Opening Remarks by His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, Founding Chairmain of the Philanthropreneurship Forum.
The 2017 Philanthropreneurship Forum convened on January 16, 2017 in Vienna, Austria, under the theme “Generation Impact: Harnessing the Power of Giving”.
Welcome to the Philanthropreneurship Forum and to the beautiful city of Vienna.
We are here today to learn – to collaborate – to continue to build momentum for our important efforts. Let me offer a simple definition of Philanthropreneurship – the application of next generation entrepreneurial best practices for philanthropy to achieve sustainability, scalability and impact. Through Philanthropreneurship we seek to disrupt the status quo of giving.
The Forum moves to a new city every year to meet local leaders and expose Philanthropreneurship to the hosting city. We chose Vienna this year because of its long-standing history as a progressive multinational city and because of its remarkable beauty, history and energy.
We stand poised at a critical juncture in history, with our differences being amplified while our commonalties are being muted. Globally, we see a spasm of protectionism – inward looking and the building of walls. The trend is toward De-globalization. In addition, our societies are being stressed by growing inequalities. And tragically, we have witnessed carnage and forced migration on an enormous scale.
Rather than depress – this must serve to motivate us as a community of Philanthropreneurs.
This year’s Forum is designed around the theme of “Generation Impact” – defined as people who are motivated to effect change through action; global citizens who believe that together we can create measurable positive impact on the world. This is not an exclusive club defined by age but rather an open community defined by mindset. Generation Impact welcomes all ages, creeds, nationalities and genders.
Yes – together we face global challenges – barriers being built that keep us from going forward. But I believe the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution can have an unprecedented and transformative positive impact. We are entering an era where technologies: platforms, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality can be leveraged to deliver knowledge in an entirely new way at scale. With these new approaches, we have the potential to overcome today’s barriers – to move against this tide.
To realize this potential we launched Philanthropy University at one of our Forums – the world’s first free online education platform dedicated to NGO’s in the Global South offering Courses to learn, Community to share and Capital to act.
Through Philanthropy University we provide capacity building to NGO’s to scale implementation of homegrown solutions. Solutions that will solve urgent problems and address inequalities to help stabilize disadvantaged areas of the Global South. Philanthropy University is just one of the innovative approaches you will be hearing about today.
I want to offer special thanks to our host city Co-Chair Chancellor Schüssel who has been so generous in his support of our event.
Welcome to our Speakers who are blazing the trail in Philanthropy and offer rich perspectives on today’s themes.
Welcome to our Stars Impact Award Winners; leaders who are on the front lines supporting children around the world and to Philanthropy University graduates who bring their Generation Impact Mindset and new skills to serve the world.
And what better place to start our day than here in the Austrian National Library, a historic institution that houses some of the world’s rarest manuscripts. Let us marvel at the knowledge contained in this room.
But let us also be challenged by these elegant confines of paper and place to re-imagine the way in which knowledge and impact are delivered.
Time is of the essence.
I would like to conclude by sending you forth on a musical note –with a musical quote – from Mozart, “If only the world could feel the power of harmony.”
Let us work to create harmony today. Let us spread that harmony tomorrow.
Amr Al-Dabbagh is CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, which operates 62 companies in 60 countries employing over 15,000 men and women around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @theomnipreneur. For more information on The Greatest Among You and the other components of Omnipreneurship, you can buy the book, Omnipreneurship, now available for Kindle and in hardback on Amazon.