Return on Investment: Philanthropy in the Arab Region
By Atallah Kuttab
Original post : February 18, 2016
A surge in Arab philanthropy by a new generation is challenging views on wealth and approaches to impact. Arab philanthropy is not a unified ecosystem of coordinated parts; it is a diverse and complex combination of sources of funding, intermediaries and beneficiaries, which varies greatly depending on which part of the Arab world we are talking about – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), North Africa (Maghreb) or the eastern Mediterranean (Levant or Mashreq). However, in all the countries of the region there is a longstanding tradition of social giving in a variety of forms and inclusive of all faiths, the best known being waqf.
Across the globe, and the Arab region is no exception, the strong tradition of giving spanning several hundred if not thousands of years, has often been disrupted by governments that considered the welfare of their citizens as their sole responsibility and, therefore, took control of the philanthropic resources that existed including endowments, lands and property. During the last 25 years, a renewal has been taking place and a surge in philanthropic organizations is being witnessed. While this renewal shows many similarities in different countries, there are also many specific differences, and it is this diversity that makes global philanthropy rich.