Arab Youth Discover Freedom of Expression Through Digital Media

For the last 2 weeks, at a picturesque resort just outside of Ismailiya, there has been a cultural renaissance brewing.  Amidst the vacationers lounging around the pool, a summer camp Nurturing Free Youth Expression through Digital Media, is encouraging youth from 7 different countries in the Arab World to use digital media to foster free and critical expression.

Students work in the sound lab

The organization born from the initiative of social entrepreneur Ranwa Yehia was created out a desire to provide youth with the necessary skills, information and know-how to enable them to participate actively as producers of technology, rather than merely passive consumers.

Ranwa, left, works with campers in the sound lab

They center their approach around a yearly camp which brings about 60 kids from across the Middle East, to empower them to use computers as their canvas for free expression.  But more than this, the camp offers youth a number of on-the-job training modules and workshops on open-source software and other related advanced technology.

Campers work together to produce short films, music, and other works of visual media

For the past two weeks, campers have been immersed in team building, personal development, and skill bulling, which will serve them well in their future.  Many of the campers we interviewed had an avid interest in music, video, and technology.

Campers also design  T-shirts and utilize other creative outlets to express themselves

Ranwa’s camps have been a resounding success, and its campers have utilized their skills to effect positive change in their communities. A few children created and organized a school newspaper and continue to run it successfully.  Two others from Palestine produced films which they uploaded onto the internet.  Some of these youth come from conflict areas, and their artwork often reflects their personal situations as well as the tensions back in their homes.  The camp not only provides them the technical skills, but also the critical thinking tools and confidence to find meaningful and constructive outlets for their ideas.

In two weeks, campers create strong bonds of friendship in addition to gaining skills

Elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2008, Ranwa is on the fast track to realizing her full vision, and transforming it into a reality.  She said that Ashoka helped her to realize the true value of her  ability to make a positive social impact.  Her entrepreneurial spirit and support network has allowed her to continue to push the expressive boundaries and capabilities of the next generation of changemakers.

Check out for more information about Ranwa Yehia and her organization Nurturing Free Youth Expression through Digital Media.

Account written by Ashoka interns, Alex and Elaina, after a visit to the camp in Ismailiya on July 27, 2010


How Hany El Miniawy Designs Low-cost Homes for Egypt’s Poor, One Community at a Time

Published May 18, 2010 in Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, University of Pennsylvania


El Miniawy, 63, has a square face and the calm demeanor of a man who is unfazed by crisis.  Trained in France, Germany and Egypt, El Miniawy speaks fluent French, German, English and Arabic. His language is both idealistic and practical. “There is a huge gap between demand and supply of housing in Egypt,” he says. “Most of the poor Egyptians live on the peripheries — in the desert, in villages, on the outskirts of cities. This gives rise to a huge informal housing sector that is built without government permission. Millions of people live like this without health insurance, bank account or savings.”

Working on El Miniawy’s project

What is the scale of the problem? “Have you heard of Hernando De Soto?” he asks, chuckling in reply.

Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto and the Institute of Liberty and Democracy (ILD) that he founded have worked in Egypt for several years. In his book, The Mystery of Capital, De Soto states that the poor in Egypt own a staggering $250 billion in ‘dead capital,’ or money that operates outside the law. Even if you include the Suez Canal and Aswan Dam, says De Soto, the size of Egypt’s dead capital is 55 times the size of all Foreign Direct Investment into the country, and 50 times the amount of bilateral aid that Egypt has received over the last 200 years. De Soto estimates that as many as 92% of all Egyptian buildings and 90% of businesses and people operate outside the law. A bulk of Egypt’s wealth, in other words, lies with the poor, and the reason is because of a moribund unfriendly government.

“In Egypt, the person who wants to acquire and legally register a lot on state-owned desert land must wind his way through at least 77 bureaucratic procedures at 31 public and private agencies,” writes De Soto. “This can take anywhere from five to 14 years. To build a legal dwelling on former agricultural land would require 6 to 11 years of bureaucratic wrangling, maybe longer. It explains why 4.7 million Egyptians have chosen to build their dwellings illegally. If, after building his home, a settler decides he would now like to be a law abiding citizen and purchase the rights to his dwelling, he risks having it demolished, paying a steep fine and serving up to 10 years in prison.”

El Miniawy founded ADAPT (Appropriate Development Architecture and Planning Technologies) to try and change all that, at least in the housing sector. Working with his brother Abdel Rahman El Miniawy, Hany has built more than 21,000 low cost homes for poor and marginalized communities in Egypt and Algeria. But his impact is larger because his techniques have been repeated and imitated, thus indirectly benefiting some 200,000 people.

