Israeli Minister Advances Plan To Take in Syrian War Orphans

Israel’s interior minister has approved a plan to take in 100 Syrian children orphaned by the civil war.

Barak Seri, a spokesman for Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, confirmed the plan Thursday. If carried out, it would be the first time Israel absorbs refugees from the ongoing war.

According to the plan, first reported by Israel’s Channel 10, Israel would initially house the orphans in boarding schools, and would seek Arab families in Israel to adopt them. The orphans would eventually receive permanent citizenship, and first-degree relatives would be allowed to join them in Israel.

Israel has treated thousands of Syrians wounded in the war, offering them medical treatment in hospitals in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month he wanted to expand the medical assistance.

Originally published by Associated Press.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all security matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable security advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialised units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Mohammad Mukhtar Mustafa,
Deputy Global Director, No. 4,
Strategic Business & Intelligence Division,
Email : deputy.gd.4@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1923
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

For Queries Specific to Middle East & North Africa :
Email : mena@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
Sunday : Closed.

The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.

Istanbul Bookshop That Transports Young Syrians Back Home

Tucked in a corner across from Istanbul’s Kariye museum is a haven for young Syrians who want to do one simple thing: read. Pages, a bookstore and cafe, represents one man’s ambitious quest to change the lives of Syrian youth.

“I’m incredibly happy,” said Samer al-Kadri, 42, founder of the first Arabic bookstore in the city. “I get to meet this generation, between 18 and 25 years old. This generation is surprising me with their understanding, their openness, their dialogue.”

More than three million refugees, the vast majority of them Syrian, live in Turkey. With Pages, Kadri hopes to create a space for young Syrians curious about the world, who want to escape the isolation of refugee life, and, for a fleeting moment, pretend they are back in their homeland.

The tunes of the Lebanese singer Fairuz waft through the air of the cosy interior, books lined along shelves that Kadri built with his own hands, a labour of love that has meant he hasn’t taken a holiday for nearly a year.

Here young children can come and read all the books available for free, or borrow as many as they want, for as little as 20 lire (£4.80) a month. Syrian men and women drink coffee as they write, study and read under the sunlight streaming through the windows, and in the evenings they attend music performances, movie nights, workshops and exhibits.

“It’s a place where we can have conversations as Syrians with each other once again, to have dialogue, to accept each other, to change our mentality that was closed in on Syria only, and didn’t see the outside world,” said Kadri.

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Pages bookstore and cafe in Istanbul, Turkey

For all the tragedies of the Syrian war, with more than 400,000 dead in five years of conflict and half the country’s population displaced at home or abroad, Kadri sees a small silver lining.

“Despite all the tragedy in Syria, there was one aspect that I think is positive for Syria’s future,” he said. “It let Syrians emerge from this shell that they were living in. A lot of things changed. A lot of young men and women have changed their way of thinking, and this new generation, some of it has been destroyed and some have been changed or are growing up in a different way, more open. Syrians have learned a lot more about the world.”

Kadri was just eight when the forces of Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syria’s current president, stormed his home city of Hama in 1982, levelling it with extraordinary brutality in less than a month as collective punishment for a brief rebellion.

He recalled an episode where government troops lined several men in a neighbourhood against a wall, shooting one and letting another survive, and the scene as his family trudged out of the city, with bodies lining the streets.

After moving to Damascus, Kadri graduated with a fine arts degree and became a graphic designer, setting up an advertising agency and a publishing house dedicated to children’s books, called Bright Fingers.

When the revolution erupted in Syria in 2011, he spoke abroad about the people’s struggle and their oppression by the Assad regime, though he stayed away from demonstrations.

While on a trip to Abu Dhabi in 2012, he learned that security forces had raided his publishing house, accusing him of supporting terrorist activities, a common charge against those opposed to the government. He moved to Amman, and fell in love with Istanbul during a short visit to the city.

During the Guardian’s visit, he was interrupted by a group of young children who had been touring the bookstore. “We made this place for you,” he told them. “It’s a place that you can always come to.”

One of the children replied: “I felt like I was in Syria with all these Arabic books, and you can read them all for free.” One teenager asked Kadri to stock books about astronomy because he loved space, and another asked for a biography of Khalid ibn al-Walid, one of early Islam’s legendary warriors who led its early conquests in Asia.

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Samer al-Kadri, creator of the bookstore Pages in Istanbul, Turkey

“The purpose of this visit is so they can read and to impress on them the importance of libraries,” said Jihad Bakr, who teaches Turkish to Syrian children at a local school and was supervising the visit. “They need to know a different face of the society, to see their own Syrian community from a different perspective. Syria is not just war and what their families know. We have art and culture.”

It is a common theme for Kadri, who sees little hope in changing the mentality of his own generation but believes there is potential for instilling a love of learning and curiosity among the young clientele who visit Pages, where he works 11 hours a day for seven days a week.

He also sees it as a way of removing those who sought refuge in Istanbul from the isolation of refugee life, to introduce Turks to a different perspective on Syrians (many Turks and Kurds also visit the bookshop, which stocks Turkish and English books) and to show the international media that Syrians should not be defined just as victims or perpetrators of violence.

