AGFUND pledges aid for Philippine typhoon victims

Updated 11 November 2013
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AGFUND pledges aid for Philippine typhoon victims

Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz has announced that Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) would donate $100,000 in relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines.
The donation is the first from the Gulf to one of the world’s worst catastrophes, which has killed more than 10,000 people.
In a statement, Prince Talal, AGFUND president, said the donation was in support of relief efforts and humanitarian aid in the Philippines. He said the donation comes as an extension of AGFUND’s humanitarian activities in alleviating the suffering of disaster victims, especially children, women and the elderly.
The donation will be channeled to the Philippine government, the statement said.
Haiyan, codenamed Yolanda by Philippine meteorologists, has left thousands of victims dead and injured and has rendered tens of thousands homeless, in addition to causing extensive damage to property in islands along its path.
Various NGOs and OFWs groups urged Filipino communities abroad to raise support for the victims.
In a statement, Datu Camad Ali, founding chairman of SPMUDA International, appealed to individuals, groups and organizations in the country and abroad to extend assistance and cooperation to the UN team that was dispatched to the Philippines.
“As ambassador general of UN volunteers to the PHL, I ask all organizations to combine their efforts in order to deliver more effective services to our Filipino victims,” he said.
Migrante and other OFW organizations and individuals made similar calls.
“We extend our sympathy to the millions affected by ST Yolanda. We need not only prayers for all the victims of ST Yolanda but concrete action to support relief efforts by various mass organizations, and non-government organizations including our very own Migrante chapters in Eastern and Central Visayas, in Panay and in Negros,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante coordinator for Middle East and North Africa.
“We call on our fellow expatriate workers to donate; we also announced that we are reactivating our SAGIP Migrante relief operations to be spearheaded by our Migrante colleagues in the home front in close coordination with our chapters in Eastern and Central Visayas, Panay and Negros,” he added.
Tacloban City and nearby municipalities in Leyte and Samar, were among the places that were heavily devastated. Monterona specifically called on fellow OFWs from Eastern Visayas to be actively involved in providing support.
“There are formations of OFW organizations from Leyte and Samar. Organizations such as Leyteño and Samareño are quite active in the Middle East specifically in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. We appeal to them for their support,” he said.
Migrante chapters in the Middle East will designate a ‘Sagip Migrante at Pamilya’ drop-off centers where fellow OFWs and their organizations can send their donations.
“Our fellow OFWs and their organizations may get in touch with our Migrante coordinators and leaders in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Israel or they can directly contact me,” he added.


Misk Global Forum: Panelists spoke about future skills, AI and social intelligence on the first day

Updated 30 min 12 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum: Panelists spoke about future skills, AI and social intelligence on the first day

  • Princesses and politicians, entrepreneurs, an Olympian and football legend joined forces to power a skills revolution

“What does the future look like, in a world where everything is changing?” This question rang out as a video montage played at the “Skills for Our Tomorrow” Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

From the vantage point of  the third annual forum in Riyadh, the future buzzed with possibilities as more than 3,500 delegates were treated to sessions with political ministers, princesses, inventors, entrepreneurs and athletes. They had all assembled to share their vision of what is needed to deliver the skills that will be needed in future.

Weam Al-Dakheel, the first woman to anchor the main evening news on Saudi Arabian TV, introduced the forum’s executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin. “We want you to be inspired, not just by our speakers, but by your fellow guests,” said Hamidaddin, as she welcomed delegates. 

Hamidaddin asked for a show of hands from different parts of the world, showing that there were delegates from every continent except Antarctica — the forum would work on that for next year, she promised. She then asked for a show of hands for those under the age of 35 to demonstrate that this was the youngest Misk Global Forum yet.

She added that thanks to technology, we are already more connected than ever before, but urged people to interact with the speakers and guests from different cultures. “We must seize the opportunity for uniquely human collaboration,” she said.

As the moderator of the first session, “It’s All About Skills,” Arab News’ editor in chief Faisal J. Abbas began by holding up the morning’s newspaper: “Two years ago people used to read the news like this,” he said.

But as he pointed out, the news industry has changed drastically, with digitally connected audiences increasingly using online platforms such as Twitter.

With media tweeting out his comments, Abbas introduced his guests: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the Kingdom’s minister of labor and social development; Shaima Hamidaddin; Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy on youth and Sue Siegel, chief innovation officer for General Electric.

Abbas asked Al-Rajhi how the government was tackling the challenge of finding jobs for young people. “With Vision 2030 programs ... we have a lot of initiatives and there is potential,” the minister said. “We all need to work together and collaborate with the education system, employers who create the jobs and the ministry to give a clear direction of where we are going today.”

Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas hosted a panel on skills. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)

Asked whether job creation is considered to be an issue worldwide, the UN youth envoy said: “It is not a national or regional issue but a global one: Our world is younger than it has ever been before.” 

Wickramanayake said that by 2030, South Asia and Africa will supply 60 percent of the world’s workforce. “We have a large majority of young people who are working but still live in poverty,” she said, adding it is important to invest in them. “If we are serious then this is the time to make those investments to be productive citizens and employees and employers.”

A group that has been making just this sort of investment in Saudi Arabia is the forum’s organizer, the Misk Foundation, which. was founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011. 

Abbas asked the question that is on everyone’s minds these days: Are machines going to take our jobs? Siegel answered that while everybody looks at artificial intelligence and has this fear, actually AI will create new jobs and be used for more mundane tasks. 

AI was the topic of another session later in the day. Julia Glidden, general manager, global government industry for IBM Corporation in the US, said it is really important to know what AI is not. “It comes back to you and what you bring to your societies, which is your humanity, your passion, your vision and creativity, because machines will never replace that,” she said. 

Another panel on the topic of social intelligence stressed that technology could sometimes hinder people from interacting with the world around them.  Adeeb Alblooshi, the UAE’s youngest inventor, said it is important to develop social intelligence. 

He advised young people: “You have to start simple by understanding little things people do and that’s how you can gain experience. You don’t need to have the best equipment and the latest technology to develop. Just don’t give up ... always have faith.” 

Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development at the Saudi General Sport Authority. (Basher Saleh/Arab News)

The day wasn’t just about skills and intelligence. Athletes led the afternoon sessions, including a panel on the Future of Sport moderated by Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development at the Saudi General Sport Authority. 

Lubna Al-Omair, the first Saudi female Olympic fencer, interviewed Amir Khan, the Olympic medalist and light-welterweight world champion, who appeared wearing traditional Saudi clothes. He said that he hoped to help the next generation of Saudi boxers to become Olympic champions, and the only way to do this is by opening academies here. 

British boxing legend Amir Khan. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)

Khan said he believes there is a reason Saudis are good boxers: “Maybe it is in their blood — they are warriors.”

Winding up the day, Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers and gave a talk entitled “The Discipline — and Fun — of Teamwork. ”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a) thanks to football and everything it has given me.”

The forum was continuing at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Thursday.

Brazilian soccer great Ronaldinho. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)