The MENAT region is home to 270 members of Generation Orange—alumni who graduated from SU in the past 10 years. These grads are laying their roots as young leaders and professionals, buoyed by a network of established SU alumni. Learn more about Generation Orange.
Read about these Generation Orange alums building promising careers in the region:
Omar Al Banawi, 14’
President, Generation Orange-MENAT
Omar believes SU prepared him for his successful career in finance. He currently works for JISR Venture Partners, a boutique private equity investment firm based in Dubai. Prior to joining JISR, he worked for Hassana Investment Company in Saudi Arabia, Deloitte Corporate Finance in Dubai, and The Bedrock group in London.
“SU helped prepare me for the real world in terms of my career, but it also gave me the right tools to be a proactive global citizen,” says Omar. “The diverse student body and second-to-none professors helped me develop the right mix of soft and interpersonal skills that helped catapult me to where I am today.”
As an alumnus, Omar is very passionate about expanding SU’s presence and mission in the Middle East. It’s one of the main reasons he agreed to serve as president of Generation Orange-MENAT. He also cares about giving back to SU to shape the SU experience for future students, and doing his part to help the University excel.
“My college years at Syracuse has truly shaped what I am today,” he says. “I bleed orange!”
Lara Marto ’13
At SU, Lara learned to be courageous and shape her own future. She found an enhanced version of herself, thanks to the many support services available on campus. The diverse environment enabled Lara to strengthen her ability to be patient, open, and inclusive. This helped her immensely in her personal and professional life, where understanding teammates and friends is imperative to reaching shared goals. Lara is currently a brand manager at Nestlé working on the Maggi brand in Dubai.
To ensure that future students have the opportunities that influenced her life, Lara has made it a priority to talk to students and parents about SU every chance she can. She also makes time to “visit” as a guest speaker for SU marketing classes via Skype.
Nour Taher ’15
SU was a game-changer for Nour. He cites the quality of education, standard of professionalism, opportunity to make connections among SU’s greatest strengths. Being a Fulbright Scholar equipped him to handle "real world" situations on and off the job. Nour feels his SU experience taught him how to be dedicated to his goals, how to think and do things differently, and see the world from another perspective. Coming from a small city in Palestine to Syracuse was intimidating, but he felt well supported through campus resources and the many friends he made on campus. Today, Nour is a financial analyst for the Central Bank of the UAE.
Since moving to Abu Dhabi after graduation, SU Dubai has helped Nour stay connected with his “Orange family” through networking events, meetings or social activities. He’s also dedicated to paying it forward, and keeping a tradition of supporting his alma mater.
Can Mehmet Kavak ’15
As a credit analyst for a private bank in Turkey, Mehmet calls on the professional skills he learned the Maxwell School and the global perspective he developed at SU. They gave him opportunities to live and work all around the world. As an alumnus, he’s connected with other alumni in Dubai in the MENAT Regional Council and Generation Orange. Mehmet believes in helping future students to get their start at SU by making the University a part of his philanthropic priorities.
Layan Saad M Khayat ’15
Layan gained more than an academic education at SU; she developed confidence and communication and professional skills she’s using each day at her job in the internal audit department of an international medical center. At SU, she learned to connect with people from diverse backgrounds. Layan believes her campus and classroom experiences truly helped her evolve and become a better person. Layan hopes students from the MENAT region or any international students have the same experiences she did at SU.
Philippe Sidawi ’15
Seeking a broad and dynamic career, Philippe came to SU to pursue a degree in economics. Upon graduating, he considered offers in corporate insurance, sales and financial positions, and chose to Philip Morris International (PMI) in Dubai, where he interned.
Philippe’s experience at SU helped him master adaptation and resilience. Dealing with academics, a massive weather shock, and a general change in culture and surroundings began as challenges, but ultimately strengthened him as a person. He believes it would not have happened anywhere else and remains an experience he would relive in a heartbeat.
Even though he’s far from home campus, Philippe remains in touch with fellow Syracuse alumni. “Meeting people in public who wear Syracuse colors or logos is always a pleasure,” he says.