Press Release

Mohamed Mansour awarded a knighthood

March 28th, 2024

We are extremely proud to announce that a knighthood has been conferred on our Chairman, Sir Mohamed Mansour. The award has been made in recognition of Sir Mohamed’s contribution to business, charity and political service.

Sir Mohamed said: “This award is the greatest honour of my life. I am thrilled and hugely grateful.”

Sir Mohamed is of course a very distinguished entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the Chairman of Man Capital LLP, a London based family office investment firm that provides long-term capital and strategic support to companies and organisations in a range of sectors globally. He is also the Chairman of Mansour Group, a global conglomerate that operates across many sectors and markets including automotive, industrial equipment, sports, capital markets, consumer and retail, technology, logistics and services.

His late father, Mr Loutfy Mansour, who studied at Cambridge University in the 1930s before developing a successful cotton trading business in Egypt after the Second World War, instilled in the young Mohamed a commitment to hard work, philanthropy and service.

“This award would have meant so much to my father and mother. I wish they could have lived to see this day. This honour is for them, for the values they taught my siblings and I and for everything they did for us,” Sir Mohamed added.

The knighthood, which will be formally presented to Sir Mohamed in an investiture ceremony at a later date, is the third significant honour that he has received in recent years. In October 2023, he was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy, one of Italy’s highest honours, by the Italian President, Sergio Matterella. In May 2022, he was given an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, North Carolina State University.


Press Release

Fox Business News: San Diego readies to welcome new Major League Soccer team


San Diego FC owner Mohamed Mansour predicts ‘huge growth’ and ‘positivity’ in the coming years with the introduction of more MLS teams.

See the original video on Fox Business News


Press Release

Mohamed Mansour appearance on FOX Business News channel


Our chairman discussed Man Capital’s investment in Major League Soccer and Mansour Automotive’s electric vehicle ambitions with Liz Claman of Fox Business News’ “The Claman Countdown”.


Press Release

Mohamed Mansour Releases His Autobiography, ‘Drive To Succeed’

London, 7 December 2023

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Sir Mohamed Mansour is one of the foremost global entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.

His values, reflected through his philanthropic endeavours and the contribution he has made through his non-profit foundation, set him apart.

In 2023, his remarkable life story was told in his autobiography, titled ‘Drive to Succeed’. The book, published by Penguin Random House, details how he learned as a boy and a young man to overcome adversity, experiences that shaped the man he went on to become.

The book, which Sir Mohamed co-wrote with the British journalist Andrew Cave, tells vividly how Middle Eastern politics evolved during his lifetime. His father’s cotton business was nationalised and the family’s assets were confiscated by the government of then Egyptian President Gamal Nasser in 1964. Decades later, he answered a plea from the Egyptian government in late 2005 to oversee the transport ministry and implement vital reforms to the country’s ailing railway system.

The book charts how Sir Mohamed, with his siblings, built the Mansour Group into one of the Middle East’s largest companies before transitioning into politics. It concludes with his time in the UK, where in 2010 he founded his family office, Man Capital, going on to pursue investments in a number of sectors including technology, education, healthcare, sport, renewable energy and logistics.

“Writing this book was such an interesting and rewarding experience,” says Sir Mohamed. “When I embarked on the project, my main aim was to produce something that my beloved grandchildren would find interesting and be able to take lessons from. My life has not been easy – there have been times when I have struggled to overcome adversity and hardship, including some significant health issues and times when I have struggled to make ends meet. Today, as I lead an organisation that employs 60,000 people globally, I still feel a huge responsibility and the pressure is always there to succeed, but I remain motivated and driven, and above all, I love what I do.”

Launched at a prestigious gathering at London’s Claridge’s hotel, the book has received international acclaim and much media interest. It has been published in English in the UK by Penguin Random House and is available through many good booksellers including Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles. An Arabic edition is due to be published in 2025.

