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Najjat Belbachir is the Managing Director of Unit of Plastic Transformation in Algeria. She has overseen the company’s expansion to manufacturing new products, implementation of a Distribution Centre, and development of a wide range of products offered. Ms. Belbachir is Founding Member of the Association SEVE (Association of Women Managers), was nominated by the World Trade Center of Algeria for the “Export Award,” and received the “Entrepreneur Award for Commercial Innovations in the France–Maghreb Area.” Ms. Belbachir has participated in the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville and the Forum of Women in the Economy organized by the World Bank.

Nadia Belkhiri of Algeria is currently a member of the Executive Council of the Forum of Enterprise CEOs. Prior to her tenure there, she held executive positions with the Executive Board of the Annaba Chamber of Commerce, the Commission on National Product Protection at the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and MAI-CHOC. Ms. Belkhiri received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Université de Dijon, France and her Master of Business Management from the University of Montreal, Canada.

Fatiha Rachedi is the founder and director of Centre International des Affaires as well as member of the National Council for the Promotion of SMEs (CNCPME), President of the Information Systems Commission, and Advisor to the Minister of SMEs. Previously, Ms. Rachedi was the executive director of the Oran Chamber of Commerce, professor of economics, as well as the founder and manager of the School of Management, Computers, and Commerce of EGIC IBN SINA in Oran. Her activities have included assisting 50 entrepreneurs in the formulation of investment plans, producing 25 business plans, assisting foreign businesses with the implementation of their activities in Algeria, finalizing contracts with three international organizations, and organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings on a variety of topics including enterprise creation, financing of SMEs, marketing, export promotion, labor codes, currency and credit laws, fiscal measures, and business opportunities and partnerships between Algeria and countries such as Spain, Italy, Britain, and Morocco. She has also organized meetings with foreign chambers of commerce, foreign businessmen and women, the World Bank, and the Franco-Arabic Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Rachedi has a BA in economics and is a certified accountant.

Afnan Rashid Al Zayani has worked for twenty-seven years in the entrepreneurship community of Bahrain. Currently, she is the President and Proprietor of Al Zayani Commercial Services W.L.L., in the Office Automation Division. She has served on the boards of the Bahrain Businessmen’s Association, Bahrain Businesswomen Society, and the Bahrain National Competitiveness Council. She represented the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Committee for the H.H. Shaikha Sabika Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Award for Women’s Empowerment, and has received the Ministry of Education Honors Award, the National Achievement Award, and the Best Business Professional in the Middle East Award. Additionally, she has been featured in many cook books, on many cooking shows, and has been a judge at many major food competitions.

Randa Ibrahim Abdou is the CEO and founder of Marketing Mix, Egypt’s first marketing consultancy firm by practitioners. Since its inception in 1996, Marketing Mix has been instrumental in creating brands and turning around businesses. In 2001, Ms. Abdou founded a sister company, Creative Lab, which is the advertising arm of Marketing Mix. Before founding Marketing Mix, she was the Marketing Manager of PepsiCo Foods Egypt and previously the market research Planning Manager of Procter and Gamble Egypt, and account executive at Americana Advertising. Recently, Ms. Abdou was selected for participation in the MEPI Middle East Entrepreneur Training in the United States (MEET U.S.). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication (with honors) from the American University in Cairo. Ms. Abdou also earned her Master of Science in International Marketing from University of Strathclyde, Scotland.

Laila El Gammal is the Managing Director of GIES, a family company in Egypt that deals with textile machinery and fire protection. The business represents thirty-three top level International Companies from ten different countries and employs 62 permanent staff members. Ms. El Gammal also founded Nobeltex, a textile agency, in partnership with her three children; IEI Company, which handles fire protection installation; and two silversmith shops, in partnership with her three children. Previously, she served as textile production engineer at the National Spinning and Weaving Company in Alexandria and as a Research Engineer at Misrayon Company in Kafr El Dawar. Ms. El Gammal received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and her Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Alexandria University.

