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2018 December Newsletter - header 2-01
 A Message from the CEO
Aida New Headshot
  As 2018 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on how fortunate I am to be leading an organization blessed with so many opportunities over this past year. After 20 years enhancing commercial and strategic relationships between the U.S. and MENA as the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce; in this, our 21st year, we officially went global with the launch of the Bilateral Chamber.
In our first year with this expanded international focus, through our relationship with the United States Trade and Development Agency, we completed two reverse trade missions from China, one from Egypt, one from Turkey, and have secured contracts for upcoming inbound missions from India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Argentina, and Peru.

We furthered our partnerships with world-renowned conferences including: ADIPEC, Arab Health, EGYPS, GASTECH, and WEFTEC; offered timely programming on Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Mozambique, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE; and honored notable thought-leaders and dignitaries including T.H. Sylvester Turner, Houston Mayor, T.H. Douglas Silliman, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit.

Everything we do is done with support from, and in support of, our incredible international leadership network of members. A network which I am proud to say has grown by nearly 30% over the past 12 months.

These opportunities did not come without challenges. The Bilateral Chamber, not unlike many companies in Houston, was displaced for more than seven (7) months due to the after-effects of hurricane Harvey. However, the Bilateral team did not miss a beat in spite of that set back. All of these accomplishments - new markets, expanded partnerships, membership growth, were all achieved by a dedicated group of professionals who don't know the meaning of the word "excuse."

As the CEO of the Bilateral Chamber, I can with 100% certainty, tell you that the Bilateral Team delivers -in good times, but more importantly, in times of challenge. I was both humbled and grateful as I witnessed the dedication my staff exhibited to ensuring that the organization lived up to its promise to provide the insight and access that matter most for our members.

It is with this spirit of appreciation and gratitude that I am pleased to share the following glimpse back over our 2018 program lineup. Thank you to our esteemed Board of Advisors for their strategic input and valuable insight and thank you to our members.

I hope you enjoy this Year In Review and on behalf of our entire team, I wish you a Joyous Holiday Season and Prosperous New Year!

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Aida Araissi
Chief Executive Officer

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 Honoring Distinguished Leaders at
Semi-Annual Private VIP Board Dinners

21st Annual Private VIP Board Dinner during OTC Week
T.H. Sylvester Turner presented with 2018 Visionary Leadership Award
April 30, 2018

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The following Board Members and VIPs joined Bilateral Chamber leadership on stage to honor Mayor Turner (from left to right):
  • Aida Araissi,CEO, Bilateral Chamber
  • Zin Smati, Chairman & CEO, LifeEnergy
  • Jeffrey Miller, President & CEO, Halliburton
  • Basil Abul-Hamayel, President, Aramco Services
  • Dr. John Ardill, Vice President, ExxonMobil Upstream Ventures
  • David L. Phillips, Chairman, Bilateral Chamber
  • T.H. Sylvester Turner, Houston Mayor
  • Cathy Easter, President & CEO, Houston Methodist Global Health Care Services
  • John Brantley, Partner, Bracewell LLP
T.H. Douglas Silliman presented with 2018 Goodwill Ambassador Award

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Unfortunately as he was ready to depart for Houston to join us in accepting his award, Ambassador Silliman received orders to return to post. Fortunately, though he was unable to accept the award personally that evening, The Honorable Timmy Davis, Consul General for the U.S. Consulate in Basrah was able to attend and accept the award on Ambassador Silliman's behalf. Additionally the Ambassador was kind enough to prepare a taped address that we would like to share with you now.

Click here to view Ambassador Silliman’s remarks regarding being named 2018 Goodwill Ambassador Award. 

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21st Annual Private VIP Board Dinner during ADIPEC Week
Dr. Daniel H. Yergin presented with Lifetime Achievement Award
November 13, 2018

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Left to Right: Martin Houston, Executive Chairman, Tellurian Inc.; David L. Phillips, Chairman, Bilateral Chamber; Dr. Daniel H. Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS Markit; Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Senior Vice President, Saudi Aramco; James Rosenfield, Senior Vice President, IHS Markit; Aida Araissi, CEO, Bilateral Chamber 

The 21st Annual Private VIP Board Dinner in Abu Dhabi featured the inaugural presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Dr. Daniel H. Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit and Co-Founder of CERAWeek.

