ABCK-AmCham Kuwait holds its sig­na­ture ‘Town­hall’ event

Belonus high­lights chal­lenges of pan­demic

Arab Times - - LOCAL - By Chaitali B. Roy

ON Tues­day, Sept 22, the Amer­i­can Busi­ness Coun­cil – AmCham Kuwait (ABCKAmCham Kuwait) held its sig­na­ture Town­hall. Over sixty peo­ple tuned into the vir­tual event, which included the US Am­bas­sador to Kuwait Alina L. Ro­manowski, guests from the ABCK-AmCham Kuwait com­mu­nity, US Em­bassy, and non-mem­bers from across dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries in Kuwait. The Amer­i­can Busi­ness Coun­cil of Kuwait (ABCK) is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the pro­mo­tion and devel­op­ment of Amer­i­can busi­ness and Amer­i­can busi­ness in­ter­ests in Kuwait. ABCK strives to pro­mote bet­ter aware­ness of Amer­i­can com­pa­nies, prod­ucts, and ser­vices in Kuwait and pro­vides a fo­rum for Amer­i­can busi­ness and busi­ness in­ter­ests and ad­vo­cates the en­hance­ment of busi­ness climate within Kuwait.

In his open­ing state­ments, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Chair­man, Frank Belonus, wel­comed the US am­bas­sador and the at­ten­dees. He spoke of the chal­lenges of the pan­demic and col­lec­tive ef­fort of the ABCK–AmCham Kuwait in con­fronting it. “Ev­ery sin­gle one of us has been af­fected per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally, but like all chal­lenges in life, we per­se­vere, we find so­lu­tions, we band to­gether, and we over­come,” said Belonus. “ABCK con­tin­ues to find cre­ative ways to sup­port you and your busi­ness needs by pro­vid­ing we­bi­nars fo­cused on these new chal­lenges that we are fac­ing, find­ing ways to bring our busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties to­gether and by pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion, fa­cil­i­tat­ing knowl­edge shar­ing and pro­vid­ing you a col­lec­tive voice.” Belonus went on to pro­vide an over­view of the event agenda and in­tro­duced ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s board of di­rec­tors. Fol­low­ing that, Belonus dis­cussed the var­i­ous Fo­cus Groups within ABCKAmCham Kuwait and in­vited mem­bers to play an ac­tive role and join any fo­cus group of in­ter­est.


The Guest of Honor, Am­bas­sador Ro­manowski af­ter tak­ing to the vir­tual stage said, “For the past 35 years, AmCham Kuwait has played a vi­tal role as the voice of the Amer­i­can busi­ness com­mu­nity in Kuwait. I’ve had the honor of speak­ing to AmCham Kuwait’s lead­er­ship and mem­bers at sev­eral vir­tual en­gage­ments through­out the COVID cri­sis. Dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tions, we dis­cussed the im­por­tance of es­tab­lish­ing and fos­ter­ing strong re­la­tion­ships be­tween our two gov­ern­ments and the busi­ness com­mu­nity in the U.S. and Kuwait to im­prove the bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment re­la­tion­ship.” She then dis­cussed the im­por­tance of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries, em­pha­siz­ing the bi­lat­eral trade be­tween Kuwait and the U.S. and how to­gether, both or­ga­ni­za­tions work to im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and in­crease the over­all trade re­la­tion­ship.

The high­light of the event was the Na­tional Desert Storm Desert Shield Me­mo­rial. The guest speaker at the event, Cee Free­man, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Desert Storm Desert Shield gave a pre­sen­ta­tion de­tail­ing The Na­tional Desert Storm and Desert Shield Me­mo­rial in Washington D.C. which will stand as a re­mem­brance of the im­por­tant events which took place in 1990 and 1991. “The world needs to re­mem­ber what hap­pened 30 years ago,” said Free­man, a desert storm veteran, who served in the war as a 20-year-old. “Our mis­sion is to build this by the end of veteran’s day 2021 to com­mem­o­rate and honor those mem­bers of the armed forces who served on ac­tive duty in sup­port of op­er­a­tion desert storm and desert shield” said Free­man. He high­lighted how the goal is to break ground on the Me­mo­rial in Fe­bru­ary 2021 to co­in­cide with the 30th An­niver­sary of the Lib­er­a­tion of Kuwait, re­it­er­at­ing how The Na­tional Desert Storm War Me­mo­rial is deeply hon­ored to re­ceive this sup­port from the State of Kuwait. “The me­mo­rial will com­mem­o­rate a sig­nif­i­cant global mo­ment of the 20th cen­tury,” he said. “Thirty four na­tions acted to­gether in a U.S. led coali­tion to en­force U.N. Res­o­lu­tion 660 and lib­er­ate the State of Kuwait. The new ap­proach to re­solv­ing con­flict united the world, and sig­ni­fied the end of the Cold War.” The me­mo­rial will men­tion names of com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als who make sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to its re­al­iza­tion.

