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30 April 2018

Harvard Report Highlights UAE as a Global Center for Philanthropy

The Growth of Institutional Philanthropy in the United Arab Emirates’ is a new report released today by the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School with research partner Globesight, a UAE-based organization advancing social impact.  The report presents the first comprehensive study of the UAE philanthropic ecosystem, with a focus on institutional philanthropy, and its potential in the country.
The UAE plays a pioneering role across the Gulf region and the wider Middle East in the building a modern philanthropic sector and has earned its global recognition as a leader in humanitarian aid and development.  Despite the sector’s dynamic growth both in size and scope, particularly over the last 15 years, there has been limited data, analysis, and collation of the scale, scope, and practices of philanthropic institutions across the country.
The first-of-its-kind report examines the principal driving forces within the sector, the enabling environment, and scale, priorities and practices of formal philanthropic institutions across the country, and aims to develop an understanding of the level of philanthropic investment in the UAE.
Authors Paula D. Johnson, Senior Research Fellow at the Ash Center at the Harvard Kennedy School and Taufiq Rahim, Executive Director of Globesight explore the relationships between the growth of institutional philanthropy in the country, its expanding global impact though collaboration and engagement, and the emergence of a greater diversification in approach to deploying capital in support of social good.
“The philanthropic sector in the UAE is at a pivotal point and with the right policy support, there is an opportunity for truly global impact,” stated Rahim. “Through this report, specifically insights on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities, we hope to inform the development in UAE’s philanthropic practice to be more strategic and collaborative. There are great expectations for the sector in the UAE to advance impact in addressing complex social challenges regionally and globally.”
The findings of the UAE study have also supported the inaugural Global Philanthropy Report across 20 countries, authored by Paula Johnson. Speaking at the launch of the UAE report, Johnson underscored the importance of collaboration and sharing comparative insights across geographies.  “This effort began as an experimental initiative to see if we could, together, develop comparative data on the scale, scope, and operations of global philanthropic institutions. We believe the UAE report represents an important contribution to the understanding of worldwide philanthropic practices and trends.”
The report launch was hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) in Dubai, UAE, the first research and teaching institution focusing on governance and public policy in the Arab world, and one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives.  Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, MBRSG’s Executive President, said: “The UAE was built on the values of generosity, philanthropy and tolerance, espoused by our Founding Father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Indeed, our leadership has dubbed 2018 as the ‘Year of Zayed’, urging organizations across the UAE to embrace these values as they set their policies and strategies, and to do more in way of social responsibility. This follows the successful ‘Year of Giving 2017’, where public and private entities across the UAE launched a bundle of philanthropic initiatives.”
“We are honored to be supporting the launch of this groundbreaking report, in partnership with Globesight and the Harvard Kennedy School, and we take great pride in the fact that the UAE has come to be recognized as a global center for philanthropy,” Dr Al Marri added. “We view this report as a significant tool that will enhance knowledge and understanding of the sector and nurture opportunity within the UAE to advance social impact work.”
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