December 2011

Responding to the hopes of the Arab Spring

Volume 16 , Number 4

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December 2011

Responding to the hopes of the Arab Spring

Volume 16 , Number 4

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2011 has been a year of unprecedented change for the citizens of the Arab region. Following the series of spontaneous revolutions now known as the Arab Spring, many countries are full of hope but facing an uncertain immediate future. How can philanthropy help support the transition to more just and democratic societies? Guest editor Atallah Kuttab looks at some key factors that funders, local and foreign, should take into account. Above all, he says, western funders should ensure that what they offer fits local needs rather than their own agenda.

Human rights must now be central to all philanthropic practice, argues Fateh Azzam, while Barbara Ibrahim stresses the need to foster spontaneous local initiatives. Other articles look at the importance of involving women and young people, the role of the private sector, the opportunities and challenges facing foreign donors, and the role to be played by global civil society. Some lessons can be learned from other societies that have gone through similar transitions, write Thomas Carothers and Malusi Mpumlwana in their articles on Central and Eastern Europe and South Africa respectively.

Also included in the December issue of Alliance: interview with Deborah Hargreaves, chair of the UK’s High Pay Commission; Jacob Harold’s new vision for foundation accountability, and readers’ responses to the September special feature ‘Living with the Gates Foundation’; plus more articles, reviews, opinion and global updates.

Guest Editors' Article

Which way now for Arab philanthropy?

1 December 2011
Atallah Kuttab

The Arab Spring will no doubt influence all aspects of life in the Arab region, including philanthropy. Historically, endowments for much-needed social services like education and health services provided a sustainable approach for giving, mostly religious-based. However, more recently giving has been mainly charity-oriented, mostly state-sponsored, ill-studied and patronizing. Recent moves to build the infrastructure of philanthropy in the region have envisaged gradual progress, but this year’s events have shown that this is not enough. …

 
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Editorial

An area to tread carefully – for editors and funders alike

Guest editors invariably bring a huge amount to each Alliance special feature – specialist knowledge, experience, contacts. I find it hard to imagine producing an issue of Alliance without one. In the case of the special feature on ‘Responding to the hopes of the Arab Spring’, I can say that having an expert guest editor was, literally, indispensable. The Arab region is a minefield of mistakes and misjudgements waiting to be made. Just to mention a couple: we found what I thought was a lovely photo of women in Tahrir Square. When Atallah Kuttab, the guest editor, saw the proofs, …

Letters

Gates’ governance arrangements are not the point

Lisa Jordan

Philanthropy as a field is challenged by accountability. The Gates Foundation being the largest will both bear the brunt of …

Wrestling with the accountability challenge

Aaron Dorfman

I greatly enjoyed reading the special feature on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the September issue of Alliance. …

Evaluation is the real key to accountability

Charles Erkelens

Thank you for the interesting feature on the Gates Foundation in the last issue of Alliance. Clearly there are some …

Philanthropists as role models

Marcos Kisil

I would like to congratulate you for the recent issue of Alliance looking at the effect of the Bill and …

Does size matter?

Robyn Scott

Thanks must go to Alliance for highlighting one of the most challenging of all issues in philanthropy – the power …

We are all Gates now

Charles Keidan

The emergence of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a major force in global public health and US public …

Putting Gates in perspective

Diana Leat

Thank you for another great issue. Alliance just keeps getting better and better! My only quibble with the interesting views …