Pearl Initiative names six GCC youth to its Student Advisory Board


Young members to raise awareness of the Pearl Initiative’s values and principles in the wider student community

The Pearl Initiative, a leading independent, non-profit organization working to improve corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region, has announced its Student Advisory Board 2021–2023 as part of its governance structure.

The new advisory board, which comprises six students from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) universities, will help the Pearl Initiative in its quest to provide a voice to the region’s youth.  A conduit between the Pearl Initiative and the students, the Student Advisory Board was established by the Pearl Initiative’s Board of Governors in 2018 to represent the youth sector in the organisation and present their perspectives on how to foster awareness of the Pearl Initiative and its programmes among the region’s future generation of business leaders. 

The new board members are Abdullah Sweileh from the American University of Sharjah; Ishita Karamchandani from Middlesex University, UAE; Anas Hasan from the American University of Kuwait; Rabiya Zeeshan from Sultan Qaboos University, Oman; Faiza Arshad from Effat University Saudi Arabia; and Salek Akhbar from Ahlia University, Bahrain.

“As members of the board, the students will play numerous roles to help the Pearl Initiative carry out its mandate. They will act as vocal supporters of our organisation and raise awareness of its values and principles in the wider student community. These young leaders will also serve as our ambassadors, facilitating outreach within their respective universities and countries. Through them, the Pearl Initiative can better engage and create relationships with the region’s youth, who we aim to empower by giving them a platform to express their opinions on the key subject of governance,” Ranya Saadawi, Executive Director at Pearl Initiative, said. 

Since its formation, the Student Advisory Board has been serving as a key facilitator for students in advancing and attaining their career objectives. The board also reflects the Pearl Initiative’s commitment to engage with regional businesses and student communities about the business case for implementation of the highest standards in corporate governance, accountability and transparency. 

Abdullah Sweileh, who was elected president of the Student Advisory Board, will sit on the Pearl Initiative’s Board of Governors, offering a direct channel of communication with the youth sector and a unique platform to engage with them and share their perspectives.

“It’s an honour to be elected president of such a promising and ambitious programme. Youth are tomorrow’s business leaders, and it is fundamental to have their perspectives and views shared and discussed. Through this partnership with the Pearl Initiative, we as youth have a unique opportunity to enhance our understanding of corporate governance and weigh in with our thoughts on how to ensure a sustainable and transparent business sector in the GCC region,” said Sweileh after being elected president of the Student Advisory Board.

As part of the Student Advisory Board activities, several case study competitions were conducted, engaging over 8,000 students from 40 universities and 163 private sector companies from across the Gulf region. The competition led to 25 student-authored case studies that showcased the integrity best practices of the participating companies. In addition, over 40 student lectures were held bringing together more than 300 students and 50 business professionals in an open platform to share best practices in corporate ethics.

University students and graduates across the GCC region can directly engage with the Student Advisory Board and learn about its activities and programmes by reaching out to the board members on 

The Pearl Initiative offers programmes and publishes regional research reports and case studies to foster greater insight and appreciation of the business case and associated priorities and trends. Additionally, its work includes bringing together business, government and civil society decision makers to share best business practices and help maximise the economic opportunities available to companies within the region. On the youth sector, the organisation helps Gulf-based university students to identify and embrace strong ethics as they embark on their future careers.

About the Pearl Initiative:

Business leaders from across the Gulf Region formed the Pearl Initiative in 2010 to create a non-profit organisation for the Private Sector to collectively embrace the business case in adopting higher standards in corporate governance, accountability, and transparency to enhance business innovation, opportunity and value creation. 

With over 40 regional and international partners, the Pearl Initiative brings together business, policy and social sector decision-makers to share best practice and help maximise sustainable and inclusive growth across the region. The Pearl Initiative also supports Gulf-based university students to identify and embrace strong ethics and integrity as they embark on their future careers. 

Current programmes run by the Pearl Initiative include Anti-Corruption Best Practices, Diversity in Business Leadership, Governance in MSMEs, Governance in Family Firms, The Business Pledge, and Governance in Philanthropy.

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