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Prospector Newsletter - Issue #9

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Dear all, Most of you found the way back to the desks again. Meanwhile it is raining start-of-the-yea
 

Prospector Newsletter

January 10 · Issue #9 · View online
Where media, culture and business meet around the Middle East

Dear all,
Most of you found the way back to the desks again. Meanwhile it is raining start-of-the-year newsletters, well wishes, announcements and invitations for all kinds of social gatherings. Therefore I will keep it short.
An update on professional level: this year I will move from Hivos Impact Investments to Hivos, the foundation. In my new position as Investment Linkages officer, I will continue working on ‘access to finance’ within the Hivos programme Coworking for Sustainable Employment in the Middle East.
I will miss the HII team dearly - it was great working with them during the past two years. I learned so much and it was great fun at the same time. I am confident we will stay in touch.
To conclude with an enjoyable experience; the beginning of December I took advantage of the new direct flight connecting Amsterdam and Beirut. This fast and relatively low-priced flight is offered twice a week, by Transavia. Clearly this has been discovered already by many because both flights on this round trip were almost fully booked. On the way back to Amsterdam - right after take-off - boxes and plastic sacks were opened and wonderful smells of food spread along the plane. I suppose the flight attendants sold considerably less than on the way to Beirut.
Of course I will keep you informed about future activities of The Prospector. And please do not hesitate to sent ideas, suggestions and announcements.
All the best for this New Year. Hope to meet again soon!
Monique Doppert

Bread and Net in Beirut
In the last episode of this newsletter, I announced the unconference Bread&Net, November 2018 in Beirut, hosted by Social Media Exchange (SMEX). The organizers were happy to brief me on the successful event. There were around 200 attendees from over 20 countries and almost the whole programme was in Arabic. In 35 workshops, talks and panels, lawyers, policy makers, journalists, technologists, activists and creatives led talks around different themes. Amongst others: policy in difficult contexts, networks and communities, culture and knowledge production online, language and localization.
All in all, the organizers are glad to see the discussion and the community around digital rights and freedoms in the region are flourishing. SMEX is seriously considering Bread&Net 2.0. So if you have any ideas please reach out to them directly.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution started in Marrakesh
African Crossroads 2018: 130 participants from over 30 countries came together around the latest trends in African technology, innovation, and arts, including the future of work, gaming and e-sports in Africa, the African underground music industry, the creation of a continent-wide network of hubs and co-working spaces, the use of virtual and augmented reality in African storytelling, the African diaspora and more. Check out more photos here!
IDFA 2018
Also this year I was honored to do a handful of Q&A’s at the International Documentary Festival. I watched beautiful films, amongst others Railway Men, by director Erige Sehiri. Well-chosen characters, strong, multi-layered story, strong photography and scenes giving crystal clear insight in daily life practises - with danger, improvisation, music and laughter. A true film about hope and resilience in Tunisia.
Techne Summit in Alexandria
Last September – working for Hivos Impact Investment - I co-organized with local partner icealex the Impact Investing Track at Techne Summit. This international entrepreneurship technology event in Alexandria (Egypt) aims at creating awareness about entrepreneurship outside of the capital city of Cairo through a rich combination of workshops, trainings and networking opportunities.
During this event we held the first Impact Investing Track at Techne Summit. The purpose of the Impact Investing Track was to establish a more robust understanding of the impact investment field within the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt and the region.
Our Track consisted of a panel discussion on impact investing, contribution to several other panels and an Impact Investing Lounge – next to the pitch stage - with a full day programme. The agenda of the Lounge was designed to attract different target segments to enrich their entrepreneurial knowledge and network, to meet key stakeholders and demonstrations of new technologies like 3D printing. Themes covered were Meet the Makers, Meet the Founders and Meet the Investors. For an impression, please see more photos here.
What does impact investing mean in the MENA region?
You might wonder, what role does Impact Investing play in the region? If so, then the following article by researcher Jamil Wyne might be an interesting reading: Checking in on impact investment in Mena. “The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is home to increasingly developed entrepreneurship ecosystems, a growing number of venture capital (VC) deals and relatively large levels of philanthropy and charity, but it has yet to factor into the larger field of global impact investment.”

COMING UP
1.    Station Beirut launches Moussem Cities in Beirut in collaboration with Ettijahat-Independent Culture. This two-day programme (14 and 15 January) focuses on artists who live in Syria or who are stranded in Lebanon. This event is designed to turn a spotlight on the political and social circumstances in which many Syrian artists are forced to work and the difficulties that they experience due to their limited mobility.
2.   Meet the artist! Monday January 21st, 2019 four young Middle Eastern performance artists will open their studios in Het Huis Utrecht for a peek in their kitchens. What’s cooking? How is it made? And more importantly: does it wet our appetite?
Dancing on the Edge and Het Huis Utrecht join forces for another Meet the Artist with new promising artists: they invite you to look at their work-in-progress and give constructive feedback. The artists working during Meet the Artist are: Farah Saleh, a Palestinian dancer and choreographer; Hilda Moucharrafieh, a Lebanese artist; Muhcine Ennou, a Moroccan artist and Youness Aboulakoul, a Moroccan dancer and choreographer.
Meet the Artist has a context programme with a masterclass, food, talks and a full performance. Keep an eye on the website, newsletter or social media for updates on the programme. 
3.   October last year Nesta launched an innovative, new social impact investment fund for arts, culture and creative industries. This Cultural Impact Development Fund (CIDF) will offer over a three-year period a substantial amount of British pounds of affordable, unsecured finance on flexible terms to England’s arts, culture and creative organizations bringing about positive social change in their communities.
This new fund will operate only in the UK. However the model might be interesting for other countries, or a region like the Middle East. There are challenges, in terms of picking suitable measurable goals, as well as ethical questions like how to relate financial profit to social impact. So it is worthwhile to follow the development of this fund and the concrete cases it delivers, in order to learn how this will work in practice. 
4.    To close off: earlier I mentioned the newly opened flight Amsterdam-Beirut. There are many places to stay in chaotic, though appealing Beirut. For who is looking for a fine place to stay in a residential area, I can recommend the Yasmine Rooftop suite and Vintage Time Capsule suite. Both accommodations are centrally located, lovely decorated and managed by Karim, who is a great host. Yes, this is shameless promotion, but small chance you will regret this choice.

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