'Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation' pledges $27 million for refugee education

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File photo showing school children in the UAE. (Reuters)
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File photo showing a group of students benifiting from scholarships offered by "Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education", UAE. (Courtesy Al-Gurair Group)
Updated 20 June 2018
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'Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation' pledges $27 million for refugee education

DUBAI: On World Refugee Day, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, announced the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, a new 100M AED ($27 million) initiative to benefit 5,000 children and youth over 3 years.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said: “I established this fund because I believe that philanthropists have a role in helping to address one of the most acute challenges of our region: lack of education opportunities for young people who need it the most.”
The Fund will award grants to support secondary, vocational and tertiary education programs for refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon. It will also support children of families who due to wars and disasters in their home countries, temporarily reside in the UAE but are unable to afford school fees. The first round of grants will be announced prior to the start of the new school year.

Applauding this initiative, Filippo Grande, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said: “We welcome the generous commitment by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair. The Fund highlights the importance of the Arab world’s business community in creating a positive impact through supporting the region’s displaced communities.”

Commenting on the initiative, Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education said: “There can be no better investment in the future of the Arab region than to support the education of the most vulnerable — refugee children and youth.”

The AbdulAziz Refugee Education Fund will be administered by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. Founded in 2015 and based in Dubai, it is the largest privately funded foundation in the Arab world focused exclusively on education. It aims to improve access to quality education for high-achieving, underserved Emirati and Arab youth. Abdulla Al Ghurair pledged one third of his wealth to the Foundation and set out a target of reaching 15,000 youth over 10 years valued at over $1 billion.


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 24 min 12 sec ago
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.