf. The forum is a platform for leading business figures across the spectrum to address ways to resolve these pressing issues.
The various sessions of the forum discussed how the business environment in the MENA region affects our daily lives and the most important challenges and opportunities facing the economy today. The forum also debated whether economic reforms, technological advancements and a changing energy landscape catalyzed future growth. AUS alumni also shared their success stories and life lessons.
Concluding the Business Forum were Dr. Sami Kamel, Marketing Executive and General Manager, GE Energy, and Dr. Khaled T. Assaleh, Interim Vice Provost of Research and Graduate Studies, AUS, as they discussed "Why Research and Development Matters."
Among other participants were Dr. Khalid Ahmed, Chief Strategy Officer, Jafza and Economic Zones World; Bashar Kilani, Middle East Territory Manager, IBM Middle East; Hussein Al Mahmoudi, Director-General, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ziad Makhzoumi, Chief Executive Officer, Fakih IVF; Ramsey B. Jurdi, President, The American Business Council International; Yousef Al Bastaki, Vice President Projects, Emirates Global Aluminium; Dr. Nabil Aouad, COO, Technip Middle East; Dr. Ilker Kaya, Assistant Professor of Economics, School of Business Administration, AUS; Ashraf Shehata, Regional Director of Quality and Food Safety, Mars Dr. Robert Grosse, Dean of the School of Business Administration; and AUS alumni Haneen Al Hassan, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Magnet Media; Abdulla Al Shamsi, Founder, SHAPE Architect; Hisham Dirbas, Founder, Equinox Coaching and Leadership Development; and Raha Moharrak, an adventurer.
The annual Career Fair will be held tomorrow, March 17, and will provide AUS seniors and alumni with the opportunity to meet representatives from the private and public sectors interested in recruiting students and graduates as either full-time employees or interns.