This is the end of my first year as CEO of Common Purpose in the
UK. It has been a long year!
Keeping focused as the UK has struggled, delivering our courses
which seem ever more relevant as we continue our efforts to connect
leaders locally and nationally across UK cities and taking
advantage of the growth of Common Purpose internationally to forge
new links for the UK around the world.
It's incredibly exciting that in my first year as CEO of the UK,
we successfully launched two new Ventures - Dao Xiang (between
London and Shanghai) and Itijah (between cities of the Arab world and
cities of Europe) in addition to Dishaa (between India and the UK) - to link
leaders in the UK with leaders in other countries. I am truly
delighted with the continued support of Prime Minister David
Cameron as Patron of Dishaa and Mayor Boris Johnson as Advisory
Group Member of Dao Xiang.
All this could not have been possible without the help of our
alumni, Advisory Groups and supporters giving us your valuable time
to speak and contribute on our courses. Thank you very much, and
all of us at Common Purpose UK look forward to working with you in
The inaugural Itijah
Venture, the latest in our Ventures series, was run in Abu
Dhabi in April in partnership with the
Emirates Foundation. An intense and stimulating event, it drew
together 40 participants from 7 cities - Abu Dhabi, Alexandria,
Amman, Benghazi, Budapest, Istanbul and Manchester - to explore the
challenge: "What would it take to multiply the number of young
people who create new businesses using ICT and social media?"
Throughout the four days the participants heard from speakers
who ranged from young entrepreneurs starting out in business to
established entrepreneurs sharing their learning on social media,
enterprise and scale. We also had three 15-year old students
joining us to give the group a youth perspective. Visits out in Abu
Dhabi were to a range of organisations working in diverse areas of
youth engagement, youth unemployment, entrepreneurship, ICT and
The group came up with six fascinating models for solving the
challenge. The next steps will be for the participants to refine,
develop and then present their ideas to policy makers and leaders
in the different cities.
Ventures connect future leaders, across the world, to tackle
challenges which are common and compelling, and big (enough to be
worth the effort) and small (enough to be grasped).
Some of the comments from participants:
"Itijah has not just met my expectations, it has gone way beyond
"An eye opener, a life changing experience, a push to start my own
life journey, a chance to break your stereotypes".
"Itijah is an exceptional experience towards better future and
youth in both Europe and the Arab World"
"You must attend this event"
If you'd like to know more about the Itijah Venture or are interested in getting
involved please contact Itijah@commonpurpose.org
or visit the
LONDON, 23 April 2012 - Forty emerging leaders from Arab
and European cities will meet in Abu Dhabi this week to explore
ways of creating and promoting entrepreneurship among unemployed
youth in the two regions.
The inaugural Itijah Venture, a four-day leadership
development course run by international organisation, Common
Purpose in partnership with the Emirates Foundation, will take
place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company from 23 to 26
Emerging leaders from seven cities which are Abu Dhabi,
Budapest, Istanbul, Alexandria, Benghazi, Manchester and Amman are
expected to attend to confront the challenge.
Unemployment has been a perennial problem for authorities in
the Arab world and is a pressing challenge in Europe with over
5.5million young people unemployed in Europe and 24million in the
During the four day Venture, participants will be set the
challenge of boosting the number of young people who create new
businesses using ICT (Information Communication Technology) and
social media, a compelling task, common to both European and Arab
Participants will explore the context of the before working
up ideas (whether big or small) to feedback to the Itijah Advisory
Group, which consists of experienced leaders from the participating
"The Arab world has witnessed tremendous change over the
past year and Common Purpose is excited to be expanding in the
region during these important times" said Julia Middleton, Chief
Executive and Founder, Common Purpose. "We are launching our latest
Venture to bring together emerging leaders from Europe and the Arab
world to work on a common challenge - youth unemployment - by
looking at ways to promote entrepreneurship amongst young people.
We are proud to hold the inaugural Itijah Venture in Abu Dhabi in
partnership with the Emirates Foundation and believe that the will
be a significant step forward for Common Purpose in the Arab
International sponsors supporting the leadership initiative
include Cisco, Shell, Oracle, Newman's Own Foundation, PwC and DLA
Piper. The local sponsor for the first Itijah Venture is Etihad
Commenting on the initiative, Maytha Al Habsi, Chief
Programs Officer at Emirates Foundation, said: "This initiative
highlights the Emirates Foundation's increased focus and commitment
to the youth sector. We are pleased that Abu Dhabi will be the
first Arab city to host Itijah. The event aspires to enhance cross
cultural awareness, build new networks between young people and
enable them to share and discuss ideas and visions to change the
world around them."
Itijah, meaning 'direction' in Arabic, is part of a series
of Ventures run by Common Purpose that will expand, enrich and
energise relations between two or more locations.
Other Ventures Common Purpose is currently developing
include Dishaa (India, UK), Dao Xiang (London, Shanghai), Pambili
(South Africa, UK), Yon (Turkey, UK) Dou Heung (Hong Kong,
Scotland) Kompas (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland,