AACCI Board

james

James Harb – President and National Chairman

James Harb is a successful international arbitration and international trade lawyer specializing in commodities, resources, maritime, aviation and international trade broadly. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree with Honours and a Master of Laws with Distinction. Read more…

He has assisted numerous companies entering the Middle East and North African (MENA) market and MENA companies doing business in Australia. Industries include FMCG, cosmetics, food commodities, oil and gas, refined petroleum products, resources, construction, education, online businesses, licencing, agency and distribution.

James has a working knowledge of MENA trade laws including experience with MENA countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

Fluent in Arabic, James’s strengths include successful experience in negotiation with companies and individuals at an international level and an intricate cross-cultural understanding of MENA cultures.

With extensive experience in supporting MENA-Australia trade missions and industry sector engagement, B2B and B2G, James has engaged in many missions to MENA, and has also supported MENA delegations to Australia. In 1995 he co-led the inaugural Australian trade mission to Lebanon and most recently in April 2019 with missions to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia with AACCI.

Since 2010, he has been actively and commercially involved in the mining and resources sector. Founder and former Chairman/CEO of public company, Australian Metals Group Ltd, James provides industry leadership and is the current Director of public financial services company, Australian Amalgamated Investment Group (AAIG). His ongoing engagements involve negotiating commercial agreements in the resources sector with numerous MENA companies.

Recognized as having identified one of the highest grades of iron ore in Australia, James has spoken and represented AACCI in Australia and the MENA region with Arab mining delegations from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman and Morocco. He is a Mining Consultant and the head of AACCI’s Mining Subcommittee.

Mohamed Hage

Mohamed Hage – Vice National Chair, New South Wales Chair and Board Member

Mohamed is an Internationally experienced senior executive with more than 15 years
global experience across banking, asset management and public and private investing. Read more…

Mohamed is widely recognised thought leader providing insights and analysis across asset
classes, regions, investment styles and economies. He has been published on international
investments and finance topics and spoken at many conferences, public institutions and
other organisations. Mohamed has also delivered and led the research insights into
portfolio construction, asset allocation and investment markets to multi institutional and
government client globally.

Mohamed received the 2017 NSW Premiers medal for economic participation, recognising
outstanding success in fostering economic and investment activities for the state of NSW.

Mohamed is also the NSW Chairman of the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce of and
Industry, the peak body of Foreign Investment and Trade between Australia and the MENA
region.

He obtained his graduate and post-graduate degrees in Commerce and Business with a
specialisation in Finance and management.

rowland

Roland Jabbour OAM – INDEPENDENT BOARD MEMBER

Roland is a distinguished leader in public service and business entrepreneurship with extensive experience of commerce and international trade relations. He is the Chairman of Jabbour Holding Group of companies, with its corporate headquarters based in Melbourne Australia and offices across the Middle East region and globally. Read more…

Roland is a distinguished leader in public service and business entrepreneurship with extensive experience of commerce and international trade relations. He is the Chairman of Jabbour Holding Group of companies, with its corporate headquarters based in Melbourne Australia and offices across the Middle East region and globally. He oversees major projects between Australia and the Arab region, representing Australian universities, as well as private sector and government institutions. Roland’s business network extends over several sectors, including international education and training, property development and investments, migration services, Media, hospitality, travel and tourism.

For many years, Roland’s vision and leadership has achieved wide-ranging successful partnerships between Australia and the Arab region, facilitating business and trade relations that work to promote stronger ties between Australia and the Arab world. Roland is well-known and respected within governmental and semi-governmental circles. He is widely consulted for and invited by the media to provide commentary on issues of international affairs and multiculturalism.

He has developed a high profile as a community leader through longstanding commitment to public service and community initiatives. A firm believer in actively contributing in society, he has held numerous community positions and government appointments. He is the founding and current Chairman of the Australian Arabic Council (AAC); founding director of the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ALCCI); and founding and current director of the Australia Oman Business Council (AOBC).

He served as former vice president and board member of the Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR) under the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (a federal government appointment); appointed Justice of the Peace for the State of Victoria; admitted to the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices; a Founding Chairman of the Darebin Ethnic Communities Council. He also served as a member of, the Victorian Police Community Multicultural Advisory Council (PACMAC), the La Trobe University Centre for Dialogue, and the Deakin University Languages Advisory Board.

Roland has been a recipient of many awards from Australian and overseas governments in recognition of his service to the Australian community. These include the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), and the Medal for the Centenary of Federation of Australia, awarded by the Governor General & the Commonwealth of Australia for service to the Australian Community, and a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of voluntary service to the community awarded by the Premier of the State of Victoria.

He has also been Finalist for the Australian Ethnic Business Awards (2009) and nominated for the Australian of the Year award (2004).

joe

Joseph Rizk OAM – Independent Board Member

Joseph Rizk OAM is currently the Managing Director of Arab Bank Australia. Prior to it, Joseph was Chief Banking Officer for over five years, overseeing the retail, commercial and trade banking operations as well as its branch network, and being responsible for all revenue generating arms of the Bank. Read more…

Joseph has over 40 years of corporate, commercial and international banking and finance experience along with extensive experience across the banking spectrum. Joe’s time with NAB was 31 years.

Joseph has been a Director of the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce since 2007. In 2014 became President of the Westmead Medical Research Foundation. Joe also holds positions of Chairman and Director for the Italian Opera Foundation Association and Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Institute. Joe is also a member of (MAICD) The Australian Institute of Company Directors and a fellow of The Australian Institute of Management.

On Monday 8th June 2015 (Queens’ Birthday) – Joseph was awarded the ‘Order of Australia’ in the General Division of the Awards. The Award has been given to Joe in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the banking sector, community and to Charitable Works, especially in the Lebanese and Arabic Community.

