I was born in the most beautiful but tragic city in history, Jerusalem, and spent the first 18 years of my life living in the most troubled lands of our times, Palestine.
My parents met in Jerusalem, married and lived there to begin with, then moved north to Nablus and brought up 7 children: Tawfik, Nawal, Mufid, Samir, Najwa and Samer. The 7th Osama died in a tragic domestic accident before the age of two and to this day, none of us can forget him. My father Khalil descended from the “Shalabi Clan” but chose to use an intermediate ancestral name of “Sukkar”. The Shalabi family originated from a village near Ramallah called Turmus Ayya (where my little brother Osama is buried), a name probably derived from Latin “Terra Messias” meaning Messiah Lands. My mother Rowaida however, came from an old Jerusalem family called Zamamiri.
After finishing school and through a series of unexpected events, I ended up in England first as a student then as a professional and a family man.
For some strange reason, I studied Aeronautical Engineering in Manchester and for a stranger reason, I found myself enter the employment market in the “Information Technology” industry in London; a field that did not suit me, and I did not suit it. During those early days, I met my future wife Claire, we courted, got married and had three much loved children Leila, Rosy and Faye. By way of digging myself an escape tunnel out of the information technology industry, I changed jobs a couple of times and happily ended up working in the field of strategy and planning for large corporations.
I grew frustrated with being a company man, jumped the corporate ship and worked as an independent consultant for about 15 years in the UK, mainland Europe and the USA. In spite of the ups and downs of independent consultancy, I truly enjoyed that phase of my career.
In 2008, I was tempted to rejoin the corporate world working for a Cyprus-based privately owned investment company. This gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my roots in the Middle East with mixed feelings on my part. I still miss the UK and being frequently away from home. I am now a grandfather to two delightful little girls, Yasmine and Zadie who brought sunshine and joy to all our lives!
During my time in Cyprus, I am proud to say I was a founder member of the Board of Trustees of the “Leap Day Foundation”, a charitable trust which raises funds in support of a number of worthy causes. Every year in late Summer / early Autumn, the foundation organises a major event for entertainment and fun but with the ultimate goal of raising money for selected causes. I f you have a few minutes to spare, please visit our website at: Leap Day Foundation
Looking ahead, I have no plans to slow down or retire, however, I feel the need for another change in my life; change is so important to fire up the imagination and creativity.