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The Pearl Initiative, a non-profit organisation focused on corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region, recently held several Business Pledge sessions with a number of universities in the Gulf region, resulting in the participation of more than 700 students and a host of senior executives from reputable regional companies.

The main topics discussed during these sessions included enhancing the levels of institutional integrity and defining the goals of sustainable and responsible growth for large companies. During these sessions, it was found that 62.9% of the students were not familiar with the meaning of the term corporate governance, while 37.1% were familiar with the concept but unaware of the practical implementations of this on businesses. This highlighted the importance of such sessions to connect business leaders to students in order to showcase how companies embed corporate governance practices in organisations, and the essential role governance plays in building a more mature and resilient business environment.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards the Pearl Initiative’s team, along with the wonderful speaker, for the interesting and informative session,” said Dr. Naglaa El Dessouky, Faculty Member at University of Bahrain. “The students at University of Bahrain learned different approaches about how organisations promote and practice integrity in the workplace. We look forward to running more pledges together.”

The panel of experts and speakers who took part in the Business Pledge sessions included Hassan Bouadar, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Human Resources at FedEx; Auriel Rawlings, AMEA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at FedEx; Baker Sindi, Senior Compliance Manager MEA at SABIC; Alya Al Mulla, Assistant Director at EY; Rana Zumai, Head of Corporate Communication at Nesma Holding; Dr. Samir Thabet, Corporate Sustainability Manager at CCC; and Dimitris Tsouroplis, Human Resources Director at Crescent Enterprises.

Participating universities included Abu Dhabi University, University of Dubai, University of Bahrain, Prince Sultan University, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, and Fahad bin Sultan University.

Ranya Saadawi, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, said: “Business Pledge sessions were launched with the aim of promoting responsible growth and strengthening corporate governance, as well as encouraging diversity and integrity to achieve a level playing field for all stakeholders. The business community must collaborate not only within the business sector, but also with civil society and academia. These sessions aim to build the skillset of the youth and inspire them to value accountability and transparency as future business leaders.”

During the Business Pledge sessions, prominent companies in the Gulf region pledged their commitment to continue to work responsibly and ethically, following the principles of accountability and transparency in their business practices and behavior.

The sessions also informed the young participants of how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf region and the journey and practical steps that leading companies have taken to implement such initiatives in the workplace.

The Business Pledge programme was launched by the Pearl Initiative in 2017 during the Regional Forum for Sustainability in Action, held in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact. The programme highlights the role of the private sector in promoting responsible and sustainable growth in the Gulf through good corporate governance and, through the programme, the Pearl Initiative calls for business leaders to renew their commitment to adhere with ethical principles in interacting with society.

Universities or companies who wish to participate in upcoming Business Pledge sessions can reach out to the Pearl Initiative for further information.

Source: SaHaRa communications