Paris, France: On November 17th
2013, Khaled Al Sabawi was announced as the laureate of the 2013 Takreem Award for Young Entrepreneur at the highly anticipated Takreem Awards Ceremony in Paris, France. Mr. Al Sabawi, the young Palestinian entrepreneur, was recognized for his outstanding achievements as an entrepreneur in the fields of real estate development and renewable energy.
This award is granted annually to Arab individuals and organizations who have excelled in the fields of culture, education, science, environment, and social and economic development.
The ceremony held in Paris, France was the fourth annual ceremony by Takreem and was hold in the presence of 400 guests from different countries and fields. All nominations are non-discriminatory and are accepted independent of age, gender, national origin, religion or political affiliation, however, candidates should be of Arab ancestry. The selection of candidates is a two-stage process ensuring that credentials of each candidate are fully evaluated and assessed. In the first stage, the selection board pre-select three nominees. In the second stage, the three pre-selected nominations in each category are submitted to a Jury Board for a final review process. The Jury Board’s responsibility is to review the short-listed nominees and to select a winner in each of the nine categories. The members of the Jury Board are distinguished Arab and international personalities. For 2013, the Jury Board comprised of: Sheikha Mai Al Khalifa, Sheikha Paula Al Sabah, Dr. Nuha Al Hejailan, Advisor to King André Azoulay, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Dr. Lakhdar Ibrahimi, Prof. Alan Carpentieh, Businessman Carlos Ghosn, Novelist. Mark Levy, Dr. Laila Sharaf, Businessman Raja Saidawi, Businessman Mohammad Mansour.
The master of ceremony at the awards ceremony in Paris was anchorwoman and television presenter Laila Al Shaikhli, and was opened with a speech by Talk Show Host Ricardo Karam who is the founder of Takreem. In his speech, Mr. Karam emphasized that despite the tension in the Arab world, economic recession, the fact that none of the Arab revolutions have realized their goals, and the youth of the region are frustrated, “we are celebrating and recognizing outstanding Arab achievers today. Our aim is to improve the Arab world and excel in all fields. We are looking for a world that enjoys the freedom of thought, human rights, entrepreneurship, equality and motivates young people”.
Mr. Al Sabawi, Founder and President of MENA Geothermal and General Manager of UCI, commented on the Takreem Awards Ceremony by saying: “I am grateful and extremely honored to have been selected by the prestigious Jury Board to receive the Takreem Award for Young Entrepreneur this year. This award is a significant personal motivation for me and for all young Arabs to strive to give back to our communities and take on any challenge, no matter how insurmountable it seems, and demonstrate to the world that the power of an idea, combined with creative entrepreneurship, is far greater than any obstacle that lies in its way”.
He added: “ I would like to thank Takreem for this recognition and encouragement. Tarkeem’s ability to shed light on the achievements of individuals of Arab origin is paramount to shattering the stereo-types perpetuated against the Arab people. Today, brining positive stories about Arabs to light is more important than ever and to be part of this objective is an honor”.
Khaled Al Sabawi (born October 1, 1983) is a Canadian-Palestinian engineer and Founder and President of MENA Geothermal and the TABO Initiative. The son of Palestinian refugees from Gaza, he received his degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 2006 and later became the first certified Geothermal Engineer in the Middle East. Khaled was named "One of the World"s Top Energy Entrepreneurs" by Global Post in 2010 and was ranked the 195th Most Influential Arab by Arabian Business Magazines in their Top 500 Most Influential Arabs ranking for 2012.
As President of MENA Geothermal, a leading green energy business in the region, Khaled installed the first geothermal systems in the region in Palestine in 2007. MENA Geothermal went on to receive the National Energy Globe Award twice in 2008 and 2011 and has installed the largest geothermal system in the Middle East at the American University in Madaba, Jordan.
In late 2010, Khaled became the General Manager of UCI, MENA’s parent company and one of the largest real-estate development companies in Palestine. At UCI, Khaled founded the TABO initiative, Arabic for "title deed", which is the first project dedicated to creating title deeds and expanding property rights in Palestine as a means of protecting Palestinians land while allowing Palestinians from all over the world the ability own an affordable plot of land in Palestine. TABO offers affordable, registered plots of residential land in the West Bank and allows customers to view and reserve plots online. It is a response to increasing land prices in Palestine and also protects Palestinian land through title deed registration against illegal annexation and settlement expansion. Khaled has been invited to give speeches in numerous and prominent conferences at the local, regional and international level. Khaled’s vision to bring sustainable development to Palestine and the MENA region is best explained in his highly watched TEDxRamallah talk. In addition to speaking at TEDxRamallah, Khaled is constantly invited to share his vision on university campuses around the world. He has spoken at McGill University in Canada, at Harvard University and MIT in the United States, and other universities and major conferences around the world. This year, Khaled was invited to give an address the University of Toronto and at the annual Labor Party Conference in Brighton, England.