Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Dubai is everything you've read about or seen on TV, most recently 60 Minutes. The man-made islands shaped like a giant palm tree and the other set of islands shaped like a map of the world are simply fascinating, as is the indoor ski mountain and the world's tallest building. It's amazing what money can buy. However, the message about breast cancer and being provided the freedom, power and knowledge to address one's own health is priceless. That's what you have given to the women of Dubai, something that can't really be purchased in any concrete sense of the word.

In Dubai, we were greeted by Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, who is Jordanian by birth and the daughter of the late King Hussein. She dresses in western clothes in public and was the only royalty to do so in the countries we visited. She is expecting her first baby and is very beautiful. Since Jordan is quite poor, Princess Haya uses her influence to get aid for Jordan.

The reception for the First Lady and Komen was held at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the largest Chamber of Commerce in the world. Eleven companies had come together to sponsor the Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. The three largest (exceedingly large, as in owning most of the assets in the country) companies in Dubai joined in as did several large, multinational American companies. My best contact at this event was the guy who oversees 132 countries for FedEx--he has only two counterparts worldwide and is among the top five execs at FedEx. We really hit it off, and he was so excited about Amy DiCico of FedexKinkos joining Komen's board. He had recently met her but was unaware of her bout with breast cancer just as she was planning to start a family. Bottom line: he basically said you name the country and I will help Komen.

We spent the night in a hotel that was "grand" but a little too new Vegas for my taste. They had attempted to create the old souk (market) feel but it felt more like Disney. The place didn't really matter much because the evening consisted of meetings preparing for the Saudi launch the next day and calls back to Komen.

All in all, a great October day for Komen.