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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.

And here we are in Dubai…
Dubai has always been a place of welcome for visitors from all over the world; it has built bridges between different cultures.
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May we ensure that those bridges lead us to a brighter future in the Arab world!

For over 50 years, she had the honor of opening and closing presidential press conferences in the White House, a destiny that her parents, who emigrated from Lebanon in 1890, would never have thought of.
Helen Thomas, who covered every U.S. president John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, is gone.
But who is that lady who made a difference in history?

Her father, Gergios Touma and her mother, Marianne Rawadi, came from Tripoli and could neither read nor write. They first settled in Kentucky where they opened a grocery store and have set in Detroit. They had nine children they have pushed to advanced studies. Helen attended the University of Wayne where, by supporting the drafting of the Gazette of the campus, she decides she will become journalist. After graduation, she started to tackle Washington. In 1961, she becomes the UPI correspondent in the White House and gets the privilege of asking the first question to the Head of State during his press conferences. And the statement “Thank you Mr. President” whereby which she used to close the sessions, became famous.
Nevertheless, this honor had never prevented her from grilling all heads of state, without exception, including George W. Bush about whom she said “he was the worst American president”. And President Bush ended up not answering her questions. Still, her reputation, personality and strong character were not affected in any way; her beliefs were not either.
Helen Thomas did not hesitate to ask hard-President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal, just after she was praised for being the first woman head of the UPI office near the White House. She was also the first woman to be accepted to the prestigious Gridirion Club exclusively reserved for men, after President John Kennedy had refused to attend the annual dinner of the club if it continued to exclude women.

Her omnipresence in the “press room” of the White House earned her the appellation of “Seated Buddha” and the “First Lady of the press”.
However, even in the absence of strict security measures, there was a gentlemen’s agreement for journalists to keep secret “presidential escapades” she always said.
Helen Thomas did not spare neither her fellow journalists, those who supported the war against Iraq after September 11 nor those persecuting Bill Clinton on behalf of the extreme right. She never ceased to have a sharp tongue, pushing itself to cause her resignation in May 2010, in response to a question about Israel, in conjunction with a celebration at the White House; she had said that the Israelis were to be “out of Palestine”.
“Remember that these people (the Palestinians) are living under occupation and that it is their land,” she said. “They (the Jews) can go home, Poland, Germany, the United States or elsewhere.”
In 1971, she married a colleague from the rival agency, AP, Douglas Cornell, who died in 1982.
An icon of American journalism and a proud Arab American, Thomas has written hundreds of columns and five books.
She had to retire from life at the age of 92 on July 20, 2013
We have honored her at TAKREEM in 2011 where we still recall the standing ovations.
To her memory we bow for she impacted our lives…
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A War of Another Kind

Yellow fog filling up the skies… 

Shattered glass crowning the destruction all around…
Alarming sirens overshadowing the cries of fear…
Suspicious stairs smelling like fresh blood and TNT powder…
Trembling steps making their ways towards safety and safety was yet unfound.

What’s done is done; everything was lined up with the ground, including our strength. How long does it usually take a human being to overcome such a blast? How long before a human being is able to stand on his feet again?
We didn’t have much choice; we had to stand back up, and quickly.
So we did, knowing that we’ll keep going with bits of what is left, even if we had to rebuild it all from scratch.

Of course despair was the master of the game, but it wasn’t a game to us. It was a mission to bring Excellence to where it belongs with no delays; it was a moral obligation towards the Arab World and towards many who actually believed that it’s all still possible.
If we let Terrorism stop us today from giving recognition to those who deserve it, who knows what we’ll be giving up tomorrow?
If Destruction managed to reign for a day, can’t we make Construction reign for another month?
That was the Challenge itself, and it was way beyond Good against Evil, it was KNOWLEDGE against IGNORANCE, it was another way for us to prove the livelihood of the Arab Willingness of life and prosperity.

Just like the Phoenix rises from the ashes, stronger than ever…
Just like the Olive Branch fighting the storm, to bloom again in spring…
Just like the Golden Flame, feeding on achievements, to grow even bigger…
Just like Infinity, that might have a beginning, but never an ending…
TAKREEM didn’t only hold on to the torch, but TAKREEM made a choice, took a decision to pursue a pathway of Glory and Life. Arab Achievements won’t honor themselves, a soldier of theirs has been on the field for several years, and is willing to stay.

