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AFF Annual Conference 2011

The AFF Annual Meeting 2011 was held at the Bristol Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon. It was co-hosted by AFF members in Lebanon: the Makhzoumi Foundation, the Albert Nassar Foundation, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the American University of Beirut (AUB), and the Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF).

Under the title “Towards Effective Philanthropy in the Arab Region”, the meeting tackled different topics aimed at promoting dialogue on pressing issues facing the Arab philanthropic sector today while fostering an environment that allowed for sharing experiences and best practices; providing an opportunity for participants to learn from leading organizations in the field with an eye towards more effective philanthropy.

Ms. Deema Bibi, AFF Vice Chairman, Ms. Salama Namani, AFF Secretary of the Board and Mr. Fateh Azzam, AFF Founding member inaugurated the meeting with their welcoming remarks.

The first session entitled: “The Role of Arab Donors in Supporting Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) was moderated by Mr. Rami Khouri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, and examined Arab CSOs' challenges in accessing local funding and the role Arab donors can play in helping local organizations deign interventions to maximize impact.

The second session discussed Sustainability Management Beyond Finances, moderated by Ms. Dina Sherif, Associate Director of the Gerhart Center, this session examined factors affecting the foundation's sustainability and models suitable toevaluating it. The second part of this session featured AFF members showcasing practical theories and best practices in Sustainability Management.

The following session discussed innovation and peer learning in Philanthropy and how innovation can stimulate philanthropy to achieve its goals.  This session also discussed the power of social media in creating narratives, framing issues and building communities.

The second day of the meeting featured mutual learning sessions under the following titles: Collaborations and Effective Partnerships; the Role of Philanthropy in Supporting Reform Agendas; and Regional Changes and Civil Society Law Reform.

AFF official registration was celebrated in a gala dinner at the ballroom of the Bristol Hotel, and an honoring ceremony took place during the celebration. AFF honored Mr. Abdel Mohsin Al Qattan for his dedication to philanthropy in the region, Mr. Peter Cleaves, for his support and commitment to the development of AFF, and to the Welfare Association for incubating and hosting the AFF in its offices since its inception.

The gala dinner was enriched by an oriental musical performance by the famous Lebanese tri-orient: the Tumb Sisters.

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