Enterprise Magazine Issue #2

Page 1


Spring 2016


Neil Daugherty

Investing in Reputation Throughout the Economic Cycle El Harith Ali The Rise of the Re-Manufacturing Industry in the MENA Region Rizwan Rahman The Confluence of Islamic and Conventional Finance Updated Just Now

Issue #2



































































A WORD FROM ‘Change’ is the echo that is cried out in Russia where the Ruble keeps plummeting. It is demanded in the United States’ Chambers where Republicans lament what they perceive as a very weak economic recovery. Even in the Gulf, where oil prices can no longer sustain the colossal budgets the governments once held, we hear the calls for ‘change.’ ‘Change,’ however, is not straight-forward. While it is pivotal for growth, innovation and ultimately survival, it is also arduous, time-consuming, and unpredictable. The very nature of change allows us to only understand it in hindsight and, frustratingly, it is one of the only inevitable things in life. But for better or for worse, throughout history, change is what has led humankind to what it has become today. We have witnessed change manifest itself in two ways, either through a subtle adaptive way or in an explosive transformative adjustment.

MUHAMMAD SAIF KAZI Founder & Chief Advisor Georgetown University Qatar Enterprise

For the second issue of the Georgetown SFS-Q Enterprise, our editorial team has categorized these two concepts of change. They can be applied to all spheres of our lives, but in the case of the corporate world, they define adaptive change as the type of reform that well-established companies undergo in response to the uncertainty of changing market needs. Transformative change, on the other hand, is of a disruptive nature and has the potential to fundamentally alter the entire fabric of an industry. In this issue’s front cover design, our lead designer does an excellent job of explaining these two kinds of change. Communication has been a key driver of human progress; it has allowed us to exchange ideas and collectively brain storm to make our lives easier. The sector has undergone both adaptive and transformative changes to arrive at where we are today. An example to consider is the origin of the grueling long distance races called marathons. Legend has it that Pheidippides, a Greek messenger, was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming ‘we have won’ before collapsing and dying. Pheidippides covered a distance of approximately 42 kilometers in around 3 hours. In his memory, marathons are held all over the world, commemorating the great difficulty mankind has faced in transmitting messages and conveying information. Today, a similar message would take just a matter of nanoseconds to deliver, regardless of the distance. From carrying messages on foot to using homing pigeons, communication for a long period witnessed only adaptive changes. That is, until the invention of the telephone and later the internet. They lead to a massive transformative change, redefining methods of communication mankind had used for thousands of years. SMS, emails and phone calls have ushered in a new era of our history: the era of information technology. In the pages that follow, you will get to see how both adaptive and transformative change drive global economies and business. The articles explore the distinct qualities and challenges that shape various industries and, most importantly, how they respond to or enact change. The Georgetown - Q Business Society too is pursuing an adaptive change. Its goal is to promote that the Georgetown-Q community not only fosters its members for the field of diplomacy and Foreign Service, but also for the corporate world. The following articles are a representation of the business acumen possessed by students, staff, faculty and alumni present in the community. These articles not only further stimulate the business interest present within our community, but also allows these interests to reach beyond the SFS-Q campus and engage with the wider Qatar business community. Extending this conversation, this year’s issue includes articles authored by various Doha-based professionals who share their vital market insights from within a variety of sectors. I hope you will find this year’s issue not only informative but also take it as a catalyst for forging new ideas. This magazine aims to gather insights present in our community and help us tackle the great challenges Qatar faces ahead. Qatar is changing, more so than ever. Whether it will be adaptive or transformative, only time will tell. 5






Editor in Chief

Associate Editor in Chief

Director of Publications

Associate Director of Publications

Since the release of the first edition of the Enterprise magazine last year, we have expanded our team substantially. We have added three Georgetown students, Hazim, Afif, and Ritica, to our editorial team. We now also have a student from the D.C. campus, Hojun, who is our first editor from outside the SFS-Q community as part of our efforts to broaden our reach. Additionally, our content comes from a wider array of perspectives than ever before. We now have contributions from Georgetown students, staff, and alumni, experienced professionals, scholars, diplomats, and writers from other Education City universities. As both of us will be absent next year, one graduating and the other going abroad, we hope to see the magazine evolve from the foundations we are so thankful to have been a part of establishing. Despite the frustrations involved, being a part of this magazine has been an honor. It has given us the opportunity to work with wonderful people and to contribute to a completely student-run initiative. For this, and so much more, we are incredibly grateful. We hope you enjoy this year’s issue.

We are proud to be a part of the Georgetown Qatar Enterprise magazine, which is a very professional, collaborative, and pro-active group of young individuals. It has been an honor to lead the Publications team for this year’s edition, comprising of hardworking and driven team members - Carlos, Awatif and Hunain. Our journey has been absolutely phenomenal, one that has seen many ups and downs, one that was full of exploration and learning, and one that has taught us that there is no feeling better than seeing the product of your hard work and team effort being appreciated by your peers and loved ones. We thank our team, the GBS core team and the editorial team for their support and constant encouragement. We hope you enjoy the magazine as much as the Enterprise team enjoyed getting it to you!

At the start of this year, I set myself with the goal to improve the design of the magazine after coming across some of my short comings from last time. This issue brought different challenges and successes. While I am not certain this is my greatest work yet, a part of me knows I have completed this project with a sense of fulfillment. It was a great opportunity to synergize with Enterprise’s larger and diverse team as a VCUQ alumna to produce a better product. Whether or not I will be back to continue this collaboration as a Lead Designer next year, the time I have spent with everyone has been very rewarding. I am certain I have undergone my own adaptive change, and I do hope it leads me to a transformative one.



Photo by Ayeda Iftikhar (Not pictured: Hojun Lee)

Enterprise Team (2015-2016) Advisory Board

Editorial Board


Muhammad Saif Kazi Founder & Chief Advisor

Joseph Hahn Editor in Chief

Tekla Gagoshidze Director of Publications

Kareem Malas Publications Advisor

Emma Mogensen Associate Editor-in-Chief

Rania Sohail Associate Director of Publications

Mohammad Taimur Ali A.

Hazim Ali Editor

Carlos Estrada Team Member

Afif Haitsam Editor

Hunain Ali Team Member

Ritica Ramesh Editor

Awatif Al Habsi Team Member

Editorial Board Advisor

Design Carisa Antariksa Lead Designer

Hojun Lee Editor 7



by Alexander M. Wegner 8

Communications Consultant at Weber Shandwick

“The realization is dawning that our lives are the confused answer to questions which were asked in places we have forgotten.” Peter Sloterdijk in “Rules for the Human Zoo”


hether in politics or business, change has become a buzzword. The yearning for change we observe worldwide may be rooted in education. At virtually all levels of schooling students are assessed on their ability to internalize and reproduce knowledge, being taught the necessary skills in the process. Equipped with knowledge and skills, students are led to believe that there are no limits to what they can achieve, be it in their personal or their professional lives (an ominous distinction), and with respect to the impact they can have on the world they inhabit. An education thus configured falls short of its potential in two ways. First, it cultivates an orientation toward the present and the future at the expense of the past. It is by turning to what was that we begin to develop a sense of what should be, and what can be. Facts absent of synthesis and skills absent of soul do not allow for the imagination and realism possible futures demand of us. On the contrary, they cause us to mistake ourselves for agents of change rather than responders to it. Second, an education that prompts us to internalize and reproduce creates and sustains dogma; it prevents us from ever inducing the change to which it draws us. Our problems are intellectual in kind, as Alan Bloom shows in The Closing of the American Mind.

Despite change being a buzzword, its occurrence is an exception rather than the norm. Transformative change, on the one hand, appears to be little more than re-configuration. In consequence of the Industrial Revolution, for instance, aristocracy and feudalism gave way to democracy and capitalism, but without affecting human nature substantially. The quest for power, characteristic of aristocracy, persists, and though most of us no longer serve the landholding class, we now labor for owners of capital, less arduously, but no more content. Adaptive change, on the other hand, simply is inevitable; yet whether we choose to adapt to changing circumstances or whether the world adapts to our lack of change has yet to be seen. If we are to follow the logic of Joseph Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, the withering away of what has been allows for the onset of what is possible: creative destruction. If we are to believe the prognosis of the elites who convened in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting earlier this year, we are amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the title of the latest book by the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, reads. Labor appears to be increasingly more automated, the intelligence that

“whether we choose to adapt to changing circumstances or whether the world adapts to our lack of change has yet to be seen.” 9

“rather than thinking of change as a technical process, we should begin to understand change as a moral odyssey, more difficult, but more fertile.” endows us with a competitive advantage may soon be created artificially as well as significantly enhanced, and as we become more obsolete, augmented and virtual reality could turn into a welcome refuge. These trends are, of course, highly speculative, but reflective of the kind of thinking that contemporary education ingrains. Anyone conscious of the past knows that such worries are typical of what is referred to as transformative change, and may fade as quickly as they arose. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times has approached the technological innovations that are beginning to emerge on the horizon with just that consciousness, and convincingly so. More important than worries about the technologies in sight, is the self-understanding that comes with them. The worlds we have built an intricate economy spanning across borders, a complex web of political relationships, a global network of information and communication–have become so dense that their workings and prospects appear to lie outside of our control. Insofar that none of us has the knowledge or skills to direct these worlds in their entirety, this is indeed the case. However, in regard to the values on which these worlds are built, we are quite capable of affecting them. In other words, rather than thinking of change as a technical process, we should begin to understand change as a moral odyssey, more difficult, but more fertile. Rather than turning to Evgeny Morozov, however noteworthy his anxieties may be, we may want to revisit the work of Gotthard Günther, which points to the roots of our fears.