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 Eli E. Abu Jawdeh   
Marketing Executive 

The Secret Lies Within…

Between ambition, and the shackles of possibilities, every individual is caught up in his very own confusion, which becomes the World’s First Problem to him.
Going with ambition means putting himself through a load of fallbacks, challenges and trespassing the boundaries of realistic and rational thinking. Not to mention standing face-to-face with so many realities that any of us would rather not know they exist. The path is highly risky with dangerous curves, and no CAUTION signs whatsoever, it’ll only be you, your shadow, your dreams and a burden of obstacles dragging behind you and that from time to time, just for the sake of fun, jumps ahead of you, and enjoys seeing how you’d react. But who else would enjoy this show? Well that’s pretty easy: The Audience. Yes, every single person who walked the same path before you and didn’t make it to the top… Sure as well didn’t do his best, but did a good job leaving an even harder road to walk through for the ones coming later on.
So right here, right there… The temptation of surrender grows bigger. A restless mind would fall for it, but not a committed heart. Every step taken is heavier than the one before, too many sounds and cheers of failure echoing inside, overtaking the will to continue. When all of a sudden, a little bedtime story crawls back, and it goes as so:
Out of boredom, some villagers decided to organize a Frog Race. First frog to make it to the top of the highest hill in town, wins. Bets were taken and the race is on. The villagers never took the race seriously, laughed at the frogs who actually thought that the villagers believed in them, and got torn between continuing a seemingly endless race or quitting before it’s too late. And of course, the cheering of the villagers made it easier on them to quit, so they started falling back, one after the other. Except for one frog that surprisingly kept going on and on, all the way up… That frog was the only frog left in the league that didn’t quit, and the only frog that made it to the top of the highest hill. But that frog, didn’t hear the villagers’ call to the podium for the prize, the frog silently walked away… because the winning frog was deaf, and hence couldn’t hear any cries of failure or sarcasm. That frog only heard the voices in its head and followed what was in its intent and won.
Same thing applies to us humans, when we are committed to an achievement we have to make, it’s not only for us that we do it or work hard for it. It’s not the recognition that we thrive for, it is the peace we get from within for making something unreachable seem so easy to have, to every other human being as well. That frog’s victory wasn’t for itself, but for all frog-kind as well… It gained Respect for what it did. And that’s what counts.
Arab Achievers made it beyond that hill. Arab Achievers weren’t honored in their own land the way they deserve to be honored. Arab Achievers’ contributions went beyond the Arab world, these contributions and discoveries and achievements went across oceans and continents… Respect and Recognition are both a must. And hence, TAKREEM Initiative sculpted a new concept of gratefulness for what these Arab Achievers did throughout years of hard work and perseverance and made it through shouts of failures and arising obstacles. TAKREEM Initiative has
proven that the land of possibilities is always accessible, but not through a gate nor a door and a key… But from within.
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الشباب يريد التغيير

 

 

 

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كلا لم يعد من المسموح النّظر إلى الشباب على أنهم يشكّلون تلك الشريحة المنكبّة على قضايا وأمور بعيدة عن هموم بلدهم وأمتهم العربية! لم يعد دور الشباب العربي اليوم مقتصراً على إدمان الأفلام البوليسية أو أفلام الرعب وقضاء غالبية اوقاتهم في المقاهي والسينما! نعم، لقد حطّموا اليوم ما يسمّى بالمقولات النمطية! وباتوا  قادرين على قيادة عملية التغيير، إداراتها وتنفيذها! لم يعد مصيرهم مرتهن بيد الكبار الذين يتحكمون في قوة العالم، فقد تحرّر الشباب من هذا الإحتكار وقفزوا إلى أعلى درجات الإهتمام على مستوى الحراك الإجتماعي،الإقتصادي والثقافي وأثبتوا أنهم قادرون على الفعل السياسي الناضج. من ناحية أخرى، لا يمكن نكران مدى تأثير الشباب على المجتمعات العربية بمختلف الأعمار والبلدان فهم الشريحة الأكثر فهماً وتوظيفاً لوسائل الإتصال الإجتماعية المنتشرة على بقاع الأرض, واستيعاباً لثورة المعلومات والتكنولوجيا التي تتربّع على عرش عصرنا هذا.

 ضرورة مشاركة الشباب العربي في الحياة العامة والمجالات المختلفة السياسية والبرلمانية والمؤسساتية:
الشباب العربي هم طليعة المجتمعات وأمل الغد ويناط بهم الكثير من القضايا الحيوية في بناء المجتمع ومضاعفة جهودهم لمستقبل مشرق لشعبهم وأمتهم.
يمثّل الشباب منبعاً للأفكار الإبتكارية والقدرة على حل الكثير من المشاكل وصنع القرارات التي تؤثر على حياتهم وتنعكس إيجاباً على بناء مجتمعهم، فهم قادرون على تحمّل الصعاب والظروف المحيطة ببلدهم وأمتهم العربية.