The Bilateral Chamber’s Chairman of the Board, David L. Phillips noted, “It was my pleasure that evening to honor Dan in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the global energy industry and his extraordinary accomplishments over a distinguished career as a highly respected authority, if not ‘The Authority’, on energy, international politics, and economics.”

Joining Chairman Phillips in bestowing this honor to Dr. Yergin were Bilateral Chamber Board Members Dr. Mohammed Al Qahtani, Senior Vice President, Saudi Aramco, and Martin Houston, Executive Vice Chairman, Tellurian Inc.

Click here to view a video highlight of Dr. Yergin’s interview at ADIPEC 2018.

Thank You to All of our 2018 Board Dinner Sponsors & Partners!

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 Promoting Bilateral Relationships and Trade with USTDA

We were very proud to organize a total of three USTDA Reverse Trade Missions (RTMs) this year. The first two were focused on China LNG & Gas Infrastructure, while the third was on Egypt Refineries Modernization.

We invite you to view some of the photo highlights from these RTMs and stay tuned for more USTDA - sponsored programming coming in 2019!

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China LNG and Gas Infrastructure Reverse Trade Mission
Houston, TX | Lafayette, LA | Washington, D.C. | January 24 - February 3, 2018
Houston, Texas | Washington, D.C. | March 17 – March 29, 2018

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The USTDA Egypt Refineries Modernization delegation with Bilateral Chamber leadership and T.H. Khaled Rizk, Consul General of Egypt.
The business briefing held in Houston on December 6 convened more than 50 companies that learned about Egypt's $8.1 billion plan to modernize its refineries.

 Enhancing Strategic Partnerships with
the Energy Industry's Premiere Global Conferences

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Thanks to our long-standing partnership with DMG Events, our members and stakeholders were able to access some of the world’s most lucrative and notable platforms of business exchange. We invite you to view the 2018 ADIPEC, Gastech, and EGYPS video highlights below.

For more information on how your company can participate in the 2019 editions of these events, please email us at:

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EGYPS - February 2018
The second edition of EGYPS, what is now considered North Africa’s largest and most influential oil and gas exhibition and conference noted 16,210 attendees, 376 exhibiting companies, 11 international pavilions, 1,081 delegates and 220 conference speakers. 

ADIPEC 2018 convened 145,000 attendees, 2,200 exhibiting companies, 10,400 conference delegates, 15 international oil companies and 27 national oil companies all under one roof. This year it was estimated that $17.99 Billion of business was concluded onsite at the event.

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ADIPEC - November 2018

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GASTECH - September 2018
GASTECH, the world’s most prominent exhibition and conference for the gas, LNG and energy industries boasted 27,353 international attendees, 1,012 bilateral meetings, 109 countries in representation and 676 exhibitors.

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It has been 18 years since Gastech was hosted in Houston and we are pleased to see its return in September 2019! Contact us at for more details on how to reserve your place at this premier event. 

 Launching New Initiatives
 Duqm Calls: Oman Investment Forum
October 11, 2018
Hosted by:
  2018 December Newsletter - Duqm logo-31

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Click here to view highlights from the Oman Investment Forum as well as the interview of H.E. Yahya Al Jabri, Chairman of SEZAD.

In partnership with the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm, Oman (SEZAD), we were pleased to organize the Duqm Calls Investment Forum which convened a cadre of Houston's most impressive public and private-sector decision-makers to hear about the ample investment opportunities available in what is considered the largest special economic zone in the Middle East region.

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In addition to this public business briefing, the delegation engaged with some of Houston's energy and logistics leaders including Oxy, Port of Houston Authority, and the Economic Alliance.
For more information on how you can learn more about an outbound mission to Oman in 2019, contact us at

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Revitalizing the Coal Industry with Innovation:
JET's Desulfurization Technology Symposium

October 4, 2018

In partnership with:    JET JNG and EY logos-20

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This symposium was marked with robust dialogues and presentations on clean coal market trends and how JET's new desulfurization technology can transform the coal-fired power industry while revitalizing U.S. mining, improve environmental protection and enhance agricultural development.

