Ruwwad: A Regional Initiative for Development and Community Empowerment

Fadi Ghandour, founder of the Ruwwad community center in Jordan, will be on the NYU Florence campus for a dialogue discussing the center as a source of community empowerment at 6 p.m. in Villa Sassetti on April 7. Ruwwad was founded in 2005 for the refugee community of East Amman and has multiple locations in the Middle East, helping different underprivileged communities. The non-profit offers resources such as job training programs and youth scholarships. In this TED Talk, Ghandour discusses Ruwwad as a source of community and entrepreneurship.

Ruwwad is just one of Ghandour’s many projects. He co-founded Aramex, a global logistics and transportation company with a reach in the Middle East comparable to the U.S.’s Fed Ex, in 1982 and remains on the board as vice chairman. Aramex is active in 60 countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Ghandour is also the executive chairman of Wamda Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in expanding technology companies in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Ghandour supports programs that promote empowerment of underprivileged people and in 2011 he helped a professor start We Love Reading, a reading program for children in Jordan. He started working with the United National Development Program in 2013, an organization that fights for the protection of human rights and the eradication of poverty. He is also an investor in 75 startup companies in the Middle East and North Africa regions through MENA Venture Investments, where he is co-founder. Among the startups are Maktoob, a portal for the region’s online community that was acquired by Yahoo!, and Jamalon, an online bookstore.

Ghandour received his bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University and attended the advanced management program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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