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> Shahdi Al-Kashif, journalist
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> Emily Jacir - Palestinian-American artist wins...
> Aliyyeh Nuseibeh: school principal
> Abdel-Hamid Hamam: A composer and a scholar
> Jumana El-Husseini: painter
> Salma Khadra Jayyusi, poet and critic
> Badrans: A Century of Tradition and Innovation
> Dr. Naseeb Shaheen, historian
> Amin Nasser, composer
> Khalil Rabah, artist
> Fr. Gaudentius Orfali of Nazareth
> Amoun Sleem, community organizer
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> Fayeq [Mike} Nasser
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> Augustine Lama, composer
> Talal Nasereddin, CEO
Life was miserable in the early 1940s.
Like many Hebronites, Abdullah, the grandfather of Talal Nasereddin, thought that Jerusalem had better business opportunities than Hebron. With the aid of his two older sons, Kheiry and Kathem, Talal’s grandfather succeeded in finding his way into a small shop of six square meters in Souk Khan Al-Zeit. His father, Kathem, started his career as a waiter in a coffee shop near Jaffa gate. Unfortunately, the 1948 war had a drastic economic and social impact on the Palestinians. Despite the circumstances, Talal the oldest son, had the opportunity to attend the College des Frères in Jerusalem for his high school education. After finishing school, Talal went against his parents’ wishes and studied industrial chemistry rather than medicine.
In August 1974, Talal obtained a master’s degree in chemistry from the American University of Beirut (AUB). His choice was the beginning of his success.
While he was still a student at AUB, Talal was introduced to Mr. Subhi Khoury - the pharmacist who founded Birzeit Pharmaceutical Co. - who offered Talal partnership in this enterprise. This partnership laid the foundation for Talal’s career as a quality control manager. At the same time, he lectured at Birzeit University where he helped transform the chemistry department curriculum from an associate’s degree program into that of a bachelor’s degree, thus upgrading the quality of education in the sciences at the university. Ten years later, in March 1984, Talal was appointed chairman of the board and CEO of Birzeit Pharmaceutical Company (BPC).
In March 1993, BPC merged with the Palestine Medical Company to become one of the largest private-sector enterprises. It covered more than 20 percent of the pharmaceutical market share. Ten years later, BPC also bought out Eastern Chemical Company. Today BPC employs approximately 250 people and is considered the largest Palestinian pharmaceutical company, with a working capital of $40 million.
Talal’s vision on this road to success expanded further to help create three prominent private-sector bodies. In 1997, with the help of a few of the private-sector leaders, Talal helped to create Paltrade, which was set up with the assistance of USAID. In 2000, and with the assistance of UNIDO, Chairman Arafat and Minister of Industry Dr. Saidi Alkronz appointed Talal as chairman of the Palestinian Federation of Industries (PFI), which by law, made him the vice chairman of the Palestinian Standards Institute (PSI). In 1997, Talal helped to establish the Palestinian Businessmen Association, where he was elected secretary of the board.
In October 2002, he was appointed by Chairman Arafat to be on the first board of the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) - the fund responsible for managing all investments of the Palestinian Authority. In January 2003, he was appointed as a member of the board of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA).
“All my investments are in Palestine,” Talal says. “I believe in that.”
Since the year 2000, Talal’s investments have grown, and so have those of Birzeit Pharmaceutical Company. He invested in Petropal Mineral Oil Company, which brought him to the board as chairman, and in May 2004, he was appointed as a member of the board of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company (PALTEL).
In the year 2005, investments in local and regional stocks and shares grew. Talal saw this as an excellent opportunity to establish Lotus Financial Investment Company. In no time, he was able to absorb one of the biggest investment companies in Kuwait - Global Investment House - investing tens of millions of dollars in Palestinian private-sector enterprises.
In September 2005, and with the assistance of prominent Palestinian investors and leading companies, Talal helped to establish Al-Rafah Microfinance Bank - the first of its kind in Palestine - which he continues to chair. Late in 2006, Talal helped to found Al-Takaful Insurance Company, which insures according to Islamic Sharia’a; however, the company is not yet fully operational.
Talal’s achievements and contributions to the Palestinian economy are recognized through his investments in more than a dozen successful business enterprises in Palestine. Talal states emphatically, “Palestine is a fertile land for investment. With an imbalance of trade of approximately $2 billion annually, investment opportunities are promising. I am committed to staying here and will continue to plant the seeds of success.”
This Week in Palestine