Yet to undertake such an odyssey, we must turn inward rather than outward, asking ourselves who we are within this world of man-made worlds. It is by understanding ourselves, not merely as individuals but as a species that we will regain the sensibility from which contemporary education has deprived us. In fact, whatever we do and pursue as individuals arises out of who we think we are. Though individual self-understanding is of limited use to collectives, given the plurality inherent in our world of worlds, its potency can be heightened by extending its scope. While reminding us that we cannot and will not reach the End of History, as Hegel and Fukuyama suggested, the work of Reinhold Niebuhr indicates that the window for improvement has not elapsed, so long as we conceive smallscale communities as the crucial fabric of society. Equipped with the technologies that enable us to venture beyond the contours of Earth, we are ideally positioned to expand our perspectives, both on ourselves and the space we inhabit. Only once we revisit the moral foundations of civilization can we address the technicalities of change. As space, the next frontier, beckons, we have a rare opportunity to do just that, visualizing that our home is a refuge in a vast cosmic dryland, as Carl Sagan beautifully argues in Pale Blue Dot. Alas, the prospects of our planet and the fate of our species are ever more reliant on our virtue.


Alexander M. Wegner is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He currently works for the Doha office of Weber Shandwick, a leading global public relations firm, where he spends his time developing content, and driving future business. He has an interest in Science and Technology Studies, and is involved in the World Economic Forum.



“When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do sir?” This, purportedly from John Maynard Keynes, is perhaps one of the best cited and least easily verified quotes from any economist of the past century. But with the price of crude oil having touched a 13 year low earlier this year, and still hovering around the $40 mark ,70% down on the recent highs of summer 2014, the sentiment is more salient than ever. Periods of economic uncertainty point to existential questions for business leaders, who must adapt in order to survive and thrive. Across the world, and in particular in oil and gas producing economies, fiscal budgets are tightening, and business leaders must look to manage costs and plan prudently for a period of prolonged budgetary constraint. In this context, should companies continue to invest in their reputations? The world over, the temptation may be for business leaders to see reputation as an operating cost to be struck through with a red line, rather than an asset and source of value creation to be nurtured through choppy economic waters as well as sunnier climes. Reputation is one of the determinants of short and long-term business success and therefore a valuable intangible asset. A company’s management should ask themselves, does reputation enhance their ability to execute their strategy within a desired timescale and cost range? If the answer is yes, then reputation should be nourished in the same way any tangible asset would be. Prolonged periods of prosperity can be deceptive: even businesses that are listing ships rise with the prevailing economic tide. By contrast, periods of economic downturn accelerate natural selection in business – sorting great businesses from the merely good, and good businesses from the average or failing in what Schumpeter termed ‘the arena of creative destruction’. 12

Inves Repu Throu Econo

sting in utation ughout the omic Cycle by Neil Daugherty Managing Director at Blue Rubicon Qatar


Here’s another question which should occupy policy makers (and Presidential candidates) in the quest for growth: are we living through an exceptional period of slow growth and stagnation? Or has the preceding period of growth – from the late 1990s to 2008, sometimes termed the Third Industrial Revolution, proven to be the exception rather than the rule? In his recent book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Robert Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor at the Department of Economics at Northwestern University, argues that in the historical long view, low growth and stagflation may be the old (and new) normal. If genuine business and technical transformation becomes increasingly hard to find, the relative valueof adaptive innovation increases. Marginal gains carry more importance. In this context, the experience of past recessions demonstrates that those organisations which treat reputation as an asset rather than a liability (or operating cost) will likely emerge stronger. On the other side of the storm, these companies will be better placed to capture subsequent economic growth. Those companies that tend to their brands, and employer brand, during a downturn just as they manage their tangible assets, can derive competitive advantage during the subsequent economic upswing. Proprietary research from the Blue Rubicon Institute and Oxford Metrica has looked at the performance, stretching over a period of ten years, of listed businesses who had experienced some form of major correction (defined as a swing of 5% or more) to their share price related to a reputational shock. Once market noise (the effect of the rising and falling tide of the market) had been adjusted for, our research showed those that had invested in


their reputations traded at an 8% premium to their peers. Apply this ‘reputation premium’ to Alphabet/Google, the world’s largest listed business, and this represents $40bn of shareholder value. History may be repeating: an academic study of major market corrections/crashes in the US stock market in 1987, and 1989 found that in the case of a sudden market correction or shock, there was little to distinguish the share price performance of companies with good reputations from those without. However, in the latter case, of a slower market correction, those companies with a proven ‘reservoir of goodwill’ experienced far less severe declines of value. This phenomenon has also been termed a ‘forgiveness factor’. Apply this logic to developing, oil producing economies, and the same logic holds true: cut too deep, and sacrifice your best international talent, and take knee-jerk decisions on spending, and the buy-in price for reacquiring the next, best global talent required to drive growth in an upturn will increase exponentially. Short-term gain will lead to long-term pain. Those businesses that under-invest in reputation as an asset face declining levels of consumer (and therefore political) trust, higher costs of talent acquisition and retention, greater risk of regulatory intervention, and higher costs of doing business- from disadvantageous access to capital, to higher risk profiles and insurance premiums. For nation brands, where the public and private sector are closely intertwined, particularly in emerging and natural resource based economies, this can be deeply counter-productive. The best business – and political leaders prove their worth in times of economic stress. By contrast, those who fail to adapt, and ignore the worth of their reputations during a prolonged economic downturn risk becoming a mere footnote to history.

“Periods of economic uncertainty point to existential “Periods economic questionsof for businessunleadcertainty pointadapt to existential ers, who must in orquestions for business leadder to survive and thrive.” ers, who must adapt in order to survive and thrive.”

“Does reputation enhance their ability to execute their “Does reputation enhance strategy within a desired their ability to execute their timescale strategy and cost within range?aIfdesired the antimescale and cost range? If swer is yes, then reputation the answer is yes, then should be nourished inrepthe utation should be nourished same way any tangible asset in the same would be.” way any tangible asset would be.”


Neil Daugherty is a Managing Director at Blue Rubicon Qatar. Blue Rubicon is a leading global strategic communications consultancy with offices in Doha, London, the USA, Asia and Dubai. Blue Rubicon has for the past three years run internship schemes in its London and Doha offices for undergraduates from the GU SFS-Q campus in Doha.



Pushing the Envelope: Innovatio by Sarim Zia


Change is a risky proposition. It requires a close inspection of the status quo, a constant dedication to upheaval, a courage to recognize and admit failure, and the foresight to accept change as the bedrock of improvement. Yet it is also the reason why change is a daunting prospect. Societies are built on a culture of risk averseness. Even when companies undertake change, the change is often reactive to the market pressures and conditions, and seldom revolutionary. Churchill, perhaps most articulately, stated “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” In business, as in art, as in life (and even as in philosophy, to channel Heraclitus’ “change is the only constant”), entities cannot afford to view evolution and transformation as supplementary afterthoughts, only as the cornerstone of improvement and success. One of the observations from the global downturn of 2008 was that innovative companies - companies that invest in research and development, companies that spend time, effort and resources on constantly improving their offerings – proved more resilient in weathering the recession and recovering from it. There is further evidence that suggests knowledge-based SMEs are more likely to succeed and grow, compared to traditional brick-andmortar establishments. One reason

for this is the investment made by knowledge-based companies in their Intellectual Property, which has a significantly higher Return on Investment than investment made in capital assets by traditional establishments. An easier way to understand would be comparing AirBnB’s investment in developing a proprietary tech platform as opposed to investing in physical assets globally. The case for innovation is obvious, yet within bigger structures and institutions, exploring unchartered territory is often not a priority. Within a system that relies on monthly, quarterly and annual profits alone, sizable investments into innovative applications that break new ground are lacking. What is encouraging however, is a recent change in air. Where larger entities fail to improve, they leave room for smaller players to enter the markets and compete. Anecdotal evidence for that can be found in abundance from the past year. The rapid development of Fintech sector (Financial Technology) as a competitor to established banking institutions is a prime example. Transformative change like that has the potential to shake the core of stable industries and provide them with the impetus to either improve or be humbled in the long run. Netflix is another model that went through repetitive iterations to test consumer demand and improve to become a renowned brand. Had the company

on as Driver of Positive Change not committed to change, it would still be renting out DVDs in small retail stores or kiosks outside Walmart. Over the last year, the taxi industry of Toronto has been embroiled in an aggressive campaign against Uber. Uber, the ridesharing service that has take urban cities by a storm, offers customers convenience, safety and comfort that was seen lacking in the services provided by monolithic taxi structures across the world. While now Uber is seen as the benchmark of disruptive technology, it got there by a number of cycles of development. First, it was able to identify a gaping hole in the market, and worked to understand the key drivers in the industry. Second, it worked hard to cut the costs of ridesharing, thereby making the service more affordable, and finally, it instituted a rating system that allowed customers to voice their concerns and leave feedback. Essentially, what is most remarkable about the Uber model, is that through disruption, they created new markets that are a better reflection of society’s needs today. And yet there has been a backlash. A segment of people whose lives depend on the preservation of status quo have lobbied hard to keep Uber at bay. This I witnessed in my new hometown Toronto, as well as around the world: in Paris, in London and else-

where. They have engaged in strikes and protestations, some of which even turned violent, to avert the inevitable tide of innovation. This is hardly new. As history testifies, the Luddites strove to wage a similar war against proponents of the Industrial Revolution. This struggle is quite obviously a reaction to the fear of treading new ground, losing power and competing on the basis of innovation - not restriction, limitation or manipulation of market factors. As is also evident from the tales of Alan Turing to Elon Musk, innovation is a not a singular event. It requires a constant commitment and dedication on part of individuals to keep pushing the envelope until they can see it bend, and then some. On the precipice of a new technological age, humans can either engage in futile attempts to delay or subvert the obvious, or have the courage to leave an imprint on this process of change and utilize innovation to solve pressing global problems.

