Tamkeen in association with the Aspen Institute, has confirmed the return of Ideas Abu Dhabi, one of the UAE’s most prominent thought-leadership platforms.

The announcement was made during an event on catalytic philanthropy that focused on the transformative powers of effective giving from across the Middle East. Organised in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the event convened 300 leaders from social development entities, businesses, academia and civil society, to discuss how high-impact and patient philanthropy can change the world.

During the Catalytic Philanthropy forum, prominent philanthropist and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, participated in a fireside chat with Rima Al Mokarrab, Co-Chair of Ideas Abu Dhabi and Chair of Tamkeen. Their session on Big Bets and Patient Capital, explored the ways in which new models of philanthropy can be effective vehicles for creating long term maximum impact.   

Mr Gates said: “Collaboration and partnership are at the core of the work we do at the Gates Foundation. We are always eager to learn more about the many collaborative philanthropic initiatives happening in the UAE and around the region, which are key to make progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to supporting efforts such as the Strategic Philanthropy Initiative at the New York University Abu Dhabi to strengthen the giving sector in the Middle East.”   

Rima Al Mokarrabsaid: “The Ideas Abu Dhabi forum on catalytic philanthropy, and our partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a positive reminder of what is possible when we exchange ideas and collaborate for the greater good, and for the progress and prosperity of humanity.

“Dialogue plays a critical role in addressing global challenges, and that is exactly the reason why we convene the Ideas Abu Dhabi forum. After hosting three editions of Ideas Abu Dhabi, we have learned that progress can be accelerated by listening, learning, and linking diverse thoughts and approaches to drive positive action and change. We hope today’s event and the ones to follow in May 2023, will help to bridge awareness gaps, demonstrate the power of open discourse and spur action for the benefit of current and future generations. And NYU Abu Dhabi – itself a centre of intellectual diversity – could not be a more fitting venue, especially being home to the new Strategic Philanthropy Initiative.” 

The summit featured a keynote speech from Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of the Authority for Social Contribution – Ma’an, who stressed the importance of building a resilient philanthropic ecosystem and said: “Today’s event is imperative as it underscores the value and importance of partnership if we are to address the global challenges that we all face. Joint efforts between the public sector, the private sector, and civil society can help catalyze and accelerate progress at a rate that would not be achievable if we were to work in silos. I hope today’s dialogue increases the focus and resources dedicated to delivering transformative change and to helping improve the lives of individuals and their wider communities in this region and beyond.”

The day continued with two panel discussions, the first on Beyond CSR: The New Role for Corporate Philanthropy, and the second on Making Way for the NextGen. The panels featured philanthropists, impact investors, policy makers, and corporate leaders from around the world including HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, HE Salama Alameemi, HE Homaid Al Shimmari, Jane Wales, Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, and Neha Hiranandani.

In the panel Beyond CSR: The New Role for Corporate Philanthropy, discussions focused on the ways in which corporations in the region are responding to pressure from stakeholders to increase their engagement on social issues. This includes a renewed emphasis on corporate philanthropy and increased focus on scaling up ESG practices. Homaid Al Shimmari, Mubadala’s Deputy CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer, also outlined how Mubadala has been able to preserve and increase its philanthropic commitments over the past few years, despite the pressures caused by the COVID pandemic and resulting global economic downturn. 

During the session Making Way for the NextGen, panelists argued that their generation’s unique approach to philanthropy is set to transform the space, unlocking outcomes that would have been unthinkable for earlier generations. They also renewed calls for careful attention to the impact of investment, rigorous standards for transparency, and greater personal involvement by donors.

The forum on catalytic philanthropy was an exclusive Ideas Abu Dhabi event. The full edition of Ideas Abu Dhabi 2023, a two-day forum, will be held on 3-4 May 2023, dedicated to exploring future-focused themes of local and global relevance. The forum will bring together global leaders from across society to analyze challenges and opportunities associated with globalization, climate change, Middle East relations, and the development of new technologies.  

Ideas Abu Dhabi was established in 2017 as an annual forum that welcomes global thinkers, visionaries, innovators, and policymakers to hold intimate dialogues centered around some of the world’s greatest challenges. To date, the forum has convened more than 1,000 thought-leaders for open dialogue and to foster cross-cultural collaboration. For more information, please visit ideasabudhabi.com.

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