ADAPT uses three strategies to build low-cost homes. First, rather than import mass-produced and expensive reinforced concrete and bricks that the poor cannot afford in the first place, ADAPT runs the local soil — whether it is in the Nubian desert, Alexandria or the Sinai peninsula — through a series of computerized lab tests to determine soil composition and durability. Second, the ADAPT team designs cement mixes by adding iron ash, rice straw, cement and brick dust to local clay and soil, and then tests their cement mixes and building techniques for safety and durability against factors like wind erosion, earthquakes and the stresses of a modern multilevel building.

Lastly, they enlist local help. Wherever it works, ADAPT has a mobile training center where they teach local youth their techniques. Thanks to this training, the construction work continues long after ADAPT has moved on to other projects.

Looking for the Truth

According to the Egyptian Center of Housing Rights, out of a population of 70 million Egyptians, some 11.5 million people or 16% of the population live in informal housing. The poor in Egypt have land but no deeds. They own property without proper titles; they build structures without permits, and they live in constant fear of demolition. The problem is exacerbated in cities like Cairo, where people who cannot afford homes live in cemeteries. Compounding this is the cutbacks in government-funded public housing for the poor and the fact that the private sector has concentrated on the more lucrative luxury development of properties.

Migration of the poor from rural to urban areas in search of jobs only makes the whole thing worse.  The government’s method of dealing with informal housing is to forcibly evict residents and demolish these informal structures or attempt to upgrade them. Part of the problem is law 25/1992, which prohibits the provision of government services like potable water, garbage collection, or health and security to illegal areas. As a result, Egyptian shantytowns have temporary homes made of adobe, metal sheets, cloth or even cardboard.

While upgrading these squatter settlements is the most cost-effective and humane method, the government is usually at a loss about how to improve these densely populated settlements. Demolishing them and paying the residents a small amount for resettling elsewhere seems not only easier, but also more lucrative from the government’s point of view. This history has led to a deep level of distrust between government officials and informal housing colonies. ADAPT befriends the residents and offers the government a face-saving way out of this complicated problem. It offers options and solutions to both sides. For a fee, the government gets a trained architectural firm that is willing to do all their dirty work for them.

ADAPT uses this fee to subsidize their operating costs, including equipment, raw materials, labor, training, site preparation, testing the raw material in soil mechanics labs and fees for notarizing lab results. Since the cost of their buildings are 30% to 50% lower than the norm, ADAPT is able to get the government to finance most if not all of their projects. Occasionally, they get outside funding as well. “Our funding methods are crazy,” says El Miniawy. “Between the talking and the building, we have no time for anything else, not even to put up a website.”

ADAPT’s biggest strength is that it brings together community and government towards a common goal. It works with the local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and master builders to spread the word and increase community acceptance and cooperation. ADAPT also forges liaisons with manufacturers to get volume discounts on building materials, a tricky prospect since much of the importing of cement and building materials is done by the state and powerful business people who had little interest in certifying the local materials that El Miniawy tested and wanted approved for construction. In the end, it was sheer persistence that paid off. El Miniawy kept applying his ideas and building techniques, built community support for a growing number of projects in a variety of geographic landscapes and simply let the work speak for itself.

Hany El Miniawy with Ashoka Founder, Bill Drayton, and Muhammad Yunus

ADAPT also seeks investors who can participate in large scale projects. For example, El Miniawy convinced the Egyptian Ministry of Culture to finance projects in Luxor, Giza and other tourist sites where informal settlements marred the approaches to heritage sites. In Cairo, the ADAPT team and the local people created 200,000 bricks made from Qattamia’s clay, Helwan’s cement dust, sand and bricks to upgrade a large informal settlement of Manshiet Nasser. Cairo’s Ministry of Culture financed ADAPT to build The Dinishway Museum out of local low cost materials.

When El Miniawy began his work in Egypt 20 years ago, squatter settlements were suspicious when the ADAPT team showed up. They thought that the government was going to demolish their homes. “We needed time to gain their trust. Now, with experience, we can do it in a few minutes. What’s nice is that when we start in a new area, we take people from the old area and they make a presentation to the new area. The sad truth is that because of their knowledge of the local dialects and the way they talk, they can communicate our ideas better than we can.”

Since 1992, El Miniawy has worked with students and teachers at Azhar University, Cairo University’s College of Urban Construction and Planning, its College of Engineering and Menoufeya University to test his ideas and spread the word. Teaching his principles of appropriate architecture to academics and students, he believes, will not only gain support for his projects, but will also introduce Egyptians to building techniques that are different from the Western ones they are learning in college. “Housing is one of the human rights,” El Miniawy states. “What is our role as architects?”