"When we come to the edge of all the light we have, And take that step into the darkness of the unknown We must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on Or we will be taught how to fly." Patrick Overton


Sarim Zia is a Georgetown University alumnus with a degree in International Economics. He graduated from the School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) in 2014. Currently, he works as an Analyst in financial services at Quantius Inc. in Toronto, working with innovative Canadian companies in Cleantech and other emerging sectors. 17


Flipping The S

It’s Not Just A Going Gree


Switch: by Ressty Manuzon

About en


According to the International Energy Agency, fossil fuels supplied up to eighty percent of global energy in 2013. The longevity of the fossil fuel industry is a common premise used to support the continuation of environmentally detrimental forms of energy production. Such conservative arguments take part in current discussions of the changing energy market and question whether society should even focus any of its resources on renewable energy. But recent events such as America’s new oil extraction method from shale formations have shown the volatile nature of the fossil fuel industry. The fossil fuel industry is interdependent with a plethora of factors ranging from geopolitical conflict to global supply and demand. Shale oil extraction has not only created waves within the energy economy but its environmental impact leaves more to be desired. The environmental implications of the extraction process include releasing close to double the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by conventional crude. In its latest outlook, OPEC predicts shale oil production to increase from 3.8 million barrels per day in 2014 to 4.9 barrels per day by 2023. Following current trends in the fossil fuels industry would only lead us to greater environmental destruction and, thus, we must think progressively towards sustainable and renewable sources of energy. It would be naïve to completely neglect the fact that infrastructure for a new energy source would not be readily available when fossil fuels eventually run out. Forecasts predicting fossil fuel depletion are often made by analysts of large multinational oil and gas companies or supposedly independent energy agencies. Thus, they may understate the destructiveness of fossil fuels use and may have an overly optimistic prediction on hydrocarbons depletion. Such forecasts have to be met with a degree of scepticism due to a potential conflicts of interest that may threaten the viability of oil and gas. Similarly, recent academic work has found that such forecasts have tended to understate the utility of renewable energy. 19

> According to Daniel Cohan, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Rice University, and the cofounder of the energy research platform Spark Library, Alex Gilbert: “A recent peer-reviewed study led by the co-author of this column reviewed 630 projections made by the EIA [Energy Information Administration] between 2004 and 2014 that could be checked against actual data. The study found that most of EIA's projections for renewables sharply under-projected generation or capacity, with especially pronounced under-projections of wind and solar in more recent years.”

Regarding renewable energy, many people will turn to such underestimated predictions in order to evaluate the urgency of the matter and the feasibility of increased renewable energy use. The topic of the viability renewable energy needs to be taken with utmost rigor due to the repercussions associated with a failure to invest in its development. Insufficient caution and preparation may leave countless people vulnerable to a potential energy crisis of colossal proportions if and when fossil fuel energy sources are no longer able to sustain an ever growing global economy. Gradually incorporating renewable energy infrastructure into the global economy may mitigate the damage incurred through such events. Developing the renewable energy infrastructure has tangible, intrinsic benefits. This process would create a whole new job market offering opportunities in more than just the engineering sector. This new sector would sprout companies which require a large array of different professions in order to thrive. This new situation would be a way for economies which have little natural resources to further invest in their human capital and tap into an industry that can only grow. This is another incentive to investing in renewable energy and its infrastructure, its inevitable utilization makes efforts towards its implementation worthwhile. Renewable energy speaks for itself. An example would include solar panels attached on satellites, renewables can power a system endlessly without any need for external substances. In this case, all that is required is exposure to sunlight. Applied to the local economies on a global scale, this ideally means that, as time progresses countries, will be able to bolster their energy independence.


Developing countries have taken steps towards renewable energy. Even large developing countries such as China and India, which have historically been accused of being the world’s heaviest polluters, have taken significant leaps towards the implementation of renewable energy. According to The Guardian, “China invested nearly $90bn in clean energy in 2014, or 73% more than the US…” Some developing countries may be reluctant to compromise low energy costs in order to join the renewable energy movement. However, such large shifts toward clean energy in the developing world highlight the significance of sustainable development even for low- and middle-income countries that prioritize economic growth. Renewable energy and developing its infrastructure has many potential shortcomings and difficulties along with its aforementioned benefits. Going green has its risks. But simply “Going Green” is not enough; one must be able to implement this new infrastructure in a way that is also environmentally sustainable. For example, Germany’s rapid expansion into the renewable energy sector has created friction even within members of the national Green Party, due to issues like the felling of huge areas of ancient pine trees in order to allow construction of a solar collector and dangerous magnetic fields being created due to power lines. Fighting climate change and saving the environment are not necessarily the same and tackling both issues simultaneously requires a great deal of planning, infrastructure development, and innovation. The road to renewable energy brings along with it a multitude of challenges. However, overcoming these barriers is a key determinant of sustainable energy use and therefore our survival.

“Following current trends in the fossil fuels industry would only lead us to greater environmental destruction and, thus, we must think progressively towards sustainable and renewable sources of energy.”


Ressty C. Manuzon is a mechanical engineering junior at Texas A&M University at Qatar whose main field of interest is within the clean energy sector, more specifically solar energy. Ressty has conducted research regarding dust deposition onto solar panels funded by the Qatar National Research Fund as part of TAMUQ’s Undergraduate Research Experience Program. 21




Islamic Finance Consultant

Looking westwards off Tower Bridge in London’s East End, there emerges high above all the other buildings a shard of glass. In fact, this strange construction is known as the Shard, a narrow pyramid-like structure shattered at the top. It is the tallest building in Europe. Apart from its unusual design, what is notable about its development is that it was partially funded through Islamic finance, led mostly by Qatari banks. A bevy of exotic financing structures, part debt part equity, but Shari’a compliant – meaning the financial structures adheres to the prescriptions of Islamic law – were used to make up the £435 million cost. Out of all Western countries, the UK has been the most serious in its flirtation with Islamic finance. With five Islamic banks in the country, Islamic finance has certainly taken root. In part, this is because of the historic relationship between the UK and the Middle East, where Islamic finance originated. Kick started after the formation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – a sort of United Nations of Islamic countries – in 1969, Islamic finance has grown to become a $1.81 trillion industry. According to Thomson Reuters, a media company, Islamic finance is growing at 10% per annum. 22


There are two central prohibitions in Islamic finance: the taking and charging of interest, and engaging in excessive speculation. These prohibitions are stop-valves to financial exuberance; indeed during the Great Recession that started in 2007, leading economic commentators such as Financial Times’ Gillian Tett looked towards Islamic finance for guidance in restraining the profligacy of agents within the conventional financial system. Yet, Islamic finance is a very modern creation. While it accords to the principles and laws extrapolated from the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet, its current guise has no precedent in the annals of Islamic history. There was no such thing as a pre-modern Islamic financial system as finance was subsumed under the aegis of trade. Commercial relationships typically involved a few people, and investments were not largescale. The essence of banks, stock exchanges, insurance, capital markets, etc. were all present, but there were no material institutions baring those names or activities. The same was true for pre-enlightenment Europe until the 14th century. Europe then experienced a financial transformation prompting the industrial revolution. By the 20th, the financial infrastructure of the West was established, and the Muslim world played catchup. Generally, Muslim countries adopted the Western financial system, attracted by its capability to mobilize funds from an array of individuals, businesses and governments. The system is effective in converting mass savings into mass investments, which in turn enables economic growth, a holy grail for nation states. Contemporaneously, Muslims wanted to create their own Islamic financial system, but were seduced by the accomplishments of the West as well as the depredations wrought by colonialism. So, instead of innovating off its own principles, Islamic finance adapted, using the conventional financial system as a template. It replicated institutions and products from conventional finance, transforming their traditional commercial normative into a modern, largely debt-based, financial system with all the bells and whistles that accompany it. The only difference is that Islamic finance follows the Shari’a. The replication is not absolute. The two aforementioned prohibitions limit overindulgent attempts to make profits. Hence, in the last 40 years, Islamic finance has not suffered any serious crises. In the same period, the Western world experienced stagflation in the 70s, the US savings and loans crisis in the 80s, the Asian Financial

Crisis and the Dot-Com Bubble in the 90s, and the Great Recession in the noughties. What is common to these crises is excess, whether it be increasing the money supply, trading complex financial products, unbridled speculation or overspending. Islamic finance scorns the buildup of debt, investment into socially repugnant industries, and inequitable and ambiguous contractual relationships. These are problems that confront the Western financial system, and thus, in principle, Islamic finance offers much to emulate. Nevertheless, in replication, there is a risk that Islamic finance will take the worst of conventional finance, instead of the latter taking the best of the former. The industry continues to ask questions of its own practical value, beyond its Islamic branding. It has certainly grown by adapting to the Western financial system, but in order to have worth it has to innovate off its own principles. At the same time, the Western financial system currently entertains Islamic finance for its attraction to the 1 billion global Muslim population. It is not learning from its principles. If both situations are allowed to continue, then Islamic finance will remain mimicry, and Western finance will persist ignorant of its inherent flaws.

“...instead of innovating off its own principles, Islamic finance adapted, using the conventional financial system as a template. It replicated institutions and products from conventional finance, transforming their traditional commercial normative into a modern, largely debtbased, financial system with all the bells and whistles that accompany it.”


Rizwan Rahman is an Islamic Finance Consultant. 23


by Mohamed Sirelkhatim


eSports is finally becoming a major, recognized and celebrated establishment. The industry of eSports is rapidly spreading and growing. The games that now fall into professional eSports are increasing their scope and other non-sport institutions are now recognizing the competition in these games. Universities began offering eSports scholarships for their students and mega corporations are trading and sponsoring professional eSports players just like professional athletes, albeit on a smaller scale.


Professional (pro) gamers and Superstar Gamers make six-figure salaries and compete in tournaments to win cash prizes worth millions. Rising up to the level of pro-gamer is of course extremely difficult; out of the millions who play League of Legends, only a few hundred make it to the professional levels. The players of these games, whether they are pro or not, actively watch gameplay videos uploaded by other players. The viewership of eSports is what truly makes the gaming industry and the professional eSports world run.

“The growth of eSports has been so large

that it has started surpassing viewership numbers of many popular sports. The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship in 2013 was watched by 32 million people, more than the NBA Finals and World Series of the same year, and had a grand prize of $1 million. 2014’s World Championship was even shown on ESPN3‘s streaming platform. As of April 2014, eSports viewership in total reached over 70 million worldwide.” Most pro gamers have active livestreams, twitter feeds, how-to-play videos and other forms of communication and engagement with their respective fans. These interactions, when sponsored by other parties and companies, become a source of revenue for the pro gamers and their teams. The interactions between pro gamers and their fans mimic those of pro athletes and their followers where companies make profit by producing emblems, names, and numbers of their favorite athletes. Similarly, there are custom-made gaming console controllers that have the colors and emblems of their perspective eSports team that fans can buy.