Neveen El-Tahri currently holds four positions. She is the Country Representative of ABN AMRO Bank, ABN AMRO Delta Asset Management, Delta Securities Egypt's Chairperson, and a director of the newly established Cairo Chapter of International Young Presidents Organization. Prior to joining ABN AMRO Bank, Ms. El Tahri was with the Chase Manhattan Bank affiliate now Commercial International Bank (CIB). She was the first woman to sit on the Board of the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange between 1997 and 2003.

Nayla El Tawil has inaugurated three “Le Chandelier” shops and two “La Nuit Linen” shops in Egypt; the former chain specializes in Bohemia crystals, tableware and bone china, the latter chain in bed sheets, bed covers, terry towels and bath robes. In 2005, she acquired with her husband a multinational franchise of WSI company for Internet solutions with headquarters in Toronto. Ms. El Tawil also serves as Deputy Managing Director and Partner in the textile agency Nobeltex and employs twenty four staff members. She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication and Electronic Engineering and her Master of Business Administration from the Arab Academy of Science and Technology.

Mahvash Tayarani Babai is an entrepreneur in the chemical industry in Iran. She is the main owner and managing director of Nuian Baspar Eng. Co., which is active in trading specialty chemicals and catalysts. Ms. Babai is also a shareholder and Chairman of Exir (Chemicals) Ltd., a UK registered company dealing with chemical and equipment procurement services. She is a member of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines; the Irano British Chamber of Commerce (IBCCIM); the Irano German Chamber of Commerce; and the IBCCIM investment promotion committee. Mahvash Tayarani Babai studied electronics engineering at Tehran University, and received her Master of Business Administration from Kempten University in Germany. Additionally, she has taken several professional courses in process engineering and strategic management.

Lina Ganawi helped found and currently serves as deputy to the director manager of a company of construction contractors in Iraq. She is also in the process of establishing a new company, for which she serves as the director manager. Ms. Ganawi has participated in seminars on Woman, Constitution and Gender, run by the Democratic National Institution Alliance; conferences of Iraqi Businesswomen, held in the Conference Palace in Baghdad; industrial fairs on the Reconstruction of Iraq; and trainings on Capacity Building in Gender and Economic Policy, Gender in Statistics, and in Monitoring & Evaluation, held in Amman, Jordan. She is a member of the Iraqi National Council for Women, the Iraqi Business Center, the Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Iraqi Businessmen. Ms. Ganawi was granted diplomas in Economy and Computer Programming, and is currently studying in the University of Al.

Sana B. Fahoum founded and runs an intellectual property firm in Jordan. In 1988, she started working as an employee in the field of intellectual property in Amman, Jordan. After being employed for twelve years for two different firms, she reached the top of the corporate ladder but was denied partner status due to her gender. Ms. Fahoum then opened her own establishment for the protection of intellectual property. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut, and completed work toward her Master degree in London while studying English, French, Italian and Spanish.


Hanan Saab began her career in Beirut, Lebanon, as a hospital pharmacist at the American University Hospital, where she later founded Pharmamed, a company that specializes in marketing medical supplies and added value pharmaceutical products. The company has now expanded its activities to Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey and the UAE. Additionally, Ms. Saab has been a member of the managing Board of Directors of CMP, a company specializing in marketing pharmaceutical products. She graduated with distinction from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and received the Penrose Award.


Saloua Karkri Belkeziz of Morocco began her career as a programmer at Eurosoft Company in Paris. She created the Professional System, a data processing service company called now GFI Maroc. She has held various positions within the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco, serving as the Vice President of the Federation of the New Technology, a member of the Executive Committee, and the Co - President of the Morocco-Senegalese Business Council. She was nominated to the national order of merit by Presidential decree, and in 2004 was decorated by His Majesty the King Mohamed VI of Wissam Al Arch. Ms. Belkiziz graduated from Paris VI University with a DEA diploma (Data Processing).

