ABU DHABI, 8th November 2016 (WAM) – Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of Emirates Foundation, the Foundation launched its fourth annual Youth Philanthropy Summit, at Jumeirah At Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, under the theme “Impact, Data and the Digital Revolution.”

The Summit was inaugurated by Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Managing Director of Emirates Foundation and featured prominent keynote speakers including Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, Shaikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan,; Carlos Domingo, Chief New Business and Innovation Officer of Du; Ahmad Al Ashkar, Social Venture Executive of the Hult Prize; Yann Borgstedt, Founder-President of The Womanity Foundation and, Rabee Zureikat, Founder of Zikra Initiative .

Representatives from MBRC for Government Innovation, Berkeley Haas School of Berkeley University, California, Nakhweh, SAP Training & Development Institute and WAMDA joined, to discuss how data and the digital revolution can drive enterprise development and philanthropic impact.

In his opening remarks, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan said:” This year’s Summit serves as a platform for building a more comprehensive analysis of the situation facing young people today. The issues to be discussed today will help us create a more enabling and empowering environment for youth and contribute to the growth of the philanthropic sector in the region.”

He further elaborated. “Today we are witnessing a paradigm shift across the sector from traditional philanthropic models to more impactful ones. As Emirates Foundation we are committed to creating a knowledge sharing platform through which we can share our own transition from a traditional grant making entity to one focused on venture philanthropy, and support the growth of the profession. Throughout the summit this year, we will aim to share best practice and notably assess how big data and the digital revolution can help us maximize impact and outcomes over the long-term.”

The two-day summit includes three main plenary sessions and four interactive solution clinics, creating a platform for learning where experts exchange insights and experience on how ‘Big Data’ can potentially revolutionize the world of philanthropy. From helping organizations make smarter choices on where to spend social capital to identifying strategies that work best at fulfilling their missions, data is a crucial component of creating impact. Discussions will further explore ways the not-for-profit sector can take advantage of mass data available and the different ways foundations are deploying it to maximize impact and drive new ways of creating scalable social value.

Speaking about the Summit, Clare Woodcraft, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said: “Since its inception in 2013, our annual youth philanthropy summit has engaged partners and collaborators from across the region to join a discussion around the paradigm shift in philanthropy and how it’s being driven to create more opportunities to maximize social impact. This year we are particularly excited to be talking about big data and the digital revolution, trying to understand how to deploy, analyze and use data to predict and ensure that philanthropic efforts are adding value.”

Woodcraft continued: “As philanthropic organizations, we know that there is an increasing demand on us to get better in understanding our beneficiaries, maximize our social impact, and ensure that our programs are creating the required impact. We are very excited to have with us today global and regional expertise as well as regional examples of how organizations are using and deploying data in the business and social sectors. We strongly believe that this is a new era for philanthropy, a new way for us to make sure that we deliver as much value as possible for our beneficiaries.”

Maytha Al Habsi, Deputy CEO of Emirates Foundation expressed her deepest gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation and Chairman of Emirates Foundation and to Board Members for their efforts in supporting the Foundation’s programmes, and reaffirmed that these were among the most important success factors for this Summit and its role as a leading local, regional and international platform.”

Speaking at the Summit Al Habsi further said: “Our Youth Philanthropy Summit is not just for opinions – it’s about learning. It’s about getting better at what we do, sharing what works and what doesn’t and being able to take that back and apply it to our work. We know that challenges facing young people across the globe continue to grow. Not just around how they navigate this new global uncertainty but also how they prepare for an ever changing world. And that’s where this Summit can be most effective. By creating an intergenerational conversation about how philanthropy can help young people – and all people – to address and mitigate some of the world’s most challenging socio-economic puzzles and create positive and permanent change in our communities.”

The first day of the Summit saw the launch of a book titled ‘Filling the Void Through Social Entrepreneurship’ by Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan, Founder and President – Academy of International Business – MENA which explores the role of social entrepreneurs in creating change in a MENA context.

As part of the Foundations commitment to promoting an inclusive environment that integrates all segments of society, Emirates Foundation and UAE Disabled Sports Federation signed an MOU to promote social inclusion of people with special needs. Through this agreement, the Emirates Foundation ‘Takatof Volunteers’ will be trained and equipped to support activities that focus on the integration of special needs community members through sports activities across the nation.

Over the next two days the Summit will engage a wealth of expertise and experience on the topic of ‘Data and the Digital revolution’ both from seasoned professionals and also Millennial youth, joined by many experts from across the globe representing the corporate, government, academic and third sectors. The Summit will also host a pool of very talented young people who often understand this journey better than their less digital predecessors.