Maali Alasousi gave up a comfortable life in Kuwait to live in Yemen, dedicating herself to developing social programs in a country that is among the most impoverished in the world. She tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that key to successfully providing a social service in the traditional Arab country is to understand its people first.
Published: April 16, 2013 Philanthropy in India Is Taking Its Own Route
Philanthropy is the flavor of the month in India: Wipro chairman Azim Premji recently became the first person in the country to sign up for the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world's richest people to dedicate the majority of their wealth to charity. P.N.C. Menon, founder of the Sobha group, has promised to devote half of his fortune to philanthropic efforts. In Mumbai, the Dasra Philanthropic Week brought together some key players to discuss the roadmap ahead for charitable giving in the nation. Among the key themes that emerged was the realization that philanthropy in India must go its own way.
Published: April 16, 2013 Helping Cairo's Poorest Children Learn, Through Charity and Dreams
A random act of charity by Yasmin Helal gave her the idea and inspiration to dedicate herself to helping educate children from Egypt's most destitute neighborhoods. She tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton how she left an enviable telecommunications engineering job to start Educate-Me, a nonprofit effort which she says allows her to give back to her native country and affords these children the chance to pursue their dreams.
Published: April 02, 2013 Can CSR Help Heal Social Fissures in the Middle East?
Though still a relatively new concept for businesses in the Middle East, there is support for increased corporate social responsibility, according to a new study by Bahraini consultancy 3BL Associates. Its founder, Leena Al Olaimy, tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that CSR in the Middle East can even help marginalized communities in the region.
Published: February 19, 2013 Corruption in India: Multinationals Join the Accused
India has been beset by a number of big-ticket corruption cases in recent times. The scandals have so far largely involved politicians and local companies. Now several multinationals are coming under scrutiny, though the magnitude and the issues are quite different. Is it just an attempt to divert attention from the real scams or is corruption a way of doing business in India?
Published: February 19, 2013 Ashish Thakkar: Survivor, Achiever, Entrepreneur and a Believer in Africa's Future
The story of Ashish Thakkar is one of tragedy and determination: A survivor of the Rwandan genocide in which his family lost everything, 31-year-old Thakkar has quietly amassed a fortune through his business savvy, including founding a conglomerate that has one of Africa's largest IT companies among its holdings. He now focuses on the Mara Foundation, which fosters African entrepreneurship with mentoring, incubation space and venture capital. "It's important to give back and genuinely; that's how I believe wealth should be measured," he tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton.
Published: November 27, 2012 Missing the Picture: IKEA's Women-free Catalogue in Saudi Arabia Fails to Protect Company Values and Reputation
Trying to avoid the ire of Saudi Arabian censors, IKEA undercut its principles when it deleted women from a catalogue offered there, Wharton's Tom Donaldson and Ann Mayer tell Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. Though marketing in the Middle East sometimes proves difficult for global companies, the experts say consulting with human rights advocates, seeking deeper cultural knowledge and investing in a unique regional offering could have avoided the reputational damage the Swedish company suffered. "The most striking failure wasn't its lack of moral courage, but its stupidity in having fallen into the tangle in the first place," Donaldson says.
Published: October 16, 2012 Marsh of Dreams: Azzam Alwash's Efforts to Restore Iraq's Natural Heritage
Ancient civilization in Iraq formed around its rich rivers. But these waterways were severely eroded by the country's modern conflicts. Azzam Alwash, a U.S.-educated geotechnical engineer and native Iraqi, returned to his homeland to help rebuild its natural legacy. It's a passion project, but no easy task, given the inherent dangers and difficulties of being in a country recovering from decades of authoritarian rule and war. Still, Alwash tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that he is undeterred: "My job is spreading seeds. Eventually, those seeds become a bush. Every now and then it becomes a tree."
Published: October 16, 2012 Harvard's Clayton Christensen: Instilling the Value of Integrity in Your Heart
Discussing his latest book, How Will You Measure Your Life, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that the same principles and theories of management he has championed for companies can also be applied to one's own life. Whether to achieve success and happiness, or to avoid pitfalls, Christensen says if a person applies theories of cause and effect and questions the purpose of their goals, they will be able to better manage the future outcomes of their actions. Two examples of lives that he pays tribute to are Apple's Steve Jobs and Sony's Akio Morita.
Published: May 14, 2012 IDEO.org's Mission to Tackle Global Social Challenges Through Design for All
As a design consultancy, Palo Alto, Ca.-based IDEO has gained wide acclaim for the innovative product work it has done for corporations. But the firm also recognized the use of good design in tackling global problems, and created the nonprofit IDEO.org to work with other entities on issues ranging from youth employment to water services. Heading IDEO.org is Jocelyn Wyatt, who speaks to Arabic Knowledge@Wharton on the use of IDEO's 'human-centered' design process in addressing global challenges, particularly for those at the base of the economic pyramid.
Published: March 19, 2012 Business vs. Ethics: The India Tradeoff?
Much has been written about the benefits of doing business in India -- low input costs, easy access to labor and a massive consumer base. Less has been said about the ability of companies in India to thrive by bending rules, greasing palms and broadening ethical boundaries. At a time when the issue of corruption threatens the stability of the Indian government and scandals unearthed in sectors from sports to telecommunications total tens of billions of dollars, it is becoming increasingly critical for multinational managers to ask whether business success in India comes at an ethical cost.
Published: January 24, 2012 Online Donations Bring the Middle East and Africa Closer to American Donors
By reducing costs and expanding the reach of philanthropic organizations, the Internet has proven an invaluable tool for charity. Katherina M. Rosqueta, executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that the Internet, mobile technology and social media have made it easier and faster for potential donors to understand the needs of communities faraway and to give to organizations serving those communities. Providing transparent information about overseas projects, philanthropists note, is key to continuing the growth of online charities.
Published: November 08, 2011 CHIP's Katherina Rosqueta: 'India and China Will Leapfrog Past the U.S. in Impact Investing'
One of the most pressing needs in philanthropy today is also the most perplexing -- assessing the social impact of funds contributed. "It is part of our DNA to constantly be thinking about the most effective and efficient use of funds," says Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Rosqueta talks about the importance of social impact analysis, new trends in philanthropy and different approaches to philanthropy across the world.
Published: May 31, 2011 Arab Protestors Demand an End to Corruption, But Transparency Reforms Face Cultural, Legal and Policy Challenges
One of the issues sparking unrest in the Arab world is endemic corruption. But tackling the problem seems even more difficult than political reform. A recent study noted that four of the top 10 countries in the world for illicit financial flows were Gulf nations. Advocates in the region say several cultural, political and economic challenges encourage and support corrupt behavior. But at a conference in Qatar on corruption and transparency, Wharton's Philip Nichols tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that the region's push to modernize and widen links to the global economy will help curb corrupt practices.
Published: May 17, 2011 Family Firms in the Middle East: The New Rules of Engagement
For many Middle Eastern family businesses, it's time to sharpen up their acts. Some are scrutinizing their business portfolios to weed out firms that no longer fit their aspirations or are underperforming; others are consolidating and streamlining their vast portfolios of firms; and in a number of cases, they are recruiting non-family managers for the first time or adopting corporate governance standards more often associated with companies listed in London or New York. What's clear across the region is that being a family member will soon no longer be a sure-fire guarantee that a seat at the boardroom table awaits.
Published: December 28, 2010