Sfax has long been the industrial engine of Tunisia and its people have traditionally been known for their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.
Like many Tunisians of his generation, Kamel Ghribi left home to study abroad. Although today he is Chairman of Swiss based GK Investment Holding Group, President of GKSD Holding Italy, President of GSD Healthcare Middle East and Vice President of GSD, one of the largest healthcare providers in Europe; he made his fortune working in the petroleum sector in the Middle East, the U.S. and Europe. His holding investments continue to be made across multiple sectors, however, healthcare investment has always been a priority to him, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
During his international career, Kamel Ghribi inevitably came into contact with world leaders and luminaries from the political, industrial and cultural arenas. Having established many key acquaintances and over the course of time, he was fortunate enough to develop close relationships with some of the most important figures of modern history.
Yet his North African heart was deeply troubled by the course of events in the Middle East and Africa and the lack of investment in many sectors such as healthcare, education and infrastructure; so he decided to discuss those concerns openly with the people he esteemed most and who were in positions of influence.
In particular, he was disturbed by how the lack of understanding between certain nations was so deep rooted as to seem almost impossible to overcome, resulting in potential investors being reluctant to develop projects in many nations.
Sadly, we still have a long way to go before a workable solution to conflict resolution can be found. However, Kamel Ghribi firmly believes that we can work together to create greater cooperation and dialogue which will in turn define the ideal framework to rebuild impoverished economies and fractured societies. That is to say, dialogue and cultural awareness are key to the foundation of stable social and political systems in the Middle East and Africa. Only through the principles of unity, faith, discipline, tolerance and respect will we finally gain peace and prosperity.
Just as change is a certainty in business, so in life. It has been argued that nothing is certain other than mortality and we cannot know what the future holds. However, Kamel Ghribi believes that there is no self-knowledge but an historical one and in this age of strife he would hope that the new generation of political and business leaders can learn from their predecessors mistakes and move forward into the future not in fear, but rather in acceptance of the tremendous challenges and responsibilities facing them ahead.
Inspiring others is not difficult. All it takes is being tuned into those around you and finding a way to say the right word at the right moment. Even the smallest of gestures carried out at the right time will have the potential to turn a life around.
The capacity to care about what you do and how much you want to make a difference in the world is what makes a life deeply significant. The true meaning of life is to sow the seeds and reap the fruits of which you expect to enjoy.
Mortality defines the human condition. All that we achieve for ourselves alone during this life is destined to end with us. As the great homeric hero Achilles understood, immortality is only possible through the actions we carry out for the greater good.
Sometimes you need to find the courage in business to take a giant step – you can’t cross to the riverbank in a few small jumps. Wherever you see a successful business, then you also see the result of some courageous and difficult decisions.
Just as mistakes teach you how to be better, so failure let's the world see that you have tried. We should remember our failures with fondness as they are testimony to the courage we had to try something new and uncharted.
The essence of leadership is vision. Without looking forward and envisioning possibilities that will create a shared view of the future, then it becomes an all but impossible endeavour to lead an organisation towards success.
Kamel Ghribi's personal vision has always permeated every activity he has undertaken and it articulates itself through his beliefs, his actions, his values, his passion and his goals.
Experience teaches us that a personal vision must be shared and in order to share a dream people need to see the image of how that dream might look in the future. As a leader, Kamel Ghribi feels that it is essential to provide a vision of how hopes can be fulfilled by communicating an image of the future that will draw others in.
He believes that every entrepreneur has a civic responsibility to educate and mentor our youth and teach them to advance and evolve through the transmission of skills and experience so that they can be enriched and proud of their achievements.
However, we can do this only if we stand together and communicate across all sectors. He has often stated that we must not allow petty political divisions to get in the way of this important goal and risk losing the common objective that binds us together, not only as entrepreneurs, but also as fellow human beings. The only way forward is through inclusiveness and peaceful political acceptance.
Yet, all of our efforts will be in vain in the absence of shared economic advancement. Hence, Kamel Ghribi sees it as his duty as an investor to support nations and governments where his holding has interests.
Success does not solely depend on opportunity, but also on commitment and on how you interact with those around you.
Kamel Ghribi has always aimed to treat individuals with respect, unless they prove to be unworthy of such respect. He lives by the maxim that you must treat the least of your brothers as you would the grandest and pay no heed to creed, colour or standing; for, as he has often said, in the last analysis we will all come full circle through that greatest of levellers which marks the human condition - mortality.
