Communication on Progress

Participant
Published
  • 2020/11/11
Time period
  • November 2017  –  November 2020
Format
  • Stand alone document – Basic COP Template
Differentiation Level
  • This COP qualifies for the Global Compact Active level
Self-assessment
  • Includes a CEO statement of continued support for the UN Global Compact and its ten principles
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Human Rights
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Labour
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Environment
  • Description of actions or relevant policies related to Anti-Corruption
  • Includes a measurement of outcomes
 
  • Statement of continued support by the Chief Executive Officer
  • Statement of the company's chief executive (CEO or equivalent) expressing continued support for the Global Compact and renewing the company's ongoing commitment to the initiative and its principles.

  • To our stakeholders:

    I am pleased to confirm that the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT) and its sister organization the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU) reaffirm their support for the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-Corruption.
    This annual Communication on Progress, describes our organization’s actions to continually improve the integration of the Global Compact and its principles into our business strategy, culture and daily operations. We also commit to share this information with our stakeholders using our primary channels of communication.

    Our Social Responsibility

    CIDT and CAWU have a strong sense of social responsibility. CIDT funds the NGO Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU) that has become the largest internship provider for Egyptian and non-Egyptian students in Egypt and initiated a high profile Learning Center on secondary school level for African refugees in Egypt that aims at providing the refugee youth with an internationally recognized diploma.

    The purpose of the university student internships is to foster better intercultural relations and peace between peoples of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Most interns are young university graduates. Interning with CAWU has helped many in obtaining scholarships or work.

    Our database has been greatly improved in the reporting period through hundreds of new reports and articles that are relevant to fostering intercultural and interreligious understanding. The database entrée of the database has been standardized to facilitate better search.

    In 2018 we discovered an 18-year-old Liberian girl without legal documents in Egypt and no education. She could not read and write. This made us initiate a Learning Center for education of the marginalized. We described her case in detail, found that no refugee school could place her (gap of education was too big), provided education and helped her to obtain the documents needed to return with IOM support back to her country. We discovered that the St. Joseph Learning Center for refugees in Zamalek was unable to provide education beyond grade 8 of the Sudanese curriculum which made us expand our learning center to 20 students. In the school year of 2020-2021 we increased this to 31 students. The learning center is designed to help children obtain an internationally recognized high school diploma and thus give them an opportunity to make a decent living or continue on to further studies. The aim is also to keep costs as low as possible, since most parents are very poor. The Learning Center is, therefore, seeking financial support to offer needy families scholarships. We will soon sign an agreement with the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate in Egypt to expand this education even further. We are greatly supported in achieving our goals by Majorel company.

    We also organized in 2020 a leadership training for 36 active refugee leaders to help them deal better with violence in and against their own communities.
    CAWU has ‘adopted’ the village of Qufada (district of Maghagha) and uses this village as a model for harmonious relations between Muslims and Christians through organizing visits for students and other visitors and donating second hand clothing for the poor in the village on a regular basis. CAWU also sometimes brings interns to Ezbet Hagana, adjacent to Medinet Nasr, Cairo. Ezbet Hagana is a very poor quarter where board member Eng. Nagwa Raouf works in improving housing for the poor.

    CAWU ‘adopted’ in March 2018 Belgian prisoner Leslie Maras, in 2006 sentenced to life in prison for having attempted to smuggle drugs to Egypt. Life in Egypt means 25 years. Leslie Maras comes from a poor working class family in Belgium, got into financial troubles and had been misled by people in the Netherlands to swallow capsules with drugs to Egypt. It was then falsely claimed he could make ‘easy’ money with this and with that pay off his debts. He was totally unaware of the risks involved and now deeply regrets his mistakes and wants to warn anyone who wants to hear not to get involved in any smuggling or use of drugs.His behavior in prison is exemplary. CAWU is encouraging people to visit him in prison. High level Egyptian contacts advised CAWU to look into working towards a prisoner exchange treaty between Egypt and Belgium which could make it possible for Leslie Maras to complete his sentence in Belgium. We are seeking the support of both Anglican Archbishop Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis and the Belgian Embassy to seek a return for Leslie Maras to Belgium.

    CIDT and CAWU jointly publish a free-of-cost newsletter that is dedicated towards peace building and harmonious relations between peoples of different cultures and convictions. CIDT and CAWU assist Egyptians and non-Egyptians with visits to social projects in the country with the purpose of helping them to understand the dire needs in different locations and possibly encouraging them to provide support.

    CEO Cornelis Hulsman is frequently invited for lectures and presentations on interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

    In the summers of 2018 and 2019 CIDT organized two summer schools revolving around “Intercultural Relations in Egypt for Sustainable Development.” The documents of this summer school have been uploaded in a special section in the database of Arab-West Report. Because of the covid-19 pandemic we organized two webinars instead.

    Peace building

    CIDT and CAWU were established with the purpose of advancing peace and better understanding between peoples of different cultures and convictions. In June 2016, a group of Egyptian and non-Egyptian scholars and experts nominated Cornelis Hulsman for the UN Global Award saluting CEO Commitment and Innovation to Advance Interfaith Understanding & Peace.

