The UAE Generously Pledges $100m to Women Entrepreneurs Fund

Women entrepreneurs’ access to investment funding may get easier thanks in large part to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has pledged, along with Saudi Arabia, to donate 100 million dollars to a fund devoted to helping women start and run businesses. The donation will be part of a projected one-billion-dollar fund operated by the World Bank that will be formally announced in July. Named the Women Entrepreneurs Fund, it will assist women in the Middle East access markets, obtain financing, and engage in networking crucial to building a successful business.

The creation of the Women Entrepreneurs Fund represents international recognition of the importance of women in leadership positions in business. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (https://www.facebook.com/Yousef-Al-Otaiba-162542037255423/), the UAE ambassador to the United States, issued a statement calling the donation a reflection of the positive, widespread influence of women in UAE society.

The Fund was suggested by Ivanka Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The UAE donation was announced in Saudi Arabia during President Donald Trump’s first presidential foreign trip. During the trip, Ivanka Trump visited with Saudi women to discuss the unique challenges women face in finding economic opportunities. They also talked about ways to overcome those challenges. Even though the fund was her idea, Ivanka Trump will not be involved with the fund’s operation or participate in any fundraising. Instead, complete responsibility for the fund remains with the World Bank.

World Bank president Jim Young Kim touted the fund as an outstanding idea. He credits Ivanka Trump’s leadership in bringing attention to the needs of women entrepreneurs as an important component of the fund’s establishment. He also expressed surprise at how fast the fund has already grown in recognition. The UAE donation provides a crucial boost to the fund that Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba calls further proof of the UAE’s dedication to ensuring that women have the power to make their own economic choices benefiting themselves and society.

AAM Honors Middle East Media and Talent at Awards Dinner

America Abroad Media (AAM) is a D.C.-based non-profit organization that aims to encourage free international media. On November 15, 2015 AAM gathered to honor media leaders that have made contributions to Middle Eastern media at its fourth annual Power of Film awards dinner. Honorees were recognized for contributing thoughtful, informative, and free media in spite of challenging circumstances.

The AAM Partner Award was presented to Tolo TV. Tolo TV is Afghanistan’s largest independent media channel with an audience of over 13 million people. The channel provides a wide range of programs including entertainment, drama, and political news coverage. This coverage came at a high price. In January 2016, a bus carrying Tolo TV employees was targeted by a Taliban suicide bomber. The attack killed 7 employees and injured 26 others.

Nasser Al Qasabi, a nationally beloved comedian and TV-satirist was presented with a Power of Film award. Qasabi is known for his comedy skits, where he makes fun of Arab social norms. His most recent comedy show Selfie became one of the most popular shows in the Middle East by lampooning ISIS through comedy. His show earned him a spot on ISIS’s hit-list.

Awards were also presented to congressmen Ed Royce and Eliot Engel. Royce (R-California) and Engel (D-New York) have crossed partisan lines to help make United States broadcasts more accessible to audiences in the Middle East. Their efforts to allow media access to Middle Eastern viewers been seen a large step towards preventing a Middle Eastern iron curtain, similar the iron curtain that occurred in Europe during the Cold War.

Journalist Steven Sotloff, was honored in memoriam. During his career he covered topics such as the Benghazi embassy attack, the Arab Spring, and the foreshadowing of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. He was kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded in 2014. His death sparked a complete overhaul of how U.S. hostage situations will be handled abroad.

The hit television series Homeland was also recognized during the ceremony. The show was praised for shedding light on the complex issues of the Middle East and U.S. National security. Homeland was also praised for giving human faces to the people involved in these current issues.

People in attendance of the event include retired General John Allen, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of Afghanistan Hamdullah Mohib, and Ambassador of Kazakhstan Kairat Umarov.

Jackie Soffer & Craig Robins Donate 100 New Works to Perez Art Museum

Miami real estate mogul and land developer Craig Robins may not be well known for his deep and abiding enthusiasm for the Arts but he very likely will be now. Very recently, Mr. Robins and his wife, Jackie Soffer generously donated a whopping one hundred pieces of fine art to the renowned Perez Art Museum of Miami.

The donations were made to commemorate the hard work, dedication and zeal of the previous curator, Mr. Franklin Sirmans. Mr. Sirmans was highly praised by both colleagues dedicated museum goers alike, but none, perhaps, gave the storied curator more laudable praise than Mr. Craig Robins himself. Mr. Robins noted that he wished to donate in honor of Mr. Sirmans due to the man’s ability to discern the importance of timing as it relates to art – an empathetic sensitivity to the cultural zeitgeist, if you will.

This is Mr. Robins’ second major donation to the Perez Art Museum and his second largest, for back in 2013 the art loving real estate developer donated 102 different pieces of art to the aforementioned institute. However, Mr. Robins was not the only generous donor to give to the Perez’s vaults.

Other contributions made by various different well known, as well as lesser known, art personalities attached to the institute, aside from Mr. Robins, included cash donations as well as personal gifts and large scale installation pieces such as the imposing statuary of Ernesto Neto and P. Atchugarry. Mr. Robins contributions mark one of the absolute largest gifts bestowed upon the Perez Art Museum of Miami in its storied and over two-decade old history.

Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer’s donations include work on mediums that run the entire gamut of fine art – and even a little beyond – such as sculpting, filmic motion art, photosets, paintings as well as various integrated media pieces. The pieces themselves are quite notable and include art work from such famous modern artists as J. Caesar, Patty Chang, and Justin Lieberman. The museum has yet to release a price on any of the pieces but one can rest assured that should the Perez ever be forced to sell them the collective works will fetch a princely sum.