Afifa Ouazzani Boutaleb of Morocco is the Director of AOB Consulting, a consulting firm founded by Ms. Boutaleb in 1996. In addition, she serves as a journalist for Vie Economique and Liberation, as a consultant for the USAID assistance program to small and medium scale enterprises in Morocco, as Director of a USAID program aimed at integrating women into the business community, and as Associate Director in another consulting firm. Ms. Boutaleb is a founding member and Vice President of AFEM, a member of the Administrative Board of Joussour, and a member of the Administrative Commission of USFP. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from La Sorbonne in Paris.

Bouthayna Iraqui Houssaini founded and runs businesses related to orthopedic and medical equipment in Morocco. She created her first company, LocamedService, in 1990 to fill an unmet need for rentable orthopedic equipment. Ms. Houssaini has since expanded Locamed-Service; the business now imports and distributes orthopedic equipment and employs 43 workers in three shops. Faced with difficulties in reaching the wider Moroccan population, she created a catalogue a call center to acquire and deal with new clients from all over the country. Five years ago, Ms. Houssaini created Orthoprotech, which specializes in manufacturing artificial members and limbs. In addition, she is a master trainer for Empretec, a leadership training program.


Alia Banaja is the owner and manager of 2 the point, a computer solutions company in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her company works with both the public and private sectors. Previously, she was a computer instructor at Al-Nafisia school, as well as part of the management of a Fashion Accessories store. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Ms. Banaja has been active in the business field since 1996. She has attended numerous international conferences and was one of only four Saudi women invited to the European Parliament in Brussels where she met with the Belgian parliament chairman. Ms. Banaja has also been invited to Qatar to meet with the governor of Qatar. She speaks Arabic and English.

Nashwa Taher from Saudi Arabia started her working career in 1995. She is currently shareholder and board member of a family business (Taher group of companies). Ms. Taher established International Catering and Trading Co. Ltd., a business specialized in importing Gourmet Food from Italy. The company started with one item but is currently importing 75 items which are distributed all around the Kingdom. In 2005, she was one of two women ever elected to the Board of Directors of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Ms. Taher is active in many organizations and businesses. She is board member of the Hassan Taher Charity Foundation, board chairman of the Al Hassaniyah Establishment, board vice chairman of the Khadeejah Bint Khowaylid Center at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, board member of the Women's National Commission of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, member of the Economical and social Bureau of the Amarate Makkah Al Mukkaramah, member of the Consultancy Council for Scientific Wondrous miracles of the Holy Koran and Sunnah, and member of the Public Parks Commission of the Jeddah Municipality. Ms. Taher has a BA in accounting.


Yasmina Azhari has had a distinguished career in Syria. She founded “Mawred,” an NGO that works to build the role of women in economic development, is currently a partner and Administrative Manager at P&O Nedlloyd Shipping Agency, and is the founder of a private consulting firm. Recently, she worked as a representative of “GM Partners,” a Dutch company that provides training and development courses for those in the tourism industry. In 1999, she was nominated to be the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands at Lattakia & Tartous as well as a Representative of the Netherlands Management Corporation Program, a program of the Dutch government. She was the first woman to join the industry management board of the Lattakia Chamber of Commerce and has twice been elected as the Head of Lattakia Business Women’s Committee. Ms. Azhari received her Bachelor of Arts in French Literature from Tishreen University.

Sonia Khandji Cachecho is currently the General Manager of Wella Company (Procter & Gamble), which produces and distributes hair care products in Syria, as well as a founder of a local company "Regita" which produces healthy snacks for the Syrian market. Ms. Cachecho studied at Saint Joseph University in Beirut and received her Master of Science in Economics from Lyon Academy, France. She is a Founding member of the Industrial Business Women Committee in Damascus, a member of the Arab Women Investors league in Cairo, a member of the Committee for the Elaboration of National Strategy for a Sustainable National Development, and was nominated as a Board member of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce for session 2005-2007. Ms. Cachecho has chaired and addressed conferences on business women’s subjects in a variety of countries, and participated in the first EuroArab Business women meeting in May 2005, Granada, as the head of the Syrian Business Women Group, with a presentation on the situation of Syrian women.