Read the full article at:

Interview with Ashoka Founder Bill Drayton: Glimpses at what social entrepreneurship is and how we become social entrepreneurs

This is from 2001, but Drayton’s advice is always relevant.

Interview with Bill Drayton

July 1, 2001, Wisconsin Public Radio

Excerpts from the interview with Tom Clark
on the Ideas Network of WPR

Tom: What is Ashoka, and why Ashoka? What does the word mean?WD: Ashoka is named after a person who was extraordinarily creative, both in social welfare and economic development. Very tolerant, very global minded. And we thought that he, those values and that track record, was a good symbol of what social entrepreneurs do.

Tom: Is it definable? Social entrepreneurship? But can you give us a description of what you mean by social entrepreneurship?

WD: Well Tom, I think the easiest way of getting one’s hands around it is to ask a simple question. What is the most powerful force in the world? And I think you would agree that is a big idea if it is in the hands of an entrepreneur who is actually going to make the idea not only happen, but spread all across society. And we understand that in business but we have need for entrepreneurship just as much in education, human rights, health, and the environment as we do in hotels and steel.

To give you an example that everyone I am sure everyone knows, Florence Nightengale changed the world every bit as much as Andrew Carnegie. She was a social entrepreneur. He was a business entrepreneur. It is the same type of person. Just another way of thinking about it is we all know the biblical suggestion that is not enough to give people fish; you must train them how to fish. Well, social entrepreneurs take one step beyond that. And our job is to change the structure of the fishing industry. So social entrepreneurs change the systems, the patterns in society.

Tom: Now, what does Ashoka do? Does it welcome these sorts of social entrepreneurs? Welcome ideas from people for curing social ills and fund these people somehow?

WD: That is part of what we do. We are a global association working on every continent that seeks out the best social entrepreneurs we can find in the world. We help them work together. One of the things we do is help launch new ideas. And the new entrepreneurs behind the ideas. We give them the personal freedom to quit their jobs. Work full time on launching their ideas to demonstrate and refine them and then begin the spreading process. So it is like a venture capital service except that it is social entrepreneurs so it is designed somewhat differently.

Tom: Where do you get your money?

WD: We take no government funds. So about 8 percent comes from leading business entrepreneurs because no one understands how important an entrepreneur is better than an entrepreneur. The business and social entrepreneurs work together very well once they get over the initial sterotypes of the two sectors. And the rest is from individuals and to a modest degree, from foundations. About half from the U.S. and about half from the rest of the world.

Tom: Well now, I understand your example of Florence Nightengale but that goes back a little bit. Can you give us some success stories of current social entrepreneurs who have used Ashoka to make the world better somehow or another?

WD: Let me give you a Bangladeshi example first. Ibrhaim Sobhan he came from a very poor family village. Got a modest education. Passionate about sharing that with others. Only 15% of Bangladeshi children make it into 5th grade when you get started. Now his approach by U.N. measure has increased enrolment rates 44% and cut the drop rate in half.

How did he do this?

When he started, he looked at the typical class. It was 30 minutes. The teacher would come, call the roll, and since you are talking about 60 plus students, that takes some time. Grade the papers from the night before and only have 7 to 8 minutes left to teach and give the next nights assignments. Kids would go home and there was no one to pay for tutors; no one to help; and they were expected to work. They probably did not even money for kerosene. So they come the next day, are humiliated and drop out pretty quickly.

New system: 60 minute classes, half as many students. Teacher comes and calls the roll and then teaches 20 to 25 minutes, after which the students go and sit in little circle on the ground. 8 or 9 students to a circle. Whoever has done the best the month before leads the taking of the exercises, grading them and the students help one another. Those who got it right help those who did not. The teacher goes from group to group as a resource. No homework, so no one falls behind. Another change is work ranging from tree nurseries, poultry raising, ultimately things like diesel pump repair to make a profit. Families understand this. Of the dividends of that profit, half goes into a secondary school fund and half for students who are still there at the end of the year. This is very powerful incentive for students to stay in school, if you drop out your share of the savings go to the others. As the students become more valuable for work, there is more to lose and for very poor families this is one of the only times that they have enough money at once to do something like buy a radio. It is a very simple but profound change that no one else had thought of.

What we saw was someone that could really change the pattern. Who clearly, as a person, was an entrepreneur and who was not going to stop with a few schools, but was out to change the whole system, and he has. Not only in Bangladesh, but his ideas have spread to Brazil and other countries through the Ashoka network.