This is the current condition of the eSports and gaming industry, but getting to this point required a lot of effort, innovation, growth and engagement both from the gamers and the companies that develop games, consoles, gaming gear, video content, etc. Trying to get a glimpse of how this massive growth happened is key to fully understanding the current state of the gaming industry. On the side of game developers, money is the main concern. Creating games on the older consoles such as the PlayStation1 and the Nintendo 64 was cheaper than creating games for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Games for the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox360 are also cheaper than games for the current generation consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, WiiU). During the days of the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, developers were more open to experimentation and there was a bigger diversity of games available for these consoles. As the technology advanced so did development, licensing and marketing costs. This led to a slump in game development up until the so called ‘indie (independent) revolution’ where the big three companies in gaming (Sony, Microsoft, Valve, and Nintendo) started supporting third party independent companies in their development efforts and assisted them by providing robust grounds for publishing their works on their online stores and networks (PSN, Xbox Live, Steam and Nintendo e-market). The sudden burst of indies can be attributed to the rise in production costs of modern games (post PlayStation 2 era) coupled with the availability of new technological platforms. High costs mean that the studios and companies who are involved in producing these games need to produce them at a faster rate. Naturally, this put strains on companies and their products end up being subpar or simply non-existent. THQ had

“Trying to get a glimpse of how this massive growth happened is key to fully understanding the current state of the gaming industry.” 25

(Bottom Left) “_TXT6831” by Official GDC used under CC 2.0 / Desaturated from original (Right) “esports” by Sam Churchill used under CC 2.0 / Desaturated from original (Extreme Bottom Left) “EPS XI Counter Strike: Global Offensive” by artubr used under CC 2.0 / Desaturated from original

to close down because of this problem. This high development cost pressure essentially created a market gap where indies found more room to penetrate the market. Due to their unique nature, indie games can be produced at a fraction of the cost of AA/AAA games. This major reduction in production costs is due to the availability of ready-made development tool kits. To illustrate, when Apple first introduced the idea of the App Store as a platform for innovation, development boomed. Developers were given the basic development tool kits and they were free to innovate any kind of app they wanted. Similarly, indie game developers would license the use of the gaming engines that were developed by the bigger gaming companies. They would also access asset stores and simply purchase game assets (character sprites, movement mechanics, extra environment details, etc.) at fraction of the cost it would take to code and build them internally. Unity engine is cheap to license and, for a while, most indie games were developed on it. The availability of these technological platforms allowed indie developers to produce some amazing creations. Journey, an indie game, won 8 game of the year awards when it was released, beating out a lot of high profile AAA games. Indie games are not limited by the market’s demands formulas; they do not necessarily need to comply to the latest gaming trends that the market demands. Indie games can be of any genre, made for both casual and hardcore gamers. The rise, popularity and availability of indie video games allowed for much-needed breathing room for the bigger game development companies to focus on their AAA and AA titles. Indies also helped revive other genres of games and produced a strong and healthy market for casual gamers. The transformative effect that indies had on the game industry were indeed amazing. 26

“The rise, popularity and the availability of indie video games allowed for much-needed breathing room for the bigger development companies to focus on their AAA and AA titles.”

Consoles, and the companies that make them, have come a long way in terms of becoming more ‘inclusive.’ Current generation consoles do not just play games; they come fully loaded with the ability to run apps, browse the internet and download and stream various forms of multimedia. This ability of consoles will be greatly enhanced with the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) devices this year. VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR will provide a new medium for gamers, developers and consumers to interact and experience all these different forms of multimedia. The idea is to use a console as an all-in-one home entertainment system. This naturally means that the companies behind these consoles would have to integrate themselves into various fields (music, movies, TV shows, Anime, livestreams, podcasts, etc.). This helps connect gamers to various other fields of entertainment through their gaming devices and provides more platforms for companies to reach out to gamers. Through this method, gamers are being integrated into the wider ‘pop culture’ trends that is rising most of the time they end up setting and creating their own trends. Online connectivity and activity is almost taken as a given for gamers. A lot of casual and pro gamers upload gameplays, walkthroughs and playthroughs of their favorite games online and interact with other users and gamers. Other gamers or people with combined gaming and multimedia interests will create mini shows and series on YouTube that are influenced by games and pop culture, seamlessly integrating the two. One example is a series called Death Battle where characters from different universes of video games, anime, comics, TV shows and movies are analyzed and then animated to fight each other to see who would win if these two characters enter into a Death Battle? The series is so popular and many of the episodes are sponsored by a lot of companies that work within and around the gaming industry.

Clearly, the gaming industry has been growing and increasing in size, scale, accessibility and interactivity. This growth is not being missed here in Qatar. Last year, I was fortunate enough to work with the Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Youth Film Festival in order to create a mini hub/exhibit for gamers, artists and fans of games and anime. There were videogame tournaments, karaoke nights of Arabic dubbed anime songs, cosplay competitions, idea ‘pitchathon’ for aspiring game/app developers and workshops on game development. Recently, gamers in Doha came together and formed a dedicated gaming company, The Interactive Tournaments Institute (ITI), aimed at fostering an active eSports and gaming culture in Qatar and in the Gulf region. The people behind ITI have been actively involved in hosting and organizing tournaments in Doha for the past several years. Additionally, ITI has a lot of gaming and gaming culture related services. The Gaming Lounge is also another dedicated gaming zone where customers pay in order to use the various gaming facilities in the complex. They also host tournaments and participate in cosplay and gaming related events around Doha. There a few other projects that are currently being developed around gaming in Qatar aimed at creating a new gaming hub in Doha, once opened, these projects will surely have a significant impact on the quality of gaming experience in Doha and on the overall eSports culture in Qatar and the Gulf region.


Mohamed Sirelkhatim is a Georgetown University alumnus with a degree in International Politics. He graduated from the School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) in 2015, focusing on Islamic Studies. He is passionate about gaming, being an avid player since the age of 4.



by Thana El-Sallabi

“Traditionally, economic sustainability has been looked at through a lens of sustainable growth, but most economic growth is based on depleting natural resources, which inherently cannot be sustainable. The economic growth paradigms that exist today all rely on increased consumption, which assumes that resources are infinite.” 28

Sustainability seems to be everyone’s favorite word these days; from heads of state to development studies to small clubs on college campuses, there is an effort to move towards a more environmentally-friendly way of living. You may be wondering: why use ‘sustainability,’ rather than environmentally-friendly or any other word that could give a hint to the environment? Maybe because sustainability is perceived to be more self-serving than the image of tree huggers or hippies that comes to mind with the term environmentally-friendly. Sustainability narrowly “is the ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely” (Herman Daly), but environmental or ecological sustainability must include social, environmental, and economic behaviors that do not outweigh environmental sustainability. Traditionally, economic sustainability

has been looked at through a lens of sustainable growth, but most economic growth is based on depleting natural resources, which inherently cannot be sustainable. The economic growth paradigms that exist today all rely on increased consumption, which assumes that resources are infinite. Many of the growth programs that came about in the 60s and 70s, in cities such as Tijuana, were based on acting as though the rise of industry did not have any effect on the environment. This is apparent today in the pollution levels of many of the cities around the world that underwent such development. Recently there has been a move from the corporate world to become more sustainable because being sustainable is, frankly, the right way to market many companies. This could be looked at as a survival tool or an adaptive change that businesses are making. With the rise of discourse on environmental issues, no company can afford to be perceived as harmful to the environment. The restaurant sector especially is taking this into account with the rise of groups such as the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Such groups rate restaurants and cafes based on an ethical and sustainable values framework, which they define simply as “Sourcing, Society, and Environment�, and then provide a directory for diners to use on websites and apps to help the consumer enjoy a meal while still maintaining a sustainable ethic. These groups provide resources and even give out awards based on the sustainability of the restaurants or the way in which these restaurants have reached the community.

While there may not be a Sustainable Restaurants Association in Qatar, or a Sustainable Businesses Association, local and international businesses in Qatar (small and big) can gain tremendously by moving towards a more sustainable direction. The question becomes: how? The first step is to take a step. Take some time and speak to the management of the business, whether it be a local cafe or a consultancy company, and bring up the concept. It is helpful to have done the research, have calculated the costs the company will save in terms of paper reduction, energy saving, or whatever the move may be, and then strategize with clear goals in mind. These strategies should be based on large-scale decisions that affect daily actions within the business and ultimately aim at making sustainability a culture within the firm. Find ways to make sustainability a part of your institutional pride, and involve your consumers in that pride. Market your new initiative that helps the business, its employees, customers, and the greater community work together to ensure social responsibility and environmental awareness. By being aware of your environmental footprint and working on ways to improve it, your business will signal a responsibility to your customer base that in turn helps create trust.


Thana El-Sallabi (SFSQ‘17) is an International History Major at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. She is the President of the Sustainability Club and hopes to bring a culture of sustainability to Georgetown and eventually Qatar!




