Posted on June 4, 2019
For children in the United States, May is often an occasion for great excitement. The school year is winding down, with three months of blissful summer spent enjoying the outdoors set to take its place. Regrettably, not all such children are so fortunate. May is holy month of Ramadan and for many children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the grim reality of an empty cupboard puts a black mark on this otherwise joyous occasion. The Occupied Palestinian Territories have been subject to a 12-year blockade by the state of Israel, which is to say nothing of the near-constant military aggression Palestinians suffer from their western neighbor. This brutal treatment has led to an unemployment rate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of over 56 percent, according to a recent UN report.
Between unprovoked military harassment and being on the receiving end of a system of draconian separatism which frequently draws unflattering comparisons to Apartheid-era South Africa, many families in the Occupied Palestinian Territories face serious challenges when it comes to meeting their basic needs. Palestinian families face a constant uphill battle to receive consistent electrical power or even reliable access to clean water.
Luckily, Islamic Relief Fund USA (IRUSA) has made an incredibly generous donation of $300,000 to families living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These funds will go directly to providing for Suhoor, the morning meal enjoyed before sunrise by Muslims before their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
The donation was applauded by the international community, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Their Director Strategic Partnerships Division, Mr. Abdi Aynte, was quoted as saying, “Palestine refugees in Gaza find themselves during violence once more as the holy month of Ramadan commences. It is supporting such as this for Islamic Relief USA that highlights international bonds of solidarity in times of great instability. UNRWA thanks IRUSA for its continuous support of Palestine refugees.”
Posted on December 20, 2018
Entrepreneur Greg Wasson’s Early Years
Greg Wasson is an entrepreneur and investor who grew up in a small town in Indiana. He envisioned that he would one day work as a meteorologist because his two best subjects in school were science and mathematics. After graduating from high school in 1976, however, he decided to pursue a degree in pharmacy at Purdue University. He graduated in 1981 and was hired by Walgreens where he started out as a pharmacy intern.
His Successful Years At Walgreens
Working as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens for five years, Greg Wasson (LinkedIn profile) moved up in his career by becoming a district manager in 1986. In 1999, he became Walgreens’ vice president of store operations. A few years later he was named as the vice president of their health services department as well as the president of the company. In 2007, he was named as the new chief executive officer, a position he remained in until the end of 2014.
His Transition To Being An Early-Stage Investor
After leaving Walgreens he took a few months off work, spending most of this time at his and his wife’s vacation home in Naples, Florida. Greg Wasson decided that he wanted to do something other than being a top executive at a Fortune 100 corporation. Along with his wife, Kimberly, he decided to launch an investment firm, Wasson Enterprise. Their focus is on health care device startup firms as well as those in the retail industry.
Greg Wasson has invested in several companies over the past four years. Among these are ExpLORer Surgical, Regroup Therapy, Foxtrot Market, and PhysIQ. His company will invest anywhere from the low five figures on up to six figure sums into the companies they have identified as having high growth potential.
His background in both the health care and retail industries means that he knows a lot of people in both industries. He also has the background to really understand where these industries are headed and can make wise investment decisions. Among the partnerships he has developed to fund his company’s investments are with Procter & Gamble and Eli Lilly.
Updated on November 27, 2018
China and the U.S relate on a range of issues especially because they are the two of the largest world economic powerhouses. Issues of security, climate change, and energy have created a bilateral relationship between the two countries, and there are many ways that they can improve their expanding relationships.
The drastic change in China’s economy
There is a drastic change in the economy of the world’s most populous country. China has shifted its focus towards a more consumption-driven growth from an export and investment approach. It is crucial for the United States to be aware of these changes. The spending of Chinese consumers is on the rise, although the economic growth is a little bit slow. This gives the U.S potential opportunities to foreign business. The US companies can access and should be the aim focus of the current and future US administrations.
The services sector in China has become the driver of its economic growth, something the US should pry open. However, entertainment, finance, and telecommunications are still dominated by state enterprises. As such, they are closed to foreign firms. Consequently, the US should relax its approach to Chinese incoming venture if China will relax access to these sectors. Both nations can benefit greatly from this move.
Climate Change: genuine bilateral cooperation
Climate change has become one of the genuine Sino-American bilateral cooperation. Both nations have developed substantial cooperative ventures in matters of clean coal technology as well as electric grid development. They also have side-by-side pledges aiming at the reduction of carbon emissions. The idea is to provide a good push to global climate change dialogues. As such, the leaders of both nations ought to use this as the anchor of their cooperation.
