• 10 May 2010

The 10th ‘Arab Foundations Forum’ organized as part of the ‘Arab Foundations Week’ was held today at the Al Murooj Rotana Hotel in Dubai, bringing together over 150 representatives from a number of organizations from across the Arab world with the aim of supporting strategic philanthropy in the Middle East region.

The two-day meeting themed “Corporate Philanthropy: The Role of the Private Sector in Promoting Strategic Philanthropy in the Arab Region” is being organized by the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) and co-hosted by Dubai Cares and Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy.

Key dignitaries who attended the Forum included H.E. Abdul Rahman Al-Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Managing Director of Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Chairperson of Dubai Cares.

H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Board Member of The Emirates Foundation and key note speaker at the Forum said, “H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE strongly believes in philanthropy as a vital principle of modern life throughout the Arab world. We have a long-standing philanthropic tradition, based on the spiritual values of our religion that highlight the importance of community co-operation and support, and it is great to see representatives that follow these traditions present in our audience.”

Delivering the welcome address Dr. Marwan Awartani, Chairman of Arab Foundations Forum said, “The purpose of this meeting is to facilitate dialogue and promote collaboration between the corporate and philanthropic sectors, to promote sustainable development in the Arab world. Partnership is crucial to the success of social and economic development initiatives in this region. The private and non-profit sectors need to work together in a strategic, transparent and effective manner”, added Dr. Awartani.

Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares said, “H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the founder of Dubai Cares has always encouraged building stronger ties between the private and non-governmental sectors to enhance program interventions as part of His Highnesses vision of providing humanitarian support and development locally in the Arab world and internationally. We are proud to be members of the Arab Foundations Forum and we aim to provide an ideal opportunity to encourage greater knowledge-sharing and strengthen the collaboration between the members of the AFF and the private sector through this event.”

Al Gurg added, “The meeting allowed the participants to explore the challenges and opportunities of partnerships with multiple stakeholders, and also facilitated the exchange of ideas and experiences between the representatives of the private and philanthropic sectors to develop programs and initiatives that are directed towards effecting a sustainable social change in the Arab world.”

Peter Cleaves, CEO of Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy said, “The UAE has witnessed tremendous growth, not only in the number of philanthropic foundations but also in the amount of emphasis that is being laid on engaging the corporate sector and promoting private-philanthropic sector partnerships to augment the development of the Arab region.”

Other speakers at the Forum included Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aramex International – Jordan, and Arif Naqvi, Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj Capital – UAE.

The Arab Foundations Forum aims to strengthen and promote corporate philanthropy in the Arab world, and further engage the private sector to play an active role in developing and implementing social development initiatives, outline the implementation mechanisms, and ensure best practices in the management of philanthropic foundations.

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