The connection between Jordan and Europe
Jordan is a land steeped in history. It has been the home to some of humankind’s earliest settlements and villages. Relics of many of the world’s great civilizations can still be seen there today. As a crossroads of the Middle East, the lands of Jordan and Palestine have served as strategic points connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe. Evidence of Jordan’s history dates as far back as 7,000 years BC.
,,Our cultures are interconnected and influenced by one another. The cooperation between the Middle East and Europe is incredibly important and we need to help each other, as we are neighbors, and our relations are interconnected.” Mrs. Shermine Dajani tells me
It was my great honor to speak with a prominent bridge builder between Europe and the Middle East, Mrs. Shermine Dajani. A multinational business executive, founder and CEO of the PanMed Group of companies, and a founding partner of Medgrid France with a vast knowledge and substantive experience in technology and international business. She is formidable force illuminating what women can achieve and was in the top 100 most illustrious women in the world in 2021.
Mrs. Shermine Dajani is a very strong representative of women of power. She has a deep knowledge and a lot of experience in technology and international business.
Le Globless: I would love to know how it all began with regards to your successful career. How did you become a Founder & CEO of PanMed Energy?
Shermine Dajani: When I was a little girl I was a very talented writer. I began to work within journalism and my parents wanted me to study diplomacy and international relations.
I began my career working for the Jordanian Television, editing news. As a 22-year-old I interviewed Heads of States including His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos the Sultan of Oman. I also worked in my late father’s company, He was a pioneer and an innovative man. I probably inherited my ambition and strong work ethics from him.
,,I was driven and ambitious and I had the support of my family to aim high. I could do absolutely anything. The sky was the limit for me.”
My Grandfather was the first agent in the world of Mobil Oil, and I grew up surrounded by strong creative men who saw challenge as a bridge to cross. I learnt a lot from my father who participated in large infrastructure projects in Jordan and always encouraged me to follow my own path.
When I married, I moved to Washington, DC where I continued my work with fathers’ company. It was an opportunity for me to learn and understand American business practices. In 1995, I returned to Jordan, where I began to focus on IT and on security within the telecom sector. It was a very interesting and important industry at the time. I represented French companies in the sector.
I subsequently became interested in the energy sector, and I became a representative of a multinational engineering company based in France.
One of the interesting projects we successfully implemented was the supervision of the construction of Arab gas pipelines. We then won the contract for the site selection and characterization of the nuclear power stations, a project that was shelved as Jordan subsequently decided to focus on renewable energy. We also participated with a consortium to implement the engineering for the Aqaba LNG terminal and involved with design engineering of solar projects as well as, and design supervision of other gas pipelines.
Le Globless: Green energy is the sector of the future. Are you involved in creating resource sustainability?
Shermine Dajani:Very much so. During the covid, I began to focus on applying new green solutions such as concentrated solar power and supplying concentrated natural gas to our factories in Jordan. I am continually exploring new technologies in our region with regards to big consumers such as factories and hotels. Jordan is blessed with sunshine year-round, and we must aim to increase green solutions.
,,The world is a global village interdependent, and we must work together as our future depends on the mutual interest of preserving our planet.“
Le Globless: You are a successful woman, and you are dedicated to key world topics like water and energy. You have achieved a number of successes. Is water the world’s main theme, especially in the Arab countries?
Shermine Dajani: I am acutely aware of the importance of water living in a country that is second most scarce of water in the world. Last year was very demanding for us as it was very dry, and we had almost no rain. Our zone has extreme weather, exceptionally high temperatures in the summer that destroy infrastructure and this impact is devastating Water is the most basic element of life and survival for the whole planet from trees, animals and us.
We all have to be active in preserving our resources for our children and future generations before it’s too late. Our future depends on science and technology solutions in order to do this. Although there was a devastating impact of the Covid pandemic with tragic human loss as well as economic cost, there was one positive consequence that emerged from that disaster… The whole planet came to a stop allowing nature to recover for a brief time. Planes were grounded, people worked from home and used bicycles, the air was clean and there was no noise pollution in the city, birds were everywhere. We should be able to create and sustain that green environment without a pandemic.