First, both countries should assess the achievements and botches of the last two-decade relationship and establish what works and who does not work. It is better to focus on the success of the projects that are currently underway between the two nations. Secondly, both countries are a source of foreign direct investments, and together with EU and Japan, they should have a framework for financing and investment that is in tandem with the best climate practices.
Thirdly, America and China should fulfill their commitments to climate change. However, there will be a burden of reducing the environmental protocols. Both countries have first to deliver home before they can deliver abroad. China and the US should also agree on the side, geographical distribution and purpose of their respective armed forces to prevent an arms race.
Posted on October 31, 2018
IN 2008, the Honourable Tung Chee-hwa founded the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), three years after Mr. Tung completed 18 years as the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong upon its historic Return from the UK to China.
Though a highly successful businessman, and not a politician, Mr. Tung was uniquely qualified to serve in this role which replaced the British Governor, and to found CUSEF. He has long been enthusiastic about building positive and productive China-US relations.
As a young man, Mr. Tung studied at Liverpool University, obtained a degree in marine engineering and became a lifelong supporter of Liverpool Football. He then worked at General Electric in the US before returning to China in 1969.
A retired billionaire in his early 80’s, Mr. Tung is currently vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a politically and organizationally diverse legislative body advising the government of the People’s Republic of China.
China is now the well-established leader of the BRICs countries, and Goldman Sachs has forecast that China and India will become the dominant suppliers of global manufactured goods and services. It is hoped that recent tariffs mutually imposed by the US and China may actually serve as a basis for both countries to negotiate from strength regarding trade and currency.
American businesses have long realized that China, the most populous country in the world at over 1.3 billion, is too big to be ignored. Additionally, Hong Kong is rated in 2018 as the freest economy in the world. Using GDP as the market value of a country’s goods and services, the United States continues to rank #1. The second country in GDP has 60% of the economy of the US; however, this country happens to be China.
In the words of Mr. Tung, “A strong bilateral relationship between China and the United States is good for both countries and … the world-at-large.” CUSEF plays a vital part in this, by facilitating public-private sector dialogs between both nations, and academic exchanges and policy research, plus building on Hong Kong’s excellent track record of positive, strategic international economic relationships.
Acknowledging that China-US cooperation is key to the global future, CUSEF is helping to build a new model of major power relationship.
Posted on October 15, 2018
The Knight’s Foundation proudly presents the return of the Friday evening live musical performances. Part of the Miami Design District owned by entrepreneur Craig Robins and L Catterton Real Estate, the Miami Design District Performance Series is held at the Palm Court. The weekly Friday evening performances are being produced by Emilio Estefan, who has been a Grammy Award recipient nineteen times. These free performances have earned much notoriety since their inception in 2017. They provide entertainment for the communities and neighborhoods away from the traditional theaters. This series in brought to the people in collaboration with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.
Some of the talent that will be entertaining this year will be The Uprising, Julian Marley, Luis Enrique, Bernadette Peters, Thelma Houston, Emily Estefan, Nestor Torres, Frankie Marcos, El Micha, and Clouds featuring Carlos Oliva. Taylor Dayne, and The South Florida Youth Symphony are also scheduling as part of the performances. Great entertainment is guaranteed for every member of the family. This is a wonderful place to spend Friday evenings where the lack of expenses is no problem the best performances to grace a stage are waiting each Friday evening beginning in October. The Miami Design District also offers other features for a well-rounded blend of informative, educational, and entertainment pleasures.
Other features of the Miami Design District during the Performance Series include movie screenings, two museums, YogArt, guided art tours, family day, and lectures. Fridays will become the most anticipated day of the week for every family member. The performances will start in October and run through December fourteenth. Every genre of music will be represented for those who have a favorite music preference. This is the fourth season for the Performance Series, and the roster of diverse talent will provide Miami residents and visitors with eleven weeks of fun and excitement.
Besides having the best cultural experience, the Miami Design District is also a culinary destination that features world class offerings. Dinner and free entertainment do not get any better than what the Miami Design District provides during the Fall season. Your Friday can consist of food from multi vendors, and dishes inspired by many different cultures. Some eateries will off Friday happy hour specials beginning at five o’clock in the afternoon. The Fall of the year has just gotten better with the startup of the Miami Design District’s Performance Series. Many people will get into the holiday spirit with this Series which is the perfect prelude to the approaching holiday season.