As a boy, Mohamed was never happier than when his father, Loutfy Mansour, took him and his brothers, Ismail and Youssef, to the beach in Alexandra, Egypt.
This is one of only a few surviving phots of Mohamed Mansour with crutches, probably taken around 1962 during a European vacation with brother Youssef and cousin Soliman Mansour.
Youssef and Mohamed Mansour were fraternity brothers at North Carolina State University in the 1960s. (Courtesy: FarmHouse Fraternity)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his wife Jehan attended Mohamed’s wedding to Awatef Hassan in 1979.
Mohamed’s dear brother Yasseen, pictured in France in 2017, has been a hugely important part of his life.
He was thrilled to deliver the keynote address to an audience of 20,000 at NC State’s Commencement Ceremony in 2022, where he was given an honorary doctorate.
It was a huge privilege for Mohamed Mansour to launch a new Major League Soccer club in San Diego, California in 2023. He is photographed at the launch event alongside Man Capital and Mantrac CEO Loutfy Mansour, Chairman Cody Martinez of the Sycuan tribe, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and investor Manny Machado and his wife Yainee Alonso. (Courtesy: San Diego FC / Rick Romero)

Key dates in a remarkable life

Born 1948, Egypt

1958, aged 10 – Hit by a car close to his home in Alexandria. Spends several years bedridden as his left leg slowly recovers.

1964, aged 16 – Enrols at North Carolina State University in America to study engineering.

1966, aged 18 – Egypt’s President, Gamal Nasser, nationalises the cotton industry and seizes the Mansour family cotton business and other assets. Mohamed Mansour takes a job as a waiter in a pizza restaurant and sports bar to pay his way through college.

1967, aged 19 – Mohamed Mansour comes close to failing his degree and having to return to an uncertain future back in Egypt, but one of his tutors gives him a crucial second chance and allows him to remain in America.

1968, aged 20 – Mohamed graduates from North Carolina State University. A serious illness then forces him to take a year out from studies.

1970, aged 22 – He enrols in an MBA class at Auburn University in Alabama, graduating in 1971 aged 23. He teaches at Auburn for another two years.

1973, aged 25 – He returns to Egypt to work alongside his father in the family’s start-up automotive dealership, which would go on to become one of the largest General Motors dealers in the world.

1976, aged 28 – Mohamed Mansour’s father, Loutfy Mansour, sadly passes away suddenly.

1979, aged 31 – President Sadat and Vice President Mubarak are the witnesses at his wedding to Awatef Hassan.

1994, aged 46 – He takes over at the helm of Mantrac, the family’s Caterpillar dealership that was founded in 1977, and spearheads a global expansion from the 1990s onwards.

2001, aged 53 – He founds the Lead Foundation in Cairo, a not-for-profit lender to female entrepreneurs.

2006, aged 58 – He is appointed Transport Minister by the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, serving from January 2006 until October 2009. He steps down from of over 50 company boards including those for Coca-Cola and the American University in Cairo to focus on his Cabinet role. The successful delivery of a number of vast infrastructure projects including investments in the railways and ports mark his more than three years in office.

2010, aged 62 – He moves to London where he founds Man Capital LLP, the Mansour family’s investment firm. Among his early deals are pre-IPO investments in Facebook and Twitter. Man Capital, which makes investments in sectors as diverse as tech, renewable energy, education and sport, goes on to be described as one of the most dynamic family offices in the world in 2022 (source: Family Capital magazine).

2021 – He makes his first significant investment in sport as Man Capital acquires Right to Dream, a global community of football clubs, soccer academies and schools in Ghana, Denmark, Egypt and the United States.

2021, aged 73 – He is appointed to the UK Investment Council, which advises the British Government on inward investment.

2022, aged 74 – He is awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, North Caroline State University, for his philanthropy. He inspires an audience of 20,000 students and their guests with a keynote address that tells his personal story of overcoming adversity.

2022 – He speaks at COP27 about his aim to bring electric vehicles to Egypt and about his investments in renewable energy in Africa. He is granted the honour of being one of the speakers at one of COP27’s six round table discussions, chaired by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

2022 – UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appoints him the Conservative Party’s senior treasurer.

