The agreement facilitates collaborative examination and documentation of the legacy of family businesses in the MENA region

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Press Release

Tharawat Family Business Forum and NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a pilot project about Family Business Histories and their impact on economic growth and social change in the MENA region.

Mr. Essa Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Tharawat Family Business Forum and Robert Young, Dean of Arts and Humanities from NYUAD signed the MoU in the presence of several representatives from both organizations, as well as special guests.

The MoU provides a formal framework for the project that Tharawat and NYUAD will collectively undertake. The interdisciplinary project, which will bring together scholars from the Humanities and Social Sciences, will entail the compilation, documentation and analysis of the history of selected regional family businesses with the intention to better understand past challenges and decision-making, as well as commercial legacies. This understanding will not only offer significant insights into historical transformations of business cultures and socio-economic environments in the MENA region but also help family businesses address current and future challenges.

Mr. Essa Al Ghurair from the Tharawat Family Business Forum said: “In the Middle East and North Africa, we estimate that over 80% of businesses are family-owned and run. This shows us that the economic impact of such companies is essential to the growth and prosperity of our region. The collaboration with NYUAD will allow us to delve deeper into understanding the legacies of family-owned enterprises in our region and draw lessons for our future.”

Robert Young, Dean of Arts and Humanities from NYUAD, said: “We are very pleased indeed to be signing this MoU with the Tharawat Family Business Forum. Our Family Business history project highlights the historical significance of the region as a cultural, political, but also economic crossroads and shows how family business are part of the regional heritage. Our cooperation with Tharawat offers a prism through which we can rediscover the challenges of the past and the tremendous developments both in the UAE and beyond.”

The Tharawat Family Business Forum was founded in 2006 and is a members association that empowers the sustainability, innovation and growth of family businesses across Middle East and North Africa. The association was founded by 15 leading family-owned companies from all over the Middle East with a vision for a strong peer community where families could share their experiences and learn from each other. Today, 10 years later, Tharawat has grown into a key platform for education, innovation, and opportunity for its community.