(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Aramex PJSC and Americana Group (Egypt), two leading Mena-based businesses, were honoured for their commitment to community development with the AIB-MENA Ghaf Tree Award, at an award ceremony hosted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai, or UOWD, in collaboration with the Middle East and North Africa Chapter of the Academy of International Business, or AIB-Mena, recently.
Fadi Ghandour, founder and vice-chairman of Aramex, and Mohamad Farouk Hafees, executive vice-president for HR and management of the Americana Group, attended the award ceremony, which was presided over by Pablo Kang, Australian Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar.
Inspired by the indigenous desert tree growing in hostile conditions, the AIB-Mena Ghaf Tree Award recognises companies that actively foster collaborations and support sustainable regional development, while continuing to deliver on shareholder expectations and managing the ongoing challenges of socio-economic and geo-political change.
Dr Melodena S. Balakrishnan, president of the AIB-Mena and Associate Professor at UOWD, said, "We recognise local businesses that are agents of positive change; that embrace their roots and commit to the locations they are based in. Aramex has adopted a model for social activism that more businesses can embrace."
"The Americana Group had a few challenging years with the constant unrest. Their ongoing focus on creating employment opportunities for youth, entrepreneurship and developing new models of change with a can-do spirit is recognised by this award."
Ghandour said: "This award is a reminder of the importance of community development in the business world and how organisations can successfully transcend profitability for community benefit."
Hafees said: "A good organisation will always design and develop a solution rather than be part of the problem, and the recognition of Americana's efforts through this award will act as an accelerator for more community development initiatives."
The event also saw the launch of the third volume of the AIB-Mena Case Studies Book Actions and Insights Middle East and North Africa East Meets West, which features a unique set of business cases, including the challenges overcome by the Americana Group in operating its restaurant business in Makkah, and the impressive growth of Aramex in carving a competitive niche in the global logistics and express transportation service industry.
To celebrate the book launch, an industry panel participated in a roundtable discussion on the topic "East Meets West". Kang spoke about the emerging opportunities and challenges, and the road ahead for the Mena region as the world moves eastward.