GRI Distinguished Senior Fellow Dr. Christman Advances UN Partnerships | Global Resilience Institute

At the age of 18, Talal Abu Ghazaleh, then a Palestinian refugee living in Ghaziyeh in Lebanon after having been exiled from Jaffa during the 1948 war, received a unique opportunity. He received the only scholarship available from UNRWA for Palestinians to study at the American University of Beirut.

“Talal studied accounting and today he’s the owner of the largest accounting firm in the Arab world, the largest intellectual property firm in the world, and a man of considerable stature on the world stage as in the United Nations and held in high esteem,” said Walter Christman, who co-founded the Global Challenges Forum Foundation alongside Abu Ghazaleh after over 30 years spent working in international relations, in an interview with Jordan News.

“This started with an opportunity when he was 18,” Christman said. “And without that opportunity as a youth, where would he be today? So in giving back and focusing on these things, he’s looking to be able to encourage and empower and enable others to be able to carry forward in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century. Starting with the US and China reaching a shareable discourse.”

The Global Challenges Forum Foundation (GCFF) was founded over 10 years ago and operates internationally from its base in Geneva, hoping to prepare the next generation of youth leaders and tackle future global security challenges, with a particular focus on US-China relations. “Our foundation is helping, in collaboration with the UN, to facilitate a discussion on what the United States and China hold in common and (their) shareable interests with the rest of the world, understanding that that relationship is full of tension,” Christman explained.


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