American University of Cairo
The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo has launched Takaful 2012, the second annual conference on Arab philanthropy and civic engagement. Takaful 2012 is a platform for academics and practitioners to engage in an intellectual exchange on the latest trends in citizenship, youth leadership and agency, volunteerism, philanthropy in transition, transnational philanthropy and Muslim philanthropy. The three-day conference, held at AUC’s New Cairo campus welcomes speakers and participants from countries including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, The United States, Pakistan, Germany and Colombia.
“Amidst waves of struggle for change across the region, collective citizen action is taking center stage. This conference introduces new research on civic participation and links scholars with professionals working in this vital arena,” said Barbara Ibrahim, director of The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement.
Derived from an Arabic word meaning joint guarantee, Takaful intended to convey the sense of shared responsibilities, solidarity and mutual cooperation - a pillar of Arab society. This year’s Takaful is embedded in the swift changes unfolding in our region. Philanthropy and civic engagement, two sides of the same coin, are now more pertinent than ever,said Sherine El Taraboulsi, research manager at The John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement.“What can be done to sustain the mobilized energies of young people in the Arab Spring? What is the role of civil society in ensuring a smooth transition? How can philanthropy achieve impact on the ground, especially in light of all the sociopolitical and economic transitions the Arab world is facing? Taraboulsiadded that the conference reflects on those issues and more in an effort to spark a serious debate on both local and regional levels, and analyze the subject matter with an interdisciplinary approach that combines theory and practice.
In her keynote lecture, Women of the Arab Awakening: Will They Reap the Fruit of their Revolt? Radhia Nasraoui, a Tunisian human rights lawyer; co-founder and president of the Association for the Fight against Torture in Tunisia emphasized the political role of women. “It was unconceivable that people would, with so much courage, revolt against the Arab regimes so quickly. However, those revolutions have not achieved all their objectives yet. There are many out there still suffering from poverty and unemployment.We have to work hand in hand to continue our fight for a democratic system that allows women to play an active role, to perform their full duties and enjoyall their rights.”