It has been a great honor to spend another year in service to the region’s youth. This last year has been an important transition period for the organization. Across the network, our member nations, board members, and corporate partners have been working closely with the Regional Operating Center and JA Worldwide to enhance our impact. As I look back on our journey, I’m incredibly proud of our growth and success, nonetheless, the youth unemployment crisis in the MENA region remains critical. We believe that it is time to focus our energy on improving the quality of our programs and increasing the number of youth served across the region.
Chief among our initiatives is the One Million Campaign. Put simply, by the year 2022, we hope to equip one million young people annually across the region with work readiness skills, entrepreneurship training, and financial literacy. It goes without saying that this is no easy task, but we are approaching the challenge head-on, and we are confident in our ability to succeed. Over the last year, we have worked with our knowledge partners, H+K Strategies and McKinsey & Company to develop and refine our growth strategy, and we are sincerely grateful for their engagement. Even as we are taking steps to grow the INJAZ network, we are also working hard to strengthen the organization at an operational level. To that end, we are grateful for the support of Deloitte Middle East in helping us to enhance our board and corporate governance practices.
I am also excited to welcome Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser al Thani to serve as the chair of the INJAZ Al-Arab regional board. For more than a decade, Sheikha Hanadi has been a valuable asset to the INJAZ network, serving on the regional board and as the chair of INJAZ Qatar. We are grateful for her tireless commitment to MENA youth, and I have complete confidence in her leadership as we work to strengthen the INJAZ network. Likewise, I want to express my gratitude to Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al Nehayan, who is stepping down as the chair of the regional board. Since 2008, he has guided INJAZ Al-Arab through a period of critical growth and expansion, and I sincerely look forward to working with him as he continues to support the network at the local and regional levels. Last, I want to thank the JA Worldwide global organization, and CEO Asheesh Advani, for ongoing and invaluable support to our mission.
We have ambitious goals and the task ahead requires hard work and dedication from all of our stakeholders. Nonetheless, our INJAZ family has never been stronger, and I have the utmost confidence in our ability to take the organization to the next level. Thank you to all of our partners and to everyone who believes in the INJAZ mission – I look forward to another year of service to the young people of the region.
Sincerely, Akef Aqrabawi
President & CEO