Inspired in Dubai
I first visited the Middle East in 1972 with the Gillette Company pioneering New Product entries into Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi, Kuwait and the UAE. Subsequently I worked in the region for Procter & Gamble and then from 1982 – 1987 I was the Middle East Regional Vice President for Pepsico.
I loved the region, the people and the culture.
Many of our teams shared a common education at one of the American Universities in the region. I’ve been lucky enough to speak at the American University in Beirut (a Lovemark for many of us) – founded in 1871 and founded for “all conditions and classes of men without regard to colour, nationality, race or religion. A man white, black or yellow, Christian, Jew, Mohammedian or heathen may enter and enjoy all the advantages of this institution, and go on believing in one God, in many Gods or in no God”.
Five years ago I spoke at the American University in Dubai, which opened its doors in October 1995. Whilst still very young, AUD is vibrant, lively and brave with 95 nationalities in the student body. And last week these nationalities were in force where I jumped into a ‘bear-pit session’ with Raj Kapoor and Dina Faour’s marketing and communications people – with talented, young, high-potential females making up 60% plus of the packed lecture theatre. A lively, confident and optimistic bunch – brilliantly organised by Adjunct Instructor Sedef Sapanli Akkor – and they’ve even asked me to go back next year!