A collaborative research project between New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum


Our Research Project

We believe that historical understanding is key for strategic vision, and we see in the exploration of family businesses a unique opportunity to study the challenges overcome by business entrepreneurs and leaders in an effort to inspire the future.

This research initiative is the first and most ground-breaking project mapping family business legacies in the MENASA region. It features a globally unique approach to understanding the multi-faceted impact of family-owned businesses in the regional economy, society and culture and seeks while preserving the history of individual entrepreneurs and collective business activities

This understanding will not only offer significant insights into historical transformations of business cultures and socio-economic environments in the GCC as well as the MENASA region but also support family businesses address current and future challenges.

Our Collaboration

Robert J Young

Dean of Arts and Humanities
(2015 – 2018)
NYU Abu Dhabi

Essa Al Ghurair

Tharawat Family Business Forum

Our Team

Farida El-Agamy

General Manager

Tharawat Family Business Forum

Lic.iur., University of Fribourg, Attorney-at-Law, High Court of the Canton of Bern, Switzerland

Martin Klimke

Vice Provost

Associate Professor of History

New York University Abu Dhabi

MA, PhD, University of Heidelberg

Shereen El-Agamy

Manager Strategy and Innovation

Tharawat Family Business Forum

MLaw, University of Fribourg, Attorney-at-Law, High Court of the Canton of Bern, Switzerland

Israa Mahgoub

Research Associate

New York University Abu Dhabi

MA, Sorbonne Universities

Roddilou Rasonabe

Program Coordinator

Tharawat Family Business Forum

Balaqis Al-Senani

Research Assistant

New York University Abu Dhabi

The Tharawat Family Business Forum is an independent, non-for-profit membership association dedicated to the sustainability, innovation, and growth of MENA family businesses. The association was founded 2006 by 15 leading family-owned companies from all over the Middle East who had a vision for a strong peer community where families could share their experiences and learn from each other. Today, more than a decade later,  Tharawat has grown into a key platform for education and opportunity for its community.

New York University Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges.

Collaboration Partners

Student Engagement


The Family Business Histories (FBH) research project has identified various roles for undergraduate students to allow for an experiential learning experience for students in the area of research. In addition to being an interdisciplinary public history project, FBH also falls at the intersection of academia and the private sector. This unique setup allows for a variety of roles where students from different academic backgrounds and interests get to contribute with their respective skills in areas such as: research and writing, archival research, database development and data management, graphic design, website development, social media content creation. 

A unique role is designed for each student to develop their existing skill sets, in addition to allowing them to explore other areas of personal interests in line with their anticipated career goals. Students are given a unique opportunity to work closely with the project team from NYUAD and other partners and collaborators, to achieve the final vision of the respective research outcomes.


  • If you are an NYUAD student, keep an eye on the vacancies posted on Handshake 
  • If you are a non-NYUAD student, keep an eye on the Visiting Student Summer Undergraduate Research Program for application deadlines
  • Eligibility criteria is outlined for each advertised position separately

For more inquiries, you can contact israa.mahgoub@nyu.edu


Alia Al Janahi

Mechanical Engineering – Class 2025

Conducted research on the histories of Emirati and UAE-based family businesses from diverse nationalities and backgrounds.