Archive | March 25, 2011

Another World is Possible!

Another World is Possible!

Feedback and Photos from Anisha Gupta

In early February of this year, thousands of people from around the globe gathered in the historic city of Dakar, Senegal for the 2011 World Social Forum. Grassroots activists, community leaders, indigenous people, students and leftist politicians came together to celebrate the peoples’ movements that are creating a new world and discuss strategies for moving forward. Particularly in light of the then-emerging social movements in Tunisia and Egypt that have now spread across North Africa and the Middle East, the World Social Forum in Dakar represented the energy, hope and determination of the African continent to challenge the neoliberal paradigm and declare that ‘another world is possible’.

Here are scenes from the opening March where President Evo Morales of Bolivia delivered a rousing opening statement to the people gathered and leaders from the African Social Forum council welcomed the marchers to Dakar. Dakar is of particular significance as one of the last African ports where slave ships stopped before crossing the Atlantic on their way to the Americas. Goree Island, with its door of no return through which millions of slaves passed during the transatlantic slave trade, is a reminder of that history. The World Social Forum is a symbol of the historic resistance to injustices that once took the form of slavery and today have many different faces.

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Statement on the Invasion of the African State of Libya By the Imperialist Forces

U.S. plane over IraqStatement on the Invasion of the African State of Libya By the Imperialist Forces

From Afreeka in Unity

2011-03-23, Issue 522

As the West intervenes in the Libyan crisis, the Afreeka in Unity group demands ‘the immediate end of the imperialist invasion in the African country of Libya’.

We, the sons and daughters of Africa, are condemning in the strongest terms, and demanding the immediate end of the imperialist invasion in the African country of Libya.

Africans in the continent and all over the world are shocked beyond words, at the actions of the former colonialist and current imperial powers.

We are aware of the occupation in Iraq by US Forces and the chaos created under the guise of removing a dictator, an action which has ended up with the plunder of Iraqi resources by private US firms. We are further reminded of the killings, rape and plunder of the millions conducted on this continent for over 500 years under slavery, and colonization by French and British governments. We have good reason to fear that their involvement will lead to a new form of colonization of the African continent.

We would like to state that the African people were, and still are, in full solidarity with the peaceful and unarmed uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which ended in the victory of African people. We would also like to unambiguously state that we are in solidarity with the oppressed people of Morocco and Saharawi, who are rising against the monarchy ruining their country.

We understand that the imperialist forces are only interested in Libya’s oil, which contributes 2% of all oil, and which has the largest known oils reserves in the whole world. In this respect, we would like to raise some critical and fundamental questions.

–           Why didn’t they invade Tunisia, when Ben Ali was killing hundreds of innocent youth, women and workers?

–           Why didn’t they invade Egypt, when Mubarak had murdered hundreds of innocent and unarmed demonstrators?

–           Why have they not invaded Bahrain, where the US-friendly monarch is killing hundreds of unarmed civilians including the sick in the hospitals?

–           Why have they not invaded the fascist state of Israel, where thousands of innocent Palestinian people are being bombed by military jets on almost a daily basis?

We would like to remind the world that Libya has the highest Human Development Index in Africa, and we highly suspect that they want to destroy Africa’s best success story. Libya has free universal education up to the university level, where the literacy rate stands at over 94%, this is compared to the U.S where we have over 40 million illiterate adults. Libya’s life expectancy stands at 74 years, which is the highest in Africa. This is due to Libya’s commitment to providing free, high quality healthcare to its citizens.

It is also important to note that Libya has been at the forefront of pushing for unification of Africa, and Gaddafi has for years pushed for this unity which will alleviate all the problems that we have in Africa, and make it the most powerful continent in the world. We feel that the west have bigger interests in jeopardizing these efforts, by bringing instability in Libya.

We are also angered by the silence of the government of Kenya and that of the African Union, on this brazen colonialist attack on the African state of Libya. We are hereby demanding for an immediate reaction from the Kenyan government, and stronger condemnation by the A.U of these military attacks, which will ultimately lead to an occupation, as we have seen in Afghanistan, and Iraq.

