Empowering Communities

“Closing the doors of hope means opening the windows of despair in our Arab world. We cannot rise without a system of values that motivates people to give to others.”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The Empowering Communities pillar aims to promote and support all that may spread hope and optimism and guide individuals and communities towards adopting humanitarian values and ideas.

This objective also seeks to work towards positive and constructive change, in addition to promoting civilisational dialogue and to developing media discourse. Total expenditure in this field amounted to AED 79 million.

Within this sector, the Arab Hope Makers initiative was launched, and was the largest initiative of its kind in the Arab world, honouring people who seek to improve their communities and the quality of life of those around them.

In its first round in 2016/2017, it attracted more than 65,000 stories of hope from across the Arab world and honoured the top five hope makers.

The year 2016 also witnessed the launch of the Middle East Exchange, a platform for exchanging ideas and perspectives and encouraging a constructive dialogue regarding regional issues through articles and studies written by researchers, academics, thinkers and government officials in several Arabic newspapers. These articles attract 3.2 million readers every month.

Many events were organised in 2016, including Dubai International Sports Conference, which reviewed outstanding governance in sports management, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award was presented.

Dubai also hosted the Arab Media Forum, which launched the Arab Media Watch Report, and Arab Social Media Influencers Summit to discuss the opportunities and challenges of supporting positive communication in the Arab world, where the Arab Social Media Influencers Award was granted.

  • Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Tolerance
  • Arab Hope Makers
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development
  • Arab Journalism Award
  • Arab Social Media Influencers Summit
  • Arab Media Forum
  • Arab Strategy Forum
  • Dubai International Peace Convention
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Award
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award
  • Middle East Exchange
  • Dubai International Sports Conference
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding
  • Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government
empower communities AED 79 Million

spent on initiatives to empower communities in 2016

Arab hope makers Arab Hope Makers
65,000 Stories of Hope

from across the Arab world

Participants More than 30,000 Participants

in the Arab Media Forum, since its launch

Readers The Middle East Exchange
3.2 Million Readers

per month throughout 2016

Enhancing positive dialogue, developing media discourse and instilling hope

Initiatives to Empower Communities

Empower Communities AED 79 MILLION

spent on empowering communities in 2016

Arab Hope Makers

Stories 65,000 STORIES

of hope from the Arab world

Middle East Exchange

readers 3.2 MILLION

monthly readers in 2016

Empowering communities, promoting positive dialogue, developing media discourse and instilling hope in the region are major pillars of MBRGI. Total expenditure on these initiatives, training programmes, forums and awards amounted to AED 79 million.

In line with these values, MBRGI launched the National Tolerance Programme, which is aligned with the UAE’s keenness to consolidate the values of tolerance, multiculturalism and acceptance, and reject discrimination, hatred and intolerance. MBRGI seeks to reach out across the Arab world and beyond to spread this peaceful message, and encourage dialogue instead of conflict. A raft of initiatives come under MBRGI's umbrella with a view to building more cohesive societies, nurturing a transparent and ethical media and enlightening the world with understanding of heritage and culture as a way of teaching tolerance and appreciating differences. So far, MBRGI's efforts have promoted dialogue through conferences and summits and rewarded innovative individuals with awards and grants to pursue their efforts further, and reach greater horizons.

MBRGI also plays an active role in community empowerment by investing in people and developing leadership cadres with the skills, expertise and qualities to lead their communities toward development and excellence.

“We want to instil renewed hope in young Arabs that they have a real role to play in serving their communities”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Building Hope in the Arab World

The Arab Hope Makers initiative, launched early in 2017, aims to honour humanitarian and community programmes, projects and initiatives and celebrate those who seek to help others and make a positive difference to their communities and the lives of others.

Arab Hope Makers is driven by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s belief that hope, work, positivity and optimism are what the Arab world needs, regardless of how bad the region’s circumstances may be. The initiative will do this by highlighting flashes of hope throughout the region and celebrating the men and women who are striving to serve and benefit people and communities, improving living conditions, social care and quality of life for the people around them.

Within a month of its launch, the initiative received over 65,000 nominations from 22 Arab countries, surpassing its initial goal of receiving 20,000 stories.

The Arab Hope Makers initiative is part of the multi-tiered mission of MBRGI to present a new narrative about the Middle East, one with hope and generosity, positive models and noble contributions.

The Middle East Exchange is another aspect of MBRGI's work in building a more positive narrative for the region.

The Middle East Exchange is a platform for sharing new ideas, inspirations and innovations in the Middle East, aiming to stimulate and encourage frank, open and constructive debate around development issues in the region today. Working with leading newspapers across the Arab world, the Middle East Exchange presents a weekly digest of inspirations, solutions and novel approaches to regional issues and opportunities created by an international team of writers and contributors. In 2016, Middle East Exchange articles attracted 3.2 million readers per month.

