Abu Dhabi wins bid to host 'empowering' global volunteering summit

The meeting will be held for the first time in the Middle East, as major public events such as Expo 2020 and Special Olympics promote the need for a culture of volunteering

A young volunteer hands out water to workers in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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Abu Dhabi has been selected to host the World Volunteer Conference in October 2020.

The association is the largest global gathering of volunteers and will be hosted by the capital at a time when major events like Expo 2020 Dubai and the Special Olympics need support from the public.

This announcement was made at the closing ceremony of IAVE’s global conference in Augsburg in Germany.

Hessa bint Essa, Minister of Community Development and representatives from the Emirates Foundation, Red Crescent and Dubai Cares were part of the gathering.

This will be the first time the conference will be held in the Middle East. It will be coordinated by the Emirates Foundation, which was set up by the Abu Dhabi government to encourage public-private funded initiatives.

More than 1,000 people from over 90 countries are expected to participate from sectors ranging from government bodies, the private sector, non-profit organisations and individual philanthropic groups.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and chairman of the Emirates Foundation, said the decision attests to the UAE’s strength in volunteering on the global stage.

“Corporate citizenship and social responsibility are fundamental pillars for building the strong communities that will unite our nation in responsibility. It starts with volunteering, which nurtures a common spirit of giving, one that honors the legacy of our founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” he said.


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Sheikh Abdullah thanked voluntary organisations for their contribution in shaping, guiding, and delivering programmes that placed young people at the forefront of volunteering efforts.

“Your ongoing efforts to empower our nation’s youth are vital to fuelling the growth of volunteering and service in the UAE and achieving a sustainable culture of giving, delivering social progress for many generations to come,” he said.

Maytha Al Habsi, chief executive of Emirates Foundation thanked the association for the confidence it had shown in selecting Abu Dhabi.

“We look forward to contributing our voice, as together we share our experiences, challenges, innovations, and means for collaboration around volunteering efforts,” she said.

The selecting committee said the capital has made efforts to leave an impact through volunteering. The UAE created a nationwide platform volunteers.ae that has engaged 335,083 volunteers and works with 349 organisations. This comes under the Ministry of Community Development in partnership with Emirates Foundation.