Rebuilding Iraq and a better future
Alumnus, 1967, 1973
Spartan alumnus Sami Al-Araji has a special place in his heart for the Michigan State University campus and community as well as his native Iraq, which he is working to help rebuild.
Al-Araji leads the Iraqi National Investment Commission— the official promoter and facilitator of private investment in the country— which is creating opportunities for foreign and domestic investors as well as for Iraq’s more than 30 million citizens.
Born and raised in Baghdad, Al-Araji, earned a scholarship to study engineering at Michigan State. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and returned to MSU for his doctorate in mechanical engineering in the early 1970s. Since then, he’s dedicated more than 30 years to working in various government agencies in Iraq.
“I’m an Iraqi who is educated in one of the fine institutions of America, which is Michigan State University,” says Al-Araji. “And I use part of my education for the service of Iraq.”
Alumnus, 1967, 1973
Well, the job is to promote direct foreign and domestic investments, try to participate in the rebuilding and restructuring of the Iraqi economy.
I am here just to see how we could marshal the resources available in the state of Michigan and the academia of the state of Michigan represented by Michigan State University and other universities, hopefully, in cooperation with Michigan State University, to participate in the developmental plan of Iraq.
Michigan State University has been a very fine community, which is always nice, and it is always a memory lane for me. I always describe it as a spiritual rejuvenation because it’s been a long time since I have graduated from Michigan State University and the bachelor’s level and the PhD.
I know that Michigan State University is capable with its different colleges and departments to enter into the developmental plan of Iraq. The economic restructuring and rebuilding will take a long time, and, therefore, it is vital that you look for foreign and domestic investments to participate in the building of the economy of Iraq. It’s a transfer of technology; it’s participating in the execution of the five-year-plan that was put to rebuild the country, 2010 to 2014.
We look forward to all companies and all businessmen and entrepreneurs to work in Iraq. The time is ripe, and if they not enter now, they might have difficulties entering in the future—not because Iraq does not want them but because the competition is very high.
I am an Iraqi that is educated in one of the fine institutions of America, which is Michigan State University, and I used part of my education for the service of Iraq. And that was the program that I came into, which was a scholarship to study engineering and to use that for the service of the country. And that’s what I did over the last 55 years of my work in the government of Iraq.
I don’t think of retirement from life and service of the people. I don’t think of nicer spots somewhere because I feel an obligation to the people that we should be with them all the way down the road to try to see them reclaim the position in the world stage, which they deserve—both our standard of living or contribution to the peace and tranquility to the world, especially to a troubled region.