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Abu Dhabi Festival and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy announces first cohort of Young Philanthropists Programme

1 November 2021

The article at a glance

As part of the 18th edition, held under the theme ‘The Future Starts Now’, Abu Dhabi Foundation announced the graduation of the first cohort of the Young Philanthropists Programme, which was launched in partnership with the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) based in Cambridge Judge Business School.

by Jack Lilley, Communications Manager at the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

As part of the 18th edition, held under the theme ‘The Future Starts Now’, Abu Dhabi Festival announced the graduation of the first cohort of the Young Philanthropists Programme, which was launched in partnership with the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) based in Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

The programme empowers emerging philanthropists from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions to solve social and environmental issues through strategic philanthropy.

The first cohort encompassed 20 people from different countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Lebanon, Palestine, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Egypt. Following the virtual executive education course the participants took, the programme will offer in its next phase, an in-depth mentoring with leading academics and entrepreneurs around the world to help them set their goals and work towards achieving them.

H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival said, “Culture has always been an integral part of the advancement of philanthropy, as the two complement one another to preserve civilisations and the well-being of people. We launched the Young Philanthropists Programme after identifying the need for a clear vision to shape the future and the culture of philanthropy regionally and internationally. The programme is a Foundation first and is made possible by an exceptional partnership with the University of Cambridge’s new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy.”

“In Abu Dhabi Festival ongoing investment in the nation’s youth, innovative support is instrumental for young individuals to realise their full potential and becoming tomorrow’s creative leaders. The cutting-edge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy is leading the way into new horizons, enabling emerging philanthropic professionals to focus their efforts and achieve the greatest possible impact on society. The Young Philanthropists programme is not only a method for young entrepreneurs to become leaders and patrons in solving economic and societal topics, it is an investment in the region’s emerging philanthropists to be able to make a difference and a long-term change,” H.E. continued.

Clare Woodcraft.
Clare Woodcraft

Clare Woodcraft, the Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy said, “We were delighted to partner with ADMAF to deliver our Executive Education programme entitled ‘Strategic Philanthropy in Emerging Markets: Maximising Impact’ that was specifically tailored for the Arab world. The programme is about helping young practitioners learn practical ways in which they can improve their philanthropic outcomes while also building a community of young Arab professionals in the sector.”

Woodcraft said that the CSP was delighted with the level of engagement from this young cohort noting that they came from a range of organisations including start up social entrepreneurs and well-established regional foundations. “Despite their diversity, there was a lot of consensus around the importance of evidence based interventions, knowing what and how to measure, leveraging brands for partnerships and ensuring that even the most early stage venture has clearly defined values and associated governance,” she said. “We hope very much that this is just the first step towards building a region-wide community of young Arab practitioners who can network, share best practice and help to ensure that precious philanthropic capital is judiciously deployed for systemic change at scale. We look forward to the next cohort!”

The four-day virtual course ran between 27-30 September 2021 and featured an integrated and comprehensive programme designed to promote and build creative skills, community leadership and community innovation, as well as to develop voluntary initiatives by addressing topics such as the philanthropy paradigm shift, measuring impact, talent development, hybrid finance and creating effective governance that contributes to leveraging philanthropic capital in the best possible way to deliver impact and long-term system change.

Comprised of video lectures, discussions, live online mentoring sessions and exercises, the course addressed the challenges and opportunities facing emerging market philanthropists – particularly in light of growing intergenerational wealth transfers – in aligning their work with national development plans, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the need to deliver sustainable outcomes at scale.

The programme provided participants with specialised knowledge and tools, and will continue with in-depth mentoring sessions with leading global academics and entrepreneurs around the world which will help participants shape their plans and hone their skills. The sessions will provide emerging philanthropists with access to a network of professional philanthropists and experts to help guide them to become global leaders in solving societal and environmental problems.

Based on its clear vision to adapt to the rapid digital transformation and the sustainability of cultural initiatives, Abu Dhabi Festival combines a unique hybrid programme of virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions and events leveraging the latest digital technology.

Abu Dhabi Festival is supported by its Lead Partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) and Energy Partner GS Energy.

About Abu Dhabi Festival

Founded in 2004, Abu Dhabi Festival was initially a small arts and culture platform that soon graduated to one of the world’s premiere annual events. Held in the UAE, it celebrates artistic and creative excellence, and promotes the role of music and the arts in bringing nations closer. It also promotes Abu Dhabi as a leading global hub for creativity and as an Emirati beacon for respect and tolerance.

Strengthened by a growing network of 30 international partners, the festival brings audiences together each year to enjoy world premieres and exclusive commissions in the UAE and around the world.

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation

Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, not-for-profit cultural organisations in the Arabian Gulf. Pioneering new artistic practices, it seeks to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in the creativity of the UAE and Arab world. Often in partnership with leading national and international institutions, it delivers multidisciplinary initiatives for people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities through the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round youth platforms and community programmes.

About the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy within Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge is dedicated to enhancing the impact of strategic philanthropy both within and from global growth markets. Through a combination of rigorous research, executive education and the convening of diverse voices, the Centre aims to become the leading hub of actionable knowledge to catalyse greater philanthropic impact from the world’s fastest growing regions.