Re-manufacturing holds a promising potential for both new, eager entrepreneurs and veteran investors in the automobile services industry. The appeal of this new business model lies in its ability to satisfy many environmental, fiscal, and logistical concerns for businesses that operate large fleets of vehicles such as transportation firms and used car dealerships. OWS™ is the pioneering company and thus far the sole player in the re-manufacturing business in the region. Aside from being a very lucrative investment for individuals, it serves as an outstanding model for internal economic development for the developing countries of the region. Re-manufacturing creates a robust asset for states by enriching the underdeveloped industrial sector and limiting reliance on imports. The hostilities faced by OWS and new re-manufacturing initiatives revolve around the general lack of local mechanical engineers and technicians with sufficient knowledge and experience in the field. The direction taken by countries such as Qatar and UAE that supports the creation of state-of-the-art industrial parks and educational technical institutes may hold the key to making re-manufacturing a rock-solid investment opportunity. Remanufacturing is the process of general overhaul and reprocessing of faulty machinery using available resources without the need to import new equipment or pieces, but rather, through the application of engineering solutions and raw materials available in the local markets. These integral elements of the industry hold promise to all the economies of the MENA region, but in particular to the GCC countries. Qatar and UAE took serious strides towards the development of a diverse economy free and independent from a hydrocarbon economy by investing in tourism, education, sports, research, and alternative energy. Dubai pioneered the regional car industry with their W Motors, a company that was established in Beirut and managed become the region’s only super-sport car manufacturer. Awareness to wastage is a pivotal character in all successful economies. A study by the National Bank of Dubai in February 2015 on the automotive sector determined that UAE is the gulf’s second biggest automotive market amongst the GCC countries. Furthermore, UAE’s automotive retail sector

The Rise of the Car Re-Manufacturing Industry in the MENA Region by El Harith Ali grew by 6.5% in 2014, with an emphasis on spare parts purchases. Lastly, the demand for cars and parts will only grow according to an online survey by the bank declaring that 75% of car owners plan on purchasing a new car in the next 2 years. By simply cross-examining all other growth factors in birth rates, immigration, and carbon footprints, one can recognize why there is a dire need for local industries to develop an affinity towards recycling resources. Re-manufacturing delivers optimum performance levels by relying on technical expertise that is locally cultivated to rival the performance of stock parts. This approach does not, however, operates in independence from foreign markets. The heavy machinery and some rare metals are still imported from abroad. The natural course of growth for the sector involves developing auxiliary sectors that can develop industrial machines to facilitate the work of local factories and further emancipate the economy from foreign dependency. The car is a cultural icon across the gulf. It is used in celebrations ranging from weddings, football game wins, and the first fall of rain and it works as an autobiography on wheels that tells of the rider’s status and taste. Perhaps the strongest antagonist to the proposal of limiting car usage is the weather. The cruel summer days can make even the short walk from the car to the office or the house a painful task. Although the governments’ developments in the public transport section will, without doubt, result in reductions in private car ownership, cars will not die out easily. One young man who studies at a local high school said to the magazine joking “I would rather sell my brother here than give up my car!” The car is a social vehicle as well as a literal one, and it seems like it will remain at the forefront for quite a while. In response, both suppliers and buyers must develop an eye for sustainability and reusing resources that would otherwise be discarded.

* 30

El Harith Ali (SFSQ’19) is a Doha born and raised Sudanese freshman at Georgetown University SFS-Q. Both sharp and hawkeyed, he aspires to “infiltrate the realms of international business in the future.” He is currently a business development manager at OWS Qatar. OWS is an Auto Part remanufacturing firm stationed in Sharja with 23 branches in the MENA region.


The direction taken by countries such as Qatar and UAE that supports the creation of state-of-the-art industrial parks and educational technical institutes may hold the key to making re-manufacturing a rock-solid investment opportunity.




Before coming to Qatar, and still nowadays, people always ask me questions trying to understand the culture, the politics and the day-to-day life in the Arab world. However, there is one thing that apparently they are sure about: if you are going to make business with the Middle East it is because you have something to do with the energy sector. It is hard to say they are wrong, especially when Middle East countries have 61% of the proven world oil reserves and about 45% of the gas, according to the International Energy Agency. Yet, there are some other things to take into consideration to really understand all the economic drivers in the region. It is important to notice that there are at least two big groups of countries in the Middle East: the developing countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Syria) and the GCC. Important differences separate one from the other. Developing countries in the region generally face high unemployment rates and weaker fiscal accounts. Gulf countries are politically stable and base their strength on strong public investment in infrastructure and heavy industries, developed financial services, logistics, commerce, and tourism. GCC´s economies are growing close to 4% every year, while developing countries hardly reach 1%, according to the World Bank. 32

Economic D i p lo m a c y Why the Gulf S h o u ld L o o k Towards Latin A m er i c a by Francisco Niembro Cibrian Mexican Ambassador to Qatar

These contrasts also define their international economic strategy, the role they are able to take in the global arena, and the possibilities to build or maintain a productive business relationship with another country. Without any doubt, the GCC has successfully managed all these elements. Proof of this, and taking Qatar as an example, is that Doha alone hosts almost the same number of diplomatic missions as Spain, a country more than forty times its size. These diplomatic missions currently include 11 Latin American resident ambassadors. Just a few days ago, some regional news suggested that the GCC will become the sixth largest economy of the world by 2030. Even though fifteen years for me is a little too long to predict pretty much anything, the truth is that the GCC countries have fine-tuned the economic machinery of the region with outstanding results. These countries have developed a number of tools like sovereign wealth funds, free trade zones, and international partnerships, to mention a few, to become a referent for business in the world. However, now more than ever the GCC countries need further diversification and additional reliable partners. The IMF estimates the lower oil price took away around $340 billion from Arab oil exporting countries last year. This is the size of the Singaporean GIC sovereign fund. That is why GCC

countries are already looking outside the region and beyond Europe to expand their relations with the United States, Asia and, of course, Latin America. Latin American countries, even when accustomed to doing business with the United States and Europe, have identified many potential benefits from getting closer to the Gulf countries. Even where there are notable differences across countries, the synergies for oil producers, the alternatives for energy-deficit countries, the need for infrastructure investment and the agri-food vocation of most of them, create a natural complementarity between both regions. Latin America stands as a good alternative to diversify investment both on the institutional and non-institutional side, while some Latin American transnational companies can also take advantage of the growing economies in the Gulf. Trade and commerce is already a reality. Taking Qatar as a benchmark, Brazil exports around $120 million in beef, Mexico sells more than $100 million in cars and other vehicles, and even Chile –without representation in Qatarsends some millions in wood and fruits to Doha every year. With a solid macroeconomic environment, being a gateway to America, a strong internal market, quality human capital, and a sophisticated economy, Mexico is undoubtedly one of the best positioned countries to capitalize

on future trade and investment opportunities with the GCC region. According to the most recent AT Kearney analysis, Mexico ranks 9th among the most attractive countries to invest. Regarding trade, over the past 20 years, the percentage of total trade in Mexico compared to GDP has more than doubled from 26.7% to 63.1%. Furthermore, a strong integration with North America through NAFTA remains as one of the biggest assets. Trade with United States is $531 billion annually; this is a little bit more than a million dollars per-minute. A year and a half after opening of embassies both in Qatar and Mexico, the visits of H.H. the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad AlThani to Mexico last October and that of the President Enrique PeĂąa Nieto to four of the GCC countries in January, together with an important number of agreements signed and high level delegations traveling back and forth to move forward on the initiatives, point to a promising future relationship between the two countries; hopefully a reflection too of the good, mutually beneficial relations that loom for the region.


Francisco Niembro Cibrian has been the Mexican Ambassador to Qatar since May 2015.



Riding on the On-Demand Serv An Example from Indonesia 2 years ago, most Jakartans didn’t have much choice for when they were faced with midnight hunger pangs. It was either a cheeseburger or deep-fried chicken, because only fast food chain giants offered 24-hour delivery services. Today, not only can they get those burgers and chicken at a slightly lower delivery fee, they can also opt for local favourites such as martabak (traditional Indonesian pancake) or nasi goreng (fried rice), delivered to them by a kind GO-JEK driver, clad in the brand’s iconic flashy green jacket.

“Ojek is a popular method of transportation in Indonesia, commonly known as motorcycle taxis.”

vices Wave: by Dyasanti Vidya Saputri Business Product Manager of GO-CLEAN, GO-JEK

This is only one example out of the many shifts in consumer behaviour that the rising on-demand economy has encouraged. With Uber’s worldwide success in kick-starting a new era of sharing economy, it was only a matter of time until developing markets started introducing their own ‘Uber for X’ services. GO-JEK, an ojek-hailing app from Indonesia, is a prominent example. Much like Uber, GO-JEK connects independent ojek drivers to passengers through their location-based platform. Founded in 2010, the company did not launch the first version of their mobile app until January 2015. Within the first 2 weeks, there were 15,000 downloads. The number grew exponentially in the coming months to more than 5 million downloads with hundreds of thousands of active users recorded to date— all in the span of one year.

Why motorcycle taxis? Proven through this astonishing growth, the company realized that there is more to the product than just their transportation and food delivery services—namely GO-RIDE and GO-FOOD, respectively—and continues to innovate in other areas. GO-JEK now operates in 14 main cities in Indonesia, offering not just a few but 10 separate products, ranging from short-distance courier (GO-SEND), grocery delivery (GO-MART), to non-vehicle ones such as on-demand home cleaning (GO-CLEAN). A lot of this development should be attributed to the strong initial concept that is, as simple as, maximising under-utilised ojek drivers. Before the app was born, conventional ojek drivers would sit around and wait for passengers to approach them at one of the countless ‘pit stops’ you can find all over the city. This practice is, of course, unregulated; individual drivers are in charge of setting their own fares resulting in discrepancy across areas. A good day would bring them up to 15 or more passengers; less fortunate days would bring 2 or 3, where the drivers would then hike up their price. 35

An on-demand empire on the rise But ojek stayed relevant because the market needs them. In a city filled with traffic congestions, hopping on a stranger’s motorcycle that can get you to your destination fifteen minutes earlier than a regular taxi is the metropolitan dream. This is where GO-JEK successfully came in. It provided a solution that tackled 2 obvious pain points: 1) The customer would no longer have to worry about not getting an ojek at their nearest regular stop 2) The drivers would be freed from the uncertainty of earning (or not earning) passengers, as they could take up on other types of orders during the day. And so this mindset is translated into the company’s newer product lines - to aggregate enough freelance labor with excess time to help those with no time.

GO-JEK’s existing services can be categorised under three primary categories: vehicle, non-vehicle, and lifestyle. GO-JEK drivers typically receive 4 types of orders: transportation (moving from one place to another), short-distance courier (for small documents and packages), food delivery, and grocery delivery. GO-BUSWAY—a collaboration between the company and the local government, allows users to request a GO-JEK driver to wait for them at the bus station. There is also GO-BOX, the service that partners with truck instead of ojek drivers and focuses more on the heavy-lifting, long-distance part of logistics. GO-TIX, the company’s first ‘lifestyle’ product, is a mobile ticketing platform that collaborates with various event organisers to fulfill their users’ entertainment needs. Lastly, the most interesting and Uberified of all, is the on-demand non-vehicle and lifestyle product lines consisting of GO-CLEAN (daily home cleaning service), GO-MASSAGE (massage and reflexology services) and GO-GLAM (a large array of beauty and salon services). What makes these three different than the traditional ojek-focused venture is that instead of simply organising this group of freelance labor, GO-JEK now have to equip them with the skills required to do the tasks. These service providers have to be able to give a reliable, standardized experience regardless of their ‘independent contractor’ status. It is also the company’s job to instill trust in and ensure safety on both sides of the exchange. To put things into perspective, no one would let an unscreened stranger into their house to scrub their toilet floors, would they?


