Convened at the historic Plaza Hotel Oak Room in New York, recently, the dinner gathering of leading investors, philanthropists, innovators, entrepreneurs and policymakers was co-hosted by HH Princess Ameerah and the well-known social enterprise known as "ImagineNations Group".
Princess Ameerah, who is also the founding Global Ambassador of Opt4Unity, have joined forces with the ImagineNations Group, Global 4-H, Laureate International Universities, and Gallup, to launch this "Call-to Action" initiative. Opt4Unity will unite people of different cultures, traditions, faiths and professions to bridge the deep and destructive divides that continue to plague the world and hinder global progress.
"Millions of people - especially young people - are ready to embrace change," said HH Princess Ameerah. "They no longer find it acceptable to simply ignore these growing and destructive divides which are often rooted in intolerance, lack of understanding and limited exposure. Solutions must be found, and we intend to do just that."
Led by an "uncommon table" of global bridge builders, Opt4Unity will dedicate itself to tackling some of the world's most serious problems, including economic disparity, lack of fair opportunity, conflicting worldviews and differing visions of the future. Opt4Unity will help individuals, organizations, businesses and governments make a real impact by offering practical and creative solutions to bridging these critical divides.
Leaders who joined HH Princess Ameerah at the Opt4Unity kick-off dinner included:
• H.E. Khaled Al Attiya, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Qatar;
• Dr. David Anderson, Founder, BridgeLeader Network and Bridgeway Community Church;
• Doug Becker, Chairman and CEO, Laureate International Universities;
• The Honorable Sandy Berger, Former National Security Advisor; Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group
• Gordon Cameron, Head of Agribusiness, BXR Group;
• Ray Chambers, Philanthropist, UN Special Envoy for Malaria;
• Justin Cooper, Senior Advisor, President Bill Clinton;
• Maria Eitel, President and CEO, Nike Foundation;
• Raudlne Etienne, Senior Director, Albright Stonebridge Group
• The Honorable Alan H. Fleischmann, Co-Founder & Managing Director of ImagineNations, and Principal of Albright Stonebridge Group;
• Don Floyd, President and CEO, Global 4H Network;
• Shiv Khemka, Chairman, SUN Group;
• Charlie Kim, Founder, Next Jump;
• Rick Little; Founder and President, ImagineNations Group;
• The Honorable Elizabeth Littlefield, President & CEO, Overseas Private Investment Corporation;
• H.E. Luis Alberto Moreno; President, InterAmerican Development Bank;
• James Preston Grant, III; Founder, President and CEO, Grant Capital Management;
• The Honorable John W. Rogers; Chairman and CEO; Ariel Investments;
• Reeta Roy, President and CEO, MasterCard Foundation;
• Jacob Schimmel, Chairman, UKI;
• The Honorable Dr. Raj Shah; Administrator, US Agency for International Development;
• Margie Sullivan, Chief of Staff, US Agency for International Development.
The event was also attended by Ms. Eman Alhussien, Executive Manager of Intercultural Initiatives and Ms. Najla Tarabzouni, Communications and Media Manager of Alwaleed Foundations and Mrs. Amal Algarafi, Office Manager of the Vice Chairwoman.
According to Rick Little, a co-founder of Opt4Unity and President of the ImagineNations Group,: "too many people, especially young people and women, are still living in the margins; still without real ladders of opportunity to develop their skills, engage in decent work and pursue their dreams. Bridges hope and opportunity must be established. The status-quo must change."
"Opt4Unity is a call to action. Despite the many good efforts to build bridges of greater understanding and dialogue, numerous global studies and polls show the divides are worsening in many countries, not diminishing," explained Dr. David Anderson, also a co-founder of Opt4Unity. "Together, we must find new and more imaginative ways to engage on this most essential global imperative."
While in NY, Princess Ameerah was interviewed by leading media organizations about the upcoming launch of Opt4Unity and also the work of the Alwaleed Foundations. Prominent interviews included CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Wall Street Journal's Lee Hawkins, Forbes' Rahim Kanani, Newsweek/Daily Beast's Abigail Pesta; and The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Caroline Preston.
The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation is partnering in the co-creation of Opt4Unity as part of its ongoing efforts to build bridges, strengthen ties between Islam & the West and celebrate commonalities rather than differences. Opt4Unity corresponds with the Alwaleed Foundation's ongoing commitment to promoting global cultural understanding. Between 2003 and 2008, the Alwaleed Foundation established six academic centers dedicated to fostering tolerance and mutual understanding, advancing scholarship in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, supporting opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation among religions and cultures, and preserving Islamic literary and artistic heritage around the world. The academic centers are based at some of the world's most prestigious universities, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cambridge, the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo.
The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundations are involved in a wide spectrum of humanitarian and philanthropic activities in more than 70 countries. Their main focus areas have been established around strategic initiatives, ranging from Disaster Relief and Community Development, to Women and Youth Empowerment, as well as Promoting Intercultural Understanding. HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has been involved in philanthropy for more than three decades, both in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and abroad and is committed to supporting humanitarian projects that directly benefit Saudi citizens, as well as citizens around the world.