2023 – Through Man Capital-owned Right to Dream, he sets up San Diego FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) club in America, with his partners, the Sycuan Native American tribe. The club will enter the MLS in 2025.

2023 – His autobiography, “Drive to Succeed”, is published by Penguin Random House, one of the world’s leading publishers.

2024 – He is knighted – becoming Sir Mohamed Mansour – by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his extraordinary contribution to business, charity and political service.


Press Release

Italian president awards honour to Mohamed Mansour

October 12th, 2023

Congratulations to our Chairman, Mohamed Mansour, who has been awarded the Order of the Star of Italy by the President of Italy, Mr Sergio Matterella.

He was presented with the honour at a recent ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Cairo by the Ambassador to Egypt, His Excellency Michele Quaroni (pictured).

The presidential honour recognises individuals who have promoted friendly relations and cooperation with Italy.

Mr. Mansour, who has invested in Italian education through Inspired Education Group, which owns a number of schools across Italy, and is on the Board of SDA Bocconi, said in his acceptance speech: “I have worked hard all my life and things like this really matter to me. I have been proud to have invested in Italy, especially in schools and educational programmes. Young people are our future – in both our countries.”

This is a proud day for everyone at Mansour Group and an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Mr Mansour.



Mantrac is a special place to work

November 16th, 2023

Mantrac is a special place to work, known for its supportive and collaborative culture.

In this inspiring video, a number of Mantrac employees in Egypt pay tribute to our Chairman, Mohamed Mansour, for his unwavering commitment to building and maintaining a positive culture over many decades.


Press Release

The future of Egyptian football and youth – Right to Dream Egypt Announces New Academy in Badya

Cairo, October 12th, 2023

Right to Dream, the global community of football clubs and academies, is proud to announce the opening of its new Egyptian football academy close to Cairo in the new sustainable city of Badya.

This football academy is part of the Right to Dream global community of football academies for students aged 10 to 18.

The academy will operate the unique Right to Dream development model that provides both world class school education and football training. Students are offered pathways at highly respected professional clubs globally and renowned educational institutions in the US. Since 1999 this model has provided opportunities for over 300 students, some who have gone on to play in men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups, and others to Ivy League colleges in the US. Now the same model will be presented in Egypt giving the opportunity for the most talented boys and girls from across the nation to fulfil their potential. This comes in line with Egypt’s social development plans and public awareness strategy in promoting the importance of equality and inclusion in sports, as well as enhancing youth participation in shaping the future of their country and contributing to Egypt’s 2030 vision.

Right to Dream was acquired in January 2021 by Man Capital, the investment arm of the Mansour Group, the global conglomerate that was founded in Egypt in 1952. When announcing the deal, Man Capital’s founder and chairman, Mohamed Mansour, pledged to invest significantly in establishing an academy in Egypt.

Providing professional training and school education to both young boys and girls, Right to Dream will help to develop the future role models of Egypt using football as the platform of their growth.

The training facility and academy offer the following features:

  • 696,960 Square Feet Campus: The academy spans 16 acres in Badya.
  • Three Football Fields: Two natural grass fields and one artificial turf field.
  • Facilities: The training facility includes a 350-square-meter gym, a medical wing, and a building with 30 rooms to accommodate participants from Right to Dream academies in Ghana and Denmark. Additionally, a recreational area featuring a swimming pool, multipurpose court, and padel tennis court has been constructed.

“This new academy in Badya is an investment in the future of young men and women in Egypt. It is just as important to us that the Egyptian academy develops Egyptian role models as well as great footballers,” said Mohamed Mansour, Chairman, Right to Dream. “Everywhere where Right to Dream has operated to date, whether in Ghana in West Africa, in Denmark or in the USA, we have seen opportunities created and lives changed forever. We hope the young Egyptians who are enrolled in the academy today will have opportunities to follow their dreams – for them, we hope, the sky is truly the limit.”

