Prince Charles: AMAR gives us Reason to have Faith in Humanity

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

HRH The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the work of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Addressing the celebration in London’s Lancaster House on Wednesday, Prince Charles said:

Today is an opportunity to honour the work of the remarkable AMAR teams … whose professionalism has delivered extraordinary outcomes in health and education for so many people over these twenty-five years.

“Each and every one of them, whether they work in Iraq or in another part of the Middle East, or in London or Washington, should feel deeply proud of all that AMAR has achieved. So too, should the many businesses and commercial entities – and in particular the Iraq Britain Business Council [IBBC] – whose magnificent support over the years has made all of this work possible.

“If I may, I would also like to pay a special tribute to Baroness Nicholson whose indefatigable leadership and extraordinary professionalism has been so crucially important to this endeavour for so many years.

He continued:

“AMAR has given us all reason to have faith in humanity. It has saved countless lives, created hope from despair and achieved nothing short of miracles.”

AMAR thanked the Prince for his wonderful support of the organisation since its founding, and in particular as its Patron for the past thirteen years.

Please help ensure Iraq’s children have the childhoods they deserve — support AMAR’s work today: https://appeal.amarfoundation.org/

(Sources: AMAR International Charitable Foundation, Clarence House)

#GivingTuesday: Help Iraq’s Street Children

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) competes with other charities for a share of $75,000 in bonus funds.

The more you give, the more bonus funds we earn for Iraqi orphans, street kids, and children displaced by conflict.

EXTRA BONUS:  New monthly donors are eligible for  a 1-month match.  Sign up for $10, $25, $50, $100 – up to $200 – in monthly giving and get an extra month match.

Still not sure whether to give?  Think of these children (All names changed for privacy):

  • Rana (10) who loved the Hope Bus but still worked on the streets and died after being hit by car;
  • Teenage Hasan who wanted a job to support a poor widowed mother but got targeted by a man trafficking in human organs who wanted his kidney;
  • Noor (13) who worked on the street and was nearly married off by a poor aunt who needed the dowry;
  • Little orphan boys, Khalid and Ali (6 and7), who were exploited by an uncle who forced them to beg on the street.

All of these children – and hundreds more – have been helped by your gifts.   Many more are waiting…

(Source: ICF)

IBBC holds Successful Autumn Conference in Dubai

Iraq Britain Business Council holds successful Autumn Conference in Dubai

Following on from the first Iraq Britain Business Council conference in Dubai in 2016, the IBBC was delighted to host its Autumn Conference in the UAE once again. The event was strongly supported by the UAE authorities.

Alongside Baroness Nicholson, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq and President of the IBBC, the conference was opened by H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Under Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy.

The Minister reminded delegates that non-Oil & Gas related trade between the UAE and Iraq had already passed 11 Billion USD in 2016, with Dubai in particular being a hub for local and international companies in the region.

The Minister firmly believes that the UAE’s role in the rebuilding of Iraq will continue to expand and expressed his wish to cooperate with organisations such as the IBBC to accomplish this crucial task.

Vikas Handa, IBBC UAE Representative and the Managing Director of the Emirati Company DrillTech, warmly thanked the minister and stated that the IBBC stands ready to work even more closely with the UAE in Iraq.

The Government of Iraq sent a high calibre ministerial delegation led by H.E. Mr Qasim Al-Fahdawi, The Minister of Electricity, to the conference. The delegation included H.E. Mrs Ann Naufi Aussi Balbool, Minister of Construction Housing and Public Municipalities; H.E. Kadhim Fijan Al Hamami, Minister of Transport; H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC); and H.E. Mr Fayadh Hassan Nima, Deputy Minister of Oil for refining affairs.

The conference was structured around several sessions in which the Iraqi officials and international companies operating successfully in Iraq, most of which are members of the IBBC, exchanged their views and experiences.

These sessions focused on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the economy in Iraq, Reconstruction & Infrastructure, Transport, Power and Oil & Gas. In parallel, a series of high level round-table discussions between investors and Iraqi Government representatives took place.

The conference included for the first time a presentation on the rapidly developing Tech sector in Iraq , given by the CEO of Zain.