“I’m tired of this view that Syrians are Daesh [an Arabic term for Isis], are murderers, or are just starving,” he said. “There are a lot of victims and people who are starving, who have lost everything. But there’s also another side that people don’t want to see. We want people to write about something different.”

Among the most popular books at Pages are translations of Elif Şafak’s novel The Forty Rules of Love, which tells the story of the legendary Persian poet Rumi, as well The Shell, a memoir by the Syrian writer Mustafa Khalifa detailing his torture and detention in the notorious prison of Palmyra.

The translated works of George Orwell are also popular, particularly Animal Farm and 1984, the dystopian fictional worlds of which bear a striking resemblance to Assad’s police state.

“In the end this is a huge tragedy and you can’t really escape it completely,” said Kadri. “You can’t write about love without linking it to the catastrophe in Syria. It’s your daily life and occupies every moment of it.”

Kadri is hoping to start a branch of his bookstore in Berlin to cater to the refugee community there, and is setting up a new publishing house that will be dedicated to debut novels by young Syrian and Arab writers to be sold throughout the Middle East, and he is working with Turkish publishing houses to translate the novels into the local language. None of the ventures are profitable.

But though it is hard work, what matters to him more is the effort to mould a new generation. “We are not able to change, but we can help the next generation change for the better,” he said. “My message to the world is don’t judge Syrians as one bloc. You wouldn’t want us to judge an entire society as one. Look and observe well, and determine the reality for yourself.”

Originally published by The Guardian.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all investment matters ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialised units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Mohammad Mukhtar Mustafa,
Deputy Global Director, No. 4,
Strategic Business & Intelligence Division,
Email : deputy.gd.4@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1923
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

For Queries Specific to Middle East & North Africa :
Email : mena@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
Sunday : Closed.

The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.

Global VCs Investing In MENA Are Like Pink Diamonds: Rare But Existent – Investment Advice From CWIIL Group of Companies

Towards the end of 2014 Wamda published an interview with Lebanese VC Khaled Nasr. He said, quite plainly, that if you’re a Middle Eastern startup it’s highly unlikely you’ll get money from a US VC. That’s a sad thought (especially when access to funding within the region has also been tough).

Indeed, in another article from February of this year we learned that there’s “still not much entrepreneurship activity in the MENA region.” While Nasr is still of the opinion that Silicon Valley VCs are highly unlikely to invest in MENA startups, a fair bit of Googling and chatting to contacts led to realize that global VCs moving into the region are a bit like pink diamonds: beautiful and rare, but more importantly, existent.

Who’s Investing?

Silicon Valley investment numbers are not that low, but if we compare them with investments within the US or Europe, then yes, they are few and far between. However, there are notable exceptions to this. Germany’s Rocket Internet has been making waves in the region since its investments in Namshi and Mizado in 2012. They opened offices in Dubai, and have since made investments and purchases worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with their Middle East Internet Group.

Currently Fenox, which has yet to declare any investments in regional startups, is the only Silicon Valley-based VC to have set up office in the UAE. Brent Traidman, General Partner at Fenox Venture Capital, told Wamda that even though US and UK markets continue to serve well, their VC was looking to “focus on emerging markets where we witness the biggest growth opportunities.” So, in April 2014 the VC announced the launch of its $100 million fund for startups in the developing world (in December it also launched a $200 million fund for Bangladesh).

To do so they partnered with Dubai-based Innovation 360. But this took some time. Traidman said that they started by sponsoring and mentoring local startups, then performed due diligence to really gauge the appetite for a VC fund. “With the recent surge in incubators, accelerators, and early stage startups in the GCC, we seized the opportunity to get in early.”

For Traidman the increasing population of the region, as well as the massive mobile penetration, cannot be overlooked. “We see this number continuing to rise quickly in the next five to seven years, which gives us the opportunity to start investing prior to mass adoption.”

Other venture capital companies that have added MENA-based startups to their portfolios also include Lumia Capital; San Francisco’s Rise Capital which raised a $100 million maiden fund specifically for early stage expansion of companies in emerging markets in 2014; Belgium’s Hummingbird Ventures which invested in MarkaVIP back in 2012; and South Africa’s Naspers which invested the sizeable $75 million in souq.com in 2014.

What Has Been Holding Investors Back? 

Talk to someone Stateside and you get an obvious answer. “There is this attitude of ‘if I can’t drive to a portfolio then it’s not worth investing in,’ which is frankly extremely unfortunate,” says San Francisco-based entrepreneur Mohannad El-Khairy. “Especially because when you look at those living in the Valley, like 50% are not from the US.”

With his company, NXT Innovation, El-Khairy often has the challenge of showing off the qualities of a MENA-based startup to US-based corporations: putting tech startups within reach of corporations in order to facilitate innovation within the corporation.

