Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mixed Feelings - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

There is an enormous sense of resentment and discontent prevailing in the Arab world. It is a sense that is being analyzed and re-examined for numerous reasons, some of which are related to the absence of adequate human competencies.

However, aside from the list of famous and successful names, there exists a considerable amount of huge competencies that are not granted the necessary space to change, or have the anticipated influential impact expected of them. It goes without saying that serious support must be available to back these efforts.

The objective observer of the region and its circumstances cannot miss or dismiss the presence of a group of well-known illustrious names within their specializations that exist outside the central influential circle. Discussing the contemporary world of Information technology (IT) and its direct impact on the economic sector would not be complete without mentioning the Egyptian Dr. Hisham el Sherif and the successful economic experiments that have transcended all boundaries and limits.

Likewise, any debate related to IT would not be comprehensive without referring to the Jordanian Fadi Ghandour. Discussing concepts such as globalization and the economy of knowledge would not be thorough if no mention was made of the Saudi Dr. Sultan Bahabri. The subject of collaborations and networking between specializations would be lacking if the Kuwaiti Bandar al Zufairi was not brought into the discussion. There are, of course, countless other names in the various fields.

I recall all this with great regret. I felt great pride when I read about Mohamed el Erian’s (49 years old) appointment as co-chief executive of the bond-fund giant PIMCO (Pacific Investment Management Company), which manages over $692 billion worth of fixed-income assets.

Mohamed el Erian who is an American of Egyptian descent had just quit his job last week managing Harvard University’s US $34.9 billion endowment, which recorded a record-high growth by an average of 23 percent at the end of the fiscal year (June 30) under el Erian.

Previously Mohamed el Erian had worked for 15 years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gaining invaluable experience. El Erian’s move to PIMCO was one of the breaking news items in Western media. I remember the last time I met with him in one of the Arab countries, which had failed to nurture and exploit his talent and capabilities. The official financial officer who was entrusted with the task of ‘persuading’ el Erian to accept a particular position blatantly displayed an inferiority complex in dealing with him that rendered his duty laughable and impossible.

The squandering of brilliant minds and the systematic expulsion of talent from our countries is ongoing. There is no shame in the emergence of scores of Arabs making names for themselves abroad; the real shame is to continue to deny that their countries have failed to provide a suitable environment to keep them.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

More Posts