As they continue launching operation “Odyssey Dawn”, we wish to remind them of operation “Black Hawk Dawn” in Somalia, which was not only a total failure, but has caused a never ending war in the Horn of Africa up to date. This war has put the whole of eastern Africa region in a quagmire, with constant threats of instability.


Our solution is dialogue. We cannot end civil unrest by bombing innocent civilians. The pan Africanist movement hence supports the Hugo Chavez proposal, of an immediate ending of fighting, and the commencement of dialogue, under the guidance of the AU and other regional bodies.

We know that the U.N resolution 1973 was a mere formality, since the U.S had three weeks earlier, sent three warships, including nuclear carrying USS Keassarge and USS ponce.

We are also condemning veto powered Russia and china, whom have in the past stood for African sovereignty and interests, but who chose to support the Libyan invasion by abstinence in the vote. It is with this respect that we demand, that the A.U, or an African country chosen by the AU be admitted into the U.N Security Council, with full veto powers, so as to protect the interests of the over 1 billion African population.

We are also asking the immediate disclosure and closure of British military and U.S bases on our land. This is to deter any attacks from these foreign forces from within, in the guise of “Bringing Peace” as we have seen in Libya.

In order to avoid a repeat of the 1998 bombings of the U.S embassy, where over 200 Kenyans lost their lives, we are asking that the French embassy be relocated from the CBD of Nairobi, to avoid Kenyan losses as collateral in the war that they are now engaged in.

Thank You.



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In Quest of a New Social Compact in the Muslim World

In Quest of a New Social Compact in the Muslim World

The Declaration of the 4th World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists
March 23-24, 2011, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


The 4th annual World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists will convene in Dubai from March 23-24, 2011 to take on a challenging task: defining the roadmap for Muslim giving into the next decade.  Recent events in North Africa and the Middle East lend urgency to this conversation about the future role of Muslim philanthropy. The WCMP has therefore reached out to government leaders,  scholars, corporate executives and social investors to tap into their wisdom. The conclusions  that emerged from this consultation are  strikingly coherent and worth sharing.

The philanthropic sector has a historic opportunity to encourage movement away from greed and self-appropriation towards a world governed by the objectives of long-term value creation and sustainability. This progress can only occur through a carefully drawn new social compact among states, the private sector, civil society and the philanthropic sector.

Regardless of how current upheavals play out throughout the region, the serious economic, social and political challenges will not be addressed without a long-term vision for social justice and active participation among the different sectors.  History has shown that uprisings fueled by frustration can often generate enough pressure to force immediate political reforms. But they do not necessarily guarantee long-term, transformational social change.

One has to study processes in Eastern Europe and Latin America to see that while political upheaval may  generate  tangible short term reforms,  significant negotiation among social sectors is required to bring about substantive long term change. One would argue that this type of new social compact has still not been fully realized in many of those countries. Grassroots activism and civic engagement must mature in order to deliver such change, and that maturation process needs time and thoughtful investment from the public, private and philanthropic sectors.

As the 21st century comes of age, new norms are being defined and adopted by all sectors of society to meet the requirements of our era. Globalization and technology have thrust us all into a small village. “The one constant that has been with us since the mid-nineties is the constant of change,” according to Arif Naqvi, the founder of Abraaj Capital. The bipolar ideological, economic and socio-cultural tensions of the last century gave way to a world dominated by U.S. political and economic influence. But since the turn of the millennium we are seeing the emergence of a multi-polar world, as the balance of power and economic growth are shifting to new continents and markets.

In this century, influence is no longer wielded solely by governments or even large global corporations.  Technology has allowed any person, anywhere in the world, to broadcast his or her views on any issue under the sun, reaching millions of people at the click of a button.  Technology has accelerated the “global shrinkage” phenomenon. Different cultures exist today in closer proximity than ever before. Muslims in the Maghreb have dramatically shown how new technology can overcome ossified politics and enfranchise the powerless.