Roula Zulhof Chaghoury is the owner and Manager of Bambini and Piccolini, a company specializing in clothing for children and special events. Previously, Ms. Zulhof taught classes in design. She speaks Arabic, French, and English, and has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Syrian University in Damascus. Ms. Zulhof is married with two children.

Ms. Hanan Esreb is the General Manager of Syphco (Syrian Pharmaceutical & Chemical Industrial co.), a family operated pharmaceutical business in Syria. Due to her management, Syphco’s monthly sales have increased seven fold. Ms. Esreb is also on the board of M.C.C Modern cosmetics co., a cosmetics business that she started and was the general manager for until 2003. Furthermore, Ms. Esreb is board member of the “Syrian wire and metal fabrication co,” member of the Syrian Chamber of Industry, and member of the “Syrian Women in Business,” an off spring of the “Arab Women in Business.” She has participated in several conferences as part of presidential visits, representing women in business and the Syrian Chamber of Industry. Ms. Esreb has a B.S in biochemistry from the University of Damascus. She is married with four children.

Zohra Driss Becheur is the CEO of a group of hotels and agricultural enterprises in Tunisia. She serves as President of the Sousse delegation of the Tunisian Women Entrepreneurs Association (CNFCE), Vice President of UTICA (Tunisian Employers Union) of Sousse, President of The UTICA Commission for the Environment, and Vice President of the Municipality of Sousse. Ms. Becheur is also a member of the National Executive Board of UTICA (Tunisian Employers Union), the Institute of Arab Heads of Enterprises, and the Tunisian-American Friendship Association. She received her degree in Agricultural Engineering.

Leyla Khaiat, a current Senator in the Tunisian Parliament, is a business owner in the textile industry. Ms. Khaiat has been involved in the leadership of over eight women-focused business associations, including positions as President of FCEM, world association of women entrepreneurs; the National Chamber of Tunisian Women Entrepreneurs; AFRIMALIFE, an international economic development NGO for women entrepreneurs from Africa and the Arab Nations; and the Council of Arab Women Business Owners. Ms. Khaiat has received distinction from Tunisia's Chief-of-State, President Ben Ali, receiving the coveted l’Ordre de Chevalier de la République and 7th of Novembre awards. She has also been honored with the Artemis international award for outstanding women entrepreneurs from the Euro-American Women’s Council, the Golden Didon award for her active dedication to the promotion of women and the Highest Acknowledgement Award for 2000, from the Together for Peace Foundation. She has spoken at the ADB and RASEF Pan African Conference on Women Entrepreneurs, the World Businesswomen’s Symposium, G8 Forum Preparation Business Dialog for Advancing the G8 Plan.

Hayet Laouani, a current Senator in the Tunisian Parliament, is President of the National Federation of Transport in Tunisia. She started her first business, a shipping agency, in 1977, and has since invested in several companies. From 2000-2005, Ms. Laouani was board member and treasurer for the National Union of Tunisian Women. Ms. Laouani is married with two sons.

Olfa Majoul from Tunisia has worked as a consultant and research analyst in France and Canada. This work inspired her to start her own business, “Yso Consulting.” After years of work abroad, Ms. Majoul returned to Tunisia to co-manage FORMHOTEL, a leading business in consulting and professional training in the hospitality services industry in Tunisia. The company now partners with three French and Italian tourism and hospitality institutions in order to provide trainings to professionals in the tourism industry. Ms. Majoul holds a degree in Finance, a Master in Corporate Strategy, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics.