Tom: How about something or someone here in the United States who is one of these social entrepreneurs?

WD: Sure. Why don’t I give you an example of J.B. Schramm? He comes to mind because I was just in Dallas and the Social Venture Partners Group there has just decided to bring his work to Dallas, and to support it there.

When J.B. went to high school he saw that most of his classmates were not going to college and he did not think they were less intelligent then he. And that bothered him and continued bothering him. He has now come up with a simple approach, very low cost, that is sharply focused on the 100,000 plus young people who could clearly succeed in college but are not going because they are not getting the oomph they need from their high school or their non-college-graduate families. And focused on that group, he starts off with an intensive four or five day session for a group of peers from the middle range of those high schools on a nearby college campus. Starting on the first day they work on developing the application, writing the essays, and the “what do you want to do life” sort of things college drive you crazy with. When they come back to school, college has been demystified; they have talked with mentors about life implications and they have a completed application. The school has the incentive to support this and J.B. works with the homeroom teachers understanding that the career counselors are overwhelmed and can really only practically focus on the most talented, and the most troubled, and the middle tends to get lost. So you work with a homeroom teacher and, with a modest amount of nudging, with a peer group, that makes all the difference.

The other piece is that the colleges want students, and he can provide, through this program 20 to 30 excellently prepared three months in advance applications. So the high school gets a dramatic increase in college going. Obviously, this changes the lives of hopefully a 100,000 individuals and families a year. If you think about it, over a ten year period, if we can get 800,000 to a million people/families to make that transition that is a significant impact in terms of lessening structural poverty, increased national productivity, and setting a new pattern so that year after year all the students coming into those schools will have the peers before them with a very different model, with the teachers knowing how to make this difference with a modest effort. So again it is a very simple idea focused on the problem that our society has been stuck, and hasn’t seen how to solve it.

Tom: Now, Ashoka allows him to, you know, sustain himself? Well you know he is doing this program, does Ashoka also provide materials and other support help in convincing high schools or colleges that this is a good thing? Or is this just one person with some help from you doing all of this?

WD: Well, he is one person but he is an entrepreneur. And so it is much more than a person, he is building a national movement. Now Ashoka does help in additional ways. The finances are important, but I think more important, we are an association of leading social entrepreneurs who help one another and no one can help leading entrepreneurs more than their peers. They can open doors, they can help understand what is going on, they are the right people to collaborate with one another. In J.B.’s case, I was just mentioning, when I was down in Dallas he joined us there in a meeting 6 months ago, and the people there were very impressed. That is his doing. We helped in that case open the door, but that is a step in a program that his intent is to have this work get into very high school that needs it in the country.

Tom: Now, how many entrepreneurs do you have?

WD: There are about 1200 worldwide. We only started in the U.S. in the last year, so there are only 16 here, but we are expecting to elect 20 to 25 a year in the U.S. and Canada every year now.

Tom: I was just going to ask how many you have room for. So you increase each year?

WD: Well the people we are looking for are quite rare. So we do have to struggle to raise the funds for the program. But I don’t think we are going to see a dramatic increase over 25 a year. Simply because we are looking for people who have an idea that will change the pattern all across North America. And who have the personal entrepreneurial qualities to make that happen. And the numbers should increase as more people come to understand that this is a practical career. Many of the people with us on the show today if they only gave themselves permission, could cause a change in a pattern. That doesn’t have to be all across the country, but if many people thought that they could start their own social change and that was a practical career option, which it is, as starting up their own business.

Tom: This is different from the kind of personality type that wants to make things better and joins the Peace Corps. Am I right?

WD: It is a rare personality type. The core to understanding it is that these people cannot personally be happy until they have changed the whole society.

Tom: It is more than just the wanting to help make things better, it is having an idea and being convinced that this idea is unique and will make things better. It is different than joining something that is already going on and helps people.

WD: Absolutely. And it is not only the idea, people have to be married to an idea, but they have to be equally passionate about all the practical how-to questions. How to am I going to make this idea work, how am I going to solve this problem? How am I going to get it from working in one city to spreading it all across the country? That is the rare combination of vision plus an intense and very long-term commitment to problem solving.

Tom: And it is altruism that may not necessarily exist among business entrepreneurs.

WD: Well it is interesting, we found that in about 70 percent of the Fellows we have elected, we can identify a family member with very, very exceptional values. So it is clear that values are a key element here.

Tom: My guess is there are a whole lot of people are applying for each selection though.

