I have just finished teaching a course in family business in Dubai, a business oasis of 3 million people, a city-state with daringly designed high rises and bustling commerce on the Arabian Gulf. For four days, this open and eager group of 75 mostly middle-eastern young men and women, an even balance gender wise, engaged in vigorous exchange. Each of them wrote a personal account of their family businesses, and their stories gave me a window into the challenges of a poor and tradition-bound culture struggling forward to enter a global, technical commercial world. In a single generation the world of the Middle East has been transformed, even as it grapples with unrest and violence.

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