Later in the meet­ing, Esra Cav­darli Menke, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, in­tro­duced Rachad Ab­dal­lah, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Chair of Mem­ber­ship Com­mit­tee, and Pres­i­dent of Honey­well Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq. Mr Ab­dal­lah pro­vided a brief­ing on mem­ber­ship and pol­icy up­dates such as the Mem­ber-toMem­ber Ben­e­fits Pro­gram, MENA AmCham Ben­e­fits, and the Cham­ber’s var­i­ous ini­tia­tives to con­nect cor­po­rate mem­bers. “One of our ini­tia­tives was to pro­vide a grace pe­riod from Fe­bru­ary to Septem­ber to those mem­bers in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try who hadn’t paid their dues, and al­low­ing the rest of the cor­po­rate mem­bers to pay in in­stall­ments to ease the fi­nan­cial bur­den,” said Ab­dal­lah. He then con­cluded his re­marks by en­cour­ag­ing at­ten­dees to learn more about ABCK-AmCham Kuwait. “If you know any­one who would like to join our cham­ber of com­merce, please let us know, and we’ll be happy to con­tact them.”


This was fol­lowed by an over­view of events and pro­grams over the past year by Pete Swift, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Vice Chair­man and Events Com­mit­tee Chair. Swift spoke of past events and high­lighted some of the events that ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has planned for 2020. “We have been do­ing sev­eral on­line we­bi­nars since the pan­demic, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with sev­eral mem­bers as well as dif­fer­ent AmChams across the GCC. We will keep on do­ing we­bi­nars un­til the sit­u­a­tion has set­tled. We can meet in a phys­i­cal space” said Swift. He elab­o­rated on some of the we­bi­nars held re­cently, em­pha­siz­ing how the “main goal for these we­bi­nars was to ed­u­cate/in­form the public dur­ing this time, as sev­eral of these top­ics tack­led ques­tions that many of you had in mind, such as the laws at the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic, fi­nan­cial sup­port and the cen­tral bank’s ac­tions, the econ­omy across the GCC and what we may be see­ing in the fu­ture.”

Swift handed over the vir­tual stage to Akram Ka­mal, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Chair of U.S.-Kuwait Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee, who dis­cussed in de­tail the lat­est up­dates from the U.S.-Kuwait Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee. Mr Ka­mal elab­o­rated on dif­fer­ent events and projects the com­mit­tee or­ga­nized such as round­table with U.S. Un­der­sec­re­tary of State to dis­cuss chal­lenges of Amer­i­can busi­nesses in Kuwait, a White Pa­per sub­mit­ted to Kuwaiti Gov­ern­ment and the U.S., and par­tic­i­pa­tion in var­i­ous dis­cus­sions with U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The event con­cluded with Esra Cav­darli Menke, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, brief­ing mem­bers on the Cham­ber’s ac­tiv­i­ties and achieve­ments over the past year. “Al­though we have had to take dif­fi­cult mea­sures due to the COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion, not be­ing able to host any phys­i­cal events, we have been work­ing hard to con­tinue pro­vid­ing our mem­bers with the best,” said Menke. She con­cluded the ses­sion with Q&A where guest speak­ers re­sponded to ques­tions sub­mit­ted by the at­ten­dees re­gard­ing the event, busi­ness con­cerns, and ABCK-AmCham Kuwait.

Frank Belonus

Cee Free­man

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.