WD: That is true, but could I, Tom, try to correct one thing? It is true we select relatively few people who we think are going to be Florence Nightengale’s of the future. But there could be millions, and there are millions of social entrepreneurs working at the local level and beyond and we try to help there as well. Not with Fellowships, through some of the services for what we view as the new competitive social sector. It used to be a very bureaucratic arena that lagged way behind business in terms of its productive, growth rate and it has just changed dramatically in the last two decades. So the growth and the number of leading social entrepreneurs is very much matched by the growth in social entrepreneurs and large number of competetive citizen organizations at all levels. In the U.S. we have seen a doubling roughly in the number of registered 501 c3 charitable organizations with the IRS in the 1990’s. We had a large base to begin with, though less than Brazil where you had a 1000 fold increase over two decades, but this is just a really profound change in the structure of society and it is a huge opportunity for many, many people to care about their society, to imagine how it could be better, to see where it is stuck and to solve the problem.

Tom: It would seem to me that society itself and the status quo, and the government would be the big stumbling blocks in trying to accomplish these social entrepreneurship goals.

WD: Well we are in the middle of a historic transformation. And it is very messy in some ways. It thinks government will end up being stronger because of the sudden burst, and I think permanent change to a competitive social half of society instead of having a world that is half competitive and entrepreneurial, business half, producing productivity growth at 2 to 3 percent a year and the other half funded by the wealth generated by that productivity growth through taxes, but not changing from the very old structures of not having to change. Suddenly we have this enormous burst of competitiveness. Anyone can start their own social change.

Tom: But am I wrong, does not the status quo get in the way? If we are talking about health, education or almost anything else, we have a system in place, maybe not working as well as we would like. Isn’t that one of the major obstacles to these social entrepreneurs? Convincing the status quo that things need to change and this is how change can make things better?

WD: That is the obstacle we all face and the contributions of the entrepreneur. They know the jujitsu of how to get it to change. That is exactly the skill if you are going to change how children are brought up. You have to deal with the public school system or the public health system if it is a health issue. And how do you change those institutions? That is why the how-to’s are just as important as the vision. And the entrepreneur is that rare combination of the two.

Tom: Are you one of those? Are you a social entrepreneur, or are you just a good organizer?

WD: I have been inflicted; I have had the bug since I was in school. It is a wonderful bug to have, no complaints.

From the field: What’s it like interning with Ashoka Fellow Magdy Aziz? Mika fills us in…

Hello, I am Mikayla Wicks, a summer intern at the Tanweer Foundation for Education and Development. I am currently living and working in Minia, and have been here since the beginning of May. I will remain in Egypt until July 30, at which time I will return to finish my studies in Canada.

My first day on the job was a wonderful surprise. My boss, Mr. Magdy Aziz, seemed like a very nice man and my direct supervisor, Ms. Mariam Adly, was very kind. We discussed the work of the organization and the kind of duties that I would be performing. My tasks were to include the following:

-Research of donor organizations

-Conduct site visits to Tanweer’s local projects

-Teach English

Tanweer is an organization dedicated to promoting the awareness of children’s rights. Right now it is engaged in two large projects, the “Children’s Citizenship Project”  and the “Activating Girl’s Right to Participate in Sports Project”.

Girls participating in the program sharpen their dribbling skills

The citizenship project operates in five schools in Minia, four of which are located in the poor villages of Damisher and Zahora. This program teaches children about their rights, according to the “International Convention on the Rights of the Child” and Egypt’s “Child Law”. Children are explained their rights according to these documents, and asked to express their understanding and interpretation of these rights using arts and crafts and other creative means. During these sessions children discuss the rights to which they feel entitled as well as their general feelings and comments on each law.

The program also incorporates parents and teachers through separate awareness meetings. In these meetings parents are instructed on the rights of their children and the responsibilities they owe their children as parents. Teachers are trained on how to incorporate human rights into their curriculum and how to encourage the respect of human rights in the class room.

Parents participating in an awareness meeting

I believe that this is a very effective approach in the advocacy and activism of human rights.  Lessons on children’s rights seem less valuable if it is left to a small child to go home and tell his/her parents that he/she is entitled to be free from abuse. Parents need to be included in the learning process in order for real change to be made.

I have now conducted several site visits to these schools and have been amazed at what I see.

One very interesting case was a boy named Ahmed. For him, abuse is a necessary part of raising children. In his mind it is absolutely necessary to hit children in order to instill discipline and build character.  It is children like Ahmed who are in most need of programs like the one offered by Tanweer. When a child believes that abuse is normal they will practice these behaviours when they themselves have children. This creates a cycle where the mistreatment of children is normal within society. Therefore, Tanweer is not only helping to educate Minia’s children, it is helping to create a new generation of parents who are more sensitive to human rights.

