Dr Mohamed Al Azhari, a Syrian, decided to move from his university in Berlin to Abu Dhabi in 1966, before the seven Trucial states unified to become the UAE. His two sons, Anwar Al Azhari, born in1970 in Dubai, and Karim Al Azhari, born in 1973 in Abu Dhabi are now carrying the baton of a family business he set up then, drawing from the rich learnings of a Syrian- German parentage.

Business in the 70s and now

“In the 70s, it was a simpler world. Business deals were sealed with a handshake; the community was very personal. The availability of items was scarce, but that did not deter businesses or stop them from striving forward. Businesses go forward without knowing the other side of the transactions. Now there is an abundance of everything that has made business very competitive,” says Dr Al Azhari, looking back.

For Dr Azhari’s sons, Anwar and Karim, taking over the reins of the family business was a natural progression that happened along with the growth of a nation.

Karim Al Azhari

Karim Al Azhari

“I am very privileged to have spent my lifetime watching the incredible yet calculated transition of the UAE to what it is today. I am proud of my parents who have brought with them their rich roots of Syria and Germany to the then simple communities in the UAE made up of mostly locals, sharing evenings comparing their amazingly contrasting lives,” says Karim.

“Every single year my life has been spent in the UAE, bonding with the country and finding my answers to how I can contribute back to the country,” adds Karim.

Down the memory lane

Dr Azhari is a Ph.D. holder in Civil Engineering, and it was his professor at the Free University of Berlin who recognised the value of combining Syrian origin and German education and that could benefit Abu Dhabi’s future and set the right path forward.

“By the time I was born, my father had established a contracting company in Abu Dhabi and he has shared wonderful stories with me about his experiences,” said Karim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *