Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of American University of Sharjah (AUS), met with Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Managing Director of Al Saud Company and Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi, the Deputy Managing Director of Al Saud Company, today, April 18, to discuss the Sheikh Saoud Bin Khalid Bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business, which was established at American University of Sharjah in 2016. Through the Chair, which is the first of its kind in the country, AUS aims to become a recognized family business knowledge hub in the national, regional and international context. Also present at the meeting was Dr. Rodrigo Basco, Associate Professor, School of Business Administration and Chairholder, Sheikh Saoud Bin Khalid Bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business.
The Chair’s mission is to foster the university’s sustainable support to family business by creating value for business families and regional communities through conducting research and developing teaching activities that will strive to connect family generations in order to achieve their individual, family, business and community objectives.
"The purpose of establishing this Chair is to honor my grandfather’s legacy. He was a Sharjah businessman who founded a family business back in the 1970s that is now in its third generation,” said Sheikh Saud Majid Al Qassimi. “This is a modest contribution on our part to give back to the community. AUS is a prominent university that is preparing the next generation of leaders in the UAE and the region. We would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah for establishing American University in Sharjah, which has become a beacon of education in the region," he added.
During the meeting, Chancellor Kjerfve said, “At AUS, the Chair aims to add to the intellectual leadership and mentoring available in the School of Business Administration and in the region; establish a prominent regional center for family business research; contribute to the research aims of AUS; and increase importance and visibility of AUS in the regional and international research market.
Dr. Basco said, “Through this initiative, we will enlarge and expand the aim of the university as an institution that plays an important role in creating future community and national leaders.” He noted that family businesses “are the pillar for UAE’s economic development and I believe that family businesses will be the engine in the post-oil economy. Family businesses are the economic agents that are going to help diversify the UAE economy and to create, in the long term, a knowledge-based economic-society.”
The activities of the Sheikh Saoud Bin Khalid Bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business are integrated in three main areas: research, teaching and knowledge transfer. The aim of these areas is to create ground-breaking knowledge pertaining to family business that will be useful for building sustainable firms and cohesive and happy families to boost regional competitiveness as well as wellbeing.
As part of its research activities, the Chair will develop new lines of research in order to contextualize the phenomenon of family business in the UAE, GCC and MENA region; publish academic articles in top journals in order to disseminate the knowledge created by the Chair; participate in national and international research conferences; strengthen research links with local, regional, and international researchers and scholars as well as research groups; and improve students’ analytical skills by involving them in research activities.
The Chair will also develop family business courses for the undergraduate and graduate levels, develop family business workshops and seminars for business families, create external educational activities within the community by linking the Family Business Chair with external stakeholders, and develop specific programs for family business executive education as part of its teaching activities.
As part of the knowledge transfer, activities will include developing actions for stakeholders involved in family businesses in order to disseminate knowledge and best practices that ensure the sustainability of these businesses, developing actions for business families so as to integrate all family members and promote the well-being of both the family and the firm, collaborating with policymakers to encourage public institutions to support the work of family businesses, and developing a family business incubator lab as an integrated space for new generations of family business members who wish to develop their entrepreneurial competencies.
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