Posted on September 28, 2018
The American Red Cross has released a $495,294 grant to the Islamic Relief to help with the implementation of several home rebuilding projects for the victims of the 2017 Hurricane Harvey. Speaking about the event, Hani Hamwi, the Manager of the Islamic Response Disaster Management team, stated that the organization is eternally grateful for support they kept receiving from the ARC and that it is a sign that the Red Cross profoundly values the work they do.
Hamwi disclosed that the grant would go towards setting up a dorm for the volunteers to stay in during the entire home rebuilding project which is slated to kick off in Houston Texas. IRUSA hopes that they will manage to build between 15 and 20 homes each year, and they have partnered with SBP for the recovery project which will stretch for some years.
One of the enormous challenges that IRUSA has been facing is volunteers being unable to sign up for the rebuilding project because of lack of accommodation. With free housing in place, it will be easier to get volunteers to come and stay throughout the tenure of the rebuilding process. The presence of a dorm will also mean that all the volunteers operate from one point, which will ease the process of project management. The efforts that the organization is making are to honor a commitment which they made in January this year, after presenting a $50,000 check to the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, and his relief fund.
About the Islamic Relief Association
The Islamic Relief USA was established in 1994 with the aim of helping people in need and creating a world free of poverty. The organization provides grants and relief to people in need regardless of their race, culture, religion or socioeconomic background. Their vision is to work together to create a world free of poverty while their mission is to empower individuals within the community and give them a voice in the world. The organization’s core values are to work for excellence, sincerity, compassion, custodianship, and social justice. Under the leadership of Sharif Aly, Azhar Azeez and others, their initiatives have spread to more than 40 countries around the globe with a focus on the war-torn third world countries and parts of the world where people are still living in extreme poverty. The initiative in Houston is just one of their many projects to give dignity back to communities that have lost it because of natural calamities, war, and other disasters.
Updated on October 9, 2018
Many people know the United States as the most developed country in the world owing to its economic stability and also being a leader in developments. On the other hand, China is famous for being the most populous nation with ever-increasing industries. This is a nation that is destined to become a force to reckon soon. The two countries have been continually improving their already prime statuses, and the competition regarding developments is intense. However, of great importance is the recent positive relationship between China and the United States that is growing stronger every new day. This relationship has been impactful on the other nations of the world. Also, the two countries have recently been interacting on a complementary aspect rather than being competitors as they were viewed in the past.
First, the interactions between China Focus CUSEF and the US in the recent times have seen trade between these countries improve immensely. For instance, the trade volumes of the two nations stood at $100 million in 1972. In 2016, the figure had increased to an astonishing $649 billion, and the values keep soaring each new day. Maintaining good relations for these superpowers will see more enormous figures being posted in the future. It is, therefore, imperative for the two nations to keep the close contact as the relationship is mutual for investors in both countries.
Another aspect that highlights the excellent partnership between China and the United States is the number of people from the two countries that keep interacting with each other. More Chinese students are visiting the United States to study in some of the most high profile institutions in the country. Tourists, professionals, and people from all walks of life visit the United States from China freely, and the good relations between the nations have facilitated this. Also, many US citizens are visiting China to experience a different culture and also work in the country. Therefore, the close relationship between the two nations is a blessing to their citizens as people of different professions can invest freely.
The complementary nature of the relationship cannot be undermined. China is highly populated but lacks resources such as oil. Also, most of the land in China is not suitable for crop farming. On the other hand, the United States has oil, and it also possesses enormous tracts of arable land. Therefore, the Chinese population is a ready market for products that are in abundance in the US. Strengthening the relations further is what should be the initiative of both nations as they complement each other perfectly.
Posted on September 20, 2018
Craig Robins is truly transforming the landscape of Miami. Through his firm, Dacra, the legendary Chief Executive Officer has taken the real estate in Miami to a whole new level. He can create collaborative communities in the area through his innovations in the real estate sector. Through his work, Miami has been transformed into a culturally-driven city which has become a global icon. Dacra played a critical role in the transformation of South Beach more than twenty years ago. Its ambitions did not end there. It has directed its energies to Miami’s Design District. The CEO gives useful insights on how he has transformed the city to march its peers such as New York and Los Angeles.
