Category: Arab Philanthropy

  • Should local governments get involved in global issues?

    During a recent commute from home to work, I tuned into LAist, and heard a question that prompted me to bring it up, more than once, with several people. It is this: Should local governments get involved or weigh in, on global issues? This was prompted by the City of Pasadena’s resolution of Ceasefire in…

  • What is the role of intellectuals in our social media driven world?

    What is the role of intellectuals in our world? A world that is almost anti-intellectual in its orientation – in the sense of being ephemeral, with fleeting attention spans, where the loudest – and most powerful voice – wins.  I came across this speech by Dr.Edward Said, one of the leading Arab intellectuals whose book…

  • How to help the people of Syria and Turkey – without breaking rules around U.S. Sanctions?

    By now, it is increasingly becoming clear that the earthquake that impacted Syria and Turkey on 6 February, is a massive humanitarian disaster. This crisis like others in war-torn and conflict zones is unique in that American aid cannot reach the potential beneficiaries, with ease.  For those Americans who want to donate to NGOs, or…

  • Can celebrity philanthropy be harmful?

    Can celebrity philanthropy be harmful?

    Remember the ads in which Angelina Jolie comes out and shames the world for ignoring the plight of refugees?  Or the Bono concert for helping AIDS victims? While each of them has done incredible good in the world, there is an argument out there; and it is a fairly strong one that goes like this:…

  • An artist as philanthropist : Umm Kulthum as an exemplar

    For those who know Umm Kulthum , the Egyptian singer and iconoclast, they are also familiar with her role in rallying the entire Arab world together, in times of great need. Her role as the ‘voice of Egypt’ is well known. Not so well known may be her role as a philanthropist.   We recently…

  • More Charity and less Philanthropy?

    More Charity and less Philanthropy?

    Do we need more ‘Charity’ (unorganized, personal giving) and less of ‘philanthropy’ (organized, scientific philanthropy)? While scholarship in the last 25 years of so indicates that there is a growing trend towards philanthropy, we are witnessing new arguments that what we need is really more ‘charity’. Bureaucratized and ‘scientific’ ways of giving don’t really work.…

  • Creating a positive ‘identity’ for refugees?

    In most media discourses, Refugees are constructed  as pathological creatures. The entire discourse of refugees and their plight is portrayed as something of a ‘problem to be fixed.’ While it is true that most refugees are in need of desperate help and do, over a short period of time, burden the economy of any host…

  • Should you give ‘Directly,’ for impact? Lessons from my mom’s charitable experiments

    What is the best way to help people? Is it to let the market forces determine who should survive and who should sink, or should there be intervention from the state or other players? How should philanthropy be directed towards individuals and communities? These questions have neither clear-cut answers, nor a good way of being…

  • Philanthropy: Where Marxism and Islam agree

    Marxism can be considered the exact mirror opposite of Islamic values, when it comes to ideas of materialism. On surface, this statement seems true. While Karl Marx’s idea of society can be considered purely materialistic, and his notions of political economy deeply rooted in notions of wealth, Islam is a more egalitarian and ‘socialist’ system,…

  • Top ten books I read this year

    I read a lot of books this year. Like a LOT. Part of the reason is that I am preparing for my prelim exams (part of the PhD process) where you prove to your committee that you know your stuff. Additionally, I presented a few papers at a few conferences, many of them outside my…

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