Altruism a hallmark of Kuwaitis

Kuwaitis have a  penchant for philanthropic work said Assistant Foreign Minister for Development and International Cooperation Ambassador Nasser Al-Sabeeh

Delivering the inaugural speech at a workshop on cooperation, between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and local charities, organized by the UNHCR in Kuwait on Sunday, Ambassador Al-Sabeeh said, “Altruism has become a lifestyle for Kuwaitis and a remarkable trait of their personality.”

Emphasizing the support given by the Foreign Ministry to being about cooperation between Kuwaiti philanthropists and the UN humanitarian organizations, particularly the UN refugee agency, Ambassador Al-Sabeeh pointed out that the cooperation helped local charities to reach needy people all over the world, as well as ensure sustainability of their projects, demonstrate world-class capabilities and increase the number of beneficiaries.

He hailed the fruitful cooperation with UNHCR as a model of integration between a UN agency on one hand and the Kuwaiti government and non-government philanthropic organizations on the other hand.

Shedding light on the role played by the Foreign Ministry to streamline charity work abroad and collaborate with international agencies, the ambassador said that the ministry was a main partner in different stages of humanitarian action, starting from establishing a liaison between UN organizations and local charities, studying and approving the proposed projects, signing the cooperation agreement and then following up on the implementation.

He clarified that while relief work was important and necessary, still “its impact was short-lived”. He called for greater focus on financing development projects to achieve sustainability and help needy people achieve self-sufficiency so they could eventuall dispense with aid.

For his part, Head of the UNHCR office in Kuwait, Samer Haddadin, said that since its inception, the UN refugee agency had been working to protect and find permanent solutions to the refugees and displaced persons around the world. Over six decades, the UNHCR helped more than 50 million people to re-establish their normal lives. He regretted that the conflicts and persecution had forced more than 70 million people, including 25 million refugees to flee their homes — nearly half of them were children.

Speaking on the workshop on cooperation, the UN official stated that the importance of the workshop was to help lay the groundwork for the cooperation of the UNHCR with the leading Kuwaiti charities in humanitarian work, especially those who had had a good influence all over the globe.

He added that this cooperation was not extraordinary for a country which is a hub for humanitarian action and is led by a humanitarian leader His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The UN official praised Kuwait’s role in humanitarian work, its sincere efforts to prevent conflicts and disputes and its rapid response to humanitarian appeals to help victims of disasters and wars worldwide. Since the outbreak of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2013, the largest of its kind since World War II, Kuwait has rushed to offer help to more than seven million refugees, as well as to support their host countries, said Mr. Haddadin.