Needless to say, such a world demands a new social compact. Our governments, our economies and our peoples have become intertwined, interconnected, and indeed interdependent. Within this complex web of relationships, the multi-stakeholder society has emerged with new and powerful actors like civil rights activists, micro-donors, social entrepreneurs, and social network operators. These emerging actors in our global village can create new opportunities for fraternity, solidarity and dignity.

Systems of governance must be remodeled to address the challenges of the 21st century and the competing demands of its many stakeholders. Governments must be responsive, representative, and flexible to respond to greater participation and civic engagement.
The private sector must also evolve, tap into the opportunities at hand, and play its role in making our future more sustainable.  Business should consider how its bottom line can be enhanced through socially responsible activities that make an impact beyond wealth creation. As “shareholder value” is replaced by the multi-dimensional interests of stakeholders, business must promote social and environmental gain to create a broader definition of value.

The philanthropic sector will also need to re-examine its priorities and social investments.  While some immediate human rights issues may be addressed in the short term with the advent of new leaders or governments, the overwhelming majority of issues will need a sustained and long term vision that engages all sectors, builds a culture and professional practice of sustained civic participation and volunteerism, and helps address the real challenges that societies in transition will face.

This is why it is so important that we transform the philanthropy mindset from a charity model to one that fosters participation in long-term social change processes. Philanthropic institutions can provide concrete assistance in the form of advocacy and by helping to establish legal frameworks and incentives for donors, so that civil society organizations have more space in which to function.  Philanthropies can also facilitate training and capacity-building in the area of social and political transparency and accountability, so that non-profit groups can flourish and contribute to stable environments.  In essence, philanthropy can play a role in transforming potent “street power” into “social power” that can positively influence policy over the long-term.

Collaboration between public, private, and philanthropic sectors can close the human dignity gap.  The new social compact should focus on delivering environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth, without which we shall not have the resources to achieve anything else; on reducing poverty and improving equity, since prosperity for the few, at the expense of the many, is neither morally justifiable, nor practically sustainable. Furthermore, it should focus on confronting the core sources of vulnerability (for security is the foundation of both community and progress); on sharing the norms and values that reconcile cultural differences, since appreciation of different cultures enriches our understanding of the human condition; and, finally, on improving the quality of governance and the performance of our global institutions, since the important challenges that we face in an interconnected world cannot be resolved by national governments acting in isolation.
As events in the region bring into focus the need for this new social compact, the different sectors must promote transformational change within each society.  Philanthropic actors, with their close links to non-governmental organizations and movements, must establish a baseline understanding of the inequalities and deficits in access to healthcare, nutrition and education that our neighbors in this global village experience. The philanthropic sector must underscore the interconnectedness of few haves and the multitudes of have-nots and raise our collective consciousness.  At the same time, the sector must examine its internal contradictions and balance the desire for growth in prosperity with the needs of others–without alienating its own constituencies.


At a time of change and uncertainty, now is the opportunity to build together a comprehensive strategic plan for philanthropy, ensuring that its different components are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Our gathering as the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists this week in Dubai is about rising to meet this challenge.
Indeed, what Muslim societies need is a rational discussion of their own situation, on their own terms. As the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, we are making every effort to create a safe space for consultative dialogue among all sectors from which a new social compact can eventually emerge.

Hence, we the Muslim philanthropists challenge philanthropic institutions to revisit their funding priorities in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

We urge philanthropies to invest in young social entrepreneurs and in Arab and Muslim researchers to study their own countries and develop coherent plans for progress.

We call on governments to invest in creating jobs, especially for youth, and to formulate industrial policies that lead to broader development opportunities.

We strongly believe that these are the types of initiatives that will promote the rule of law, human development and economic growth in a coherent and integrated manner that will achieve peace, stability, and hope for the future.


We wish to express appreciation to many distinguished leaders, thinkers, and subject experts who offered their valuable input to this critical discourse, among them are Cherif Bassiouni, Arif Naqvi, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Peter Cleaves, Abukar Arman, Taleb Salhab, and Peter O’Driscoll. We are grateful to Lori Ramos and Stefan Kemball for research and editorial assistance.

