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UOWD-supported AIB-MENA Conference hails rising rankings of GCC

Monday, 28 January, 2013

East is the New West, says Research Group of AIB-MENA

Researchers and economists from the region and around the globe hailed the rising rankings of the UAE and GCC countries in the Globalization Index, at the 3rd annual Conference of the Academy of International Business – Middle East North Africa Chapter (AIB-MENA) in Cairo, Egypt, focussed on the theme “East Meets West."

Participants highlighted that the KOH Globalization Index had ranked the UAE higher than the USA, and most GCC countries were ranked higher than India and China. Further, the Economist had plotted the centre of economic gravity from 10 CE (when it was based in the East) to 2035 where the centre had once again done full circle and returned to the East.

Around 50 researchers from UAE, Qatar, KSA, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, USA, Canada, UK and Austria discussed research relevant to the MENA region on topics, such as Entrepreneurship, Education, the Role of women, CSR & Governance, Policy, Management & Leadership, Marketing, Finance, Accounting and Supply Chain over three days from 12-15 January, 2013.

AIB-MENA invited special speakers such as Dr. Ahmed Darwish, former Minister of State for Administrative Development, Egypt, to discuss the opportunities in managing a nation brand.

Mr. Ayman Ismail, Partner & CEO DMG of Mountain View, formerly of P&G, who managed the Gillette takeover and later in PepsiCo, spoke about globalization with local insights, where strategy remained the same, and only implementation varied.

In the Social Entrepreneurship Panel speakers discussed the academic gap, the practical need and the concept of social entrepreneurship with examples from the regional context.

Mr. Loai El Shwarby, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Nahdet El Mahrousa, spoke on incubation and scalability of social entrepreneurs, whilst Ziad Haddara, the Co-Founder & Head of Concept and Community Development, MyMiddleEast, analysed the practicality of setting up social entrepreneurship in the region. Dr. Marina Appaydin from American University of Beirut and Dr. Ahmed Tolba from American University in Cairo stressed the need for developing cases from this region to document and allow our students to understand the context of business operations.

The conference was hosted by the American University in Cairo Business School and El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Centre. It was supported by Pepsi – Egypt; Emerald Group Publishing, Palgrave MacMillan, Dubai Conventions Bureau, UOWD, American University in Cairo and Zayed University.

Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan, Associate Professor at UOWD and President of AIB-MENA, said, “We wanted to embrace the many countries in the region and Egypt, which had been going through some uncertainty over the last three years, was the first place we thought of going to after two years in the UAE”.

AIB-MENA has built a community of researchers, many of whom return and bring their colleagues and students with them. “It is wonderful to be back and be part of this growing and dynamic community of researchers and practitioners – AIB-MENA. It is great to see and hear first hand about the transition and journey that Egypt is going through," said Arif Zaman, from Henley Business School.

AIB-MENA, a volunteer organization, has set up an advisory Board and a committee of six volunteers. This year, the best paper award was presented by the AIB Vice President Operations, Prof. Elizabeth Rose to Omneya Hassan Abdel Salam, Yass Alkafaji and Marwa Elnahass for their paper titled “Ownership Structure and Related-Party Transactions Disclosure: Case of GCC Listed Companies."

Delegates were taken on a tour of the American University in Cairo campus and got a chance to visit the Rare Books section which houses, among others, a 500-year-old Bible written in Arabic and Latin and the first edition of Napoleon's specially commissioned “Description de l'Égypte” published first in 1809 involving over 160 scholars. The groups were able to see even older manuscripts and plates like the Mémoires sur l'Égypte (1800).

AIB is a 50-year-old organization based in the United States with over 3500 members. AIB-MENA is one of the youngest of its 16 chapters.

AIB-MENA has been incubated by the University of Wollongong in Dubai since 2009 to focus on encouraging research in and on the MENA region in the area of international business. It has held a number of international conferences, brought together over 200 participants, produced a range of books, teaching cases and journal articles. It has organized workshops on research/case writing and publishing. AIB-MENA has been recognized by the Dubai Conventions Bureau as Brand Ambassadors for Dubai.