Triangle, NC, August 23, 2006 --(PR.com
)-- UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has successfully piloted the first-ever Arabic-language curriculum for corporate governance in the Middle East. The new curriculum uses case studies, small-group exercises, and discussion to drive home the essentials of corporate governance and to introduce best practices in board management, such as transparency, disclosure, shareholder rights, and the role of the board in managing corporate strategy, risk, and succession.
A three-person faculty team from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte traveled to Cairo this summer to test the new curriculum. Dr. Nabil Elias of UNC-Charlotte, Dr. Jennifer Bremer of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and Dr. Tim Flood of Kenan-Flagler’s communications team worked with the staff of the newly-created Egyptian Institute of Directors (EIoD) to deliver the three-day curriculum. Sixteen corporate board members and senior executives, drawn from Egypt’s leading corporations, banks, and financial market institutions, participated in the course. Dr. Ibrahim Salama of UNC-Central Hill and several business school faculty supported the program from campus.
The course owes part of its success to hands-on expertise offered to the Egyptian team by four North Carolina businesspeople; representing Holy Cow Branding, Sleddogg Marketing, Mebane Knitting Mills, and the Family Business Institute. The four, tapped by the UNC faculty to give the Egyptian team a sense of the real-world governance challenges faced by corporations, met with the Egyptian trainers, participated in a dry run of the curriculum, and offered advice on marketing and management.
“The dry run feedback was extremely important in shaping and refining the curriculum,” said Bremer. “The local business participants helped the faculty to focus on the points that would sell the new idea, as much as on the governance content.”
The small business participants said they benefited, as well, coming away with a clearer understanding of how they can apply governance principles to their businesses here in the U.S.
“Participating in this course gave me real insights into how small businesses can use corporate governance tools, such as advisory boards, to keep their strategy on track,” said Lorana Price, CEO of Holy Cow Branding. “Small businesses face a lot of the same challenges, whether they’re in Cary or Cairo,” added Lea-Ann Berst, President of Sleddogg Marketing, who attended the dry run of the curriculum in Chapel Hill. “Now I see more clearly how good corporate governance can benefit firms like mine, just as much as larger companies.”
UNC faculty expressed the hope that the new institute will help Egypt and other countries in the region strengthen private sector approaches to development. “Corporate governance is such a new concept in the Middle East,” noted UNC’s Bremer, “that they’ve actually had to make up a new Arabic word for it. The launch of this new Institute sends a real message to the region, and to the market, not only about Egypt’s commitment to reform, but also on the contribution that greater transparency and good governance make to growth.”
The pilot test was the culmination of an intensive eight-month program of technical assistance and training to support the new Institute, the first to target corporate governance in the Middle East. The program, funded by a $280,000 contract between UNC and the Ministry of Investment, included creation of a business plan for the new institute, development of a core curriculum in corporate governance in both English and Arabic, a training-of-trainers program in Cairo, and the curriculum pilot test. Three professionals, slated to become the master faculty for the new institute, spent five weeks in Chapel Hill and Washington, working with UNC faculty to develop the new curriculum.
About the Egyptian Institute of Directors (EIoD)
The Egyptian Institute of Directors (EIoD), an initiative of the Ministry of Investment in collaboration with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will be formally launched as a membership institution for corporate directors in January 2007. The mission of the EIoD is to spread awareness and application of corporate governance among corporations, financial institutions, and other stakeholders who deal with corporations in the Arab region. For more information about the EIoD, please visit www.eiod.org.
About UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
The Kenan Institute offers knowledge, networks and solutions that help companies, communities and countries manage the competitive challenges they face. The Institute and its centers work on projects that help businesses turn obstacles into opportunity, providing strategic help in visioning and business process strategy and management, from logistics systems to new market strategy, trends forecasting to executive education. The Institute and its centers work on projects that help countries and communities identify their competitive strengths and develop innovative strategies and lasting partnerships to achieve their goals. For more information about the Kenan Institute, please visit www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/KI/.
About Sleddogg Marketing
Sleddogg Marketing is a market strategy and management consulting firm that helps businesses identify strategic options and customer-valued solutions for their products and services. For more information, please visit www.sleddogg.com.
About Holy Cow
Holy Cow Branding is a full-service creative agency providing advertising, public relations and marketing solutions to businesses of all sizes. They work with businesses from many industries, with a strong focus on promoting consistency of each client’s brand. For more information about Holy Cow, please visit www.holycowbranding.com.