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Mahmoud Hesham Mahmoud Elburai

Assistant Professor of Management and Director of Middle East Cities Center (MECC)

School of Business Administration

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Ph.D. in Business Administration, Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Master’s in Real Estate, National University, Singapore
Master of Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Master of Business Administration, American University in Dubai, UAE
BSc. in Engineering, American University in Dubai, UAE


Dr. Mahmoud AlBurai is currently serving as Senior Advisor at the Real Estate Regulatory Agency of Dubai, mandated to work on a plan to make Dubai more competitive. Prior to this role, Dr. AlBurai served as the CEO of the Dubai Real Estate Institute for 10 years, during which time the institute graduated 80,000 real estate professionals from the region. He is currently the Chairman of the UNDRR Arise network in the UAE working on making businesses more resilient, in alignment with the Sendai Framework. He is also the Vice President of the International Real Estate Federation, FIABCI Arab Countries since 2016 and sits on the board of the International Real Estate Federation, the world’s largest global real estate network with more than 1.5 million associate members. Prior to this role, he served on the Board of the International Real Estate Society (IRES) for 5 years and the Board of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a 1.3-million-member real estate network based in Chicago, from 2019-2020. Dr. AlBurai served as the Chairman of the UN Global Compact UAE from 2015-2020 and represented the MENA region on the UN Global Compact Advisory Board from 2016-2018. In his role as UN Global Compact MENA representative, Dr. AlBurai led many SDG driven initiatives. He started youth ambassador programs at seven UAE universities, recruiting over 150 youth and training them to help businesses become more sustainable. He also led the establishment of the Women Empowerment Principles Platform in the UAE with 60 companies signing on to the initiative. To promote SDGs among businesses, Dr. AlBurai launched SDGs Pioneers UAE celebrating SDG success stories of private and governmental organizations. Dr. AlBurai has been selected to be the FIABCI representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for West Asia (UNESCWA) and UNECE (Geneva). Recently, he established a Think Tank in Geneva under the name of the Middle East Sustainable Development Institute (MESDI) to lobby governments, businesses and communities to action on SDGs in the Middle East. He has actively lobbied the private sector in the region to be involved in SDGs. During his presidency of the MESDI, the UAE local network became the fastest growing network internationally. Moreover, Dr. AlBurai leads the affordable housing working-group at the World Economic Forum, and also serves as an advisor-MENA region at Happy City Lab, headquartered in Canada, that works on integrating happiness into urban design.