Can the same be applied to Qatar? There are ongoing discussions around whether this on-demand economy would be a good fit for the majority of Middle East countries. A few pointers may arise. For starters, there is the delicate issue of balancing demand and supply. Too much idle supply and your contractors lose sight of the benefits of joining your platform, which may lead to the misuse of customer information gained through their previous orders. Too little supply, and you will see your customers move on to other alternatives as your service may be perceived as unreliable in meeting their time-sensitive demand. The big question for Qatar being, if someone were to establish a similar on-demand service, who will take on the job as these so-called service providers? It is not easy to point at domestic workers because they are not covered by the Qatari labour law, and therefore cannot be signed as ‘independent contractors’ under a business body that doesn’t necessarily employ them. This in itself may result in legal issues and backlash from long-standing local competitors.

one thing; ensuring that the outcome is consistent and standardized for all customers is another. This comes hand-in-hand with the importance of safety, and how best to reassure customers that these individuals are trusted professionals in their field. The case with Indonesia—Jakarta in particular—is because the market itself is growing and evolving at a rapid speed. As reported by McKinsey Global Institute, 85 million people across the nation are expected to join the ranks of consuming class by 2020. Along with the estimated 7.7% annual increase in consumer spending, the figures equate to $1 trillion opportunity in that same year. In a time of very little time, as ironic as that sounds, this is precisely the class that will seek services from on-demand businesses—the market is ready, and it is anticipating. It remains a debate as to whether the same could be answered for Qatar.

The second point touches the subject of operational excellence, which can only be optimized after demand-and-supply match is secured. Keeping in mind both accounting and opportunity costs, will this on-demand business model really be the answer to less costly operations? Are the suppliers and partners needed to help the product advance available in the area? Ultimately, the objective should be to continuously deliver an excellent customer experience. No businesses survive without a generous share of recurring customers. Safeguarding service quality by training the service providers on the technical skills they need to possess is


Dyasanti Vidya Saputri is the Business Product Manager of GO-CLEAN at GO-JEK Indonesia. She graduated with a major in Management from Bandung Institute of Technology in 2014, and has since then had a taste of three different industries; fast-moving consumer goods, management consulting, and technology. 37


Making and Managing Change in Qatar’s Telecoms Market

by Mohamed Al Sadah Chief Operating Officer Vodafone Qatar



A persisting truth about organizational change is that it is extremely difficult to implement. First illuminated by Harvard’s Dr. John Kotter in his seminal work on why most corporate transformation efforts fail, it is a point that has been reinforced over and over again in board rooms and break rooms across the globe. Transformation - in the form of new technologies and new competition - showed up on the doorstep of the telecommunications industry and permeated every aspect of it - from our network and IT infrastructure to how we interact with customers. Though the forces that prompted this change did not arrive by choice, how we adapted and continue to adapt is completely by choice. Adaptive change is indeed about responding to the uncertainty of changing market needs but competition is an equally important motivator. Qatar’s mobile telecommunications is a valuable case for any management student or practitioner interested in observing these forces at play. This market’s best and most promising features – mind-blowing smartphone penetration, a huge appetite for data, and multiple SIM ownership – present complex challenges and opportunities that play to our strengths. Vodafone has been navigating these seas ever since we made the first mobile phone call on a 7-kilogram mobile phone back in 1985. Since Vodafone entered the Qatari market, local calling rates have dropped by almost 82 percent, international rates by 92 percent, and data has become cheaper. Accelerating the transformation of the consumer experience in Qatar and empowering people to feel connected, for us, has broadly been a two-step process: leverage Vodafone’s global pedigree of innovation and apply our deep local insights to adapt services and technologies to the unique DNA of the market. What one will notice is how change not only cuts across each segment of our business but across that of the society and market within which we operate. Four illustrative examples of managing and making change come to mind: Vodafone Qatar was the first to deploy a hybrid powered Base Station in Qatar, using an integration of solar and wind energy. This initiative is part of a wider green technology program led by Vodafone Group to deploy green energy sources in all of its affiliates worldwide. We anticipate hundreds more across the country. In March 2016, Vodafone again brought the power of its international network to Qatar with the launch of its Global Machine to Machine (M2M) Platform - turning talk about the Internet of Things (IOT) into reality by actually offering services to back it up: a scalable

Global M2M Platform with interactive portal for end users; global SIM cards powered by the world’s largest network; highly secure solutions; more than 1300 M2M experts; and a broad portfolio of M2M terminals. Also in March, we launched the new ‘My Vodafone App,’ which represents another step forward in providing the most convenient tools and solutions to our customers. Through ‘My Vodafone App,’ our customers are now able to receive tailor-made offers and access information on their accounts and payments in the palm of their hand. Society is changing too. Nearly half of Qatari children aged 8-15 own a smartphone, and 76% of children aged 9-16 have a social network profile. The average Qatari 9-16 year-old spends over 3 hours per day on the net. In response, Vodafone Qatar launched AmanTech - a highly active and impactful initiative, which stands for “safe tech world,” aimed at promoting digital literacy amongst parents and improving children’s digital safety. We have understood the local context and coupled that with our international track record to bring about a programme in Qatar that we really believe will make a difference. We aim to empower parents and to help them equip their children with the right tools and understanding to navigate the digital world safely and to take full advantage of its benefits. We have also forced ourselves to rethink the very core of our business - a bold step forward that any changemaking leader must be prepared to articulate and defend internally as well as externally. Vodafone’s robust Insights practice is one way we are redefining the role of the telecommunications company - not just for mobile customers but for businesses. All industries are facing the same core challenge – doing more with less. We want small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Qatar to be Ready Businesses - that means giving them the opportunity to exploit expert advice and opinion, propelling their business forward with intelligent insights. We have a proven track record within key local industries - from transportation to construction to government. It means helping companies here improve their services in the face of shrinking budgets, and keeping up with the latest technology to meet the demands of an increasingly connected population - a completely new and exciting line of business for us in Qatar. Change must be truly systemic to work - a principle that reflects the tremendous scope and ambition of Qatar’s National Vision for 2030 - a roadmap that was itself born from great change and that we are deeply committed to.


Mohamed Al-Sadah is the Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone Qatar.



Start early. Do not wait until the final semester of your senior year. Beginning in your first year, spend a focused amount of time on a regular basis keeping current on market trends in Qatar and other geographical locations you are interested in. Remember to also begin researching possible companies, organizations, graduate schools, and career tracks well in advance, so you do not miss any important deadlines. For example, a leading consulting firm in Qatar, AT Kearney, recommends starting preparations for their case interviewing process about one year ahead of time as the process is incredibly stringent.

Finding your first full-time job can be challenging at the best of times, but even more so in a labor market such as exists in Doha at the moment. Qatar is in the midst of rapid infrastructure expansion, military development, and tourism spending, while at the same time that oil prices have dropped, necessitating the reconfiguration of existing hiring structures. While experienced professionals in engineering, construction, finance, and IT continue to be in demand, the market is much tougher for new graduates in all areas. Here are some suggestions, regardless of your major, that can help you land a job.

Know yourself. Be as clear as possible on what your long term goals are, and if you are having difficulty sorting that out, visit Career Services for a confidential meeting. Be clear on what your priorities and values are, given your individual circumstances, and know where you can compromise and where you cannot.

Let everyone know you’re looking, including professors, staff, family, family friends, and previous employers. Many students tell me they want to “do it on their own” and not use connections, but the reality is that MOST jobs are secured through your network. Sending hundreds of CVs and hoping to get a hit can be demoralizing. Of course, continue to utilize databases such as bayt.com, but spend more time concentrating on building up a bank of contacts. Personal connections and in-person meetings are particularly important in Qatar. Ask for one-to-one information gathering meetings; you’ll be surprised at how many people would be happy to help you.

Build skills. Seek out experiences whenever possible to build your skills, and take advantage of the free skill-building software, such as Lydia.com, offered via our library and online. During interviews, you will be asked to demonstrate for future employers how your skills match their requirements, and to offer concrete examples, so never miss an opportunity to develop new skills. In addition to hard skills such as proficiency with MS Office, being bilingual, or the ability to do research, employers also look for transferable skills including leadership, teamwork, and the ability to work under pressure. Skills can be developed in a multiple of ways, ranging from paid employment, internships, volunteer work, student clubs, and self-study.

LinkedIn is one of the best networking tools available. You can search for, and connect with, SFSQ alumni, see job postings where current alumni are employed, see job postings for companies you are following, and connect directly with anyone in the LinkedIn network. Remember to keep your LinkedIn profile updated, and keep your online presence as professional as possible. Employers do check!

Check all correspondence with employers for grammatical and spelling errors; make sure all communication is perfect. Small details can make a huge difference to busy employers scanning many applications. Make your resume stand out and make it easy to read. If you have a lot of experience and skills, summarize the most relevant information at the beginning of the CV in bullet point form.

Read your emails and attend events. Career Services sends out weekly newsletters highlighting opportunities. Attend everything in order to build your network of contacts. For example, Qatar National Bank recently gave a presentation to Georgetown students, and each of the four presenters, representing four different departments, shared their business cards with the students who attended and offered to act as a mentors for job seekers.

Most importantly, BE PROACTIVE and stay positive. Every time you find yourself worrying, redirect that energy into researching opportunities, practicing your interviewing skills, or reaching out to contacts in your network.

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Lisa Andrewes comes from Canada, where she graduated with a Masters in Clinical Psychology and completed a one-year fellowship in Career Counseling. She has worked in career services, assessment, teaching, and administration in four universities, including two in Canada, one in the UAE, and GUQ. Lisa is passionate about working with university students, assisting them in identifying and achieving their career aspirations.