He has always maintained that a life led in dignity and fairness is attainable to all, that with an open mind you will find your life enrichened in unique ways by those around you.
He lives in the firm believe that we must never to lose sight of our goals, as success is rarely immediate; rather, it takes a great deal of commitment, perseverance and patience to achieve an objective. Indeed, through the years he has often seen people lose motivation or interest in favour of easier pursuits. Yet, in his long career, he has seen first-hand that those who have clearly defined goals generally succeed because they are committed to the path they have chosen and do not allow obstacles to prevent them from attaining their objectives.
Kamel Ghribi has often stated that we have to accept defeat when our goals are shattered, however we must never lose heart and always pick ourselves up again. His success has shown that true and dedicated commitment is the only way to find enduring success in every field, whether business or personal.
A strong sense of social responsibility encompasses everything we undertake whether civic, corporate, philanthropic or employment diversity practices.
Leadership is defined by many subtle characteristics, but the one that defines our destiny is wisdom. Wisdom gives us the courage to know when to correct our course along the way.
Objectivity is a quality we should always strive to attain across all aspects of life. Objectivity is not impartiality; it is our attempt to be balanced in our view of society.
Over the course of his career Kamel Ghribi has found himself increasingly applying his business skills to engage with institutions and state entities to promote a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical legacies that influence how business relations are developed among nations.
Through the years, he has seen that our world has become more interconnected, consequently, constructive dialogue has become essential to the advancement of interests in diplomatic and business relations. In his view, constructive dialogue represents a strategic opportunity to approach complex business projects and accompany them through to a successful conclusion. In light of this, he firmly believes that the business world had a moral obligation to use its skills to assist and enrich the nations within which it operates, whether developed or developing.
Kamel Ghribi has never shared the belief that success in business comes without social responsibility and throughout his career he has always endeavoured to engage with institutions, government entities and local businesses to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical legacies that will in turn shape his business model accordingly.
He has always stated that hope must never be lost if we are to have a clear vision for our childrens future. We cannot allow poverty and ignorance to prevail and compromise the visionary work already achieved thus far. We have a civic responsibility to educate and mentor our youth and teach them to advance, evolve and be proud of their achievements.
He has held a lifelong belief that we cannot simply profit from a region such as the Middle East or a continent such as Africa we must use our skills to foster peace and stability by creating opportunities for growth that in turn lead to social and economic development. He further believes that through engaging in business projects that help local populations in the fields of healthcare and education we can make a real contribution towards a better world.
Kamel Ghribi firmly believes that Social responsibility in business means working closely with leading industry experts, educational institutions and corporations that allow the more vulnerable members of society to develop and seek career opportunities through various platforms. Only through youth empowerment will it become possible to establish profitable enterprises and create social and economic value.
I have committed a major part of my life to philanthropy and profoundly share the humanitarian vision of giving and growing through philanthropic projects. I have made it my mission to help those in need, regardless of creed or provenance.
Having gained early business success in the petroleum sector, and in my role as Chairman of GK Investment Holding Group, I have a deep understanding of how the trappings of personal success can be used a practical and positive way to help improve the lives of those in need.
I have always tried to make sure that my achievements in business became instruments to promote the causes close to my heart. I am determined, in particular, to raise awareness of the importance of access to universal healthcare and education; these two fundamental pillars of a civil society need to be accessible to all no matter what their financial, political, religious or geographical circumstances.
We can all help to achieve this goal through the endowment of institutions in nations that need our support, either economically or by giving our time and talent. I am honoured to be President of GSD Healthcare Middle East, a top class hospital group that continually creates opportunities to promote access to treatment and healthcare facilities through the sharing of skills, knowledge and expertise in nations hoping to achieve access to affordable universal healthcare.
As with many noble concepts in life, we have the Greeks to thank for the concept of Philanthropy. Coming from 'philos' loving + 'anthrōpos' man, the two roots combine to convey the ideal of altruistic love of humanity.
By honouring the principles of philanthropy we automatically build bridges that in turn foster cooperation across all sectors, whether business, education or healthcare. In the final analysis, such cooperation is responsible for creating the foundation for stable societies that are based on the principles of unity, faith, discipline, tolerance and respect.
Significant acts of philanthropy, whether private or public, make our legacy worthwhile as individuals and as citizens and I will continue to emulate the greatest icons of generosity in my quest to drive humanitarian projects in the field of Healthcare and Education.