Dubai-UAE: 13 December, 2010 - The philanthropy sector is gaining more ground in the UAE at the civic, public and private sector levels. However, organisations have increasingly identified that transparency and knowledge sharing hold the key if proponents are to remain effective in this kind of work, according to leading philanthropists.
The comments came during a panel discussion titled ‘Thinking Philanthropy: Perspectives from the UAE’ that was organised by the Dubai School of Government, a research and teaching institution that focuses on public policy in the Arab world. The event brought together various members of the wider philanthropy community in the UAE, as well as other experts, for an insightful exchange on what effective philanthropy means in the UAE.
A study published on the website of Dalia Association, a Palestinian community foundation, recently indicated that institutionalised philanthropy is rapidly growing in the region. Traditional religious motivations for sharing and giving remain strong, with both modest and wealthy citizens contributing to the welfare of those who are in need. Governments are recognizing the potential in allowing greater civic participation, while more leaders from the private sector see the importance of socially investing their wealth. While still incomplete, this study forms the first attempt to offer a mapping of the landscape of private giving in the Arab region.
The panelists at the DSG event included Ankur Shah, Middle East Manager, Acumen Fund; Anas Bukhash, Country Project Manager, Dubai Cares; Peter Cleaves, CEO, Emirates Foundation, and Masood Razaq, Executive Director, Goodgate. Taufiq Rahim, Visiting Scholar at the Dubai School of Government, moderated the event.
Peter Cleaves said: “Philanthropy in the UAE takes many forms – from Zakat to offering grants for foundations based on international standards. All are devoted to improving the basic human condition. The challenge is to formalise the sectors, increase transparency and streamline strategic donations. The Emirates Foundation pursues these goals through nationwide projects for youth development, knowledge creation and programmes focusing on the society and culture.”
The panelists discussed the unique challenges and opportunities for organisations in the country, and offered relevant insights to help the institutions channel their efforts for achieving greater outreach. Initiatives to reach sustainable and substantive impact in philanthropic activities were also discussed at the event.
Anas Bukhash, Country Programme Manager, Dubai Cares, said: “This event is an ideal platform to discuss philanthropy initiatives and projects that have been founded in the UAE. The discussions helped us learn from other organisations that endorse similar guidelines, content, and work towards related objectives. As a pioneering initiative, Dubai Cares is keen to share its expertise in providing children in developing countries with access to quality primary education.”
Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government, said: “The UAE has long been a frontrunner in spearheading humanitarian causes—especially those that directly impact children and the underprivileged. Our objective as an institution charged with promoting good governance is to work—through research and events such as tonight’s discussion—to improve the policy framework so that the philanthropic community can become a more effective driver for positive change in our region.”
Established in 2005 in cooperation with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Dubai School of Government is dedicated to the promotion of good governance through enhancement of the region’s capacity for public policy. The School collaborates with regional and global institutions in delivering its research and training programs, and organizes policy forums and international conferences to promote critical debate on public policy in the Arab world.
For more details, visit www.dsg.ae or call +9714 329 3290
About the Dubai School of Government
The Dubai School of Government (DSG) is a research and teaching institution focusing on public policy in the Arab world. Established in 2005 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, in cooperation with the Harvard Kennedy School, DSG aims to promote good governance through enhancing the region’s capacity for effective public policy. Toward this goal, the Dubai School of Government also collaborates with regional and global institutions in delivering its research and training programs. In addition, the School organizes policy forums and international conferences to facilitate the exchange of ideas and promote critical debate on public policy in the Arab world.
Dubai School of Government | Convention Tower | Level 13 | P.O. Box 72229 | Dubai. UAE
Tel. 971.4.329.3290 | Fax. 971.4.329.3291 | Website www.dsg.ae