As a result, startups have been aiming to get themselves to Silicon Valley in order to scale, rather than staying in the region. Wally, the Dubai-based personal finance app, is currently in the Valley, as is the Bahraini startup Utrack.tv. Another which has recently returned from a stint there is the Cairo-based obituary website ElWafeyat.com.

Yousef El Sammaa, cofounder of El Wafeyat, concurs with El-Khairy’s point after his four months spent in California with 500 Startups. “We met a lot of potential investors who were interested in our model but rarely were they interested in investing outside of US, or even California.” El Sammaa added that investors felt that it would be an issue if they couldn’t get to an investment within two or three hours to sort out a problem. Also, investors are reluctant to invest in markets they don’t understand well – and they’re happy to admit that they don’t understand the MENA.

As part of its write up on the Middle East, in their Global Startup Series, 500 Startups said: “It’s clear that a major entrepreneurial shift is taking place in the Middle East and the startup scene has grown exponentially in the past few years.” And they are right. However, certain things are still lacking, notably funding to take many startups to the next level.

“One challenge that we face is that there is currently a lack of Series B, C and D [funding],” Traidman noted. Commonly known as ‘middle series funding’ it is very important but not as popular as seed and Series A, nor final round investments. “This is a critical time in a startup’s life that enables them to hire the right talent, develop products and patents, as well as start to grow to a more mature level of user traction and revenue.”

Moving Forward

Putting these regional startups in a context that foreign investors can understand will help with their appeal. In April AstroLabs Dubai will be opening its temporary coworking space, ahead of its official opening as a Google Tech Hub space.

Here the ecosystem can see movement in both directions. AstroLabs’ partnership with India’s Nasscom 10,000 Startups program will be providing soft landing packages for startups coming to the region from India. Louis Lebbos, AstroLabs’ founder, also told Wamda that this kind of partnership would be soon extended to Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Morocco. “We will have many international investors come to the space to meet the startups in our community and the wider ecosystem.”

The impact of 500 Startups in the region is also being felt. Since 2011 they have invested in 17 startups in five regional countries. From Jordan’s Jeeran to ShopGo, a total of $2 million has found its way to the region. Investors in the Asian market are not shy of MENA either.

Frontier Digital Ventures are a Kuala Lumpur-based VC which has already invested in Dubai’s propertyfinder.ae. The company is very focused now on the MENA region’s classifieds sector, on the hunt for automotive and property verticals. “It’s an exciting and diverse region,” says Shaun Di Gregorio of Frontier Digital Ventures. “You’ve got markets the size of Egypt, right down the small but wealthy Gulf states.”

So, like the pink diamond, once you’ve found one, you can safely say you’ve hit the mother lode.

These materials are not intended and should not be used as legal advice or other recommendation. If you need a legal opinion on a specific issue or factual situation, please contact a lawyer. Anyone using these materials should not rely on them as a substitute for legal advice.

Remember, no problem has a quick fix solution. Thus, always ensure to consult highly knowledgeable group of professionals whom would provide you with a collective advice, never individual advice. This group advice and approach is unique with CWIIL Group and is based on the overall Management Philosophy of all CWIIL Group Companies.

Consulting CWIIL Group of Companies, for any / all matters relating to investment ensures advice based on highest level of knowledge which are given to you by a team of select research-oriented experts whom each will do their own assessment of your matter, and also assess it together, thus ensuring that in case a mistake has been made by one, it will be noticed and corrected even before it is being passed on to you. Receiving incorrect and un-knowledgeable investment advice can be disastrous and thus should be avoided.

CWIIL Group of Companies is a global group of multi-specialized units with diversified interests and activities, wherein each company is a separate legal entity registered under prevailing laws in different parts of the world. CWIIL Group of Companies Products, Services, Project and Solutions are in a multitude of Verticals including, but not limited to, Infrastructure, Power, Oil & Gas, Legal, Media, Technology, ITES, HR, Shipping, Aviation, Real Estate, Hospitals, Health and Medicine, Education, Funding & Investment, Business and Legal Consultancy, and Public Private Partnerships, and other CWIIL Group Units, worldwide, to name a few.

For Further Queries Feel Free to Contact :

Mr. Mohammad Mukhtar Mustafa,
Deputy Global Director, No. 4,
Strategic Business & Intelligence Division,
Email : deputy.gd.4@cwiilgroup.eu
Voice : +45.8176.1923
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

For Queries Specific to Middle East & North Africa :
Email : mena@cwiilgroup.com , hq@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.com , www.cwiilgroup.eu

For Any / All Other Queries :
CWIIL Group Global Regional Headquarters Denmark,
Address : No. 1, Klokkebjergevej, DK6900 Skjern, Denmark
Voice : +45.5148.3608
Fax : +45.7014.1498
Email : corpcomm@cwiilgroup.eu
Web : www.cwiilgroup.eu
Connect : LinkedIn – Twitter – Facebook – Quora

Office Hours :
Monday to Friday : 10.00 – 17.00 CET.
Saturday : 10.00 – 14.00 CET.
Sunday : Closed.

The Corporate Communications Team would require minimum a fortnight for Reviewing & Responding to Queries, which please note.