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Global Donors Forum 2012

Global Donors Forum 2012 Summary


Leading philanthropists, public and private sector leaders and social investors from across the world gathered at the Global Donors Forum, the 5th annual convening of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, in Kuala Lumpur in the last week of April.

High-level government and business leaders, donors, social investors and experts all engaged in very constructive discussions at the world’s premier forum on Muslim philanthropy to promote effective giving and forge strategic partnerships for high-impact social investment.

 

Keynote Address

The forum was inaugurated by a keynote address by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Razak in which he stressed that, at the heart of Islamic finance lies a genuine philanthropic spirit which makes Islamic micro-finance all about financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and risk-sharing through partnership finance – an approach that conventional micro-finance lacks. Najib said the ultimate focus of Islamic finance should be on its core value proposition and not just on furthering its assets. Islamic finance must reach out to the poor, he added.


Impactful Speech

Later, at the keynote banquet, His Royal Highness Raja Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak, Malaysia, delivered an impactful speech in which he focused on the challenges of global governance. After commending, and critiquing, the architecture and what he called the remarkable progress of global governance over the past century, he pointed out that, despite the experience gained over the past hundred years and the substantial gains made, the existing governance structure was becoming increasingly unsustainable. And, he stressed, global governance had been even more disappointing in not being able to maintain global peace and security. Therefore, the Crown Prince argued, the international community now had to make a choice: it could continue to labour under an architecture for global governance designed in and for the previous century or it could enact concrete reforms to align it better with the strategic profile and needs of the 21st century.


The Muslim Philanthropy Awards

Every year, the Muslim Philanthropy Award is given to an individual, a grant-making institution and a corporation that best exemplify a strong commitment to social justice and to the advancement of strategic philanthropy.

This year, the Muslim Philanthropy Award for the year’s outstanding grant-making institution was given to the Al-Bukhary Foundation, Malaysia; the award for the most outstanding corporation went to International Humanitarian City, Dubai and the award for the individual with the most outstanding achievement in giving was presented to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bokhary.

This year, a newly instituted honour, a Special Award for Research and Publications, was given to the Global Islamic Finance Report.


Muslim Science, Technology and Innovation

According to data shared during presentations, the real wealth in the Islamic world is a huge resource base of youth under 25 years of age numbering more than 780 million. With help from the WCMP, suggested Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, the Deputy Director-General of ISESCO, Academies of Sciences for young scientists could be established and at least a thousand Business Incubation Centers in the Islamic World to focus on indigenous problems and their solutions.


Important Discussions

During the two-and-a-half day event, a range of important topics were discussed. Among them were: New Trends in Global Giving; Impact Assessment; Personal Social Responsibility; Investing in the Next Generation; Silent Diplomacy, and adopting High-Impact Strategies in Development.

Over 40 speakers from around the world contributed to the discussions. Among them were: H. E. Tun Abdullah Badawi, The Former Prime Minister of Malaysia; H.E. Prof. Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, The Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand; Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the United Nations, New York; HRH Princess Sarah Al-Feisal; President, Generations For Peace, Jordan; HRH Prince Zain Al-‘Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia; HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; HRH Princess Maha bint Abdulaziz, Founder and Chair of Sawa’ed Atheeb, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Ms. Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh; Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide, United Kingdom; and Mr. Tariq Al-Gurg, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Cares, United Arab Emirates.

Two thematic lectures on "Impact Philanthropy and Investing" were delivered by Cass Business School, City University London professors Dr. Paul Palmer and Dr. Jenny Harrow.

Also, as part of a regular feature, five innovative philanthropic projects selected from around the world were showcased at the forum.


Workshops

With the collaboration of Assaif, Italy, three workshops were held which explored ways to make faith-based giving more lasting and effective.

Leading scholars from internationally renowned universities participated in the workshops which focused on effective Management and Empowerment Policies for Zakat, Awqaf and Islamic finance tools.


Launch of Philanthropic Initiatives and Partnerships

Various philanthropic initiatives were launched at the Forum. Among them were:

The Hasanah Trust Fund: A sustainable livelihood fund co-initiated by the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists and Islamic Development Bank's Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development;

 

The Academy of Philanthropy: A vehicle to develop leaders in philanthropy which introduced its various programs geared towards board members, corporate and foundation executives, and young entrepreneurs interested in philanthropy]; and

 

The Al-Salsabil for Empowerment Fund: An attempt to bridge the gap between Islamic finance, social responsibility and philanthropy, which will provide empowerment finance.

 

In addition, Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed by Dr. Tariq H. Cheema, CEO of WCMP and Dr. Bahir Omar Fadlallah, Director of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development; and between the WCMP CEO and Dato Mat Hassan Esa, CEO of the World Zakat Organization.

 

Art Exhibition

An Islamic art exhibition, titled Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in the Islamic World, on display at the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, provided delegates at the forum with the chance to step out when at leisure and admire some classic Islamic art.

 

Acknowledgement

The forum was made possible by a mandatory fee registration fee; participation grants; and the financial support rendered by Bank Muamalat, Malaysia; ISESCO, and Al-Faleh Group of Qatar.