ABU DHABI, 8th April, 2017 (WAM) -- The Tharawat Family Business Forum and NYU Abu Dhabi, NYUAD, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a pilot project about "Family Business Histories", and their impact on economic growth and social change in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, region.

Essa Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Tharawat Family Business Forum, and Robert Young, Dean of Arts and Humanities at NYUAD, signed the MoU in the presence of several representatives from both organisations, as well as special guests.

The MoU will provide a formal framework for the project that Tharawat and NYUAD will collectively undertake. The interdisciplinary project, which will bring together humanities and social science scholars, will entail the compilation, documentation and analysis of the history of selected regional family businesses with the intention to better understand past challenges, decision-making and commercial legacies.

This understanding will not only offer significant insights into the historical transformations of business cultures and socio-economic environments in the MENA region, but it will also help family businesses to address current and future challenges.

"In the Middle East and North Africa, we estimate that over 80 percent of businesses are family-owned and run. This shows us that the economic impact of such companies is essential to the growth and prosperity of our region. The collaboration with NYUAD will allow us to delve deeper into understanding the legacies of family-owned enterprises in our region, and draw lessons for our future," Al Ghurair said.

"We are very pleased indeed for signing this MoU with the Tharawat Family Business Forum. Our family business history project highlights the historical significance of the region as a cultural, political, and economic crossroads, and shows how family businesses are part of the regional heritage. Our co-operation with Tharawat offers a prism through which we can rediscover the challenges of the past, and the tremendous developments in both the UAE and beyond," Young said.

The Tharawat Family Business Forum, founded in 2006, is a member of association that empowers the sustainability, innovation and growth of family businesses across the Middle East and North Africa. The association was founded by 15 leading family-owned companies from all over the Middle East, with a vision of a strong peer community where families can share their experiences and learn from each other. Today, 10 years later, Tharawat has grown into a key platform for education, innovation and opportunity for its community.

Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.