PMI’s International Development CoP Member Spotlight – Afif Tabsh, PMP, CBAP

Dear Friends,

I’m glad to share with you the below interview/article written about me and published in Project Management Institute (PMI’s) International Development Community of Practice. Link to the official article on PMI’s website for PMI Members is here.

Enjoy the below and let me know what you think,

Afif

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International Development CoP Member Spotlight

Afif Tabsh, PMP, CBAP
Consultant & Trainer at CMCS – Cofounder & President at Aie Serve
Lebanon

About Afif
As a management consultant and trainer at CMCS Lebanon I assist corporations and NGOs in Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, Human Capital Management, Project & Program Management and Leadership. 

I’m especially interested in the fields of Youth Empowerment, Diversity & Acceptance, Leadership, NGO & SME Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Coaching & Consultancy, and Training Techniques.

I’ve participated, organized, trained and was a guest speaker in numerous conferences, camps, workshops, conventions and seminars under Aie Serve, PMI, UNDP, UNESCO, Rotary, Youth Economic Forum, AUB Alumni Council, Arab Economic Form, LAU Peace & Justice Institute among others.

What Does International Development Mean to You?
With our growing interconnected world, global diversity is becoming a key topic on discussion panels as people from all walks of life are becoming interconnected with each other, do business together, volunteer for similar causes, even though they might be thousands of miles away.

Thus respecting differences and accepting the other has become a crucial factor of successful projects, programs and organizations at large, worldwide.

What Are You Most Passionate About?
I’m very passionate about professional volunteering, this has been reflected through the NGOs and clubs I have founded and others that I’m engaged in at the Board level.

Who Is Your Hero & Why?
My biggest hero so far has been my father who was able to balance a very busy life as a doctor with his passion for serving the community and promoting active citizenship along with taking care of his family and private life.

What Is One Strategy for Inclusion that You Can Share?
One of my best strategies is believing in the potential of individuals and focusing on respecting the differences, accepting the other and loving them for their humanity. Every person has a lot of potential to give, it’s just a matter of taking your time to understand them and see things from their perspective, know what they are good at and put it to work. When working in teams, it proves to be the best tool to really utilize the full potential of the team, as you don’t point fingers at them or have a prejudgment that they are incapable, but rather start from the preposition that they have the potential and you’re just there to uncover it.

What Exciting Projects, Programs or Portfolios Are Your Working On? 
I’m currently working on 4 very exciting programs in the volunteer youth NGO I’m leading called Aie Serve (www.AieServe.org – http://www.Facebook.com/AieServe). The programs are:

  • Aie Power – Platform for Youth to Transfer Project Ideas into Reality
  • Aie Consult – Incubator & Consultancy Program for Youth Led NGOs
  • Aie Skills – Training Program to Empower Youth with Soft, Life and Managerial skills
  • Aie Clubs – Network of Youth Lead Clubs in Universities and Local Areas that do Community Development, Service and Awareness Activities

What Is Your Favorite Book & Author?
I have 3 favorite books:

  • Who Moved My Cheese
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us 

What Have You Done to Change the World? What Will Your Legacy Be?
One of my proudest achievements is Aie Serve, I cannot say enough about it. I co-founded the organization 6 years ago with a group of friends from all walks of life, different countries, different majors, different ethnicity and different interests but with a shared vision: Serving The Community. From there it grew from a group of friends, to a team and an organization.

The true value of Aie Serve is not just what it does, but the fact that it is run completely by volunteers and the way it is managed internally. The core values of the organization drive it, and drive its programs and way of work. Those core values are simple, yet powerful as they make the way to move forward simple and straight forward.

Our values are: Respect, Acceptance & Love. 

Respecting others’ point of views and beliefs no matter what, accepting differences and considering them the seeds of diversity and finally, loving others for who they are, and not for their background, ethnicity, beliefs, colour or economic status.

If You Weren’t In Project Management, What Would You Be Doing?
If I wasn’t in project management I would be in the field of talent or human capital management. I believe working with, developing, empowering, and supporting people is absolutely crucial for everything we do in this world. Human potential is infinite, thus those who know how to tap into it, grow it and sustain it, will lead success.

Arab Nations Are Awakening


Mohamed Bouazizi, a name that made it into history on December 17th 2010. From Tunisia, a man self-immolated himself to defend his dignity, his poverty, his own values and principles. This was enough to ignite an already suppressed, angry and dignified nation.

Tunisia, lead by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a dictator for 23 years with full support from the US, France and the so called “International Society”, has been liberated by the people on the 15th of January 2011.

Days after, the light of dignity and sense of empowerment of grassroots revolution reached Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria.

Egypt’s “Day of Anger”, on the 25th of January 2011, started a wave of protests and demonstrations in the various Egyptian cities asking for the dictator Husni Mubarak to step down. Until this day, the dictator didn’t leave and the protests have not stopped and are infact growing in numbers and power in spite of all the government’s cheap moves.
Husni Mubarak, a dictator that asked his police and secret service to wear civilian clothes and cause chaos, made the police in most cities leave their positions and let the cities be populated with looters and chaos makers to reek havoc in the streets, houses and important historic sites. The government shut down internet and phone connections, turned its back on the jails to let the detained flee to cause more chaos in the streets in an attempt to make the righteous demands and civilized demonstrations of the Egyptians seem more like a war zone. All the attempts to make the people seem like they are thieves and killers, instead of the dignified nation they are demanding for their rights, for democracy, for a government that represents them and their thinking, a nation asking for a leader that works for them and not a corrupt dictator that is failing his country.

Sooner or later, Husni Mubarak will leave, because the Arab Nation is awakening and what started in Tunisia will not end in Egypt.

It is about time that the Arabs shed that old worn-out cloth of humiliation, division, discrimination, dictatorship and so called “leaders” who are puppets in the hands of the US, Europe and Israel.

The sense of dignity, faith in values, and belief in principles will rise again. That once visible and lately invisible line that has always been connecting all Arabs wherever they are on the globe will come back strong and proud.
I am not a fortune teller and definitely not a political analyst. I am a proud Arab, a thinker and an activist that has always been wondering when will this phase of shame in the Arab world depart, and now that flag of dignity, pride and magnanimity is rising… slowly but surely!

May all free men, all the thinkers, all believers in democracy, all supporters of grassroots, all human rights activists stand side by side with the Arab Nations as they stand up and demand for their rights…a new sun is rising!

Time alone will tell…

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