The “Activating Girl’s Right to Participate in Sports Project” operates in 30 schools in and around Minia. It is sponsored by both Nike and the Ashoka Foundation. The project organizes volleyball and football training for young girls. My site visits to the participating schools have been amazing. Many of the girls play very well, and those who don’t love to play despite their skill level.  I think the true merits of the program lie in its role as a vessel for gender empowerment. This program is helping to break the stereotypes associated with girls in terms of sports, fitness, and society in general.

Tanweer is a very unique organization.  In the vision of Tanweer people are people. Everyone is entitled to the benefits of development, human rights, and to a happy life. This is the spirit which Tanweer brings towards each of its many projects, and this is the spirit with which I want to enter my future career in the realm of development.

Promoting peace by doing business with the Middle East

By: Nicholas Sullivan

Published June 30, 2010

Khaleej Times

In the last decade, the dialogue between the US and the Arab Muslim world has focused on radical Islam, terror, security, profiling and, occasionally, oil. Those topics still dominate media coverage, but since President Barack Obama’s 2009 “new beginning” speech in Cairo, a new back channel has opened — entrepreneurship. It’s a topic that both sides embrace, for similar reasons, and it’s a topic that has the potential to reframe the relationship the US and the Arab world in positive fashion.

Both the US and Arab countries see rampant unemployment among Middle East youth — 60 per cent of whom are under 25, and more than 25 per cent of whom are unemployed — as a major contributor to social unrest that often leads to radicalisation and terrorist leanings. Both sides recognise that new grassroots, business formation is the best chance to break this cycle — and both sides recognise the cultural and bureaucratic hurdles that make entrepreneurship so difficult. The first Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington last April attracted more than 275 Muslims from 50 countries. The summit was little noticed in the US, overshadowed by business-as-usual domestic political squabbling.

But it was a big deal in the Arab Muslim world. In May, at the Ashoka Arab World Social Innovation Forum in Cairo, which attracted hundreds of practitioners and academics from all over the Middle East and North Africa, speaker after speaker referred back to the summit and looked forward to the next one, to be held in Turkey next spring.

The speakers had no illusions that sparking entrepreneurship in a region whose cumbersome bureaucracies and lack of access to capital will be easy to implement. Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom, a huge telecom company with assets throughout the Middle East and South Asia, noted that the “young don’t have a lot of help. They are fighting the same bureaucracy I did 30 years ago when I was starting a business. It’s difficult to become a successful entrepreneur — but it should be our first duty.”

Iman Bibars, director of Ashoka Arab World and chair of the conference, noted that the summit marked a huge opportunity for a new relationship with the US, but that would happen only if the Arab world strengthened its own economies and societies. “Entrepreneurship is first and foremost a mindset that can only be developed internally rather than imported,” said Bibars. “The seeds of entrepreneurship are planted at schools and in societies that encourage creative thinking and social commitment, which must become a top priority in any Muslim majority country’s development agenda.”

That mindset is being planted at schools such as the Dubai School of Government, started in cooperation with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, which has a strong focus on enabling policies to abet entrepreneurship. These policies range from education, financial reforms (including angel investing laws and practices), bankruptcy laws, credit access, youth-enterprise tax-holidays, intellectual property protection, competition policies, judicial practices, capital requirements and employment laws. As with Ashoka, much of the Dubai school’s attention is on social entrepreneurship and innovation, which looks for market-based solutions to social problems, such as access to clean water, adequate food and housing, and even banking services.

More importantly, the Middle East and larger Muslim world has a new entrepreneurial role model, the super-successful Kuwaiti, Naif Al-Mahata, whose “The 99” cartoons of super-heroes is beloved in the Muslim world. Al-Mahata’s Teshkeel Media is a fast-growing publishing and edu-tainment company dedicated to promoting Muslim cultural values — and growing a global multi-media brand. At the summit in D.C., Obama called out Al-Mahata for encouraging Batman and Superman to talk to his Muslim super-heroes. “I hear the talks are going pretty well,” said Obama. The talks are going well in this new back channel. They are reinforced by the US State Department’s new Global Entrepreneurship Programme, which is using foreign embassies as mini incubators, with “entrepreneurs in residence.”

The programme is global, but is starting in Muslim-majority countries. And while the US is seeding the conversation and collaborating with resources as needed, the good news is that much of the Arab world, particularly its growing middle class, realises it needs to own the idea of entrepreneurship and self-reliance and tailor it to its own cultures if it is to be fully realised in a sustainable fashion. If Batman and Superman understand that, too, the conversation could hit the reset button.