لا بد من التأكيد هنا على أهمية أن يكون للجهّات المسؤولة في كافة الدول العربية دور وعمل بارز من أجل الشباب ورعايتهم مهنياً وتعليمياً ومجتمعياً وذلك من خلال بعض الإقتراحات التالية:

–        تحديد عدد مقاعد الشباب قانونياً في البرلمانات .

–         إطلاق حرية العمل السياسي في كل البلاد العربية لفئة الشباب .

–         إتاحة المجال أمام الطلبة في الجامعات لتأسيس نوادي تهتم بالعمل السياسي والإجتماعي.

–         تدريس حقوق الإنسان والحريات العامة في كافة الجامعات والمدارس.

–        تخصيص برامج إعلامية في كل دولة عربية يطرح فيها الشباب مشكلاتهم وهمومهم والمعوّقات التي تقف أمامهم في جميع المجالات.

–        تنظيم ندوات ودورات تدريبية ومحاضرات خاصة بالشباب وبقضاياهم تتيح لهم الفرصة للتعبيرعن أرائهم وطموحاتهم. 

–         ضرورة رعاية الشباب المتميز، ومعالجة قضايهم الملحّة كدعم التعليم وإيجاد مراكز شبابية وترفيهية وتعليمية وثقافية.

 الشباب هم ثروة الشعوب الحقيقية في عالمنا العربي، فهم الحاضر والمستقبل، هم الأمل والطموح لكل تقدّم وتنمية أكانت سياسية،إجتماعية،إقتصادية أم ثقافية ولذلك يجب علينا صون كرامتهم من خلال الإيمان بقدراتهم وتقدير رغبتهم بالتغيير والأهم إعادة الإعتبار لدورهم في المجتمع ومشاركتهم في الحياة السياسية والعامة.

ها هم اليوم أشعلوا شرارة الربيع العربي متوسّلين التغيير والتحرير.

مهما طال قطاف الثمار، ثمار الثورات العربية، يكفي الشباب فخراً أنهم سطّروها بسواعدهم، عقولهم ودمائهم. 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Ramadan

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all around the world fast by abstaining from food and drink during the daytime hours. The majority view this month as an opportunity for spiritual growth between cultures and individuals. To someone who is observing Ramadan for the first time, it is easy to get caught up on not eating and not drinking. Your stomach seems to be growling every second and your mouth is as dry as the Arabian Desert. With the extreme heat hitting the country right now, it may seem even more difficult to fast but it can be done.

Ramadan is so much bigger than just the absence of eating, drinking and controlling your desires throughout the day. It is about moral discipline. It is about the deep reflection and channeling that same sense of joy, unity, love, high spirituality, and compassion towards the rest of the year by battling against bad habits that we commit to breaking during Ramadan. What bad habit has a grip on you right now that you would like to break?

Fasting is compared to medicine because it is a physical, moral and spiritual healing to the human being. Fasting is practiced in all religions. We all fast whether we give up food for lent, alcohol, or cigarettes. The list goes on of the possibilities we chose to sacrifice during our own religious fasting occasions.

Ramadan is in Islam what Thanksgiving is in the United States; an extended occasion for socializing, celebrating and loving. Fasting produces discipline. How? We are all creatures with desires and basic human needs for food, shelter, and love. We need to be respected in our community. We have a hunger for love, and for expressing our own being. All these needs must be disciplined and controlled if society is to be successful. Excessive eating, excessive drinking, the lust for material things, and the greed for power break the spirit of brotherhood and destroy human society.

When we deprive ourselves of something so essential to life as water and food, for a period of 15 to 18 hours during the heat of the day, this discipline imposed on ourselves makes it easy for us to control other hungers and desires. When we can stop eating and drinking, drives which are natural to life itself, it becomes easier for us to stop lying, stealing and practicing those sins that may destroy peace in the society. Look how beautiful a society can become for all religions when each individual imposes upon himself or herself the discipline of fasting, the discipline of curtailing our own behaviors, our own hungers, or our own desires. This leads to a very clean, peaceful, righteous, progressive and orderly society.

Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, socializing and reflection. It helps cleanse the body and soul and brings brotherhood and sisterhood together through the practice of giving and sacrificing. It becomes a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and to improve and enhance relationships during Iftar gatherings. Food plays such an important role in cultures and traditions and it truly brings people together. This month opens the door to breaking ones fast the traditional way, bringing back perhaps your mother or great grandmother’s recipe and home-made meals to create a lifetime of carried on memories with family and friends.