Badya, the first sustainable city in Egypt and first smart city being built to the west of Cairo by Palm Hills Developments, was chosen as the optimum location for the academy to encompass the essence of the project. Palm Hills, chaired by Yasseen Mansour, is one of Egypt’s largest real estate developers and is part of the Mansour Group.


Press Release

Major League Soccer Awards Expansion Team to San Diego


Pictured (from left) at the launch of the MLS club: Loutfy Mansour, Chairman Cody Martinez of the Sycuan tribe, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Mohamed Mansour, investor group member Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres, and Manny’s wife, Yainee Alonso. Credit: San Diego MLS / Rick Romero

SAN DIEGO, CA (May 18, 2023) – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber officially announced today that MLS has awarded its 30th team to the city of San Diego, California. The new expansion club will begin play in MLS in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium — the 35,000-seat venue that has already proven to be a destination for the passionate soccer fans of the region.

San Diego’s MLS club will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, a distinguished entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with deep, global ties in the sport, and by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Sycuan Tribe becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States. Also joining the investor group is six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and current member of the San Diego Padres, Manny Machado. Other founding partners include Brad Termini, Co- founder, Zephyr Partners, Tom Vernon, Founder, Right to Dream and Dan Dickinson, Board Member, Right to Dream. Highly respected sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO.

“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” said Commissioner Garber. “For many years we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity, and the fact that soccer is an essential part of everyday life for so many people. Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Tribe have an incredible vision for building a club that will inspire and unite soccer fans throughout the city and region.”

Mansour is the founder and chairman of the London-based investment management firm Man Capital, which owns Right to Dream (RTD), the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners with an innovative approach to identifying and nurturing talent. RTD has developed numerous world-class players who have gone on to play at the highest level for club and country in MLS, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup, including seven graduates who represented their countries in the 2022 World Cup. RTD also operates an elite performance and development environment at top tier Danish club FC Nordsjaelland that is studied and admired globally.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Sycuan Tribe to bring Major League Soccer to such a deserving community and legion of San Diego soccer fans. This is a real opportunity to create a powerful and lasting legacy for the city and region,” said Mr. Mansour. “We look forward to introducing Right to Dream’s unique developmental approach and unparalleled soccer expertise to San Diego and MLS by delivering tangible benefits to the community as we look to open doors and identify and nurture talent from across the county and beyond.”

As an essential partner with Mansour and RTD, the Sycuan Tribe brings distinctive community connection and understanding to the area’s MLS expansion club, with the tribe residing in and around San Diego for more than 12,000 years. One of 12 Kumeyaay tribes in San Diego County, Sycuan has been a long-term partner with countless major institutions in the community, including the San Diego Padres, San Diego Symphony, Children’s Hospital, and hundreds of local non-profits. San Diego’s new MLS club further demonstrates their commitment to the region.

“What a proud moment this is for the city and the Sycuan Tribe to bring MLS to San Diego,” said Sycuan Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez. “Sycuan has deep roots to the San Diego community and found an incredible partner in Mohamed Mansour and the soccer expertise that he brings with Right to Dream. Sycuan continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to the San Diego region and our MLS team will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community through their passion for the game.”

A fan favorite in San Diego, Machado joined the Padres as part of a then record-breaking contract in 2019. Throughout his career, he and his wife Yainee have placed an emphasis on engaging with and helping underserved kids in their community.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join the San Diego MLS ownership group. I continue to plant roots in this amazing community that means so much to me and build upon my connection with the incredible fans,” said Machado. “I’m further encouraged by the club’s commitment and experience that it brings, through Right to Dream, in developing young athletes personally, academically and athletically, and excited to support the growth of soccer in San Diego.”

