year of giving

Year of Giving retreat kicks off with over 100 officials

The officials will discuss the future of philanthropy in the UAE

Jumana Khamis and Mary Achkhanian, Staff Reporters
10:21 February 1, 2017
Year of Giving retreat

Dubai: The Year of Giving’s first national retreat kicked off on Wednesday at the Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, bringing together 100 cabinet ministers, government officials, and community and humanitarian leaders to discuss the future of philanthropy in the UAE.

Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, started off the retreat by pointing out there is good and giving in each emirate.

“Our leaders have established charitable associations that are represented by officials from the public and private sector as well as humanitarian leaders and businessman,” he said.


Al Gergawi said the goal today is to discuss the challenges we face and explore suggestions through discussions with Shaikh Mohamed, and officials attending the retreat. He pointed out the need to create a legislative framework for humanitarian and charity work.

“The Year of giving initiative reflects the identity of the uae in human activity. The uae is a very young country and in a short period of time it became an example in giving and in creating a balance in economic and humanitarian growth. This is what makes it exceptional,” he said.

Volunteering is another key topic that will be discussed during the retreat. Al Gergawi said the Uae currently has over 200,000 registered volunteers. It aims to increase that number by creating a regulatory institution that can monitor the number of hours volunteered by each individual in companies across the country.


“Our aim is to include residents and students in the volunteering programme and to further engrave the sense of giving in our youth,” he said.


Al Gergawi also highlighted the need of creating a regulatory framework for charity work for businessmen in the country.

“The richest individuals in the region live in the UAE. While they already contribute to humanitarian work, clearer legislations are needed to outline and regulate their contributions,” he added.

WATCH: Shaikh Mohammad attends the Year of Giving retreat. Jumana Khamis/Gulf News

During the retreat, officials will discuss developing a sustainable strategic framework for ongoing ideas and initiatives related to the Year of Giving.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who will attend the retreat, has previously called on the public to participate in this national plan by contributing ideas and suggestions via the #YearOfGiving hashtag launched across his social media accounts.


The retreat aims to cement a partnership between the public and private sectors as well as NGOs and society in general to shape a future defined by the values of values of charity and generosity.


6 key pillars

The agenda of the Giving Retreat will highlight six areas of focus for the Year of Giving; Corporate Social Responsibility, Volunteering, Serving the Nation, the role of the media, developing a legislative system to achieve objectives, and the growth of the development sector and humanitarian organisations. Each area will be led by a Minister in a related field, who will work on coordinating between federal and local authorities for major initiatives, following up on progress and achievements, and reporting periodically to the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving.

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, will be in charge of the corporate social responsibility pillar.

The volunteer work pillar will fall under the remit of Najla Bint Mohammad Al Awar, Minister of Community Development. Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, will oversee the humanitarian organisations pillar.

Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the National Media Council, will be responsible for the media pillar. Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, will head the pillar related to legislative system and government policies. Shamma Bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, will head the “serving the nation” pillar.

A first step in the journey of the UAE’s national Year of Giving, the retreat will be followed by a number of projects and initiatives which are intended to serve as a global model for building national consensus and cooperation around giving.