The World Economic Forum event, held in collaboration with the Holy See and the Pontificia University of Santa Croce, brought together leaders in Rome to explore ways to promote social and economic inclusion.

The session, which took place in Vatican City on 18 November, saw Islamic Relief Worldwide CEO Dr Mohamed Ashmawey taking part in a high-level panel on inequality.

Demolishing the barriers to inclusion

In his speech, the CEO outlined the key drivers of inequality and exclusion, and highlighted the changes needed to break down the barriers to inclusion.

“God has created the world with enough resources for everybody,” said Dr Ashmawey, emphasising that according to Islamic teachings, all wealth belongs to God. “Those with wealth have a duty towards those without.

“It is vital to connect social exclusion to the bigger picture. Likewise, poverty is a multidimensional problem. We need to tackle the cause as well as treating the symptoms – so solutions must be multidimensional.”

Delivering a multi-faceted solution to poverty

Islamic Relief Worldwide CEO Dr Mohamed Ashmawey at the Vatican.

Islamic Relief Worldwide CEO Dr Mohamed Ashmawey at the Vatican.

Drawing on our extensive experience in protecting life and dignity worldwide, Dr Ashmawey discussed an innovative project delivered by Islamic Relief in Bangladesh. The EU-funded scheme, he said, created lasting positive change for 10,000 poor Bangladeshi families by enabling job creation, financial inclusion, and gender equality.

Delivered with cultural, social, and faith understanding, the project achieved an increase of 554 per cent in the average monthly income of the families that took part.

Other panelists included Cherie Atilano of Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm Agricool, Martin Burt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fundación Paraguaya, and Richard Samans of the World Economic Forum. Shamina Singh of MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth also took part in the session, which saw special remarks delivered by Jorge Ignacio Garcia Cuerva of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care.

The session was moderated by HRH Prince Jaime de Bourbon Parme, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See, and also involved scores of young leaders brought together from WEF communities.

Islamic Relief was also honoured to be part of an audience with the Pope, which was held on 19 November in Via Cavallegeri, St Peter’s Square.