Living away from Jordan all my life, I could hardly follow up with what goes on there or get to know the Jordanian artists, authors, and famous people in general. Well-known people you are acquainted with are completely unheard of to me and to the Lebanese people as well, I wonder why!! It was only a couple of years ago that I got to know that there exists a Jordanian singer called Makadi Nahhas, What a shame! It was only when Zahi Wehbi hosted her in his show "Khaleek bil Bait" that the Lebanese first heard about her at all! The same thing goes for most of the well-known Jordanian people, it's no surprise to me anymore to get to know about them only by chance.
So today, while flipping through Al Safir Newspaper, I came across this Jordanian writer for the first time. The news goes as follows:
أصدر كمال الشاعر كتاباً بعنوان: خارج حدود الشرق الأوسط: بروز رجال اعمال عرب على النطاق العالمي.
الكتاب، الذي نشرته دار <تاوريس> بالانكليزية في لندن ونيويورك سنة ,2006 يرصد قصة شاب ولد في مدينة السلط سنة ,1930 ويتعقب مسيرته نحو الثروة، حتى صار احد ابرز رجال الاعمال في الشرق الأوسط، ويروي ايضا حكاية <دار الهندسة> التي أسسها الشاعر في بيروت سنة 1956 برأسمال 3500 دولار فقط، والتي احتلت شقة صغيرة مع موظف واحد فقط. وبعد خمسين سنة ها هو رأسمال الشركة يصبح 500 مليون دولار، وفيها نحو 8000 مستخدم واعمالها تشمل 40 بلداً.
الكتاب ليس سيرة ذاتية للمؤلف فحسب، وإنما هو سيرة لمدينة السلط قاعدة الاردن التاريخية التي كانت المدينة الاولى في الاردن سنة .1930
This was encouraging enough to make me curious to know more about the writer and the book. So, I googled around looking for some information, and what I found was really interesting and worth sharing. Kamal Shair is certainly someone Jordanians must be proud of; while I heard about him just today.
Kamal A Shair, one of the most prominent business entrepreneurs of the Middle East, is Chairman of Dar Al-Handasah, the international engineering consultants and architects, which he has built in the last 50 years. Dr Shair was educated at the American University of Beirut, the University of Michigan and Yale University, where he received his PhD. He has been a close observer of the Middle East in the past half century. He served as a senator in Jordan’s Upper House of Parliament for 12 years and is currently a trustee of the American University of Beirut.
Quite interesting! The book will be on my shopping list as soon as it becomes available in bookstores.
Kamal Shair's book is a classic rags to riches story: the village boy, who with determination and education, achieves business success, wealth, more wealth, and then influence and power. What makes it unusual is that it emanates from the Arab world. Rarely among Arabs have individuals from thoroughly modest backgrounds, with no access to links, networks or connections become truly global commercial players. Shair was a small-town boy in what was then Transjordan who dragged himself through school (his mother was illiterate), moved to college in Beirut, then sailed off to America (Michigan and Yale) and returned to the Middle East to create a multinational corporate empire engaged in trade, construction and manufacturing. He did not follow the usual pattern of patronage and favours, but rather applied a fresh kind of ethic in an environment with an loosely-structured business ethic. In the process he lived through and witnessed at first hand and at close quarters some of the most dramatic events of the modern Arab world. This is quite an extraordinary tale and a very original prism through which to look at the turbulent post-World War II history of the Middle East. At the same time we see the growth, despite all the odds, of one of the world’s great engineering and business enterprises in a narrative of epic and inspirational proportions.