Volume 20 | issue nº 3 Winter 2019

Emerging Leaders

By Fatima Abdul Rassool

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LAUers attended an international program run by Harvard University on entrepreneurialism and leadership.

A group of LAUers started the academic year on a successful note by earning spots in the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (CELP) funded by the Harvard Business School Club of the GCC.

The program selects top regional students to fly to Dubai for a week of training from Harvard professors in topics such as politics, tech, humanities, history and more.

Adnan Kassar School of Business (AKSOB) student Rawan Ftouni and alumna Yara Issa – who graduated with distinction last spring – were among 71 young scholars chosen from a pool of 1,721 applicants from 23 countries. Also on the trip was marketing student Ali Tourba, who was invited to join a related two-day workshop with the Dubai Future Accelerators program.

CELP is geared toward students from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are the first in their families to attend college. The fully-funded program took place over one week at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Harvard professors and Dubai Future Accelerators members trained the participants in developing entrepreneurial skills that can help them excel in the business world, and gave them complicated real-life business cases to study and solve. The young scholars also met with CEOs from top companies and toured important business landmarks such as Nasdaq Dubai and the Air Arabi Headquarters.

“The best part about this program is that it opened up my eyes to new perspectives,” said Issa upon her return. “It helped me explore new horizons and meet incredible peers from around the world.”

“It definitely exceeded my expectations,” added Ftouni. “I absolutely loved being part of a multicultural environment of students from 24 different countries.”

CELP is just one example of how LAU enables the most well-rounded education for its students. Each of the university’s seven schools actively encourages its students to engage with the outside community and other educational institutions, and students receive help from faculty and staff finding and applying to programs that fit their academic and career goals.

“As an LAU student, I’ve always aspired to attend international summits that will help me gain experience and establish social and global networks,” Tourba said. “The knowledge that I’ve cultivated from these summits has helped me tremendously.”

In addition, the University Scholarship Program, of which Issa and Tourba are members, supports community outreach while providing ambitious young scholars with a chance to study at LAU. “The academic excellence of USP students is the pride of our program and proves that LAU has nurtured the talents of these scholars,” said Assistant Vice President for Outreach and Civic Engagement Elie Samia.

Issa credits USP with preparing her for CELP. “We showed high level of community engagement, leadership skills and academic excellence,” she said of her acceptance.

She also stressed the importance of all students applying to take part in international summits, where they can learn, gain experience and network with experts and students from around the world. “After CELP, I truly understood the meaning of ‘the sky is the limit,’ and I encourage other students to apply to this program because honestly, it has been the best experience of my life so far.”