Together We Have Written History

Early Days

My story begins in 1973 with a simple boyhood promise to myself to do my utmost to help those around me. As a child growing up in the bustling environment of a Tunisian port town, this promise was not about any particular desire to break into the financial world, yet I quickly realised that economic prosperity provided me with the best opportunity to alleviate some of the material difficulties those closest to me were encountering on their trip through this life. When I realised how happy I could make people by simply sharing the benefits of my boyhood entrepreneurism, the feeling of euphoria was so strong that it drove me to concoct new ways to take advantage of the opportunities life was granting me every day. Indeed, to this day nothing gives me more pleasure than helping people in need.

Although I was not given any more chances than the average person, I instinctively knew how to make the most of an opportunity. I believe that gifts are bestowed on us to help others and we should never forget this – a gift by definition is something bequeathed upon us and it is our duty to nurture it – a gift is only enhanced through hard work and a determined spirit before its true worth is ever be manifested.

The Road To Success

This brings us to the second part of my story – the sheer hard graft and refusal to allow setbacks defeat me. I truly believe that in order to get what you want you must never lose sight of your goals. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling: Dream but do not make dreams your master – in other words stay ambitious and grounded but do not allow the reality of your circumstances limit you.

The Desire to Make a Difference

The final part of my story regards my desire to make a real difference. As I became more and more successful in the world of business and commerce, I soon found that this alone was no longer enough for me. I was acutely aware that as a highly successful international entrepreneur, I was able to build close relationships with many world leaders in the political, industrial and literary arenas. The course of events in the Middle East and Africa deeply troubled me, so I decided to do everything in my power to help. During the Clinton administration, my contacts and experience combined with my neutrality, resulted on me being called upon as a behind the scenes negotiator and arbitrator; this role allowed me to promote my lifelong belief that dialogue and compromise provide the only possibility to pave the way for peace and stability.

So trust your instincts throughout and never waver, follow both head and heart in equal measure but most of all when "two roads diverge in a wood"* take the one less travelled, as this will make all the difference.

* From Robert Frost’s ‘The Road not Taken’