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Mohammed bin Rashid honours Arab Hope Makers, announces AED 50 mn Hope Makers Academy

 In an extraordinary humanitarian event broadcast to millions across the Arab world, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, honoured five of the finalists of the Arab Hope Makers initiative, awarding each of them AED 5 million. His Highness also crowned Mahmoud Wahid, from Egypt, as the Winner of 2018 Edition of Arab Hope Makers Initiative, as he won major audience vote, for his initiative dedicated to giving refuge to homeless seniors in the streets of Cairo.

At the end of the largest humanitarian gathering in the Arab world, His Highness announced the establishment of the AED 50 million Hope Makers Academy to support building hope in the Arab world, provide humanitarian incubators for their projects, transfer international scientific expertise in the humanitarian field for their projects and provide executive and leadership training courses. The awards took place at the finale of the Arab Hope Makers initiative, held in Dubai, to celebrate 15 finalists from some 87,000 applicants to Arab Hope Makers.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "We are investing in the business of hope because it is the most profitable endeavor for the future of our Arab world." "The Hope Makers Academy will be an inspirational human incubator. We will work to establish a culture of hope, institutionalize the act of hope and introduce global standards in our human institutions that create hope for peoples." He said: "The Hope Makers Academy will provide inspirational leadership in humanitarian work."

"Hope is the only industry in the world where nobody can lose," he said.

His Highness praised the initiatives of the Arab Hope Makers finalists, congratulating the owners and commended their efforts. He also expressed his pride in the thousands of individual and collective stories, projects, programs and initiatives that participated in Arab Hope Makers in 2017 and 2018. His Highness said: "We are proud of the 87,000 participants in Arab Hope Makers. They are truly stars in the skies of giving in our Arab world. It is our role to highlight this new generation of stars of hope." His Highness concluded: "We need to inspire millions of Arab youth to be positive energies in the service of their communities."

The creation of the Hope Makers Academy is an incubator to prepare and create new generations of hope makers seeking positive change in their societies by transforming their personal initiatives into sustainable humanitarian and community projects that contribute to the consolidation of the values of generosity and engagement and involve community groups in humanitarian action. The Academy aims to institutionalise the business of hope and transform it into a strategic framework, empowering those working in this field and providing them with the tools, mechanisms and innovative approaches to humanitarian and charitable work.

The Academy will provide educational programs, training courses and training workshops in various humanitarian, charitable and developmental fields by academics and experts, as well as experts from specialized institutions with expertise in global humanitarian action as well as leading figures in the regional and international hope industry.

In addition, the Academy's members will be provided with advanced educational content in the fields of humanitarian and community work, tools and means to develop it, expand its horizons, maximise the size of the targeted sector and beneficiaries, as well as the mechanisms for drawing up sustainable plans and strategies.

Mahmoud Waheed, founder of the Together to Save a Human initiative, was selected from among five inspirational finalists as the ultimate winner of the 2018 edition of Arab Hope Makers.

The hope makers presented their stories at a ceremony that drew the attendance of about 3,000 spectators from across the Arab world, in addition to senior UAE government officials and members of the diplomatic corps, prominent representatives of humanitarian and charity organizations, as well as journalists, artists, intellectuals, and social media influencers.

The five candidates included: Fares Ali from Sudan, founder of the Food for Education initiative, that seeks to fight hunger by distributing sandwiches to schoolchildren in poor areas, as well as feeding homeless children and adolescents, integrating them into society, and providing educational programs for them; Nawal Mostafa from Egypt, who devoted herself to the cause of female prisoners and their children and implemented multiple rehabilitation initiatives through training them in professions and handicrafts so that they can earn a living for themselves and their families. She also founded the Prisoners’ Children Care Association to highlight the plight of children who live with their mothers in debtors' prisons, monitor their situation, and meet their needs; Manal Al Musallam from Kuwait, who, after losing her daughter Dana in a tragic drowning accident, established the Dana Volunteer Team to help Syrian homeless and refugees through organising relief campaigns to distribute aid and provide them with essential supplies; Mahmoud Waheed from Egypt, the founder of the Together to Save a Human initiative that provides shelter, medical care and psychological support for homeless senior citizens to facilitate their reintegration into society, and reunites them with their families; and Siham Jarjees from Iraq, who has implemented multiple humanitarian and relief initiatives to alleviate the suffering of refugees and displaced people in several refugee camps in Iraq through distributing aid, arranging orphan adoptions, contributing to the construction and renovation of widows' homes, building classrooms for people of determination, and setting up shops to help widows earn a living.

The five candidates presented their initiatives to a distinguished jury that included Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, Turki Aldakhil, General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, and Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi. The judges asked the candidates a variety of questions about their initiatives, the motivations behind them, and the most important challenges they faced. In addition, the candidates were introduced through a series of inspiring videos that summed up their experiences. Their stories moved the audience through highlighting the suffering in our society while recognising real-life heroes who have dedicated their lives to their homeland and their communities, championing humanitarian and community causes, and improving people’s lives in their belief that nothing is more precious than a human life.

In addition to the touching stories of hope, the ceremony, presented by media personalities Nishan Derharoutyounian and Mahira Abdel Aziz, included several musical performances by renowned Arab artists. Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi debuted a song specially written for the occasion, while Palestinian pop star Mohammed Assaf sang his hit Mawtini and performed a song about loyalty to the Arab world together with Hatem Al Iraqi, Ahmad Jamal and Fouad Abdelwahed.

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