Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Cambridge University philanthropy school to focus on Middle East, Asia and Africa

New centre will train and educate a generation of donors championing diverse causes from climate change to greater access to health care

The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at Cambridge University's Judge Business School. Image: Visit Cambridge & Beyond
The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at Cambridge University's Judge Business School. Image: Visit Cambridge & Beyond

A school for the study of philanthropy in the Middle East, Asia and Africa at Cambridge University aims to train and support a new generation of donors wishing to champion causes such as the fight against climate change, social inequality and greater access to health care.

The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, established at the university's Judge Business School, will focus on the world’s fastest growing regions and countries, including the UAE and Middle East, developing Asia, and Africa.

“Our planet faces growing challenges. Climate change – threats to water and food supplies, threats to our ecology and biodiversity – growing political division, war and infectious disease," said Professor Stephen Toope, Cambridge's vice-chancellor. "Global philanthropic capital must be used effectively and for maximum impact to improve our society."

Right to Left - Prof Stephen Toope, Badr Jafar, Prof Christoph Loch. Image: handout
Right to left - Prof Stephen Toope, Badr Jafar, Prof Christoph Loch. Image: handout

Professor Christoph Loch, director of the Cambridge Judge Business School, said an explosion of wealth generation is creating philanthropists "who can, and will, reject the norms of the past".

The centre will study "how we capture this diversity while also engaging with philanthropists from the target regions to support them in maximising their impact”, Prof Loch said.

Emirati businessman Badr Jafar, the centre's founding patron, said that the UAE and the world’s other emerging economies are becoming an increasingly powerful source of philanthropy.

"With the impending generational transition taking place around the world, it is crucial to properly understand the diverse approaches to philanthropy that exist in these markets, and the local and regional factors that have shaped them," he said.

“Transparency, technology and evolving attitudes toward wealth are reshaping donors' approaches to giving worldwide. We will likely fail to address the myriad of challenges on the global agenda over the next decade without making a much greater effort to connect, exchange ideas and partner with strategic philanthropists from the UAE and the world’s fastest growing regions.”

The centre at Cambridge will provide research, education and training and bring experts together to share ideas. Clare Woodcraft is the centre's executive director and Dr Kamal Munir is its academic director.

One of its first research projects, expected to be completed in the Autumn, will examine responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by philanthropists and foundations in the UAE and other high-growth regions and countries.

Updated: June 24, 2020 11:33 AM

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