UAE Businessman Pledges AED4.2bn for Education

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Prominent UAE businessman, Abdullah Al Ghurair, pledges one third of his assets (AED 4.2 billion) to launch Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation

UAE Businessman Pledges AED4.2bn for Education
UAE Businessman Pledges AED4.2bn for Education

Reflecting his commitment, dedication and on the occasion of UAE Humanitarian Work Day 2015, one of the UAE’s most respected business figures donated one third of his assets to equipping Arab youth with the knowledge and skills they need to become the leaders of tomorrow and drive the sustainable development of their communities. The Foundation will invest in innovative high impact programs that improve the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels while also helping a minimum of 15,000 promising Arab youth from underprivileged backgrounds pursue quality higher education for a value of 4.2 billion AED over ten years.

Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair, whose eponymous business group has interests including banking, food, construction and real estate, today unveiled the Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation, a philanthropic institution dedicated to the advancement of young men and women in the UAE and the Arab World.


  • Initial budget of AED4.2 billion over the next 10 years
  • One of the largest privately funded philanthropic education initiatives in the Arab world, devoted to equipping Arab youth with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfill their promise as the future leaders of the region
  • Initiative to benefit more than 15,000 university gifted students from less privileged backgrounds in the UAE and Arab world
  • Foundation to support programs aimed at increasing innovation and rewarding excellence in education.[/box]

A legally registered entity, the Foundation owns one third of the assets of the Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair group of companies, including all revenues and profits. The Foundation’s board of trustees is chaired by HE AbdulAziz Al Ghurair; Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair’s son.

The launch of the Foundation coincides with UAE Humanitarian Work Day, held to honour the legacy of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. HE AbdulAziz Al Ghurair announced the launch of the Foundation at a press conference today.

The Foundation will award grants based on a highly competitive process. It will work in partnership with the best education institutions in the region and the world. It will also promote academic subjects that address the needs of the local and global economy and the priorities of nation building. Grants for higher education will be made through a clear and transparent process and awarded based on merit to Emirati and Arab youth in need of financial assistance.

“Education is the cornerstone of prosperous, progressive and inclusive societies, and essential for the sustainable development of our nation and the empowerment of our future leaders.” said Abdullah Al Ahmad Ghurair.

“For many years, the UAE has been known for helping less fortunate countries and individuals. The launch of the Foundation, therefore, is an extension of what our Leadership is already committed to doing. Improving the quality of education and equipping our youth with the skills to succeed in the 21st century is key to reducing unemployment – among the Arab world’s most pressing challenges – and to building peace and prosperity in our region.”

“And it is through education that we will effectively tackle inequality, enabling youth from low-income families to fulfill their individual potential and to help their communities thrive,” he added.

Access and the quality of education at all education levels in the Arab World lags behind the most developed regions and according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), less than a third of high school graduates in the Arab states are enrolled in tertiary education, below the world average. That compares with 70% in Western Europe and North America.

Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation will target UAE nationals and Arab citizens living in the UAE before expanding to include Arab youth across the Arab World.

As one of the largest privately funded philanthropic initiatives devoted to education in the Arab World, the Foundation hopes to inspire a stronger culture of private philanthropy in the field of education. The Foundation will also work with the regional and international education community to raise awareness of the need to increase private philanthropic investment in education.

“The leadership of the UAE has always prioritized the welfare of its people and has been a champion for the wider Arab community,” said Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair. “In recognition of their vision and as a continuation of their legacy, my family and I have accepted a greater responsibility to open the doors of opportunity to the next generation.”

“The Foundation will forge a path for greater collaboration between philanthropic organizations, the private sector and education institutions. The bold ambitions of the UAE and our neighboring Arab countries can only be realized if our region’s future leaders are given the necessary tools,” said AbdulAziz Al Ghurair.

Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair has supported education since going into business many years ago. His commitment reflects a long-held view that education is fundamental to the development of prosperous, peaceful societies.

Promoting access to education in the UAE’s more remote communities, Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair established the country’s first boarding school in Masafi in 1964. He has also actively encouraged associations between the private sector and education institutions in Dubai, building two schools for girls and boys in the emirate. Another school he founded in 1990 in Dubai, able to accommodate 1,000 students is still widely regarded as one of the emirate’s model schools.

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