The Arab world is bleeding.
It is time to say, enough is enough. Our sacred soil is saturated with the blood of too many innocent victims.
Is it not time to ask ourselves why we, as Arabs, cannot live in peace?
Is it not time to live in prosperity and joy like other developed nations?
Is it not time for us to stop killing one another in the name of religion, sectarianism and ethnicity?
Is it not time to unite and free Palestine? Is it not time to eradicate fanaticism and destroy Isis and other terrorist organizations?
Is it not time to cease the repetition of the massacres of Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yazidis and Kurds?
Is it not time to say enough is enough when we see broken families, tearful mothers, orphan children, desperate refugees and displaced persons?
Is it not time to give the whole world a better image of the Arab world?
We are 350 million Arabs. These numbers are powerful but they only tell part of the story. We must be realistic. As we reflect on the state of affairs across the Arab world, what do we see? Where have we reached?
Divided, individualistic, war ravaged, badly perceived by outsiders, lacking any effective lobbying. In brief – weak and troubled.
There is a leadership gap across the Arab world. State institutions, aside from security, are often weak or poorly managed. In the absence of leaders and institutions, we are facing war, violence, displacement, poverty, unemployment, disease, illiteracy — in some places a complete breakdown in civil society. Corruption is endemic. And yet, Arabs have excelled in many fields. The enormous Arab Diaspora is one symbol of our contributions throughout the world and local performances have also been numerous.
We have to admit, however, that the successes we can point to have rarely been properly underscored so as to enhance the Arab image and propel Arab societies forward.
Our challenge is not necessarily envisioning the future and what sort of world we shall leave for our children. We should be focused on defining and implementing policies in the here and now that will demonstrate that we can manage this world today for the benefit of its current inhabitants.
TAKREEM was born as a step on the path towards enlightenment in the Arab world. Its aim is to insure that in the midst of our agony, we can survive, produce and move on. We embrace creativity, freedom of thought, human rights, entrepreneurship, advanced technology, gender equity and the potential of Arab youth. By inspiring these young people, we also tell the world that we Arabs are doers.
For six years, we have been fortunate to identify inspirational but unsung heroes, and to put them through a highly competitive process that made the selection of laureates very difficult.