The Arab Power List 2021: The 100 individuals shaping the Middle East

The Arab Power List 2021: The 100 individuals shaping the Middle East

Randa Bessiso, The University of Manchester Middle East Director, included in the Arab Power List 2021
Randa Bessiso, Founding Director of the University of Manchester’s Middle East Centre in Dubai, has been included in the annual Arab Power List 2021 published by Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine. Ms Bessiso joined an exclusive group of 100 individuals – Arab women and men across the world - active across a diverse range of endeavours, who have all had a significant impact on life in the Middle East and ‘’all have done something remarkable in their field worth celebrating”. Ms Bessiso, who is a Lebanese national of Palestinian origin, was also named among the 30 most influential women in the Arab World by Arabian Business in 2019.

The higher education field, like many others, was severely disrupted in 2020 and Ms Bessiso led the Middle East Centre team in ensuring continuity of study and access to support for the thousands of part-time Master’s students – all working professionals facing their own personal challenges - across the region. Faculty-led workshops and student networking were quickly moved online and the team developed an intense programme of online engagement to ensure students could continue their studies on schedule. As the pandemic has developed, the University has moved to hybrid options for students to select their preferred format while still enjoying all the benefits of face to face contact.  The team successfully brought together the current students and alumni in the region, through an intense programme of virtual events. 

Commenting on the award, Randa Bessiso says: “In an extraordinary year, it is a great pleasure to be acknowledged with this recognition but I am very fortunate to have the committed support of my team in Dubai, our partners and friends in the region, and colleagues on campus. I dedicate the award to them all. It is gratifying that we have been able to maintain our services and support, and connect our community right across the region. We have also helped students in need of support and continue our social responsibility programme. In fact, our engagement across our regional community has never been better. The pandemic has been above all a human crisis and we have focused on our people. I congratulate all those extraordinary individuals included in the list for their remarkable contributions. At the University, we believe it is our shared responsibility to make a difference and they certainly have.”

Randa Bessiso has more than 25 years’ experience in business education and is the founding director of The University of Manchester Middle East Centre. Randa has been recognised many times 
for her work in founding and building the Middle East Centre into the largest and fastest growing in the University’s international network - and a UK higher education success story. She is also a regular media commentator and speaker on her special area of interest - ‘women in business’. 

The University of Manchester launched the Middle East Centre at Dubai Knowledge Park, United Arab Emirates, in 2006. Today, the Centre is the largest in the University’s international network of centres in key cities around the world, comprising Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Manchester. The University of Manchester has a global mission focusing on the three pillars of teaching, research and social responsibility. The Middle East Centre supports all three pillars and in addition to the extensive teaching programme, it has also been active in regional and local research, and in social responsibility through its support for a range of local community initiatives.

The University of Manchester was named as the world’s 27th best university in the QS World University Rankings, sixth in the UK, and eighth in Europe.