The Middle East Exchange publishes its stories online and enjoys significant reach through Facebook and Twitter. Its feature articles, commentaries and other content are also available online on Medium, LinkedIn and YouTube.

The Middle East Exchange is jointly presented by MBRGI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Promoting a Culture of Peace and Dialogue

The Dubai International Peace Convention also provides a platform for dialogue surrounding the concept of peace, especially through the lens of the teachings of the Quran, countering the distortion applied by violent groups. The conference falls under the umbrella of the International Institute for Tolerance, which was launched at the end of 2016 in order to introduce a new approach, with a broader perspective, to discuss topics related to tolerance and world peace. The institute will conduct research on tolerance and support other researchers studying the manifestations of violence and extremism in Arab countries.

The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, meanwhile, raises awareness and improves understanding of different cultures and religions amongst the multicultural population and the millions of tourists welcomed annually to the UAE.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award has a similar purpose within the sporting community, aiming to bring people together through sports, and rewarding sporting achievement and excellence.

In 2016, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award highlighted sporting talent and efforts to support disabled sportspeople, aid research, strengthen the role of women in the field of sports and develop quality in sports.

The 11th Dubai International Sports Conference in 2016, attended by world famous football players, referees, managers, agents, and even presidents, debated the issue of outstanding governance in sports management. Technological developments, such as goal line video capture, novel approaches and innovations, also figured on the agenda.

“Tolerance is essential for stability and sustainable development. We need to consolidate coexistence, tolerance and openness in the Arab world so that we can reconstruct intellectualism and culture in our societies”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Developing Leaders

Leadership development is central to the efforts of MBRGI's community empowerment initiatives.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development aims to empower UAE nationals to become entrepreneurs and government leaders by providing them with knowledge, skills and expertise. In 2016, the centre organised various activities for the Young Leadership Programme, which seeks to develop leadership skills in the youth, including tours and field visits to various countries in order for members to learn best practice and build networks with numerous institutions.

To support excellence in government performance in the Arab world, and to develop leadership training curricula, the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government was established, and is the first academic research institution specialised in government administration and public policy in the region. In 2016, the school hosted meetings to discuss the latest training programmes for leaders, including the Executive Education Forum. The fifth session of the Policy Council, entitled ‘Data Sharing: Implications and Challenges’, was held to examine the importance of establishing an ethical and moral foundation for data sharing. The Policy Council, launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, aims to promote constructive and meaningful dialogue at a community and government level.

The Arab Strategy Forum is MBRGI's primary platform to share ideas about the future of the world. In 2016, Dubai hosted the ninth session of the Arab Strategy Forum, with the participation of numerous decision-makers and political and economic experts, who discussed the state of the Arab world, both politically and economically, and highlighted the regional economic outlook for 2017.

“New forms of media are a means for development, and an effective way to find new ideas, change reality through innovation and influence hearts and minds.”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

A Positive Discourse

A core area of MBRGI's work is ensuring the media plays its part in providing a tolerant and transparent discourse. By partnering with media institutions, MBRGI seeks to promote positive communications throughout the Arab world and beyond, especially targeting young people via social media.

The Arab Media Forum, established in 2001, has provided a platform for prominent experts from Arab media and their counterparts from all around the world. In 2016, the event attracted more than 40 speakers and provided the opportunity for partnerships with local, regional, national and international media organisations. Since its launch, the forum has attracted more than 30,000 participants.

In partnership with Dubai Media City, the Arab Media Forum also launched the Arab Media Outlook 2016-2018 report, which analysed trends and the future of the media across the 14 countries in the region. The event enables the organisers to create strong relationships and forge partnerships with local, regional, national and international media organisations to promote positive communications.

Each year the Arab Journalism Award are presented, awarding 17 winners in 2016 for their creativity and professionalism. The awards honour outstanding and distinguished journalists to boost their role in serving the community and being the voice of the Arab world.

Social media has been in the spotlight and influencer talks have been held on social channels to engage young people in their discussions. The Arab Social Media Influencers Summit was launched in 2015 to bring together experts and social pioneers from across the world to discuss the opportunities and challenges of supporting positive communication within and about the Arab world.

It includes the Arab Social Media Influencers Award, which encourages positive communication and raises awareness of the critical issues in the Arab world, pinpointing the best methods of using social networks and optimising use of official social media channels. The 2016 awards, held at the second ever summit, attracted a large number of candidates from over 21 countries, with the Middle East accounting for 87%.

Arab Media

participants Over 30,000 Participants

since its launch

Arab Social Media Influencers Award

Influencers 40 Winners

in 2016

Arab Journalism Award

Winners 17 Winners

in 2016