19 April 2017: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Alghanim Industries today concluded a high-level panel discussion on the role of Kuwait’s private sector in humanitarian response to refugee crises in the MENA region. The panel was opened with a speech by Dr. Hanan Hamdan, Head of UNHCR Kuwait Office, and featured key private sector leaders and philanthropists in Kuwait, including Mr. Omar Alghanim, CEO of Alghanim Industries, ,and Mr. Houssam Chahin UNHCR’s Head of Private Sector Partnerships in MENA, and Mr.Tarek Sultan, CEO of Agility.
Given the magnitude of the current refugee and humanitarian crises in the region, UNHCR has been addressing regional humanitarian challenges and needs through ‘non-traditional’ humanitarian actors, primarily the private sector through socially responsible businesses and philanthropic business leaders. In recent years, the private sector has been increasingly important in responding to humanitarian emergencies, contributing to more than eight percent of the organization’s overall funding.
Panel discussed the methods of private sector engagement while closely examining the active involvement of Kuwait’s private sector in the humanitarian response to refugee crisis in the region. Commitment to multiyear of advocacy and financial activities such as cause related marketing campaigns which engages consumers in the cause are one innovative form of engagement, on that Mr. Omar Alghanim said “Today is an important day for Alghanim Industries, and an important one for me on a personal level. Participating in this event and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNHCR is a huge step, which is long overdue. The Syrian refugees’ situation has been painful for us to witness – and tragic for them to live through, day after day. I appreciate the UNHCR’s efforts and those of other aid agencies and governments. But I believe that we, in the private sector, have a key role to play and can make a big difference for refugees in the region. The business community needs to be more proactive – and that includes Alghanim Industries. There is an opportunity for all of us here, to start changing mindsets about a crisis that isn’t going away.”
This article was published on Jun 1, 2017