AUC Trustee Ali Faramawy, Industry Leader Ayman Asfari to Speak at Commencement this Saturday

This year’s midyear commencement ceremony will feature two keynote speakers whose innovative career paths and care for community work embody the entrepreneurial spirit of AUC graduates today. AUC Trustee Ali Faramawy, corporate vice president of Microsoft Corporation, will speak at the graduate ceremony, and Ayman Asfari, group chief executive of Petrofac, will address students at the undergraduate ceremony. The two share impressive backgrounds as founders and executives, and demonstrate the importance of business and technology in supporting societies.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in computer science and automatic control from Alexandria University’s Faculty and receiving an MBA in strategic marketing from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, Faramawy went on to lead a distinguished career in the IT industry. Among the various organizations he has served are Dun & Bradsreet Software, NCR Corporation, Yokogawa Marex and Microsoft Corporation. Recognized for his passion for technology as a medium through which to create change and empower people, he was featured among the top 10 in the Forbes 2016 list of the Top 100 Executives in the Middle East.

Born in Syria, Ayman Asfari has lived in several different countries throughout his childhood and professional career, spending time in Turkey, the Czech Republic, Oman, the United Kingdom as well as the United States. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in engineering and a Master of Science in civil and urban engineering. Shortly after graduating, Asfari built up experience working as a resident engineer for a consulting group and later took on the role of managing director for a major civil and mechanical contractor. After having spent time with the U.S.-based Petrofac, Asfari moved to the United Kingdom and became central in establishing Petrofac International. With Asfari’s leadership, the global company has since grown to become the largest UK-listed oilfield service company, boasting a market capital of around $5 billion. He has been globally recognized for his achievements, having been named by Ernst & Young as the UK Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 and as the Oil Services Executive of the Year at the World National Oil Company Congress in 2011 and 2012.

In addition to their business feats, both Asfari and Faramawy have demonstrated a commitment to actualizing growth in the Middle East and Africa. In 2002, Faramawy established Microsoft Middle East and Africa (MEA), now present in 79 countries across three continents. He previously founded Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, aimed at aiding African youth to develop technological skills to pursue career opportunities and impact their communities. In recent years, he founded the MasrdotBokra Foundation, a forum which provides a space for Egyptian youth to seek help in advancing their careers.

In 2006, Asfari and his wife founded The Asfari foundation, with the objective of expanding educational opportunities for Middle Eastern youth in the United Kingdom. In response to the recent crisis in Syria, the foundation has now focused more efforts toward increasing humanitarian aid in the country. Much of the money spent has been geared specifically toward supporting refugee education. This foundation also played a role in building up the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut.

Asfari and Faramawy have each also dedicated time to serving on several committees and boards, both in the region and in Europe. Faramawy continues to participate in the Committee for the President of South Africa, the U.S.-Egypt Business council, the Social Fund for Development in Egypt and, currently, AUC’s Board of Trustees. Asfari serves as a Board of Trustees member of both the American University of Beirut and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and sits on the Chatham House Panel of Senior Advisers.