Career Development Manager Georgetown SFS-Q



Cuba’s Economic and Political Transition: Why academics should be flocking to Havana by Mohammad Abu Hawash What were the immediate social implications of the internet? And how did society change with the introduction of Wi-Fi? Who were the major contributors to the spread of new industrial and business habits like market speculation? What were society’s first responses to the rapidly accelerating process of globalization in the past few decades? Historians, sociologists and philosophers have dwelled on these questions for much of the past 15 years. Academic literature discussing these topics has indeed grown to be quite extensive too. Still, it is important to note that almost all the literature on these topics is perspective and prospective- academics began studying the internet after it exploded into a social phenomena. Almost no academic publication answering the questions mentioned above was concurrent with the events. That is understandable, as most progress happens in unexpected explosions of industry, culture and technology- which makes phenomena like globalization and the internet difficult to track in a concrete manner. As for the internet and changes in industry and business- these changes occurred at light speed, and with no prior warning. There simply wasn’t a chance to study their effects on the world as they happened. But we now have the opportunity to do just that: study these phenomena as they happen. 42

Some academics have argued that we have been unable to explain globalization as a tangible process because it simply is not tangible. This argument garnered significant support within the academic community. However, the opposing argument still stands. It has not been discredited yet. Just because we have not been able to theorize globalization yet, doesn’t mean we never will. Not just that, but today the world has on its hands the ideal case study, Cuba: The one place with the potential to end the debate on globalization once and for all. Cuba is not a post-conflict zone. It is not coming out of an economic disaster or an era where culture and progress are frowned upon. In simple terms, Cuba has been stuck in time. Crippling (and I mean that in every sense of the word) economic sanctions by the US, and an uncompromising regime put Cuba in a stalemate. For half a century, the country was still able to progress at astonishingly slow rates, but never declined into civil war or economic turmoil. Essentially, Cuba is stuck in 1963. Cuba is a piece of the past, waiting to be repainted with the brush and stroke of the 21st century, with 2016-style globalization and breakneck speed Wi-Fi networks. In this untouched gem, academics can simulate the early 1990s, when internet was first introduced to the world. Observations of societal norms before and after internet can be jotted down as they happen right in front of us. We will

have the chance to observe Cuba before, during, and after the internet. Occurrences of internet mannerisms may be explained, we might further understand the effects of the bastion of globalization, American culture, on non-American societies. We can also see how these societies redefine ‘American’ culture as all other societies have in the past. But we will not just understand these events, we will be able to observe how they happen. Bit by bit, second after second. As I said above, we will see these events before they happen, while they happen, and after they happen. Quantifying change (globalization in particular) may be just a fantasy. But the opportunity cost of testing this is worth it. Professional ‘globalization’ teams can be formed to manage the process in the future. The input we would receive from a concurrent observation of globalization will significantly enhance the accuracy of new prospective literature on the topic, another possible potential of studying Cuba as it changes is improving our ability to track the origins of cultural mannerisms, to know the origins or certain social habits, dance moves, words, etc., all of which are side effects of globalization. I would like to end this article with a call to anyone who is fascinated by the progress of our world today. Change is happening at a faster and faster pace. This could be our chance to make sense of it all. Besides, waking up to salsa music playing in the streets of Havana, driving 1950s Cadillacs, and enjoying Cuban delicacies (their world-famous cigars and untampered cuisine) will definitely make the trip over to Cuba worth it!


Mohammad Abu Hawash (SFSQ’19) is an undergraduate student at Georgetown University Qatar. His favorite book is ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque. 43


You Will Need:

The Right Kind of Crazy, an Exit Strategy and a Facebook Account by Hamza Iqbal I really never thought of myself as someone who would undertake an entrepreneurial venture, especially at age 21. If you have been out of the loop, I am an IPOL senior with a full course load, and a Hong Kong based online social business, as of February this year. CHASHMAY.com is still in its infancy, and stems off my desire to build a brand that reconciles bold, fast fashion and a social inclusiveness that is new to the eyewear market. For every pair of eyewear sold, a pair goes out to someone in need through a student-run partner NGO in Karachi, Pakistan. Growing up, my mother had an office secretary with a bunch of interesting gear that endlessly excited 8 year old Hamza. If it was not his electric typewriter that he used to print out emojis for me, it was definitely his speaking clock that had me constantly amazed. It would announce the time at his command in the most elegant fashion I had ever known. Upon inquiring why my own Ninja Turtles flip-top watch was not able to perform the same feature, I found out that the gentlemen was visually impaired, with this watch being his only way to find out what time it was. This was the first time I was exposed to the issue of visual impairment. Then began a series of preventative and pre-emptive eye care techniques for little me who would count twenty steps from the television screen, in consultation with my dad who found that to be the ‘safe distance’ for TV viewing. The obsession continued with bedside 44

lamps, a lava lamp (maybe that was not as helpful), book lights, and my favourite in retrospect, a mini light strip for me and my brother’s Gameboy, before the back-screen lightening days. In case you are curious, the strategy did not work completely: I wear glasses with a mild prescription. It is one that let in every ray of hope in a hyper connected, socially-guided global consumer culture that my brand aims to inculcate. Many of these ideas have been cooking up in my head since my time at Semester at Sea, a shipboard study abroad program that had me skipping in and out of fourteen countries over the course of four months, exploring Global Social Entrepreneurship. Be it cat cafes in Tokyo, or craft stores run by HIV positive artists in Yangon, or to the purveyors of mobile banking and pre-paid electricity units in the townships of Cape Town, the experience has lead me to believe beyond doubt that socially aware consumerism is the way forward, as both corrective of social issues and proactive in avoiding future ones, whether they be environmental, social or political. My venture sources eyewear from a design store in Shanghai, is based in Hong Kong at a shared office space in the world city’s central district and collaborates with creative partners in California, Hanoi, Istanbul and Lahore. This is where Facebook comes in. You are only as a strong as your network.

Exit strategy - you need a strong one to have your frame sorted. I struck a deal with an optician, who would buy all my inventory for 50% of what I paid. Not having to worry about the ‘what ifs’ has meant that there has been no looking back for me, and neither will there be (my venture broke even in under 21 hours of going live!) And you need to be the right kind of crazy. It never really occurred to me that I was actually getting my whole venture up and running until the lady at the check-in desk at the airport inquired about my intent in visiting Hong Kong – “Business,” I told her hesitantly. To be honest, it still feels unreal. But then again, every part of my venture has followed a similar trend. There is something incredibly scary, yet intensely empowering about running your own venture. Make the leap and you will find out for yourself!


Hamza Iqbal (SFSQ’16) is an International Politics Major who speaks English, Urdu and Arabic. He is the founder of CHASHMAY.com and can be contacted at iqbal@chashmay.com


Interview with Charles Skuba Professor of the Practice Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Enterprise editor, Hojun Lee (SFS ‘16) sat down with Professor Charles Skuba, an expert in international trade and international marketing strategy to discuss this year’s topic, adaptive and transformative change, and how it applies to the current global economy.

How can marketing strategies help companies address change? trends? Uncertainty? Ironically, people around the world are quite receptive to marketing. The greatest companies are those that value the essence of marketing. Marketing involves all of the 4P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. Marketing is also very customer-focused and great marketers are committed to delivering products that are valuable to customers and improve their lives. More companies need to pay attention to marketing. The inherent meaning of marketing focus is customer focus.

What does change and innovation mean to you? How do businesses adapt to change? Change is a normal part of existence in a dynamic world in which progress is a result of the dynamic. To function in a dynamic state and a competitive state, change and innovation are required. Innovation cannot exist without some acceptance of dynamics. For businesses to compete, new ideas are required. To achieve new ideas requires some degree of change unless the firm has created a condition of openness to new ideas as a condition of its existence.

How do these major changes/trends affect companies? In what ways and magnitude? Why do they need to adapt to these changes/trends? Companies exist with the permission of societies when they benefit societies. Companies must ensure that their objectives and strategies align with the needs and permission sets of societies. When the interests of society are perceived as being at odds with the interests of companies, there is a problem. Companies must learn to be more responsive in their overall strategy and value propositions to their customers and the societies in which they operate. Do companies pay their fair share of taxes and do CEO’s and C-suite executives truly earn their compensation?


What are the major changes/trends you observed recently? I believe the global economy is adjusting to the limitations of the current model of globalization. In developed economies, the working classes are experiencing the pain that policies of openness to the movement of goods, services, capital, and people has created (along with its very important benefits). Because developed economies are democracies, the pain, or perceived pain, is experienced by large numbers of voters so there will be increased resistance to the international policies of the past. Also, in the emerging economies, the period of dramatic growth is now ending. We will need to identify and agree upon an evolved set of win-win policies for developed and developing economies to champion. If that is not done, politicians dedicated to zero-sum policies and protectionism will set back the world.

How have marketing strategies adapted to change in the past? How are they changing now? How do you see companies marketing strategies change in the future? In a world of uneven and fast-changing economic conditions, companies must focus more on returns on marketing investment. In recent post-crisis years, simplistic strategies like a BRIC focus have prevailed but now, companies must be more discerning, focused, and flexible. The best companies will prioritize their categories, brands, and country markets to achieve more leverage from their marketing investments. Focused growth strategies are essential. Companies should not waste money on low/no growth categories, brands, and countries.

You’re a specialist in international trade and international marketing strategy. How do you see these trends/ changes differing across different nations or regions? Are there any trends that you see occurring globally? We are moving into a much more competitive environment. Nations must work harder to attract investment. They must create the conditions that give companies confidence that their investments will be worthwhile. To go back to your first question, nations that are not perceived as changing positively to be more competitive will be at a disadvantage.

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Charles J. Skuba is a professor of the practice in marketing and international business. Skuba specializes in international trade and international marketing strategy. Prior to coming to Georgetown, he was chief of staff, market access and compliance at the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration. Previously, he had a long career in international marketing as a senior executive at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and as an international marketing consultant with numerous large global corporations.