IBBC thanks the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) and the IMF for its participation. Thanks also go to the IBBC members who sponsored the conference: Gold Sponsor International Islamic Bank; Silver Sponsors Serco and Gulftainer; Lunch Sponsor Rolls-Royce; pre-reception Sponsor Wood; and Coffee Break Sponsors Eversheds Sutherland and KCA Deutag.

IBBC Managing Director, Christophe Michels, stated that the increasing involvement of the UAE and wider GCC with Iraq was a game changer for the country. The IBBC very much welcomes this development and is delighted to be part of it and support it. The organisation will increase its presence in the UAE and the Autumn Conference in Dubai will become a regular feature in its calendar of events.

(Source: IBBC)

US Providing Essential Support for Iraq’s Children

Hundreds of thousands of children and their families in Iraq who have suffered the pain of brutal conflict and displacement will have regular access to lifesaving clean drinking water and services that respond to gender based violence thanks to help from the U.S. government.

With the latest contribution of nearly 9 million US$ from the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UNICEF and its partners will be able to provide safe drinking water to families living in displacement camps as part of its emergency first line response, as well as repair damaged water supply infrastructure.

OFDA’s generous assistance will also help bring age-appropriate and survivor-centered community-based multi-sector services to survivors of gender based violence.

Hamida Ramadhani, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Iraq, said:

“The provision of multi-sector support services to women and children who carry invisible wounds as a result of conflict, gender-based violence and large-scale displacement is particularly important to help them cope and to re-build their lives.”

Nearly five million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Iraq. UNICEF continues to count on the United States as a major global donor of humanitarian and development assistance to respond to the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable children around the world.

(Source: UN)

Agility Center of Excellence Opens in Rumaila

Agility has opened a state-of the-art training facility, known as the Center of Excellence, at the Rumaila Energy Park in southern Iraq.

In partnership with Strategic Analytics Team (SAT), the Center of Excellence offers training courses for the local workforce in the oil and gas industry, led by internationally accredited trainers.

Training covers a wide variety of topics, including health and safety, lifting and hoisting, defensive driving and logistics solutions. With SAT’s expertise in the field of operational logistics, courses will meet international oil and gas industry standards and focus on developing accredited local content, while enhancing the capabilities of Iraq-based contractors.

The Rumaila Energy Park is a one million-square meter, fully serviced industrial park developed by Agility Real Estate to provide a one-stop-shop for companies operating in southern Iraq. The park includes warehouse facilities, workshops, lay-down yards and offices. It is strategically close to the region’s major oil and gas subcontractors.

The inauguration was attended by representatives from oil and gas companies and academic institutions, as well as Iraqi government officials.

Colin Hindley, CEO, Agility Iraq, said:

“The Center of Excellence is part of Agility’s ongoing commitment to building Iraq’s infrastructure and human capital. We are strongly committed to building local capacity in our areas of operations, and this new center is part of this strategy.”

Paul Jorgensen, Senior Partner, Strategic Analytics Team, said:

Our partnership with Agility makes the Center of Excellence the first of its type in the Gulf region. At SAT, we take pride in our knowledge and skills in the logistics business, and we are in a unique position to impart the same to aspiring professionals seeking further development.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for both SAT and Agility. With a fully developed culture of learning in an open environment that enables access to the latest information and technological innovations, we want the Center of Excellence to become the go-to resource for both logistics companies and students.”

Agility Iraq has offices in Basra, Baghdad, and Erbil, serving international airports and the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al Zubair.

Agility’s operations include freight forwarding (air, ocean, road), cross-border trucking, customs clearance, project logistics, open yard/warehousing distribution, approved HSSE training and route surveys. All of Agility’s operations in Iraq are ISO 9001, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18001-certified.

(Source: Agility)

Reserve 5 mins For Iraqi Children on October 5th!

On Thursday – October 5th – The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) and awesome IRONMAN challenger Mais Abousy are joining forces to compete for a share of $50,000 in cash for Iraq’s most vulnerable kids.