Nicholas P. Sullivan is a Fellow at the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises at The Fletcher School, specialising in inclusive commerce

Senator Biden and World Health Leaders Launched Global Women’s Health Initiative with Ashoka Fellow Mohamed Shaalan

Breast cancer Foundation of Egypt (BCFE) chairperson Dr. Mohamed Shaalan, met with Josef Biden, US vice president, and his wife Dr. Jill Buden on honorary of the commence of the new breast cancer campaign by Susan G Komen for the cure. Dr. Mohamed shared his vision on means of American-Egyptian cooperation to support fighting the breast cancer in Middle East and North Africa.

Our family is honored to once again participate in the global fight against breast cancer,” said Dr. Biden. “I encourage everyone to join in this fight and support ongoing efforts of prevention, detection, and treatment of this disease as we work towards finding a cure and a future free of breast cancer.”

Shaalan participated in launch of the Komen Global Health Alliance bringing together health ministers, officials from the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, The Global Fund, along with ambassadors from over 15 countries. BCFE represented Egypt, as it is the first NGO to initiate breast cancer awareness and early detection campaigns in Egypt. BCFE also has great history in implementation of fighting breast cancer in Middle East.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Health Alliance brings world leaders together to fight women’s cancers on a global scale, particularly in the developing world where “a global cancer tsunami is already underway,” according to Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Komen for the Cure founder and CEO.  Brinker is Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the World Health Organization.

Delegates to the inaugural session signed a Joint Declaration urging that women’s cancers be included in global health agendas, saying “the cost in terms of women’s lives, lost economic opportunity, orphaned children, and devastated communities dictates that we must act now.” The declaration cites the need for collaboration, innovative partnerships, proven advocacy and awareness campaigns, and the support of foundation and corporate donors to save millions of lives worldwide.

The US-Middle East Partnership for Breast cancer Awareness and Research, in collaboration with Susan Komen for the Cure, organized a celebration on selecting Egypt as the third state globally – Following Germany and Italy- as partner in the global alliance of fighting breast cancer chaired by Komen. Moreover, Dr, Mohamed served on the Board of Directors of the Partnership and on the planning committee.

Globally, some 5.7 million women are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and more than half – 3.3 million – will die, according to data from the World Health Organization. Some 70 percent of new cancer cases are expected in low- and middle-resource countries, Brinker said.

On other hand, Dr. Shaalan presented a research paper at the Global summit on International Breast Health: Optimizing Healthcare Delivery in Chicago from 9 -11 June 2010. The paper tackled the situation of the healthcare of breast cancer patients in Egypt along with tools of diagnoses, treatment and rehabilitation. In addition, the paper presented the services provided by BCFE for breast cancer patients. Dr. Shaalan focused also on awareness and early detection strategies in Egypt and cooperation with international health agencies.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, with 1.3 million new cases expected annually, followed by cervical cancer at 555,094 cases expected, and colo-rectal cancer at 536,662. Lung cancer is expected to be diagnosed in 440,000 women globally.

Breast cancer is the leading cancer killer of women worldwide, with almost 465,000 deaths predicted annually. Lung cancer is the second leading cancer killer of women worldwide with more than 376,000 deaths expected.

Ashoka Fellow Mohamed Shaalan and US Vice-President Joe Biden

سيناتور بايدن وقادة الصحة عالميا يطلقان االمبادرة العالمية لصحة المرأة بمشاركة المؤسسة المصرية

التقى الدكتور محمد شعلان رئيس المؤسسة المصرية لمكافحة سرطان الثدي مع نائب الرئيس الأمريكي السيد جو بايدن وزوجته الدكتورة جيل بايدن بمناسبة بدء فعاليات الحملة الجديدة لمؤسسة سوزان جى كومن الأمريكية والتي تعد أكبر مؤسسة دولية تكافح سرطان الثدي على مستوى العالم. حيث قدم الدكتور شعلان رؤيته في سبل التعاون المصري الأمريكي لدعم استراتيجيات مكافحة سرطان الثدي في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا.

قالت حرم السيناتور بايدن أنه ليشرفنا أن نلتقى كعائلة واحدة مرة أخرى للمشاركة فى الحملة العالمية لمكافحة سرطان الثدى. وأضافت قائلة ” إنى أشجع كل فرد أن ينضم إلى هذه الحملة ويدعم الجهود القائمة للوقاية والكشف والعلاج من هذا المرض حيث أننا نعمل كقوة واحدة لتوفير العلاج ومستقبل خالى من سرطان الثدى”.