Tariq H. Cheema, CEO, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists

March 23, 2011

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Muslim Philanthropists

Muslim Philanthropy1Muslim Philanthropists

World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists

4th Annual Conference
23-24 March 2011
Dubai, UAE

24 March 2011 (Day 2)

Press Release

The 4th Annual World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) held its final session today on 24 March 2011 in Dubai on the challenging theme of defining the roadmap for Muslim giving into the next decade. This unique congress brought together leading philanthropists and leading global charitable institutions and various leaders from the public and private sector to discuss problems and solutions affecting charitable and strategic giving. The final day culminated with a call for a new social compact in the Muslim world.

Through a mix of roundtable, plenary, breakout and discussion sessions, over 40 speakers discussed critical issues such as social entrepreneurship; the Muslim knowledge ecosystem; finance and philanthropy; innovation in philanthropy; and capacity building. There was also a session where various organizations, engaged in unique and outstanding charitable initiatives, had a chance to present their work and explore ways of connecting with the wider philanthropic network.

The plenary session on finance and philanthropy tackled the importance of zakat and waqfs as two of the most critical tools for the alleviation of poverty across the Muslim world. The session, chaired by Dr Alberto Brugnoni (ASSAIF, Italy), saw presentations by leading experts such as Dr Azad Chalikuzhi (Central Informatics Organization, Bahrain), Dr Habib Ahmed (University of Durham, UK), Sohaib Umar (MENA Islamic Financial Services E&Y, Bahrain) and Reuben Buttigieg (Malta Institute of Management, Malta)—all of whom underscoring the need to re-interpret and renew the importance of the zakat and waqfs systems in the Muslim world so that it can tackle contemporary problems without infringing specific national statutes. Through effective zakat management and transparent processes, and the re-formulation of waqfs in Muslim countries and elsewhere would help eradicate poverty and also strengthen the Muslim world’s ability to invest in education, health and capacity building.

One key session of the conference was on strengthening leadership and innovative capacity in the Arab and Muslim world. The Arab/Muslim world lags considerably behind their Western counterparts in investing in higher education, public health, and human capital, as a result of which North America, Europe and the Far East dominate in innovation. The presentations by Nadia Roumani (Roumani Consulting), Mohammed Abdel-Kader (Georgetown University) and Sarah Shroff (Changing Our World, US) described the various processes that were needed for the development of an ecosystem of strategic philanthropy that was vital for the development of a civil society in the Arab/Muslim world.

The congress closed with the endorsement of the statement calling for a new social compact in the Muslim world. It calls for a “comprehensive strategic plan for philanthropy, ensuring that its different components are complementary and mutually reinforcing”. It states:

We the Muslim philanthropists challenge philanthropic institutions to revisit their funding priorities in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

We urge philanthropies to invest in young social entrepreneurs and in Arab and Muslim researchers to study their own countries and develop coherent plans for progress.

We call on governments to invest in creating jobs, especially for youth, and to formulate industrial policies that lead to broader development opportunities.

We strongly believe that these are the types of initiatives that will promote the rule of law, human development and economic growth in a coherent and integrated manner that will achieve peace, stability, and hope for the future.

Dr Tariq Cheema, Founder and CEO of WCMP, said:

“The solution of our problems lies in collaboration not in confrontation, so we need to sit together; we have to bring civil society to the table, both the public and private sectors, well as philanthropy, and our job is to create that unique space so that they can think, through a consultative method, and find solutions to our problems.” He added, “Our effort is to lead the shift from conventional to strategic giving and from isolation to partnerships—this congress was a step in the right direction.”

For media information contact:

Arabic – Abdulrahman Naqi (050-4870123/
English – Sohail Nakhooda (050-2604110/

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists is a global network of affluent individuals, foundations, and socially responsible corporations, established to advance effective and accountable giving. WCMP is a unique catalyst for partnership across public, private, and social sectors, offering information and resources to link donors with social investment opportunities. As a trusted broker of collaborative relationships, WCMP mobilizes financial and human resources to address issues and advance strategic philanthropy.


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