As published in ‘A Passion for Adventure’
Over the past few years I have been urged by friends, academics and business colleagues to write a book recording my life story and expressing my business philosophy. Since my departure from Zain Group in February 2010, I have found the time and opportunity to do so.
My first motivation is a hope of inspiring young people of our region and globally to believe that nothing is impossible in the world we live in – personally, in business and in politics – and over the past year I have drawn fresh inspiration from the young men and women who have rekindled the aspirations of our people through the ‘Arab Spring’.
Secondly, I want to express my deep conviction in the common destiny of humanity at a time when many forces are intent on creating divisions between people on grounds of race, religion or language. Human beings are ethical as well as sentient.
This book is dedicated to all my colleagues at Zain who made so many sacrifices in order to achieve our vision of transforming a one-country mobile operator into a globally-recognised telecom entity and, in taking such a path, to become a pioneer from the region. It is also in appreciation of the late Mr Nasser al Kharafi , a father figure and business pioneer from my beloved homeland of Kuwait, who entrusted and empowered me to live my dream. May God grant him mercy, forgiveness and paradise.
Throughout my life I have drawn strength and encouragement – first and foremost – from my devout belief in God and then from a variety of people: my family as I grew up, my teachers and academic supervisors, my colleagues and my business associates. These debts are expressed throughout the book.
Many individuals helped me in this project. Special thanks to Gareth Smyth (former Financial Times Middle East correspondent) for his supporting writing role and his diligence in numerous research and technical matters. Sincere appreciation to my former Zain colleague Antoine Aboukhalil for his perseverance and dedication as project manager as well as to many close associates and friends who readily gave up their time to contribute in various ways to this book.
Finally, I cannot thank enough my wonderful wife and children for enduring my absences when I was away on countless business trips. Their love and understanding was the fuel that powered me over the years. I have chosen to exclude detailing them in the book as a matter of privacy.
Dr Saad al Barrak