U.S. Chamber Expands Middle East Affairs Division

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 8:00pm

International Division Now Provides Members ‘Complete Global Coverage,’ Brilliant Says

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced the expansion of its Middle East Affairs department with the addition of three seasoned executives. The new personnel will allow the Chamber to more effectively advocate for the business community’s trade agenda in the region, as well as manage programs that will educate American companies about trade and investment opportunities in one of the fastest growing areas in the world.

“As the Middle East’s market continues to grow and diversify, the Chamber is expanding its presence there to ensure that U.S. businesses have the representation and information needed to compete effectively,” said Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for International Affairs at the Chamber. “U.S. businesses are facing serious challenges in this region which has caused many of them to lag behind their foreign competitors. By strengthening this division, we will not only provide ‘complete global coverage’ for our membership, but also enhance U.S. competitiveness in this emerging market.”

The Chamber’s new executive hires in the Middle East Affairs division are:

Ambassador Shaun Donnelly, formerly the senior director for International Business Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), is the new vice president for Middle East Affairs. Donnelly was the point person for a number of important international and Middle East-related policy issues during his time at NAM. He was also a career diplomat for over 35 years in the Foreign Service, where he rose to become U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, and later an assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Middle East and Europe, running USTR’s largest regional office. Donnelly will be responsible for the Chamber’s overall engagement in the Middle East, including expanding relationships with American Chambers of Commerce (AmChams) in the region.

Khush Choksy, now the senior director for Middle East Affairs, previously served as the senior director at Chemonics International where he was responsible for the management of a portfolio of over $50 million in contracts in the MENA region. As Ambassador Donnelly’s deputy, Choksy will be the executive director of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, help strengthen relationships with key U.S. trading partners such as Saudi Arabia, and work with Sr. Trade Advisor Leslie Schweitzer to advance the Chamber’s Iraq Business Initiative.

Olivia Troye, director for Middle East Affairs, has extensive U.S. government experience working on commercial and security issues and a familiarity with interagency coordination that will prove to be invaluable. She will also be taking on the role of executive director of the U.S.-Bahrain Business Council in addition to the UAE and other countries.

“The Chamber is excited to see this much-needed expansion come to fruition,” said Brilliant. “We have a terrific team in place to lead the Chamber and its membership into the Middle East’s challenging and budding market.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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