كما شارك الدكتور محمد شعلان في إعلان التحالف الدولي لمكافحة سرطان الثدي رسمياً مع عدد من وزراء الصحة والتي تُنظمه مؤسسة كومن. وكان من بين الحضور السيد روبيرت زويلك رئيس البنك الدولي، الدكتورة د. مارغريت تشان مدير عام منظمة الصحة العالمية، المنظمة العالمية للسرطان، والإتحاد الدولي لمكافحة السرطان (مقره جنيف)، وخمسة عشر سفيراً من عدة دول وعدد من القيادات المؤثرة في مجال مكافحة السرطان في العالم. ومثلت مصر “المؤسسة المصرية لمكافحة سرطان الثدي” في ذلك المحفل الدولي لمكافحة سرطان الثدي نظراً لجهودها في تنفيذ برامج مكافحة سرطان الثدي في الشرق الأوسط وتأصيل التعاون بينها وبين مختلف الجمعيات الأهلية، حيث تُعد المؤسسة المصرية أولى الجمعيات الأهلية التي بدأت حملات التوعية والكشف بسرطان الثدي في مصر.

والهدف من التحالف الدولى للصحة هو جمع القادة الدوليين للقضاء على جميع أنواع السرطان الذى يصيب المرأة على الصعيد العالمى خاصة فى الدول النامية حيثما يوجد فيضان تسونامى للسرطان عالميا وذلك وفقا لما ذكرته السفيرة نانسى برينكر مؤسس ومدير مؤسسة سوزان جى كومن من أجل الشفاء وسفير النوايا الحسنة للقضاء على السرطان بمنظمة الصحة العالمية.

وجدير بالذكر أنه قام وفود الجلسة الافتتاحية بتوقيع إعلان مشترك يحث على إدراج سرطانات المرأة على أجند الصحة العالمية قائلين “تكلفة حياة السيدات وضياع الفرص الإقتصادية والأطفال الأيتام ودمار المجتمعات لعقود من الزمان تجبرنا على اتخذا المواقف الأن”. ويدعوا الإعلان إلى الحاجة الملحة للتعاون والشراكة الفعالة وحملات الدعوة ونشر الوعى الأكيدة ودعم المؤسسة والرعاة من القطاع الخاص لإنقاذ حياة الملايين حول العالم”.

كما نظمت “شراكة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والشرق الأوسط لمكافحة سرطان الثدي والوعي والبحوث” بالتعاون مع مؤسسة “سوزان جى كومن” حفل بمناسبة اختيار مصر كثالث دولة على مستوى العالم بعد دولتي ألمانيا وإيطاليا في التحالف العالمى لمكافحة سرطان الثدي والذي تترأسه مؤسسة كومن. كما تم اختيار الدكتور محمد شعلان في لجنة تخطيط التحالف لرسم وتفعيل أعمال الشراكة في الوطن العربي وعضوا فى مجلس إدارة الشراكة0

ومن المتوقع عالميا إصابة 5.7 مليون سيدة بالسرطان فى 2010 وحوالى 3.3 مليون سيدة سيتعرضون للوفاة وفقا للبيانات الصادرة عن منظمة الصحة العالمية. كما أشارت نانسى برينكر أنه من المتوقع أن  70% من حالات السرطان الجديدة أن تكون فى الدولة منخفضة ومتوسطة الموارد.

واستمر التواجد المصرى فى هذا المحفل الدولى حيث استعرض الدكتور محمد شعلان ورقة بحثية فى القمة العالمية لسرطان الثدي “صحة الثدى: الوسائل المثلى لرفع مستوى الرعاية الصحية” بشيكاغو. وتناولت الورقة وضع الرعاية الصحية في مصر لمرضى سرطان الثدي ووسائل التشخيص والعلاج والتأهيل، والخدمات التي تقدمها المؤسسة لمرضى سرطان الثدي. كما قدم استراتيجيات نشر الوعي والاكتشاف المبكر في مصر وسبل التعاون مع الجهات الدولية المختصة.

ويعتبر سرطان الثدى من أكثر الأورام السرطانية التى تصيب المرأة بمعدل 1.3 مليون حالة جديدة متوقعة سنويا ويعقبه سرطان عنق الرحم بموتقع 555.094 حالة ثم إصابة  536.662 حالة بسرطان القولون. فى حين من المتوقع أن تصاب 440.000 سيدة عالميا بسرطان الرئة.

كما يعد سرطان الثدى من الأورام القاتلة للمرأة حول العالم بمعدل 465.000 من الوفيات متوقعة سنويا. فى حين  يعتبر سرطان الرئة ثانى أكثر الأورام السرطانية القاتلة للمرأة عالميا بمعدل 376.000 من الوفيات.