The Ruler of Dubai launched a new foundation Sunday to consolidate a range of existing charitable and human development initiatives that aims to support more than $270 million in projects annually.
The foundation is designed to act as an umbrella group for some 28 aid organizations and other initiatives that the hereditary ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has inaugurated over the years as Dubai blossomed into a cosmopolitan trade, tourism and logistics hub.
The project hopes to reach more than 130 million people in at least 116 countries, though much of its work over the next decade will target an Arab world roiled by conflict and crumbling institutions. “What we will focus on in the near future is the region because this region is going through trouble and a crisis,” Mohammed al-Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates’ minister for Cabinet affairs, told The Associated Press.
“Our primary goal is human development.” In addition to his role as Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed is Prime Minister and Vice President of the seven-state Emirates federation. Sunday’s launch in Dubai’s iconic Emirates Towers was one of his first major public appearances since one of his sons died from a heart attack just over two weeks ago at age 33.
The foundation, known as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, will focus on fighting poverty, spreading knowledge, community building, entrepreneurship and innovation, officials say.