Mais, an Iraqi-American mother and lawyer, is training for the October IRONMAN where she will compete carrying US and Iraqi flags.  She will swim 1.2 miles (1.9K), bike 56 miles (90K), and run 13.1 miles (21K) along with some 2,800 athletes and thousands of observers from around the world.

October 5th is a great opportunity to make a high-impact gift and finish your year-end giving early.  The donation “race” starts at 9:00:01 am and ends 11:59:59 pm Washington DC time (EDT).  How much we raise October 5th determines what portion of the $50,000 pot ICF wins.  Plus, for every new monthly donation, ICF gets a 1-month match.

If you are “in”:

  1. Post this link on your calendar for October 5th
  2. Decide on a 1-time gift or monthly donations
  3. Execute October 5th!

Want to know what your gifts do?

  • $10 covers four nutritious, yummy meals for kids
  • $25 reserves a seat on the Hope Bus for a boy or girl for a whole week with tutoring, a healthy lunch, fun, & more
  • $30 a month can support a social worker to help kids stop working, go to school, access health care, and get loving interventions to stop abuse and neglect
  • $50 a month helps cover the salary of a “street lawyer”  to defend kids in court, help kids get documents to go to school, and teach children to protect themselves against dangers on the streets from criminals, human traffickers, and extremists

British Businesses Training and Educating in Iraq

By Ashley Goodall.

Is the UK overlooking a key USP for British International businesses?

Education and training footprint of British companies around the world has a significant and excellent impact on communities and economies and is often taken for granted.

As the UK ramps up its trade rhetoric and a ‘Global Britain’ emerges, one of the key benefits that British companies bring is being overlooked: Education and training…

The penny dropped for me as I attended a meeting of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members to find that one after the other, each company was committed to the concept of a learning organisation that are locally integrated. Not only are British companies employing as many local people as possible, but also training them to deliver increasingly complex managerial and technical roles.

Oil and gas companies, Shell and BP in particular, deliver an extraordinary amount of training in Iraq alone. The effect on the local communities and national economies is a massive injection of know-how and a source of social stability, development, prosperity and economic progress, let alone the transformative power training confers on individuals, families and communities.

Not only are our companies a source of prosperity, but when partnered with UK Universities offer a double whammy for the delivery of global standards and expertise that  few countries can match in country and via external courses, such as delivered by Oxford Brooks and Northampton Universities.

Emerging economies appreciate this expertise, as it raises business operations to global standards and enables them to compete with the best, to encourage inward investment and generate employment opportunities in their regions.

Oil and Power companies in particular make a big social impact on their suppliers. Osama Kadhum Managing Director of Ratba’ contracting in Iraq says his staff received 3885 hours of training in Majnoon Oilfield from Shell alone, ensuring the highest technical and supervisory standards are applied.

GE power likewise employ over 90% of local staff, often sent for technical training in USA or x for 6-12 month stretches supporting local recruitment , diversity of employees, and women for increasingly leadership and supervisory roles. Shell in Iraq train over 7,900 local staff in Basra for whom they are delivering over 200,000 training days per year. BP and its Partners are developing the Rumaila field which is supported by a 93% Iraqi workforce.

Around 2,400,000 training hours have been delivered to staff in a variety of technical disciplines, core skills, leadership and safety.  And these figures do not include community initiatives such as an extensive community vocational training programme that has been running for 3 years, or 400 women from a remote community that have been trained in the Rumaila funded Qarmat Ali Women’s Training Centre.

In Baghdad Serco have set up an ATC Academy for Air traffic Controllers. Multiply this scale of training globally in just Iraq and you begin to see the scale and quality of training that British companies deliver among International, Emerging and Frontier markets.

More widely Rolls- Royce has committed an ambitious plan to reach 6 million people worldwide through their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) education programmes between 2014- 2020. This bold target will encourage a more creative and engaging outreach through the company’s supply chain, through the wider STEM sector and to inspire society to attract talented young people from around the world to the world of STEM.

Businesses are often castigated by the media, but the reality is that they are usually a force for good, prosperity and ultimately stronger communities. So let’s celebrate the important impact British companies’ commitment to education and training brings to millions of people and their ability to change the world.

Ashley Goodall is a martketing consultant to Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).