As such I am a strong advocate of green energy as it will be a step in the right direction to preserve our resources. In today’s modern world we are reliant on transport which is the biggest polluter to climate change. However, electric and hydrogen cars are available nowadays and governments should offer incentives for consumers to adopt clean transport.
Transforming into green energy and saving resources is a necessary issue that must be addressed by the entire world, not just by individual countries, because this issue affects us immediately. The main polluter is the transportation sector. Enforcing green energy and electric vehicles is therefore the main topic.
We must be aware of climate change and the weather in regions where there are more deserts and where, in the summer you have extreme temperatures of 50- 60C. High temperatures make urban life unbearable. The loss of birds, animals, insects and certain fish is very dangerous and scary.
,,At the same time, drinking water resources and growing land are diminishing.. We no longer have time to wait for changes to occur immediately.”
,,Children are our future. It is important to educate our children and to teach them how to prevent the terrible effects of civilization on the planet. We need to be environmentally aware.”
Le Globless: Mrs. Shermine Dajani, you are a Member of the Executive Board of the International Water Bank. Is water the number one topic in the environment?
Shermine Dajani:Water is one of the key elements we need to consider in respect of the environment. Our aim is to invest in sustainable and green projects regarding water ensuring its clean and available. We don’t have an alternative. We are losing insects, wildlife, animals and birds. The effects of climate change are devastating our planet and I do feel our governments and schools have a big role in raising awareness about the environment
,,We try to conserve and appreciate water as much as possible. Water has become a worldwide problem. “
It is very important to focus on preserving water and not to continue the pollution of the universe. The acceleration of climate change effects has the brought the world dangerously closed to abrupt and irreversible changes. Many countries in our region have desalination plants. However, the desalination of seawater has a destructive effect on our ecosystem. It destroys under water life, and this changes the balance of the ocean increasing global warming.
,,Extensive desalination solutions consume huge reserves of oil. More than half of the total production is by the States and this solution are not ecological and in the long run, unsustainable.”
I am a Member of the Executive Board of the International Water Bank, which is the bank registered in the Netherlands. The bank invests in sustainable and green projects regarding water. We don’t have a choice; we are losing insects, animals and birds and we really have to make sure the temperature goes down a little. Governments have a big role in education and raising awareness about the environment.
Le Globless: Is it true that you are building bridges between Europe and the Middle East?
Shermine Dajani: I have always felt that it is vital to build bridges between communities. I am in the fortunate position of being a member of the Jordanian Chamber of Commerce and Business clubs in France and Italy. I have always been interested in organizing activities between Europe and the Middle East, whether it was culture or trade. We have so much that we can share in our cultures, history and traditions. I am a firm believer that this interaction not only enhances the economic environment and benefits the communities, but it also brings an understanding and appreciation of our respective traditions. In Jordan we regularly organize events to which we invite prominent people from all over the world. We try to build relations and cooperation in every sector from universities to medical facilities to more recently the ports in France and Aqaba. It’s very important that we create and continue to build bridges of cooperation that bring communities closer. I am continually working on initiatives to bring and enhance our communities as I believe it brings added value.
Le Globless: What role do strong women play in international business?
Shermine Dajani: I have always felt that we women play a vital role whether it’s as homemakers establishing security and comfort for the new generation or contributing to the workforce. The climate for women in recent times has changed in a more positive and constructive way. There is still a long way to go as prejudices remain and we still have to work that much harder to be accepted but the barriers are steadily coming down. I take my work seriously and I am always well prepared on my subject and research extensively so that there is no room for ambiguity. I treat my male counterparts with respect, and I expect the same back. We women in the Arab world have achieved much in the last decades, and I am hugely supportive in mentoring and encouraging young women to pursue their dreams as my late father did.
,,How you project yourself. How you behave. People will assess you in a few minutes. And very soon they will forget if you are a man or a woman.. It is all about your knowledge of the topic.”
,,We can be successful in any given field because we think differently, we understand differently. Women are very successful and behind every strong man is an amazingly strong woman.”
At the end of the day, it is women who influence men and have a big role to play in their success, in the conservative Arab society. I believe that women are strong and can do anything.
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