Raja Easa Al Gurg is the Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group in Dubai, a family-run company with twenty-two divisions dealing in trading, manufacturing and real estate. She is President of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Business Women Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Women Association, and a member of the Dubai Economic Council. Ms. Al Gurg was named Woman of the Year in 2003 by Datamatix, and received numerous certificates of appreciation for serving as Keynote Speaker in Economic Partnership Forums, including those for UAE – Germany, UAE – Italy, and Dubai – Osaka. She was also a Keynote speaker of the Arab Business Women at the 2nd Economic Forum 2005 in Cairo, Egypt, and she attended a Woman Leading Conference in April 2004 in New York, USA. Ms. Al Gurg has lectured widely, including addresses on “Young Business Leaders” at Dubai High Technology Women’s College and on “Human Seminar in Sheikh Zayed period of rule” for Global Human Rights Day in 2004. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Kuwait University.

Maryam Al Noori from Dubai is currently the managing director of Intraflora, one of the Gulf’s most successful floral supply and decoration companies. She is also the general manager of Modern Nursery, a leading plant company in the UAE. Ms. Al Noori has been awarded the first “Best Female Entrepreneur Award,” in 2004 and was named one of the “Entrepreneur Business Women of 2004” during the 7 th WOIBEX Women in Business Conference International Women’s Day held in Dubai. In 2005, Ms. Al Noori was the first Arab woman to receive the “Prestige Award” presented by Torsanlorenzo Areda Green House Centre in Rome, Italy, as an acknowledgement of her contribution to the greening environment process in Dubai. She is a Vice President for UAE Flower & Plant Industry Association, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Dubai Businesswomen Council, Member of the Young Arab Leaders and Member of the International Businesswomen Group.

Salwa Saad Al Shaibani, an entrepreneur in Abu Dhabi, has founded a variety of businesses, including Al Mawaheb Property Management LLC, a real estate company; Shaibani Hitech LLC, which deals in modern and hi-tech technology products and projects; Condor Medical Waste Management Co. LLC, which is a pioneer company of its kind in the U.A.E. in using modern environment friendly technology for medical waste management; Maltex International LLC; and Papillion Slimming Institute. Ms. Shaibani won the Emirates Businesswomen Award 2002-03 in recognition of 28 years of business experience, and the Sheikh Khalifa Award for Excellence in Business 2004-05, as appreciation for quality and excellence in business. She is the Founder, Executive Board Member and Treasurer of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council, a member of the General Assembly of UAE Businesswomen Council, and head of Union of Arab Women Investors, affiliated with the Arab Environment Division. Ms. Shaibani received her Master of Business Administration from Harvard University Business School, USA.


Amal Masri is the General Manager of Ougarit Co. for Marketing, Communications, and Media, as well as the co-founder, with her husband Khaled Masri, of Al Qalam Printing Company. She is the founding member of the Business Women’s Forum for Palestine, a Board member in the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development, and a member of the Steering Committee for the forthcoming Business Women’s Summit in Abu Dhabi. Mrs. Masri has previously worked in the private, the governmental, and the diplomatic sectors, as well as a university teacher in Nablus and Tulkarem. She studied Methodologies, Communications, Protocol, and Economics in Paris and French at the University of Franche-Comte. She also has a Diploma in Economics from the University of the Sorbonne, Paris, and studied Communications and Protocol at the University of Rennes. Mrs. Masri is married with three children.

Najat Jumaan is professor of business administration at Sanaa University in Yemen as well as Vice Dean of the Financial Institution at the Ministry of Finance. Ms. Jumaan was the Vice General Manager of the Mohamed Ahmed Jumaan Corporation until 2001 and has since 1999 been the General Manager of the Yemen Feed Company. Having attended numerous business conferences in the United States, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, Ms. Jumaan received the entrepreneur mentor award at the 2001 Summit for Young Entrepreneur Leadership in Brussels. She holds a master's degree from the Azuza Pacific University in the United States and a Ph. D in business administration from the Suez Canal University in Egypt.