DUBAI 20 May 2017: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid honored winners of Arab Hope Makers, in a ceremony that took place on Thursday at Dubai Studio City’s Sound Stage.
In a ceremony designed to award the Arab World’s most inspirational Hope Maker, Sheikh Mohammed extended the top award to all five nominees in a moment that astounded the packed crowd; Sheikh Mohammed redrew the rules to let the Arab World know every single Arab Hope Maker was deserving of the ultimate prize.
The five Arab Hope Makers are Ma’ali Al Asousi, the migrant of hope to Yemen, Hisham Al Dahabi, the golden heart of Iraq, Mama Maggie, who is in service of humanity in Egypt, Nawal Al Soufi, the refugees’ lifeline in Italy and the White Helmets, who find life in the rubble of war-torn Syria.
Each of these inspirational givers of hope will take back to their home country Dh1 million to fund and extend their impactful work. The extraordinary gesture by His Highness not only rewards but extends their extraordinary acts of giving.
The Arab Hope Makers were selected from over 65,000 participants from 22 countries, who all dedicate their lives to spreading hope and helping communities as well as those less fortunate throughout the Arab World.
Sheikh Mohammed honoured the Hope Makers in front of a packed audience of over 2,500, including ministers, officials and media professionals, in Dubai Studio City’s Sound Stage. The surprise award left the audience breathless and brought them to their feet in a spontaneous moment of acclaim.
“There is no force stronger than hope for revitalising societies. We wish to spread hope to as many young people as possible, so they may carry its spirit and dedicate their time to serving their communities. The Arab Hope Makers we see here today prove to us that regardless of how bleak the situation may seem, there is still optimism in the Arab World,” said Sheikh Mohammed
“Without hope, we have no chance of restoring our success and the development of the Arab World. We must embrace hope in all our communities, especially during this turbulent and sensitive time in our history. We have artists and athletes who are role models for our youth – it is time we celebrated the real heroes and role models the Arab Hope Makers who have sacrificed their lives to serving others. The initiative aims to influence the complacent mentality of waiting for luck to happen, and change it to a mentality of proactivity and action.
“The Arab Hope Makers initiative falls under the Year of Giving; it is a message of encouragement and gratitude from the UAE to all those who dedicate their lives for the betterment of our Arab World. Every person who commits to spreading hope, whether big or small, has done a great deed, and is a winner today,” he added.
At the ceremony, both a jury and the audience were invited to vote for one Arab Hope Maker. Jury members included UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi; Dean of the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Communications and Group TV Director of MBC Ali Jaber and media personality Ahmad Al Shugairi, known for his passionate advocacy of philanthropy and improving the Arab World.
TV Anchor Nishan Derharoutyounian and media journalist Ola Al Fares hosted the ceremony. Renowned entertainers Mohammed Assaf, Lynn Al Hayek, Alaa Nasser and Nouhaila El Kalai from MBC’s “The Voice Kids” and violinist Jihad Akl also made special performances in celebration of the inspirational people at the heart of the Arab Hope Makers initiative.
Arab Hope Makers is a reflection of Sheikh Mohammed’s vision to ignite hope throughout the region and to promote the value of optimism throughout the Arab World. It falls under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), which includes 28 humanitarian, philanthropic, developmental and community-based organisations. MBRGI also extends support to 130 million people worldwide through over 1,400 charitable programmes in 116 countries. Its activities cover four main sectors: combating poverty and disease, spreading knowledge, empowering communities and innovation.
The initiative was launched through Sheikh Mohammed’s social media channels in late February 2017. It triggered an unprecedented reaction, receiving over 65,000 submissions through various channels, which were assessed with specific criteria including originality, size of impact and amount of effort exerted by the hope makers. The original submissions were narrowed down to 20 finalists, who were invited to Dubai in April to discuss their humanitarian work further. A jury selected the five finalists who attended the event today. The initiative highlights the flashes of hope in the Arab World, and tells the stories of the women and men who devote their lives to those in need.
Arab Hope Makers aims to spread a message of hope across the region in order to reignite optimism and confidence within the Arab World. It targets young citizens specifically, aiming to inspire youth to embrace humanitarianism and dedicate their time to serving others and spreading hope in their communities.
By Sheena Amos