In September, the John D Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University of Cairo and the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) met to discuss issues related to quantitative data collection on philanthropy in the Arab region, including definitions and classifications and identifying the gaps in available data.
There was general agreement about the importance of collecting statistical information on giving in the region as this is virtually non-existent, partly because of the lack of systems for tracking and reporting on the sector and partly for other cultural, religious and political reasons. It was agreed that a steering committee should be formed from active members of the philanthropic community in the Arab region in order to give valuable input and early guidance on future research efforts by the Gerhart Center.
The event was preceded by the AFF’s seventh meeting to discuss and finalize proposals for the Forum’s governance structure and policies, programme development and funding strategies. This drew members from Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Palestine. In a long-term perspective, AFF’s goal is to strengthen Arab philanthropy by providing Arab funders with a pan-Arab association of foundations to foster dialogue, network, learn, and collaborate among themselves and with partners.
The AFF’s next meeting is proposed to take place in Abu Dhabi in February in conjunction with an initiative of the AFF, Emirates Foundation (EF) and Network of European Foundations (NEF) to bring representatives of European philanthropic foundations into the Arab region to discuss opportunities for joint projects and partnerships.
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