The club will play at Snapdragon Stadium, which has already proven to be a popular soccer venue since opening in 2022. Last September, San Diego Wave FC set a single-game attendance record in the National Women’s Soccer League with a sold-out crowd of more than 32,000 at Snapdragon Stadium. The stadium, which is located on the campus of San Diego State University and features a natural grass playing surface, hosted a LIGA MX friendly match in March between Club Tijuana and Club América. Major international soccer events coming to the venue this year include Mexico vs. Cameroon on June 10 and the semifinal match in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup on July 12.

“San Diego is a community with a rich sporting history and long considered the heart of soccer development in North America,” said Tom Penn. “With the addition of MLS, we will inspire lasting change through the sport in San Diego and unite soccer fans throughout the region. We will deliver sustained excellence on the field, unprecedented investment in player development and create a shared, joyous experience for fans at Snapdragon Stadium, one of the premier soccer venues in professional soccer.”

Highly regarded for its educational institutions, diverse communities, surging biomed and biotech industries, and with a reputation as one of the country’s best places to live and work, the passionate soccer market of San Diego is an important addition to MLS. For the San Diego region, the club’s arrival is expected to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in secondary and tertiary economic impact through vendors, contractors and club-related projects. With the announcement of San Diego, 19 clubs have now joined MLS since 2005, fulfilling a vision for strategic expansion that has transformed the landscape of professional soccer across North America.

The team’s name and crest will be announced in the buildup to beginning play in 2025. Soccer fans can reserve their place on the list for season tickets to San Diego’s inaugural MLS season by donating $18 at All proceeds will go to the San Diego Foundation to fund non-profits investing in the development of youth soccer across San Diego County. For the latest news and club updates, follow @SanDiegoMLS2025 on social media across all platforms and use the hashtags #SanDiegoMLS and #LetsKickItSD


Linkedin Pulse

Everyone deserves a second chance


As first-year students in the UK and around the world embark on their university studies this quarter, for many, this will feel like their one shot, their only chance of getting the qualification they need to get a foot in the door of employment during a tumultuous market.

I can understand why they may feel anxious. The global economy has been through a huge amount of upheaval over the last two years and the situation isn’t likely to calm down in the next 12 months. Many countries are already in or facing a recession, against the backdrop of the highest energy prices many of us can remember.

Employment levels in the UK, the US and much of the developed world remain high, but a combination of rising interest rates, high inflation and reduced spending will impact the job market. Job prospects for graduates have been improving in recent years, but competition for the best positions remains fierce.

The situation is equally challenging for young founders and entrepreneurs,
for whom the costs of failure can seem overwhelming. The fear of not performing perfectly can also discourage people from applying for new roles or accepting career-boosting opportunities.

As societies, we need to do more to encourage risk-taking and to be understanding of setbacks. Some countries, such as the US, are better at this than others, where addressing failure is a key topic incorporated into MBA programmes. In Mexico, where 75% of start-ups fail within two years, a group of friends founded a series of events where business people stand up and talk frankly about their failures. The movement has now spread to 100 cities worldwide and has inspired a social enterprise called The Failure Institute that helps companies drive a cultural shift where they learn from failure, rather than be defined by it.

But for many, failing remains a taboo, discouraging people from pursuing their ambitions. This is why, now more than ever, we need to do a better job of embracing the virtue of the second chance – whether as employers, educators or policymakers. I discovered this myself as a teenager in America, where I had travelled from Egypt to study my undergraduate degree in the 1960s. At North Carolina State University I enjoyed all the perks of a carefree freshman. But my world came crashing down when Egypt’s President Nasser, under the political sway of the Soviet Union, nationalized the private sector and sequestered many privately-held assets, including my father’s company and property. My dad, Loutfy Mansour, went from being a wealthy entrepreneur to losing his home and being paid 75 dollars a month on a state salary.

