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Alumni Continue to Excel as World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders

Ioanna Moriatis
September 7, 2017

Each year, the World Economic Forum selects a cohort of distinguished individuals from around the world to recognize as Young Global Leaders -- men and women under the age of 40 whose career records reflect impressive professional achievements and a dedication to bettering society. Over the past several years, AUC has seen countless alumni make it to the list of YGLs.

Each cohort serves for five years, participating in annual meetings and collaborating in considering innovative strategies and ideas to confront various global challenges. Among the many distinguished alumni that have been named YGLs are Ayman Ismail '95, '97; Rania Al-Mashat '95; Minoush Abdel-Meguid ’96 and AUC trustees Hisham El-Khazindar ’96 and Rana el Kaliouby ’98, ’00. El Kalibouy has been recently named a YGL as part of the 2017 cohort. 

“I am excited to be a part of the YGL Class of 2017,” said el Kaliouby. “As an Egyptian-American scientist, innovator, entrepreneur and CEO of a startup in the artificial intelligence space, I have found that being part of a network of like-minded people is so important. It’s incredibly inspiring to be part of this group of thought leaders who genuinely want to advance the state of the world.”

Effecting Change in the World

The many AUC alumni who have been recognized as YGLs exemplify a deep engagement in their communities and share a vision of positively shaping the world.

El Kaliouby is the co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, an MIT Media Lab spinoff. It is a startup that aims to humanize technology by building artificial emotional intelligence, or Emotion AI. “The applications of this technology are endless - everything from helping individuals with autism, to advertising research, to futuristic applications such as cars that can sense fatigue or distraction or social robots that can be receptionists, nurses or even learning companions for our kids,” explained el Kaliouby. “This will transform not only how we connect with our technology, but also one another.”

Named a YGL in 2013, El-Khazindar, founder of El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center at AUC and a member of the board of advisers for the School of Business. He is also the co-founder and managing director of Citadel Capital, the leading investment company in Africa and the Middle East.  

Ismail, named a YGL in 2012, is the Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, assistant professor at AUC’s School of Business, and founder and director of the AUC Venture Lab. He has also been actively involved in several social initiatives, such as Nahdel El Mahrousa NGO, consistently striving to support innovation that will contribute to the advancement and development of Egypt. “Entrepreneurs are critical to a growing and equitable economy in Egypt and around the world,” said Ismail. “My work, as well as that of my fellow YGLs, focuses on providing a supportive environment for our aspiring entrepreneurs to emerge and grow.”

Abdel-Meguid was named a YGL in 2015. She has demonstrated strong leadership and expertise in the fields of investment banking and investment management. As co-founder and managing director of Union Capital, she heads one of the first private equity funds in Egypt to focus on small and medium-size enterprises. Abdel-Meguid has been widely recognized for her work toward galvanizing and bringing about change in investment and entrepreneurship in Egypt, in addition to her commitment to improving the Egyptian economy. “Part of the requirements for being named an YGL is the level of impact that individuals produce and leave to the global community, not only through their careers, but also through their projects and everything in which they are involved. All of this started while I was at AUC,” shared Abdel-Meguid.

Al-Mashat joined the YGL cohort of 2014 for her history as a leading economist. She currently serves as adviser to the chief economist, Professor Maurice Obstfeld, at the International Monetary Fund. She has made a powerful impact on Egypt as well as the global community through her work in various roles, particularly her time spent at the Central Bank of Egypt and previously at the IMF.

Highlighting the global element of the YGL community, Al-Mashat noted, “All of the people who participate as YGLs are very global in the way they think and approach issues. Even if they work domestically, their impact if felt internally has global parallels.”

Developing Passions and Roots at AUC

The international nature of AUC and its focus on creating well-rounded individuals who are equipped to engage with individuals of all backgrounds prepares YGLs to develop a mindset that pushes them to think on a larger scale, gaining recognition for their work at the global level.

“AUC plays such a prominent role in Egypt and the region, but also is arguably very uniquely positioned to be a bridge between the Middle East and the rest of the world,” el Kaliouby reflected. “AUC was the launch pad for my career, not only helping me discover an area that I was passionate about, but, perhaps more importantly, sharpening my critical thinking abilities through a unique liberal arts education.”

The culture of initiative and activity engagement in the community at AUC also helps shape graduates who approach the world as leaders in their fields, constantly in search of a way to contribute and bring about change. “Among the YGL community, you find people who have characteristics of leaders already,” said Al-Mashat, reflecting on the highly regarded qualities that AUC alumni who have been named YGLs share. “Most who are chosen to be YGLs have the same set of principles, even with the diversity in educational backgrounds.”

As part of the YGL community, members are invited to attend a number of local and international events. They not only convene as a YGL group, but are invited to gather along with other members of the World Economic Forum, broadening the network even further and opening the door to more discussions. El Kaliouby, for example, serves on the Global Future Council of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, which convenes once a year in Dubai with other councils.

Individuals are named YGLs in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment to creating a positive impact in their communities in the face of many challenges. However, entrance into the community also opens pathways and social networks for members to continue growing even more and learn from other individuals who may be like-minded but carry diverse experiences along with them.

“There is a YGL community wherever you travel,” said Al-Mashat. “As YGLs, we’re called on to participate more and more, to engage in various international fora and are encouraged to launch various initiatives. It is a very unique and rich type of network because of the diversity of colleagues, in terms of nationality, areas of expertise and breadth of work.”

In the face of challenge, this community also offers a network of support. “Sharing tips on how to navigate uncertainty or re-frame adversity has been really helpful. Sharing, opening up and being vulnerable leads to magical moments of empowerment and inspiration,” el Kaliouby highlighted.

The forum of YGLs provides opportunities for the continued development of members through educational models, conferences and support from the World Economic Forum. “Colleagues and peers have been an inspiration on so many levels, both personally and professionally,” emphasized Abdel-Meguid.