• Topics of the panels included “The Role of the Private Sector in Philanthropy” and “Finding Common Denominators for Philanthropic Collaboration”.

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research in partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) and the Pearl Initiative, hosted a high-profile event in Ras Al Khaimah, focused on boosting impact within the private philanthropic community.

Attended by more than forty representatives of philanthropic organizations, the development community, donors, and policymakers from the MENA region, the two-day invitation-only event was focused on fostering greater understanding and encouraging co-operation between humanitarian institutions, regional policymakers, business and individual donors and the development community.

The event commenced with an insightful address on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to exponentially amplify impact by Dr.Giuseppe Ugazio, the Rothchild Assistant Professor in Behavioural Philanthropy at the University of Geneva Finance Research Institute. Following the presentation, a panel discussion took place focused on building philanthropic communities in the Middle East and North Africa region. During the panel, H.E. Huda Alkhamis Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of the Pearl Initiative and Hana Shahin, Executive Director of King Hussein Foundation discussed ways to build stronger collaboration in support of philanthropic efforts in the region.

In addition, the event featured roundtables exploring the pioneering endeavours of the environmental, cultural, and scientific sectors in driving ESG and charitable initiatives forward. The event also harnessed the ways foundations and sector leaders can collaborate to build upon existing partnerships and form new collaborations to amplify effectiveness and efficiency, underscoring the powerful role the community has to play in accelerating humanitarian outcomes within the MENA region and ensure regional development goals are achieved.    

Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis Kanoo – Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, commented “The value of partnerships is their ability to strengthen the bridge of understanding and dialogue. A perfect example is our participation here, invited by the Al Qasimi Foundation, to share and reflect on our ideas and values and come away with different perspectives”.

“At ADMAF, we are committed to partnering with the world to create a presence in the international cultural arena which opens endless doors and opportunities for Arab artists and our youth to present their work. Through partnerships, we are able to connect local artists with world-renowned talents to commission and produce historic works like the forthcoming Abrahamic Symphony that will bring together Emirati composer Ihab Darwish with award-winning Hollywood composers John Debney and David Shire, further demonstrating that alone we can survive, but together we thrive.” H.E added.

Dr. Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Foundation for Policy Research, commented: “The importance of this conference is to bring together leading regional philanthropic organizations in one place, to explore pressing global issues. Additionally, the event explored the most effective forms of philanthropy in order to address the challenges in the region, and how best we can work together to support government efforts. We are proud to host senior representatives from more than 40 leading organizations from across the MENA region, as these forward-thinking organizations will together generate enormous positive impact which positively enhances outcomes and contributes to sustainable development goals. We were pleased to host this important event in person and allow these leaders to meet and connect for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ms. Bathylle Missika, Head – Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division, OECD Development Centre, commented: “The event was a success. There is tremendous potential and willingness in the region to collaborate. We are excited to play our part in bringing data and trust to help build a strong philanthropic community in the MENA region”.

Ranya Saadawi, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, remarked “It was a pleasure co-hosting this convening and collaborating with deeply committed cross-sectoral industry leaders. This event is the first step towards collectively moving the needle on regional philanthropic impact and to encapsulate the core elements of strategic philanthropy such as data-driven approaches, community engagement, and robust governance.”

“The most important outcome of the event was that we uncovered what practical actions organizations can carry out in addressing difficulties in our sector, and what we can do together in sharing data for more effective and efficient philanthropy. The aim is that following the event organizations will convene workshops, communicate ideas and solutions and share best practices in a more streamlined and systematic format” continued Dr. Ridge.

She concluded “As a next step, together with the philanthropic community and the organizations in attendance we will agree priority actions and discuss how we can best utilise and combine resources in order to align with social and economic goals and leverage impact which will help unlock the untapped potential of coordinated philanthropic efforts”.


The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research    

Established in 2009, The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research vision is to aid in the social, cultural, and economic development of Ras Al Khaimah, a northern emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Established through Emiri decree by His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the Foundation is considered a non-profit, quasi-governmental organization. The Al Qasimi Foundation seeks to generate a world-class body of research on Ras Al Khaimah and the broader UAE, develop local capacity in the public sector, and engage the community in its work. Initially focused on education, the Foundation has expanded its priority areas to include health and wellness, urban and community development, and arts and culture. Signature initiatives include competitive international research grants, teacher and student professional development programs, and the annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. For more information, please visit: www.alqasimifoundation.com

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD)

Founded in 1961, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries, working across more than 100 countries to stimulate economic progress and world trade. The Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) convenes leaders in philanthropy and connects them with policy makers and OECD experts to address the world's most pressing development challenges. For more information, please visit: https://www.oecd.org/development/networks/

The Pearl Initiative

The Pearl Initiative is the Gulf region’s leading independent, non-profit organisation working to promote the business case for a corporate culture of accountability and transparency. The organisation was established in 2010 by regional business leaders in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships. The Pearl Initiative is the only private, non-profit Gulf business network to receive special consultative status from the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Pearl Initiative runs a series of corporate governance-related programmes, including AntiCorruption Best Practices, Diversity in Business Leadership, Governance in MSMEs, Governance in Family Firms, Governance in Tech, and Governance in Philanthropy. The organisation also conducts locally-relevant research, hosts workshops and executive education training sessions, and convenes business leaders, policy makers, students, and non-profit executives to encourage a proactive approach to implementing best practices in the workplace across the Gulf Region. With a growing network of over 40 regional and international partners, the Pearl Initiative continues to strive to be the leading business-led action-oriented platform to advance corporate governance as a key driver of competitiveness, job creation, and sustainable economic growth across the Gulf region. For more information, please visit www.pearlinitiative.org