The cheques from home dried up, and I started to struggle as I balanced waiting tables with studying. I faced flunking out thanks to my poor grades. One of my professors told me he intended to give me a fail, which would have meant I would have had to leave the university and return to an uncertain future in Egypt. But when I pleaded and explained what I would face if I went back home, he offered me a deal. If I promised to redouble my efforts, I would be given a second chance to pass the course. It was a turning point in my life.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about what I went on to achieve after being given that second chance. I had been a waiter in America, living in a damp, overcrowded house and struggling to pay my debts. But I graduated, did an MBA, and returned to Egypt in the 1970s to manage parts of the family business, which by then had been re-established. Today, we employ over 60,000 people from the UK to New Zealand. The investment firm I set up in London in 2010 has provided long-term capital to organisations in a range of sectors from education and tech to renewable energy and sport. My not-for-profit foundation has provided over four million micro loans to women entrepreneurs in Egypt – all driven by the ethos of second chances.

I have been privileged to see my story come full circle. Earlier this year I returned to NC State University to receive an honorary doctorate and deliver the graduation ceremony address to an audience of 20,000 students and their guests. I urged the class of 2022 to pursue their dreams, and if they are given a second chance, to seize it, learn from it, and be grateful for it.
There are clearly huge challenges facing the world. But seeing all those graduating students reaffirmed my optimism. We are human and we all fail, but we all deserve a second chance in life.

Originally posted to Linkedin on the 12th October, 2022



Mohamed Mansour receives honorary doctorate from North Carolina State University


Mr Mohamed Mansour, the internationally renowned Egyptian business leader and philanthropist, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by North Carolina State University (“NC State”), his alma mater.

In recognition of his decades of life-changing philanthropy in Egypt and internationally, Mr Mansour was made an ‘Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters’, the highest honour the university can bestow, at a ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 May.

In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate, Mr Mansour was invited to deliver the keynote address at the University’s commencement ceremony. He addressed an audience at Raleigh’s landmark PNC Arena of around 20,000 people, thought to be the largest ever attendance for an NC State commencement, including the graduating Class of 2022 and the students’ family and friends, as well as faculty members, academics and other university staff. Read the full press release here.

Speech in full:

 Thank you, Chancellor Woodson, so much!

And thank you to every trustee and board member of this great institution for your wonderfully warm welcome I have been given today.

So… Class of 2022 – what a special group! To have graduated at any time is an achievement. To do it in a pandemic – wow!

You should be so proud. Congratulations!

A special hand, everyone, please to the graduating class of 2022!


This is a very moving moment for me. To you students who have had to struggle at times or overcome adversity – I know a little of how you feel.

I was almost thrown out of this university.

I was literally on the verge of being kicked out.

It does make me think, should I really be standing here – to receive an honorary doctorate, when I was told I couldn’t make it as an undergraduate?

It doesn’t help that this venue where I now stand centre stage has been a place for such legends from Bruce Springsteen to the Rolling Stones.

Somehow Mohamed from Egypt, or ‘Mo’ as I was known here, does not immediately trip off the tongue after such a rock ‘n’ roll roll call.  But, anyway here I am.


Flattered and truly honoured.

And immensely grateful.


I came to study in America in November 1963, only a few days after JFK was shot. A few weeks later, aged 16, I enrolled as an undergraduate here.

I was thrilled to be in America. I’d been confined to bed for three years from the age of 10 after being in a near-fatal car accident in Egypt.

So I was raring to go, to embrace life in North Carolina.

And I found the American Dream.

Can I just ask, is there a better place than North Carolina to find that dream?

Of course not! This is Wolfpack territory! Go Pack!


It was the Sixties and as the saying goes, ‘if you can remember the Sixties, you probably weren’t there’.  Well, I was there!

By 1966, halfway through my degree, I was at risk of flunking out.

My professors told me – I worked too hard… at partying!

And that I needed to put that energy into studying.

The simple truth was that I was about to be chucked out.

But my physics professor took pity on me.

He had intended to give me a fail. But when I pleaded and explained that failing would mean me going back to a country run on Soviet-style socialism, he took pity and offered me a life-saving deal.


I was given a second chance.

We made a deal. If I worked my socks off, I could stay.

I learnt the critical lesson that you have to control your own destiny. There are always consequences.

I had two routes.   I was either going to flunk, fail and fester… or face those faults and failures and try to flourish.

