Middle East Business Opportunities Today

CAI - Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) present a lecture on business opportunities in the Middle East today, March 2015

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Watch full lecture HERE

The Middle East and North Africa are regions of great opportunity for all types of companies - not just large multinationals. Business in these regions can be challenging as well as rewarding, and that is what we explored with our guest speakers:

  •  - Professor Mohamed Fadel - about political and legal developments
  •  - Professor Bessma Momami - about the demographic changes and economic opportunities
  •  - Dany Assaf - about the importance and significance of Middle East Business opportunities
  •  - Ned Ismail - about infrastructure investment opportunities 
  •  - Peter Grills - about BMO opportunities in the Middle East 


Dr. Mohammad Fadel Director

Dr. Mohammad H. Fadel is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, which he joined in January 2006. Professor Fadel wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on legal process in medieval Islamic law while at the University of Chicago. Professor Fadel was admitted to the Bar of New York in 2000 and practiced law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, New York, where he worked on a wide variety of corporate finance transactions and securities-related regulatory investigations. Professor Fadel also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Professor Fadel has published numerous articles in Islamic legal history and Islam and liberalism.


Dr. Bessma Momani is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and Senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI). She has been a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., a visiting scholar at Georgetown University’s Mortara Center, and at the Amman Institute in Jordan. She has authored and co-edited over six books and over 55 scholarly, peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters that have examined the IMF, the World Bank, petrodollars, regional trade agreements in the Middle East and economic liberalization throughout the Arab Gulf & the Middle East. Dr. Momani has received a number of Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council awards and prizes for her research on global economic governance & political economy of the Middle East. Dr. Momani has been a public commentator and analyst on the Global Economy, Middle East and the Arab Spring. She is a regular contributor to CBC radio and is a Middle East analyst on CTV News, CBC’s The National, Al-Jazeera English, Bloomberg TV, BNN and TVOs the Agenda. She has also published numerous op-eds on the Arab Spring in Canadian & international news outlets as well maintaining her own blogs on the Huffington Post, Open Canada, and CIGI.


Dany Assaf’s practice focuses on competition and antitrust, in both domestic and international matters, as well as on foreign investment review. He acts for Canadian and international clients, advising on all aspects of competition law and foreign investment matters and has been involved in many of Canada’s highest profile transactions and investigations. Dany has been recognized as a leading expert in the areas of competition law and foreign investment law. He is also a co-founder and instructor of the inaugural Islamic Finance course as part of the Executive Programs at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Dany has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Western Ontario and has served as an associate editor of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Magazine. Dany is a member of the Board of the Canadian Club of Toronto and formerly represented a prior firm at the Canada-Arab Business Council.


Ned Ismail, MBA is a professor at Humber College, and is actively involved with the Mississauga Board of Trade. Holding an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Ned has extensive international experience, working for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs. He has served on the Board of Directors of five companies, two of which were listed on the stock exchange, and a regional Dubai-based non-profit.


Peter Grills is Managing Director, Trade Finance at BMO Capital Markets.  Peter has been a Trade Finance professional with BMO Capital Markets for over 30 years. In his current role, Peter is the line of business head whose global team is responsible or helping BMO clients achieve their international business objectives in markets around the world.  Peter is on the Executive Committee of the board of directors of the Canadian-Arab Business Council and Advisory Board of the Ontario Sport Legends Hall of Fame.