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2018 Entrepreneurship Forum: A Case Study on Tunisia
July 6, 2018

In cooperation with:

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Honored guests included (left to right): Nejib Zaafrani, President, TTU; T.H. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs ( 2013-2017); H.E. Slim Feriani, Minister of Industry & SMEs, Republic of Tunisia; Aida Araissi, CEO, Bilateral Chamber; H.E. Faycal Gouia, Ambassador of Tunisia to the U.S.; H.E. Mohamed Tekaya, Former Ambassador of Tunisia to the U.S. 

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This event featured presentations by global entrepreneurs who discussed the development strategies needed to support Tunisia’s budding innovative ecosystem and how its applications of success will impact the rest of Africa. 

 Providing Sector & Country-Focused Programming

Ambassador Insight Series: Qatar
H.E. Sheikh Meshal Al Thani's Visit to Houston
October 17, 2018

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Ambassador Al Thani’s trip to Houston was part of the Gulf country’s effort to support long-term disaster recovery projects. During his visit, His Excellency fulfilled Qatar’s pledge of donating $2.5 million each to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s new Fund To Reduce Homelessness and to the reopening of the historic Riverside General Hospital.
Co-hosted by:  U.S. Qatar Business Council Logo-01 

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Leadership Insight Series: Iraq
The 5th Annual Iraq Energy Dialogue during OTC Week

May 1, 2018

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The Deputy Minister for Upstream Affairs along with the DGs of Basrah Oil Company, South Gas Company, and Petroleum Contracting & Licensing Directorate, offered first-hand insights into tangible oil & gas development opportunities available for U.S. companies.

In cooperation with:   2018 April Newsletter Algeria coordination with A
 Supported by:
  Khudairi Group 1787x477 (1)

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Partnership Insight Series: UAE
ADNOC Procurement Opportunities
May 1, 2018

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Jasim Saeed, Manager of ADNOC’s Procurement Unit, engaged with nearly 200 suppliers and vendors who attended to learn more about ADNOC’s 2030 Smart Growth Strategy Initiative.

Presented by:
 Supported by:   2018 April Newsletter F ADNOC logos -18

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Leadership Insight Series: Algeria
10th Annual Algeria Energy Forum during OTC Week

May 2, 2018

VIP Guest Speakers Included:

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H.E. Madjid Bouguerra
Ambassador of Algeria
to the U.S.

Mark McCollum
President & CEO

 Arezki Hocini
Salah Mekmouche
Vice President, E&P

In cooperation with:
2018 September Newsletter-Algeria Logos 2-22
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Africa Insight Series: Mozambique
Networking Reception with Mozambique LNG Delegation

September 21, 2018

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More than thirty (30) companies from sectors including, but not limited to, energy, logistics, infrastructure, services, hospitality, and healthcare were present at this networking reception to meet with Mozambique's delegates who presented on the country's $60 Billion of planned investment and multitude of commercial procurement initiatives.

In partnership with:
  Mozambique collaboration logos 2-01
 Program sponsors:
  2018 December newsletter Mozambique  - logos 1A-03

Advancing Cultural Understanding Through TEACH & MAL
10th Annual Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony
(TEACH) Bahrain Fellowship

November 15-21, 2018

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During their active study tour across the Kingdom of Bahrain, our 2018 TEACH Cohort, representing educators from ten different U.S. States encountered invaluable opportunities for hands-on collaboration with regional learning authorities while immersing themselves in Bahrain's rich culture and heritage.
Stay tuned for the official 2018 TEACH Bahrain Fellowship Highlights Newsletter!

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11th Annual Bilateral Model Arab League Student Conference
February 16-18, 2018

Hosted by:
In partnership with:
 2018 MAL Newsletter UHCL logo-11
2018 MAL Newsletter Model Arab League Logo-11
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Registration is still open for the 2019 Bilateral Regional MAL Conference.
To register your university, please email Sukejna Kovacevic at

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