american businesses by caseybeldon



                                                                   For more information, contact:
                                                          Cari Eggspuehler, BDA (415-608-0806)


Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2006) – The US private sector has a window of opportunity to
build new bridges of respect and mutual understanding with the Arab world as American business
is still admired by young leaders in the United Arab Emirates, according to a just-released survey
commissioned by Business for Diplomatic Action, a collective of multinational American
companies working to raise the standing of the U.S. around the world. The survey of young
leaders in the United Arab Emirates was conducted for BDA by Zogby International, an
American public opinion research firm, and focused on capturing the aspirations of young leaders
and their opinions as to how business might help them realize their goals.

A Call to Action

“The challenge for American businesses operating in the Middle East today is how to
address the hopes and ambitions cited in this research,” noted Keith Reinhard, President
of Business for Diplomatic Action. “Given the growing need to shift the international
dialogue from foreign policy to shared values, it has never been more important for the
US business community to engage the region in public diplomacy initiatives. This new
research would seem to identify a real opportunity for US companies to connect with
young Arabs through sponsored programs for individual growth and advancement. In
addition to the real benefits to young Arabs, the positive implications of such actions for
our economic and national security are obvious.”

Moreover, young leaders in the region are more inclined to view American businesses and
American business leaders more favorably than their European counterparts. Bill Gates, the
founder of Microsoft Corporation, is among the most admired figures in their lives (in addition to
leaders in the Arab and Muslim world) and American companies were predominantly named as
the most admired international companies.

The respondents also revealed that they are more likely to view American corporations as much
more helpful than corporations from other nations in helping them achieve their career goals.

“While we know from other research and from ample anecdotal information that there‟s
widespread disagreement across the Arab world with US foreign policy and cultural exports,”
said John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, “this study shows a strong respect
for American know-how and entrepreneurship and a yearning to acquire and transplant these
attributes back home in the U.A.E.”
When asked about their desire to participate in selected multinational corporate programs,
respondents name job-training, corporate internships (both in the region and in the US) and
technical assistance as the programs of highest interest.

The survey also found that most of the young U.A.E. leaders place great value on acquiring high
quality education and that they place the United States as the most preferable source of such
education, training and business skill development over the United Kingdom, France and

The survey also suggests, according to Zogby, that U.S. corporations need to strengthen their
media and communications outreach efforts vis-à-vis local, regional and non-traditional sources
of information in the region, given the very small numbers of younger Arabs who rely on U.S. or
other English language media for business news and information. It is worth noting, however,
that when asked what American television programming they would likely watch, the show
mentioned most often is Oprah, highlighting the importance of „infotainment‟ media as a
communications bridge.

“American business is uniquely positioned to take the lead in public diplomacy efforts with the
region by providing for corporate internships and exchange programs as well sharing best
practices, which some BDA member companies are already starting to do” added Reinhard.

“Nothing builds bridges of understanding, punctures myths and deepens long-term common
interests better than face-to-face interactions – especially in what is arguably the most dynamic
state in the region and one that will likely remain an important ally of the United States,
strategically and economically, for a long time to come.”

About the Sample

Roughly 14 percent of the sample was derived from the U.A.E. chapter of the Young Arab
Leaders, a regional organization of emerging business leaders. The balance of respondents came
from random sampling of young people throughout the U.A.E.

For a copy of the “Survey of Younger Arab Leaders in the United Arab Emirates” conducted for
Business for Diplomatic Action by Zogby International, contact Cari Eggspuehler, BDA‟s
Executive Director at 415-608-0806 or by going to BDA Web site at:

BDA is a private sector non-profit directed by preeminent communications, marketing, political
science, global development and media professionals. The organization steers a collective of
multinational companies in the development, sharing, and warehousing of ideas, insights, and
guidance on communication and public diplomacy issues that U.S. businesses are uniquely
positioned to address.


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