How can philanthropy help support the transition to more just and democratic societies following the series of spontaneous revolutions now known as the Arab Spring? Many funders from outside the Arab region are keen to do their bit to support what we all hope will be smooth transitions to more just and open societies. But few are familiar with the region, and civil society is mostly not well established. ‘Western foundations will require local guidance to ensure that what they are offering fits local needs rather than the donor’s agenda,’ writes guest editor Atallah Kuttab in his overview article, where he looks at some key factors that funders, local and foreign, should take into account.
This Alliance special feature on ‘Responding to the hopes of the Arab Spring’ offers a collection of articles by experts from within the Arab region providing valuable insights and ideas – on the need to ensure human rights are now central to all philanthropic practice; 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. Thomas Carothers and Malusi Mpumlwana consider what lessons can be learned from transitions in Central and Eastern Europe and South Africa.
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’.