Interview with H.E. Merete Juhl Danish Ambassador to Qatar and the UAE

Could you talk about the link between diplomacy, embassies, and business life, specifically the role of embassies in bringing in corporations from their home countries? One of the finest tasks I have [as ambassador] is doing what we call ‘economic diplomacy.’ That is, promoting Danish business interests around the world. I can do that sometimes by shining light and focus on projects, as I am doing for MTHojgaard tomorrow [opening of offices was part of the occasion for the ambassador’s visit to Doha]. But it is also often my contacts to top decision-makers that can be very useful for businesses simply to know about legislation, their chances, or simply just to appear on the radar to be considered for opportunities. That is a lot of what ambassadors do for corporations, and then we also have a Trade Council [in Dubai] with a trade commissioner who works with a team specifically on projects that are bought by [Danish] firms. We work as internal consultants in the Foreign Service in the Trade Council to help Danish firms.

How does the Danish embassy work with the Trade Council in Dubai? The Danish Foreign Service, like Danida, who works with development policies, has an Export Council who works with trade promotion. So it is a part of [the embassy] like the other departments. And in the UAE we just happen to be in two different places [Dubai and Abu Dhabi] because practically it is more convenient that the Trade Council is where the firms are [Dubai]. But we work together as if we were under one roof.

Enterprise associate editor-in-chief, Emma Mogensen (SFSQ ‘18) met with H.E. Merete Juhl to talk about the intersection of diplomacy, business, and international relations.

If you had to break it down into percentages, what percentage of your work would fall under the category ‘economic diplomacy’? It depends on where you are. The more Danish firms or business opportunities are in an area, the more you, as ambassador, will focus on it. In the UAE and Qatar, I will work with it a fair bit so I would say it is probably around half of my time that I spend on economic diplomacy. But economic diplomacy is, of course, also that sometimes I already have another [unrelated] meeting and then we end up talking trade, so it is difficult to say definitively. Maybe half is a bit too high. Maybe a third of my time.

So it is a rather large portion of your time? It is a very considerable portion and that is maybe a rather new development that we focus so much on it [economic diplomacy]. But it is a rather unique position as ambassador to help to make possible certain opportunities around the world and that should, of course, be used for Denmark’s interests.

How important do you think this combination of political diplomacy and economic diplomacy is for building trade relations between, for example, the UAE and Denmark? I think it is absolutely critical because, even though we may try in Northern Europe to separate the two, they still inevitably overlap, in accordance with official legislation, and here, too, the mixing of politics and business exists, probably to an even higher degree. You cannot escape that fact – that you must talk about both. You must talk about foreign policy, domestic policy, economics and business opportunities all together. That is how it works. 47

Previously, you were the director of Invest in Denmark under the Danish Foreign Ministry. One of the services they provide, for firms wishing to come to Denmark, is ‘connecting companies with key local contacts, arranging fact finding tours and providing comprehensive bench mark analyses.’ Are these some of the same services that the Trade Council provides, just in some ways in reverse? Yes, actually Invest in Denmark is also part of the Trade Council. But yes, it is the opposite, where you sell Denmark as a destination to go to. And then when we are outside [Denmark, i.e. abroad with diplomatic missions], we promote Danish firms as business partners. It is two sides of the job. One at home, and one abroad.

From your experiences, from both sides, what has been difficult with the combination of political and economic diplomacy? I am not sure I can say it has been difficult. For me, it is simply important to think everything through, the whole agenda. Which things should we naturally promote? When I spoke to H. H. the Emir [of Qatar] today, we talked both politics and trade. It is a part of my job, like the other parts: to promote Danish interests in a broad sense.


You mentioned earlier that in Northern Europe perhaps there is a greater tendency to separate business and politics, at least on a certain level. You were previously ambassador to Ukraine as well – is there a big difference in the Middle East or in the UAE/Qatar? I do not think there are big cultural differences. There are definitely nuances that, after some more time, I will get to know better. But I do not think there are vast differences. In business culture and ambitions, the agenda that countries [in the region] have set for themselves and their future development, are very alike.

For many students studying at the School of Foreign Service, it can sometimes feel as if you have to choose between either diplomatic, government jobs or private, business-related jobs. Your job, however, seems to contradict that assumption. What opportunities do you see for working with trade and business within the general frames of diplomatic work? If we are talking about our [Danish] system, then it is clear that we hire more and more locally in the places where we work... And then there is no doubt that from the ‘old times,’ where the states reigned as units, we are now operating with a much wider concept of governance, in which corporations certainly are important players. I see this in concrete terms as I meet public affairs representatives and company CEOs who actually work in this field [of diplomacy] where they need political contacts. They are different actors that work from different angles. If we go back a generation, only diplomats worked with international politics, with maybe a few exceptions such as professors. But nowadays, it is much more multi-faceted and one can work with [international politics] in a multitude of different ways.

I think many students, including myself, have an idea of what it means to work in diplomacy or at an embassy – but perhaps it is much wider than we commonly think? That is true. For example, my career has consisted of politics and trade, in approximately even parts. Some people [in the embassy] have backgrounds in more administrative, consular or cultural work. It is a very wide range. And as I said, I meet many companies with enormous public affairs departments. And organizations of course, whether it is NGOs or well-established interest groups who all work with international politics and operate in the same sphere.

So would you say that, in the last few decades, there has been an increase in the number of actors in the diplomatic scene? Where before it was more constricted to being in between states? Yes, definitely. It has gone from ‘government’ to ‘governance,’ where previously it was the government that ruled and now it has transformed to the wider concept of ‘governance’ that contains more actors. That is why, naturally, we also work very closely with everything from NGOs to interest groups, depending in what makes sense on a case-by-case basis. It is tailored to the specific objectives.


Merete Juhl is the current Danish ambassador to Qatar and the UAE. She holds extensive expertise in both international diplomacy and trade. Previously, she was the Danish ambassador to Ukraine, and before that she was the director of the Danish Foreign Ministry’s Invest in Denmark initiative. She also previously lead the Trade Department at Denmark’s embassy in Berlin.


Jim Briggs: Advancing Human Learning Student at Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar

We live in a world of Big Data. How can data benefit and how might it hurt us? Jim Briggs ponders to himself about the world of Big Data and the future of education.

Big Data has featured prominently in the news for years, but the topic remains far from clear for many. When we speak of Big Data, we typically refer to the vast amounts of information generated and captured by the information and communications technology at our disposal. This data resembles a snapshot of our daily lives, and can be analyzed through algorithms, by which we mean a set of rules for solving a particular problem. As demonstrated in the studies of McKinsey & Company, a leading management consultancy, Big Data has become economically relevant to governments, businesses, and consumers alike. Companies, for instance, are conducting statistics about our daily activities, our likes and dislikes, buying patterns and the purchasing decisions we are likely to make next. In concrete terms, While Google tracks what we search on the internet, Facebook monitors a large portion of our activities, and e-bay tracks our buying habits. Despite the benefits of targeted advertising such data allows, directing us to what we think need, little is known about just how much information these organizations actually have. Tim Orely, a technology expert, argues that: within the internet economy– companies can turn Big Data into a competitive advantage, so that few of them are willing to reveal their secrets. While some had to increase their transparency, much about Big Data remains opaque.

Yet despite the many unknowns, much good has already come from this collection of information. Google has been able to track flu patterns based on search history, enabling the company to estimate influenza activity for more than 25 countries. Amazon and Netflix, on the other hand, explore and use data to recommend to their users what they are likely to demand, which has produced millions of referrals sales. Yallatutors, a Qatar startup which is still in its beta stage, plans to introduce a smart pen that registers student-related data, and use that information to help drive the performance of both students and educators. More and more firms are now relying on data to enhance productivity, reduce cost and increase quality. Nonetheless, privacy laws are critical if data is to be used productively. The risks to privacy should, however, not be overstated. Feasible safeguards for this purpose include encryption coupled with strict policies governing data management, and the fact that firms (most recently Apple) are hesitant to allow government access demonstrates their commitment to privacy. Jonathan L. Zittrain, Professor of Internet Law and International Law at Harvard University, highlighted that although Big Data has enormous potential, it also poses threats that should be taken seriously. In his book, Big Data at Work, Thomas H. Davenport notes that “it’s not how much data you have but what you do with it that counts.” In order to realize the potential of data, we need to invest in technology, skills, privacy, and intellectual laws. Leadership Organizations that understand the significance of this project, and take relevant measures in this direction, are set to become leaders in the global marketplace. 49

Schooling is expected to move online–in whole or in part. What benefits do you see in this? The art of teaching will not be lost in the digital world, but effective teaching will only occur when the two are combined. Online education enables students to learn at their own pace. When students are online, they leave behind a track of data that leads to information and later to knowledge, once analyzed. The ultimate goal of teaching is to promote learning, and in the teaching profession, acting and reflecting on information is a crucial aspect of education. In the field of higher education, there is a wealth of opportunities for student engagement, for which Big Data can be beneficial. Education leadership can take advantage of Big Data in order to advance student performance, diminish admin workload, and enhance the effectiveness of educators.

Are we wise to quantify learning, or is learning precisely about what is beyond measure? Humans are natural learners, and as lifelong learners, measuring our progress is a precondition for excellence. One of the fundamental questions educators ask is: “Are students learning?” In order to answer this, most educators use information from assessments as well as those deduced from the performance and attendance of students. Through this approach they are able to provide an objective measure of academic growth. If we can collect more data about a student, and analyze it better, we can more easily identify areas of challenge, develop instructional practices, and improve student learning. By systematically measuring students’ performance, we can predict and prevent failure, and ensure learning successes.

We have been talking about changes in learning, but what is the role of education in societal change? Society is undergoing numerous technological advances, and due to these changes, educators need to build a new perspective that allows humans to realize their own capacity, instilling in them the courage and confidence necessary to lead in a world of infinite information and technology advancement.

What do you think education will look like in 2050, and what kind of world will it prepare student for? I believe that in the future, we will be taught to build sustainability into everything we do. Learners will not have the luxury to use resources in the way they have until this point. Therefore, technology is definitely an imperative factor in how education in the future will differ from that of today. To catch up with these rapidly advancing technologies, I expect that we will gradually need to discover innovative methods of sustainability and preservation, and, more importantly, appropriate the art of prediction in an every-increasing sea of information.

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Jim Briggs is co- founder at Yallatutors, an online tutoring startup he helped initiate after taking inspiration from a college entrepreneurship class. He is a Senior business student at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Currently, he holds a Sales Associate position in the retail channel at Vodafone, Qatar.

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