Ahmed Al Falasi is Arab Hope Maker 2020

By DG Staff

DUBAI 21 February 2020: Ahmed Al Falasi, from the UAE, was crowned the Arab Hope Maker 2020 for his humanitarian work in establishing advanced kidney dialysis centers and incubators in Kenya’s Mombasa city.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, awarded the five Arab Hope Makers finalists Dh1 million each, crowning Ahmed Al Falasi, from the UAE, as the Arab Hope Maker 2020 for his humanitarian work in establishing advanced kidney dialysis centers and incubators in Kenya’s Mombasa city.

A grand variety show was part of the event at City Walk’s Coca-Cola Arena. Besides the show proceeds, 10 entities and entrepreneurs collectively contributed Dh44 million to supporting the construction of Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Center in Egypt that, once complete, will conduct over 10,000 free-of-charge heart surgeries annually, 70 percent to children from all over the Arab world.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced a Dh44 million match to the contributions raised during the event, bringing the total amount to Dh88 million that the Arab Hope Makers initiative will dedicate to support the cause.

Al Falasi was selected from an overwhelming 92,000 participants from 38 countries in the third edition of the Arab Hope Makers that honors individuals, teams or entities with philanthropic effort that makes a positive difference in their communities.

Sheikh Mohammed said, “Hope Makers are the real champions of giving and inspirational examples of leaders taking the initiative to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.”

He added, “Through working for their communities, Hope Makers lead a positive societal movement that supports development and restores faith in the future of the Arab world.”

“We followed tens of thousands of inspiring stories of the Arab Hope Makers who, with their positivity and optimism, emerged as beacons of hope in their communities.”

Sheikh Mohammed noted, “The Hope Makers sincerely help others without seeking recognition or personal gains, setting a great example for others on turning challenges into opportunities.”

He added, “this year, we dedicated the proceeds of the final Arab Hope Makers show to supporting an Arab humanitarian project that provides free healthcare to save thousands of hearts.”

“Our message through the Arab Hope Makers initiative is well delivered by these champions in our region who demonstrate that positivity brings innovation and progress is the outcome for those who turn opportunities into challenges to light other people’s paths and leads initiative in their communities.”

He noted, “The Arab world has a flowing stream of potential, capabilities and energies as witnessed through the champions of giving we continue to celebrate.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum concluded, “I’m proud of the 92,000 champions of giving in the Arab Hope Makers initiative have now become pioneers in the Arab world’s humanitarian field.”

During the event, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, MBRGI, announced the Egyptian actor and comedian Ahmed Helmy as the “Ambassador of Hope.” The artist surprised the audience by donating one million Egyptian pounds (Dh230,000) to the cause.

The 4-hour grand show featured Arab headliners Nawal Al Kuwaitia, Balqees, Mohammed Assaf and RedOne, with leading media personalities and celebrities who took part in hosting the show including Kuwaiti comedian and actor Tariq Al Ali, Syrian actor Kosai Khauli, Saudi Arabian Yasser Al Qahtani and Egyptian media figures Mona Al Shazli and Amr Adeeb alongside Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmy.

Honoring lifetime achievement Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured Dr. Magdi Yacoub for his medical and scientific achievements and humanitarian contributions that impacted millions of lives around the world through a career spanning over five decades.

The five finalists The Arab Hope Makers final show highlighted the inspiring stories of the third edition’s five finalists before an audience of 12,000 people at Coca-Cola Arena at City Walk in Dubai.

The five finalists are:

  1. Dr. Mujahed Mustafa, from Egypt, a general surgeon who abandoned a job offer at a prestigious hospital in Cairo to provide treatment and healthcare services for 10 Egyptian pounds (Dh2) or free-of-charge to the less fortunate in his village Tala of Beni Suef Governorate
  2. Ali Al Ghamdi, from Saudi Arabia, widely known as “the father of the orphans” for sponsoring 7,000 orphans across Africa without external financial support
  3. Steve Sosebee, an American who obtained the Palestinian nationality, dedicated his life to providing medical aid and protheses for children in Gaza and the West Bank
  4. Ahmed Al Falasi, from the UAE, who dedicated his time and resources to establishing advanced kidney dialysis centers in Africa
  5. Mohamed Bzeek, Libyan-American, has been housing and fostering abandoned terminally-ill children in the United States.

Audience vote The grand show presented the inspiring stories of the five finalists through 3-minute tear-jerking videos to an audience of 12,000 people at Coca-Cola Arena in City Walk. The audience then had the chance to vote for the Arab Hope Maker 2020.

After each video, the finalists answered questions on stage addressed by leading Arab media figures. Egyptian TV presenter Muna Al Shazli asked Emirati finalist Ahmed Al Falasi and his family on stage about the reasons they left a comfortable life in the UAE to help people in Africa, while Syrian actor Kosai Khauli addressed Mohamed Bzeek’s way of connecting with the terminally-ill children he had been fostering. Egyptian journalist and TV presenter Amr Adeeb inquired about Dr. Mujahed Mustafa’s reason to continue his humanitarian initiative for over 30 years without seeking ways to make profit and Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf looked into Steve Sosebee’s secret of belonging to Palestinians.

The Saudi Arabian footballer Yasser Al Qahtani inquired about Ali Al Ghamdi’s ability to fund his own initiative despite potential financial challenges he could be facing for not receiving external support.

Ambassador of hope The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives named the Egyptian actor and comedian Ahmed Helmy the “Ambassador of Hope.” Helmy will collaborate with the foundation to take the message of hope to different segments of the Arab world, and primarily to youth. The artist surprised the audience by donating one million Egyptian pounds (AED230,000) to the cause.

Selection criteria The third edition of the Arab Hope Makers attracted a whopping 92,000 entries across the world, compared to 87,000 in 2018 and 65,000 in its first edition in 2017.

Candidates go through several qualifying stages before being shortlisted to 20 semi-finalists. Based on an extensive evaluation of the impact and outreach of projects, the main committee selects five finalists whose inspiring stories are shared before thousands of people in a final grand ceremony in Dubai before crowning the winner.

The committee prioritises innovative campaigns that efficiently address challenges facing communities. Projects are shortlisted based on candidates’ commitment and dedication to ensuring the success of their initiatives in serving communities. The committee also looks at the initiatives’ progress over time, sustainability, continuity and replicability in other societies to benefit wider range of communities.

Humanitarian Cause of the Year For the first time since its inception, proceeds of the Arab Hope Makers show were allocated to supporting the construction of the Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Center in Egypt to provide free-of-charge cardiac care to less fortunate communities across the Arab world.

The new heart center in Egypt will expand access to a world-class treatment among vulnerable communities through a fully-equipped facility with the latest research and surgical technologies and qualified medical cadres.

The center will conduct more than 10,000 heart surgeries annually, of which 70 per cent will target children.

Its clinics will also receive over 80,000 patients annually and train over 1,000 cardiac surgeons and cardiologists through the Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Foundation. The cadre of researchers and healthcare professionals will create a detailed genetic map of cardiovascular diseases in the Arab world, based on studying previous cases and past scientific observations to help develop new diagnostic mechanisms and early intervention methods.

Dubai Gazette