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Conference Report
 
Family Business Forum - Dubai 2006 Conference Report
 
Title: Family Business Forum- Dubai 2006 
Date: 24th April, 2006 
Venue: Auditorium-Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry 
Organized by: Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) 
Hosted by: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) 
In cooperation with: Dubai University College (DUC)
 

Conference Subject: 
The significance of this conference is to represent the importance of the booming family business sector of Dubai. Statistics currently show family companies to represent nearly 92% of the 56,374 companies listed as private sector businesses operating in the UAE, which means a grand total of 30,769 are operated by families making them the largest percentage of companies operating within the UAE economy. These companies represent the cornerstone of the national economy and the base of the trade infrastructure. This forum aims to discuss the reality of family companies including challenges and risks encountered under economic globalization, liberalization of markets, and rigorous competition from foreign vendors.

Conference Summary: 
This conference entitled “Family Business Forum – Dubai 2006" took place throughout the course of one day in the auditorium of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 24th of April, 2006. The date of the conference intentionally coincided with the date of the fourth meeting of Dubai International Arbitration Centre Board of Trustees, held 22nd -23rd April, 2006. His Excellency Doctor Ahmed Saif Belhasa, Executive Committee Member of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; welcomed the audience with warm salutations and great wishes for a pleasant stay in Dubai. He then went on to address the importance of the topics and issues to be raised throughout the duration of the day via speeches given by highly qualified speakers, as well as, beneficial discussion periods. The opening speech was addressed by Dr. Ali Lutfi; former Prime Minister of Egypt, who expressed his great pleasure in participating in a conference that holds such importance in the Gulf region. Dr. Lutfi stressed the point that family businesses have gone from being purely regional and local to holding international status, due to demand regulated by laws and international agreements.
 
Conference Speakers and Subjects: 
Internationally recognized elite experts from around the world gathered as speakers on this occasion. The hand picked specialists included influential professionals in the field of family business and international arbitration rules; managing partners of successful family owned firms and honorary members of esteemed, internationally recognized organizations. This report includes a brief summery of their most important achievements by including their individual CV's and individual conference topics. Throughout the conference speakers submitted their individual working papers covering a variety of subject’s related to family business including the transfer of family businesses to joint stock businesses, administrative and legal challenges facing family businesses and succession planning.

Conference topics and papers presented: 
First Session 

Chairman Mr. Mohammed Saleh Al Saleh Director- Expertise and Dispute Settlement Department, UAE Ruler’s Court

Working Papers Presented in the Session: 
Mr. Hisham Al Shirawi Board Member-Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry 
Evaluation of Mergers and the Transfer of Family Businesses to Joint Stock Businesses and Entering the Financial Market

Dr. Habib Al Mulla Managing Partner - Al Mulla & Associates Board of Trustees Member- Dubai International Arbitration Centre 
Administrative and Legal Challenges Facing Family Businesses: Impact on Development

Mr. Antoin Aqal Honorary President - International Union for Lawyers Managing Partner- Aqal & Aqal Law Firm 
The Necessity of Introducing Changes to Corporate Law to Serve the Needs of Family Businesses

Eng. Sobhi Batterjee President & Founder of Family Business Academy- KSA President & CEO of the Saudi German Hospital Group 
Succession Planning

Second session 
Chairman Mr. Salah Al Heijailan Chairman- Salah Al Heijailan Law Firm (KSA) Board of Trustees Member- Dubai International Arbitration Centre

Working Papers Presented in the Session: 
Dr.Ali Lutfi Former Prime Minister of Egypt
Family Businesses in open Markets

Dr. Hamzad Hadad Former Jordanian Minister of Justice Board of Trustees Member- Dubai International Arbitration Centre 
Legislative Support for the Development and Transition of Family Companies into Public Shareholding Companies

Mr. Essam Al Tamimi Managing Partner- Al Tamimi & Company Law Firm 
Transferring Family Businesses into Public Shareholding Companies

Mr. Jaafar Owaidah 
Sometimes Family Business is just Business

Third Session 
Chairman: Mr. Nizar Saradast General Advisor- Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Working Papers Presented in the Session: 
Mr. Walid Chiniara Lawyer/specialist in Family Business- Al Tamimi & Company Law Firm 
Categories of claims and damages

Mr. Alexander Zakami Director of Dubai Ethics Centre- Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry 
Developing Family Business and its Governments

Dr. Izz Al Din Akasha Professor of Business Law- Dubai University College 
The Impact of Family Businesses on the UAE Economy: the Legal Perspective

Dr. Hussam Al Talhuni Director- Dubai International Arbitration Centre 
Dispute Resolution for Family Businesses

Accompanying Events and Entertainment: 
Dubai International Arbitration Centre holds great interest in the ability of participants of such conferences to combine the benefits of knowledge with social pleasures. Accordingly, the Centre arranged various hospitable social events including lunch in Dubai Creek Sheraton Hotel, sponsored by Al Tamimi & Co. This occasion proved to be extremely constructive in the creation of many new business ventures and information exchanges.

Media Coverage: 
From the beginning of conference preparation the Centre developed a full coverage plan for the event. The Centre arranged daily contacts and press interviews with the media and as a result the opening ceremony of the conference was attended by many journalists and was fully covered via many reliable news sources. Newspapers followed the event with great interest and published many flattering articles particularly by those specialized in the construction industry.

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