The Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) named a Syrian entrepreneur among the 200 most distinguished young leaders in 2009. Abdulsalam Haykal, founder and CEO of Transtek Information Systems and Haykal Media, was selected as a Young Global Leader by WEFs selection committee, composed of top media leaders and chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abullah of Jordan.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum said that Haykals nomination was in recognition of [his] record of professional accomplishments, [his] commitment to society and [his] potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through [his] inspiring leadership. Schwab added that "the World Economic Forum is a true multi-stakeholder community of global decision-makers. Among the Forum communities, the Young Global Leaders represent the voice for the future and a catalyst for initiatives in the global public interest. As we currently face one of the most challenging times economically and socially, the Young Global Leaders are even more important in developing, designing and leading a world committed to positive change."
Haykal, who is the publisher of Syria's only English monthly, said in a statement, Im very happy to have this honor bestowed on me by the World Economic Forum. It does not give recognition to me only, but to all the young men and women of Syria, who have taken upon themselves the commitment to lead theirsocieties through serious and creative initiatives. Those are the ones who are leading the positive change, building on the countrys legacy as a principal contributor to the human civilization for thousands of years. They are courageous individuals that take charge in at this time of reform and transformation, and stand up for Syrias historic role as a maker of peace and prosperity for the region and the world.
Named among 10 leaders from the Arab world, Haykal is considered to be one of Syrias leading media and technology entrepreneurs. As president of the Syrian Young Entrepreneurs Association (SYEA), Haykal has been active in advancing new concepts in the business and society in Syria, including corporate social responsibility.
Haykal advocates education as the most effective development vehicle in the Middle East; He is a trustee of the American University of Beirut, and of Kalamoon University in Syria, and founding board member of Tumouhi Scholarship Fund, an NGO. Haykal told a reporter that "Arabs should be examine the names on the list to know that most honorees came from the countries who are moving fast towards knowledge based economies." He added: "if that wouldn't tell us anything about education, what would?"
The list includes the CEOs of YouTube, Facebook, and Skype Technologies, in addition to Ferraris racecar driver Michael Schumacher, and 200 other leaders from government, NGOs, business, and academia in 71 countries. I dont consider this honor as a tribute to my past work; it stands as a constant reminder of my commitment to my countrys young population, and to an economy based on free initiative, entrepreneurship, and fair reward to knowledge, creativity, and hard work, Haykal said.