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HomeISFIRE Vol 2 – Issue 2- May 2012Global Donors Forum- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Global Donors Forum- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The Global Donors Forum is an annual gathering of Muslim philanthropists from around the world, hosted by The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists. Edbiz Consulting were proud to have been invited to the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Rizwan Malik describes the proceedings.


The depredations of colonialism, the extrication of Shari’a from governing law and the destruction wrought by the world wars are arguably the progenitors of Islamic finance. Confronted with what appeared to be a dismantling of the social and economic fabric of Muslim society, Islamic finance was envisioned to be the insoluble link between the impoverished and the affluent. The ambition was to appropriate the creative and innovative spirit of capitalism and the unifying paradigm of socialism while jettisoning the negative aspects of both these ideologies. Through this synergy, each member of society would contribute to its health.

The catalyst for this synergy was to be a philanthropic ideal that pervades each member of society. Etymologically, philanthropy means a ‘ love of humanity’ and the core paradigms of Islamic finance were intended to inculcate this most important of moral tenet amongst offers and users. In some respects, Islamic finance is forgetting this essential characteristic but it is not to say it is forgotten. The proportion of Muslims that are affluent and give back to society is growing. Dr Tariq Cheema saw that by harnessing the desire and the willingness to give amongst Muslims and creating a global network of like-minded individuals, there is so much possibility for Muslims to contribute extensively to society. Hence, he created the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) WCMP is a global network of affluent individuals, foundations and socially responsible corporations, established to advance efficient and accountable giving. It brings together public, private and social sectors, offering information and resources to link donors with social investment opportunities. Each year, the WCMP hosts the Global Donors Forum (GDF) to promote effective giving and build strategic relationships and partnerships for high-impact social investment. Distinguished philanthropists, public and private sector leaders, social investors and experts from across the world congregate to offer pragmatic insight and response to pressing global and regional challenges. To date, there have been five gatherings starting from Istanbul in 2008, Abu Dhabi (UAE) in 2009, Doha Qatar) in 2010, Dubai (UAE) in 2011 and the latest held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 2012. Previous attendees include Tony Blair, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Dr Yusuf Al Qardawi and other leading personalities from around the world.

The 5th annual gathering of the WCMP was held in Kuala Lumpur in the last week of April. Over 40 distinguished individuals from around the world participated and spoke at the GDF. Among them were: H. E. Tun Abdullah Badawi, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia; H.E. Prof. Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand; Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the United Nations, New York; HRH Princess Sarah Al-Feisal; President of Generations For Peace; HRH Prince Zain Al-‘Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS); HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; HRH Princess Maha bint Abdulaziz, founder and Chair of Sawa’ed

Atheeb, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Ms Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh; Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide and Mr Tariq Al-Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares.

As part of the GDF, awards for notable achievements in philanthropy and honours for a commitment to social justice are presented at a banquet dinner. This year, the Muslim Philanthropy Award for the year’s outstanding grant-making institution was given to the Al-Bukhary Foundation, Malaysia; the award for the most outstanding corporation went to International Humanitarian City, Dubai; and the award for the individual with the most outstanding achievement in giving was presented to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al- Bokhary.

A Special Award for Research and Publications was given to the Global Islamic Finance Report 2012 published by Edbiz Consulting. The central theme of the Report was social responsibility and philanthropy and contained articles which addressed the relationship between Islamic finance and philanthropy. The award was received by the Chairman, President & CEO of Edbiz Consulting, Professor Humayon Dar.

These awards were presented by His Royal Highness Raja Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak, Malaysia. As the Keynote Speaker, his speech focused on the challenges of global governance. He mentioned that although there has been a lot of improvement in global governance over the past century, the existing framework is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Poor governance has resulted in instability and insecurity throughout the world.

In addition, two thematic lectures on “Impact Philanthropy and Investing” were delivered by UK’s Cass Business School and City University professors, Dr Paul Palmer and Dr Jenny Harrow.

Additionally, five innovative philanthropic projects selected from around the world were showcased. These included:

The GDF was a resounding success and continued WCMP’s excellent work in connecting like-minded individuals committed to the development of Muslim philanthropy. It represented a snapshot of the potential of Muslim endeavour and ingenuity. With the diversity of professional backgrounds and the variety of heritage, the fabric of Muslim society is indeed bright and multicoloured. There is a pool of talented individuals searching for a better future. Linking Islamic finance and Muslim philanthropy is imperative and necessary for the success of both fields. Contrary to media negativity, these are exciting times and with such illustrious gatherings, there is much hope and anticipation for Muslims to contribute more to global society.


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