AUB and Coca-Cola – Business Partnerships for Developmen

The American University of Beirut (AUB), Suliman S. Olayan School of Business and The Coca-Cola Company held the third OSB-Coca-Cola marketing seminar under the auspices of the OSB Coca-Cola Chair in Marketing at AUB’s Habib Maamari Auditorium today. The seminar, entitled ‘Business Partnerships for Development: The Case of the National Beverage Company (NBC) in the West Bank and Gaza,’ follows the publication of a detailed study by the Harvard Kennedy School which highlights the direct and indirect contribution of Coca-Cola and NBC to West Bank and Gaza communities since 1998.

The panel was open to AUB students and faculty, and was attended by key stakeholders and business organizations. The panel was moderated by Dr Dima Jamali, convenor of the Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship track at the Olayan School of Business, representing Dr George Najjar, Dean of the Olayan School of Business, and included the following panelists : Mr. Zahi Khouri, Chairman of the National Beverage Company; Ms. Jane Nelson, Director of CSR Initiative in Harvard Kennedy School and co-author of the Harvard Kennedy School Study; and Dr Nada Al Nashef, Regional Director of the International Labor Organization.

Dr. Dima Jamali, of the Olayan School of Business, opened the panel by welcoming the panel participants.  She stressed on the importance of corporate support to academic institutions which is manifested here through the Coca-Cola Chair of Marketing at AUB.  She also spoke about the role of the corporate world in the development of the communities in which they operate and do business.

Mr. Zahi Khouri, Chairman of the National Beverage Company, said: “The partnership between ourselves and Coca-Cola has allowed us to support thousands of Palestinian families through our local sourcing networks and distribution systems. As a result, for every job created within the Coca-Cola system in West Bank and Gaza, a multiplier effect takes place and allows 10 more jobs to be created in the Palestinian economy, through hundreds of local suppliers and in turn, and thousands of retail outlets.”

The study’s co-author, and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School Jane Nelson, added: “The Harvard Kennedy Study sheds light on the magnitude of positive impact the partnership between Coca-Cola and the National Beverage Company has had on these communities while also giving insight to how both companies have transferred international standards and technology and helped to build local capacity and human capital and they continue to do it.”

In alignment with The Coca-Cola Company worldwide initiative to support global education and to promote the study of the field of Marketing through research and service, a Coca-Cola Chair in Marketing was established at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business 5 years ago following a contribution from The Coca-Cola Foundation.  Through this ongoing partnership, Coca-Cola and AUB are again demonstrating their commitment to quality education in the region and long-term dedication to the development of future business talents in the Arab World.