 

Ramadan is an opportunity to bring people together from different faiths and share in the atmosphere that is created at such a special time of year. It is a time that proves and shows us all that we have more in common than those who seek to divide us would rather believe pertaining to religion, region, and class. It is a time for people to come together in a positive environment and network with others who they may otherwise have lost contact with by reaching out through phone calls, greeting cards, and e-mails.  It spreads the idea to bring people together and to reunite family, friends, and neighbors by sharing stories over cups of tea and coffee, and where children enjoy the traditional festivities they grow up on. During Ramadan, the pace is slower during the day, office times are adjusted and friends and families gather every evening to share Iftars and Sohours. Besides the religious customs, many cultural changes affect daily life during this time, from the decorations and different kinds of food being readily available to the bustling nightlife. From where juice, coffee and tea have replaced cocktails and fast food and take-out is replaced with home cooked meals with the echoing sound of laughter and memories around the dinner table.

The entertainment during this month also changes for family and friends when all eyes are glued to the constantly amusing TV series that are only aired during this month. All activities are shifted to the night time and everyone stays up much later socializing and enjoying the company of others.  

There are a lot of cultural sides to Ramadan, even to those who do not fast. Everyone in sight feels the joyful aura because of the atmosphere and the environment that brings unity to the world. It is a time that can fray the nerves and brings people together around every one of their religions. It is not a month that discriminates or judges, yet feels for all and creates a diverse surrounding that welcomes every gender, every religion, and every gift that every individual has to offer to our world as a whole. 

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تلعب اللغات الراقية لدى أبنائها دوراً بارزاً يتعدّى حدود التواصل،الإفهام،وقضاء الحاجات اليوميّة، بغضّ النّظر عن أهميّة هذه الأشياء في حياة البشر.

فالحياة يمكن لها أن تتحقّق ويتمّ التواصل بين أطرافها من خلال الوسائل غير اللغوية، كالإرشادات والرُّموز البسيطة، لكن اللغة في شكلها الذي يتكوّن من بنية كلامية منتقاة، تلقى العناية على يد أبنائها جيلاً بعد جيل، وتستغلّ بمعانيها الجميلة أدوات لحمل الفكر الراقي والمشاعر السامية من جيل إلى جيل، وتزداد اتّساعاً وثراءً على مستوى المكان والزمان. في تراثها العريق، تأتي اللغة العربية في مقدّمة اللغات التي نجحت في القيام بدورها الحضاري، وارتقت بأمة عربية جسّدت هي ولغتها دوراً قائداً للحضارة والمعرفة على مستوى العالم قرونًا عديدة متوالية.

لكنّ اللّغة في حاضرها اليوم بحاجةٍ إلى أن تستجمع قواها لمواجهة متطلّبات العصر في المجال المعرفي والحضاري، وأن تنتهي بفضل وعي أبنائها للقيام بدورها الحقيقي في المحافظة على الهويّة، واستعادة بعض الملامح المهدّدة بالإنقراض

نحن اليوم في عصرٍ تلعب فيه لغات الشعوب دوراً مهمّاً في المحافظة على كيان الأمّة، في عصرٍ تلتهم فيه اللغات الكبرى عبر وسائل الإعلام والتعليم اللغة العربية، في عصرٍ يتباهى جيله بإتقانهم اللغات الأخرى مع تجاهلهم للغتهم الأم، لكن اللغة العربية ما زالت صامدة ومستعيدة لأمجاد الماضي. “ليست العربية من أحدكم بأبيه ولا بأمّه، وإنما العربية لسان، فمن تكّلم العربية، فهو عربي” يجب أن ندرك أن اللغة العربية  هي رمز من رموز تشكيل هويّة الأمة العربية تمثّل نموذجاً يحرص المثقَّفون الأجانب، على أن يتحلّوا بمعرفتها. إنَّ لغتنا العربيّة اليوم بحاجةٍ إلى أن نسعى جميعنا لحمايتها ورعايتها من خلال استعمالها على ألستنا وأقلامنا والعمل على تنميتها في وسائل إعلامنا بطريقة جادّة ومنهجيّة هادفة، بدلاً من إتّباع الفوضى التي تسود المحتوى الإعلامي، وعلى بذل  خطوات مدروسة لتوسيع مجال اللغة العربية من خلال التركيز على تدريسها وإتقانها على مقاعد الدراسة. هذه الأمور لا بد منها لإسترداد حيويّة الأمة العربية وملامح شخصيّتها وهويّتها، كذلك استرداد المعرفة مزيداً من التّوطِين والإنتشار الحقيقي بين مختلف طبقات الأمّة.