Next Mideast generation is going to be responsible for incredible innovation: Gates

Bill Gates
Updated 16 February 2017
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Next Mideast generation is going to be responsible for incredible innovation: Gates

JEDDAH: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Tuesday said he was “optimistic” about the Middle East, a key reason being “the energy of the youth, their interest in doing new things, including embracing technology.”
The next generation in the region “is going to be responsible for incredible innovation,” Gates said in a video message, adding that “despite the challenges of instability and other regional problems, I do think the Middle East — both economically and in terms of contributing to innovation in the world — will surprise people with positive results.”
Microsoft co-founder and the world’s richest man said regional challenges, such as the Syrian conflict and the resultant refugee crisis, “shouldn’t cause us to lose sight of the fact that we are making progress.”
He said childhood health in the Middle East and North Africa has improved “dramatically” over the last 25 years, but that amid the media’s focus on “tough events” in the region, awareness of progress in health and reducing poverty “is not widely known. We need to explain to people that a lot of things have been going well.”
Gates cited the halving of the number of children in the MENA region who do not reach their fifth birthday. “There is a lot to be proud of there,” said the philanthropist.
Another “great example” of progress is the polio eradication effort. “The number of cases is at its lowest point ever,” he said, adding that there were less than 50 cases in 2016.
“We are hoping that 2017 is the last year that we see polio at all… and with success there we can move on and tackle malaria and measles, that are still very big killers.”
He thanked governments and individuals in the region for their “incredible generosity” in their partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The tradition of philanthropy that comes from wanting to help the poorest is very, very strong in the region.”
He said his foundation’s “biggest single effort” is via the Islamic Development Bank in partnership with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
Called the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, it will deploy up to $2.5 billion of grants and loans to improve health, agriculture and basic infrastructure in member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Gates said Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed “has been very generous on vaccination and polio eradication work. In fact, he has used his unique relationship with a lot of the key countries, including Pakistan, to help make (the foundation’s) work there very, very successful.”
Citing a partnership with the Saudi government, Gates said: “There are fellowships now where people that are interested in (philanthropy) can work at foundations and come and spend time at our foundation and really understand where philanthropy is working, how it can become better measured, so that’s a field that’s drawing in the best young people and really can have high impact.”
Hassan Al-Damluji, head of Middle East relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, cited examples of “inspirational” generosity from its Middle East partners, such as Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s commitment to give away most of his fortune to philanthropy; the Shefa Fund, which brings Saudi philanthropists together to eliminate neglected diseases in Muslim countries; and the philanthropic fellowship launched with the King Khalid Foundation in Saudi Arabia, “Shaghaf,” to train young Saudis in philanthropic work.
Gates said he expects his foundation’s alliances with key partners in the Middle East to “continue” and “grow.”


Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

Updated 23 min 32 sec ago
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Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

  • Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal receives book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model”
  • Second workshop tackles use of technology in crowd control

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has inaugurated the “mithaq” initiative, the first of its kind to be held at the Holy Mosques, and received the book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model” from the General President of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.

The initiative included three workshops: The first workshop, Creating Initiatives in Moderation and Tolerance, was managed and supervised by the Prince Faisal Center for Moderation. It attracted many scholars and academicians and approved 27 initiatives to enhance moderation and tolerance.

The second workshop was on using technology in crowd control — engineering solutions for better crowd flow and for enhancing security control.

The third workshop was about the media and the global mission of the Holy Mosques. It was attended by many media personalities and university professors, and was characterized by serious discussion before agreement on quality initiatives with tangible results.

During the Makkah cultural days, Prince Khaled inaugurated the pact of the role model, which represents a holistic commitment to quality service from leaders, employees, security personnel and everyone serving at the Holy Mosques. This pact is an interpretation of the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Khaled toured the exhibition and praised the efforts of each department in the service of the pilgrims and visitors of the Holy Mosques.

Al-Sudais held a conference about the impact of the Holy Mosques in enhancing the role model, presided over by Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb, imam of the Holy Mosque. It was attended by Sheikh Saad Al-Shathri, adviser at the royal court, and Sheikh Hassan bin Abdul Hameed Bukhari.