Sink… or swim.

Take flight… or fight.

Bottle it… or battle for it.


The choices were stark. I had lost my way.

But that second chance allowed me to get back on track. To reconfigure my moral and social compass in every way.

And it gave me the strength and purpose to overcome a second, devastating challenge – becoming dirt poor.

My father had built a cotton textiles company. And he had been really successful which was why I could study in America.


Then one night, he lost everything. The Government of Egypt took it all away.

President Nasser – under the political sway of the Soviet Union – nationalised the entire cotton industry including my father’s company.

It meant he stole it from us. And not just the company – all my family’s land, homes, and other assets were confiscated.

My father went from being a wealthy entrepreneur to being paid 75 dollars a month on a state salary. He wrote to me and my brothers, who were studying here also, at NC State and UNC, to say there was no more money for us.

So, no money for rent or food and certainly nothing for the bills and debts in my fraternity house.   Dad had no money which meant I had no money.

I had to resign from my fraternity and move into a damp and overcrowded house on Chamberlain Avenue.  I went yesterday and visited the fraternity. They showed me my letter of resignation, which I wrote in 1966. I also visited Chamberlain Avenue. My house looks a lot smaller now than it did then!

I got a job as a waiter in an Italian diner called Amedeo’s.

The owner, a former football player at NC State called Dick, also gave me a second chance. He made me understand hard work as I became Mo the waiter on a dollar 25 an hour.

Slowly I saved the tips and salaries I paid off my debts and learnt to manage my own finances. My big lesson was that spending money is very different than how you spend your life. It made me realise that maybe Oscar Wilde was right when he talked about knowing ‘the price of everything and the value of nothing’.

I had no money, and the place we stayed in was a fleapit. But I didn’t care. I was surrounded by friends, supported by my tutors, and embraced by hospitable North Carolina.

Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘these must have been very tough times?’

Yes, they were tough times, but they were happy times.


I love this country for its dreams and for the belief that anything is possible.

I landed here just a few days after JFK was shot. I witnessed the impact of the Vietnam war.  But I saw America regroup and heal.

I saw the Civil Rights movement grow and alter America. The hippy movement. The amazing music – the Beatles, the Stones, and Elvis Presley. I watched Mohammed Ali defeat Sonny Liston.

I saw the first Moon landing and like everybody else, was inspired by the science in America.


I graduated in 1968 and did an MBA at Auburn University in Alabama, returning to Egypt in 1973 following President Nasser’s death.

I went into the family cotton business which we had started again from scratch. We had our second chance to rebuild in Egypt.


And so always, I remember, gratefully, my second chance here in Raleigh.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that what happened afterwards is for real. Mo the waiter now employs 60,000 people around the world.

We build cars and sell bulldozers.

We own hotels and have partnerships with Caterpillar, General Motors and many other companies.

We invested in Facebook, Airbnb and Uber, and established a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley that is backing more than 50 tech start-ups today, 25 of which have gone for first and second raises.

We’ve invested in schools, sports academies and football teams.

We have employees in China and California and almost everywhere in between.


My family have become philanthropists as well as capitalists.

I created a foundation to give financial support – well over four million loans – to women in Egypt.

My charity is about opportunities and second chances – the same second chance I gained here.

It is part of my life and business philosophy.


So I accept this honorary doctorate with great humility and enormous gratitude.

It is a wonderful gift, but for me the true wonder today is all of you, graduating here.

We all know there are huge challenges facing the world. Conflicts are becoming more common. Globalisation has gone into reverse. Democracy is in retreat. Climate change threatens the planet.

But seeing you all here reaffirms my optimism for the future.


Together we can all say we did not flunk! We have our second chance.

Please – when you get a second chance, seize it, learn from it, and be grateful for it.


We reached the winning post.   We got there.

You are the possible.

You are the future, as I once was.

And you have the hope, energy, talent as well as drive and ambition to take all of us into the future. This is your time.


I thank you. And God bless.