Biography of Dr. Ali S. Bin Harmal Aldhaheri

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Aldhaheri attributes this entrepreneurial knowledge to the mentorship of his Father, whom he considers his greatest teacher and advisor. Under his Father's guidance, and from a very young age, Aldhaheri was involved in the family business. By the age of 18, running the family business was as natural as breathing.

Apart from being entrepreneurial at heart, Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Aldhaheri never shied away from any challenge that others would think impossible. While enrolled in the Business Administration program at UAE University, Aldhaheri tackled his role in sales at the Bin Harmal Travel & Tourism Agency. By the time he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 1997, Mr. Aldhaheri had developed such solid expertise in the industry that he opened his own company, Desert Adventure Tourism, where he served as Chairman until it was sold in 2007. As a testament of his business acumen, one of his first startups adventure, Desert Adventure Tourism, sold for a rate that was 400 fold its original investment.

In fact, Aldhaheri put his knowledge to work in founding, launching, and managing several successful business entities across a number of different sectors: IT, finance, education, tourism, insurance, and real estate.

A Passion for Learning and Business

Not satisfied with these achievements, Aldhaheri decided to pursue a Masters of Business Administration at The American University in Washington DC. After graduating with distinction, he returned home to the United Arab Emirates where he resumed his role of Chairman of Liwa International School and took on the same for Bin Harmal Sons Group and Emirates International Hospital.

After years of experience and having decided that his true passion lay in Strategic Educational Management, Aldhaheri rose to the ultimate challenge of opening the first private university in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. In 2003, Abu Dhabi University opened its doors to 1000 students. Today, the state of the art facility services approximately 7000 students and offers 45 locally and internationally accredited programs. Under his leadership, Abu Dhabi University was among the youngest of institutions to receive international recognition by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The success of this phenomenal endeavor is confirmation of the tenacious determination and management know-how of its Chairman, Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Aldhaheri.

Apart from this, Aldhaheri is also involved in numerous other organizations and committees: Chairman of The Knowledge Group, Chairman of Magna Investments, Chairman of Fortune Properties, Chairman of Watania PLC, Chairman of Al Khawarizmi Holding Company, Board Member of Abu Dhabi University Holding Company, Vice President of Higher Education Sports Federation, etc.

While overseeing these endeavors, Aldhaheri also served as Managing Director of Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company from 2008 until June 2016. Under his leadership, Abu Dhabi has jumped 161 places in the ICCA ranking - from 234 to 73 (March 2016) to be considered among the top destinations for meetings and congresses. Under the helm of Aldhaheri, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company attained a number of achievements which included a 167% growth in Group revenues and 185% growth in EBITDA from 2008 to 2016; timely and on budget expansion that included three full service hotels to support convention visitors; successful alignment of key events with the 2030 Strategic Plan: IDEX, ADIHEX, Najah, ADIPEC, IDEX; and a 135% increase in profits at ExCeL London with a 88% increase in the value of the business. In 2013 alone, ADNEC hosted 480 events, which attracted 1.52 million attendees and generated an economic impact of AED 2.98 billion.

Philosophy on Education

Although successful across a number of entities and industries, Aldhaheri believes firmly in the power of education. To his mind, education is the pathway to transformation, of the individual, of society, of the global community. The power of his commitment to this philosophy is evidenced by the strength of the educational portfolio he has developed which spans decades of effort and focus. In fact, he considers himself a lifelong learner, so much so that he enrolled in and completed his PhD studies at Durham University.

Community Service

Aldhaheri strongly believes in the importance of actively shaping the kind of change we wish to see in the world. As such, he participates in a number of community organizations that serve to develop different aspects of society. He is a member of the following societies that foster positive relations among different cultural groups: Emirati-German Friendship Society and Emarati - Swiss Friendship Society. This provides opportunities for cross-cultural sharing and growth. As a member of Al Ain Sports Club, Aldhaheri is dedicated to active healthy living within the community. Finally, he supports knowledge sharing with regard to family business as part of his membership with Campden Family and the Gulf Family Business Council.

Personal Life

Although Aldhaheri is busy, he always manages to have time for the priorities dear to his heart - his family. He also enjoys farming activities on the family farm. His athletic pursuits involve Taekwondo, where he proudly achieved the rank of red belt.