In an effort to assist private sector firms across the Middle East in strengthening the reach and outcomes of their community engagement and social impact strategies, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) recently led a workshop in the United Arab Emirates on building effective public-private partnerships at the 11th Annual Dubai CSR Summit. The summit brought together corporate responsibility (CR) representatives from across the region as well as leadership from IYF and its partners Hilton Worldwide and the King Khalid Foundation (KKF).

The objectives of the workshop and conference were to support the private sector in building impactful, sustainable corporate engagement and shared value initiatives that both improve the bottom line and deepen the positive impact the private sector can have on societies and local communities.

“Our world’s future leaders are increasingly viewing business through the lens of social impact,” said Christian Grage, Vice President of Operations, Arabian Peninsula, Hilton Worldwide, in his keynote speech. “To live up to their expectations, CR needs to be integral to business strategy. This is what we do with Travel with Purpose®, our global CR strategy.”

Thirty business leaders from across five countries benefitted from practical information on how to amplify their efforts at the IYF-led workshop, entitled “Developing Win-Win Partnerships: Leveraging the Resources, Knowledge, and Credibility of Multi-Sectoral Partners to Do Good and Do Well." A key example and case study included how IYF, Hilton Worldwide, and KKF have worked together to prepare youth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for jobs in the hospitality industry through IYF’s Passport to Success® life skills curriculum.

IYF President and CEO Bill Reese joined HRH Princess Banderi Al Faisal, Director General of KKF, for a conference panel discussion on the realities of collaboration. The Princess spoke of the KKF-IYF partnership, saying, “With the International Youth Foundation, we’ve found a partner with whom we can have frank dialogue about needs, challenges, and opportunities. This communication and understanding—vital to a successful partnership—allow us to more effectively address the complex issue of youth unemployment.”

The interactive workshop also provided attendees a rare opportunity to meet and share ideas. Participants, including representatives from companies such as Oman Oil, Occidental Petroleum, SABIC, and CPC Holding, talked about potential areas of collaboration across the Middle East region, including empowering and supporting women, improving educational outcomes for students, and addressing high youth unemployment rates.