Naim Melhem

Naim Melhem OAM – Victoria Chair and Board Member

Naim Melhem has been the Senior Manager of Victoria at the Arab Bank Australia since 2008. Prior to this appointment, Naim held the positions of Councillor and Mayor for the City of Greater Dandenong, Councillor for the former City of Springvale, Member of the Board Directors for Southern Health (2001-09) and Board Member for Peninsula Health (2016-19). Read more…

In August 2011, Naim became a Founding Member and Treasurer of the Australia-Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Victoria. In addition, he was in 2012 elected member and Vice Chair of the Victoria Chapter of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and In-dustry, a position he has held since.

Naim has extensive experience in corporate private and public governance serving as Chair, Vice-Chair and Member of various community and charity committees. He is a recipient of the Centenary Medal of Australia in recognition of his contributions.

Simon Harrison photo

Simon Harrison – Queensland Chair and Board Member

Simon is the Chair of the Arab Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Queensland and a national Director of the organisation. Read more…

Simon is a well-respected international lawyer whose principal focus is on the Middle East and North Africa; His main areas of practice relate to in and out bound investment ,major projects, energy and infrastructure , agribusiness and food security.
Simon has worked extensively in  the Middle East and North Africa and is also the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Tunisia.

Simon has spoken throughout the Middle East and globally on matters relating to the MENA region and its global engagements. Simon also has extensive experience advising both international industry and Sovereign States on a wide range of issues in his chosen fields in both contentious and non-contentious matters.Simon appears regularly on television and radio nationally and internationally having been reported across the world’s news media as well as in professional journals covering a wide range of issues. Simon also authors a regular column in the Muslim Times.

Simon Harrison photo

Fawaz Sankari – New South Wales Chair and Board Member

Fawaz was appointed as the Chief Banking Officer (CBO) at Bank of Sydney in November 2018 and is responsible for the Customer & Distribution Division, which includes Corporate & Institutional Banking, Retail Banking, Digital Sales, International Banking, Third-party Distribution and Products in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD. After joining Bank of Sydney as Head of Commercial Banking in May 2012, Fawaz was then appointed Executive General Manager Corporate and Institutional Banking in 2016. Read more…

With more than 25 years banking experience in Retail and Corporate and Institutional Banking, Fawaz has previously held senior executive roles within the NAB and CBA Groups as Relationship Executive Manager, Executive Manager and Head of East Coast Business Banking respectively.

Fawaz currently holds directorships on various external boards in both the education and business-commerce sectors. After serving as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry NSW, Fawaz was elected as Chairman in September 2021 and plays an integral role in the two-way trade and investment between Australia and the Arab League Countries.

Fawaz held the role of Treasurer at the Sydney University Australian Lebanese Foundation where he is involved in promoting cultural, academic and student exchange between Australia and Lebanon, providing valuable scholarships and creating educational opportunities within the Australian Lebanese Community.

Another major achievement is Fawaz’s Chairmanship at the Al Noori AMS College. Fawaz’s leadership and commitment to the college has resulted in the college being ranked in the top 100 schools since its first admittance in 2016. In 2020 the college was ranked 32nd in NSW Higher School Education (HSC) school ranking.

With Fawaz’s vast wealth of experience and community involvement within the corporate and business communities, Fawaz has an extensive professional business network which involves linking professionals and business community leaders to strengthen business relationships by regularly engaging with his networks and finding opportunities to assist them in exchanging information on challenges, experiences and assisting them reach their goals.

Fawaz is focussed on his continual personal development and as such is undertaking an MBA to further strengthen and expand his current knowledge
.

Pankaj photo

Al Jawhari – South Australia Chair and Board Member

Al Jawhari is an entrepreneur, Innovator and technology commercialisation expert with 20+ years of C-level experience. With 4 successful business exits Al is an internationally recognized business leader known for crafting the required strategic vision to achieve business goals offering a unique blend of leadership, innovation, executive acumen, global team-building, and credited with strong ROI and operational excellence. Read more…

Al experience spans through Defence Manufacturing ,Retail,Agriculture ,Food and Wine, e-commerce and Software Platforms development.

Al Jawhari has work across the North Africa, GCC, United States, Europe, Australasia and currently makes his home in the Adelaide Hills on a farm with his wife and two children.

He is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Lightforce Group of companies , Co Founder for Innovate Inn and Australia-NA Managing Partner for SeedForum Global

Al is a proud recipient of Order of the Republic of Egypt of first class, one of the highest decorations awarded to those who contribute to a distinguished work as well as SeedForum Global Impact award 2019 for his Global Entrepreneurship Impact.

Al is a member of AIAA , AICD ,Block Chain Council ,Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International and holds both US and Australian Patents in VR, Products Traceability, Anti Counterfeit platform/devices and Blockchain.”

Pankaj photo

Pankaj Pathak – Western Australia Chair and Board Member

Pankaj Pathak is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Phoenix Academy. He has worked in International Education for over 15 years with experience across the School, VET, and Higher Education sector. Read more…

Pankaj started his career with Phoenix Academy as the Director of Marketing and Student Services in 2008 moving to Curtin University undertaking Business Development and Intelligence. In 2015 Pankaj joined Curtin College (Navitas) as Director of Marketing and Recruitment where he was also responsible for the Singapore and Sydney operations.

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Business and Master of International Business from the University of Notre Dame, Australia Pankaj originally arrived as an international student from Botswana.

Pankaj is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Botswana and current State Chair for the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI).

He is also the recipient of the WA Business Top 40 Under 40 Award.

Pankaj serves on the State Committee for Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), is on the Executive Committee of the Western Australian Private Education and Training Industry Association (WAPETIA), and represents private and ELICOS providers on the Western Australia International Education Advisory Board.

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