Innovations are driving the city. With the changing items and technology, Miami has not been left behind. According to Craig, Miami is a host of culturally recognized facilities such as the Frost Science Museum. These attraction sites put the city high as a favorite site. That is not all. The town has strong ties with the Latin community making it unique from other American cities.
Miami has been transformed into a place of art and creativity. The overall effect is the inflow of international artists and designers into the city. They showcase and launch their latest innovations in this area. Miami Design district takes pride in having a lot of collections from the world’s leading artists. The center has collaborated with most of these artists who are seeing the value the center brings to them. It is one of the core mandates of this design center to build its place in America and the rest of the world.
Craig has that burning desire to create creative communities in art and design to radically uplift the urban life. Innovative public art programs serve to bring these communities together and create a city with its own unique identity. The overall effect is that designers of high-end watches and other exciting public art are finding this to be the perfect destination. The Miami Design District has redefined the artwork. It is the center of performances, design works, programs and public lectures from industry experts who inspire members of the community. According to Craig, his firm is in negotiations with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) to visit Miami and host its trade fair for its luxury watches in this destination. It will be an exciting opportunity to host such a powerhouse which will cement Miami’s place a world-class luxury destination.
Posted on July 18, 2018
In March of 2018 EnTrustPermal announced an expansion of their blue Ocean maritime investment branch as well as the introduction of Blue Sky, an aviation division to match Blue Ocean. With $300,000,000 already invested in Blue Wave and an estimated $500,000,000 going in to Blue Wave in 2018 these sources of investment are poised to make waves.
Blue Ocean began in 2017 after two investment firms, EnTrust (founded in 1997) and Permal (founded in 1073), merged to form EnTrustPermal in 2016. For Blue Ocean they tapped longtime CTI Group expert Svein Engh who has over thirty years’ experience in investing in maritime businesses and founded CTI Groups’ maritime division as well as founding CTI Group’s Commercial Aircraft Leasing and Lending Platform as well as most recently being the Head of Financial Institutions at CTI Group. Blue Wave will be run by another former CTI Group expert, John Morabito, who has worked in aviation investment for nearly 20 years. They are supported by an experienced and knowledgeable staff in both endeavors.
The company aims to provide debt and capital through non-bank loans and investments in aviation and maritime industries including shipping.
They felt that there was a lack of capital in these areas and are seeking to turn a profit by stepping in to these industries and bring some capital with them. These industries offer low-risk returns and tend to be stable despite the apparent lack of large investors.
EnTrustPermal’s CEO Gregg Hymowitz says these news strategies and the people tapped to run will “provide a constant flow of relevant and proprietary ideas to our investors who seek new and attractive sources of return.” These investment strategies are designed to play a large role in EnTrustPermal’s future growth as an investment firm who can provide alternative strategies for their investors.
Posted on May 22, 2018
So, you’re thinking of a good spot to vacation and experience the fine arts. But, where to go? There are many great places with fine art exhibitions. and one of the best is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are many places to visit in the UAE that are unique to the Emirates and will give you a one-of-a-kind look into UAE and Emirati culture and history.
One such places is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Within the city of Abu Dhabi is the Heritage Village, which displays how life was in the Middle East prior to the discovery of oil.
Another is the Jebel Hafeet, the highest peak in Abu Dhabi and home to over five hundred discovered tombs. There is also the Emirates National Auto Museum, wherein lies Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan’s personal collection of automotive vehicles (some tanks included!!!) to feast your eyes upon. Another exhibition of note is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Dedicated to the health and well-being of these majestic birds and highlighting their roles throughout the Emirates’ history.
And then there is the Formula Rossa, also known as, the world’s fastest roller coaster having a top speed of 149 mph which translates to 240 kph. Count me in!
Last, but certainly not least, is Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit where you can actually drive on the race track. The cars are even equipped with onboard cameras to capture your driving skills. And, oh yeah, you get a copy of the video to show off to all your friends and family!!!
Abu Dhabi is also planning on building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum. Though there is no set completion date, the Guggenheim Museum is to be built on Saadiyat Island and the scale of the museum is supposed to be 320,000 square feet (30,000 square meters). It is to feature all types of Middle Eastern exhibits including Islamic, UAE and Emirati culture.
This is just one example of what you can experience in the United Arab Emirates. Many others await you, traveler … are you ready for an experience of a lifetime?