    Sincerely yours,
    Cornelis Hulsman, Drs.
    Founder and CEO

Human Rights
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of human rights for the company (i.e. human rights risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on Human Rights.

  • We support adherence to the internationally proclaimed human rights declarations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This adherence is evidenced by the content of the reporting we have produced for the Arab-West Report Database. Our company works to promote equality and affirms a strict policy of non-discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, political orientation, or disability. . This is a critical component of our work since we report about the role of religion and pluralism in Egyptian society, specifically Muslim-Christian relations. When reporting on such issues, it is of the utmost importance to maintain strict impartiality and adhere to objective narratives. Furthermore, we also provide full transparency as to how our information has been obtained. We deal with highly sensitive subject matter and make all efforts to include the views of all parties involved. We have provided a link on our homepage to the statements of the UN Global Compact we adhere to. We work to partner with businesses that adhere to the same Global Compact principles on Human Rights. In October 2020 we formulated a very strict Children and Student Protection Policy. We explicitly want a safe environment for all youth we deal with.

    In the coming years we wish to make our database compliant to the academic standards of university libraries in order to provide better access to our data for researchers worldwide. In the period under review we have standardized the taxonomy of our database.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement Human Rights policies, address Human Rights risks and respond to Human Rights violations.

  • Staff and student researchers working with us are trained through a system of conducting research, presenting draft texts, and an editorial process involving the CEO and other relevant experts on the subject matter. We report objectively and strive to avoid bias in our reporting. If we have the opportunity to interview different stakeholders on the same subject, we will of course do so. Board members of our sister organization, the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU), an Egyptian NGO, provide their counsel when needed. We expect all staff and student researchers to listen to different viewpoints and to be fair in presenting similarities and differences that exist among individuals and groups, doing justice to all parties involved.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • We published in 2017 two academic books on Egypt’s transition period 2011-2014. These books were prepared with substantial contributions of our students. We gave special attention to articles pertaining to human rights, freedom of religion, and women. We have incorporated all principles of good reporting in this book which has been recognized by scholars in and outside of Egypt, Egyptian diplomats, and other stakeholders. This has resulted in H.E. Amr Moussa writing the foreword for our book on the 2014 Constitution and H.E. Ambassador Mona Omar writing the foreword for the book on the role of Islamists in Egypt. These books continue to be used as important sources about political developments in Egypt.

    We have greatly improved our database and signed in April 2020 an agreement with Royal Brill Publishers to make our database accessible to university libraries and other institutions worldwide.

    On November 8, 2018, Cornelis Hulsman spoke, on the request of the Global Compact Network Egypt on the annual Business for Peace conference in Cairo, Egypt. The text of his lecture was placed in the database of Arab-West Report on November 12, 2018.

    The company addresses incidents involving Human Rights violations through fact-finding and listening to all parties involved. We examine at international human rights declarations and compare events and statements in the public sphere with these declarations. It is rare that parties will oppose these human rights declarations. Much more common issues related to human rights reporting are lack of transparency (not presenting information/explanations that contradict or complicate one’s own position) and differences in interpretations of these human rights declarations.

Labour
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of labour rights for the company (i.e. labour rights-related risks and opportunities). Description of written policies, public commitments and company goals on labour rights.

  • CIDT and CAWU uphold all principles of the UN Global Compact on Labour Rights.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions taken by the company to implement labour policies, address labour risks and respond to labour violations.

  • Our staff is fully aware of our policies. CIDT and CAWU have a grievance mechanism. If staff members would see anything that gives them cause for concern, they can contact the CEO. In case it would concern the CEO, they could write the shareholders of CIDT and/or the board of CAWU. In October 2020 we formulated a very strict Children and Student Protection Policy. We explicitly want a safe environment for all youth we deal with.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates performance.

  • No incidents were reported between 2017 and 2020

Environment
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of environmental protection for the company (i.e. environmental risks and opportunities). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on environmental protection.

  • CIDT and CAWU uphold all principles of the UN Global Compact on the Environment. The environmental footprint of our company is very small since most of our publishing is electronic.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement environmental policies, address environmental risks and respond to environmental incidents.

  • Our staff is encouraged to reduce waste and avoid spilling water.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates environmental performance.

  • Since we have a frequently changing staff we raise our policy with new staff members.

Anti-Corruption
  • Assessment, policy and goals
  • Description of the relevance of anti-corruption for the company (i.e. anti-corruption risk-assessment). Description of policies, public commitments and company goals on anti-corruption.

  • CIDT and CAWU have zero-tolerance for corruption, bribery, and extortion. Our finances are audited by an authorized auditor. Furthermore, CIDT and CAWU also have zero-tolerance for corruption, bribery, and extortion in other organizations and will not cooperate with them if there would be any indication of such practices. Neither will CIDT and CAWU cooperate with any individuals involved in such practices. Our staff has not been confronted with examples of corruption, bribery, and extortion in our office or in any dealings with any of our contacts.

  • Implementation
  • Description of concrete actions to implement anti-corruption policies, address anti-corruption risks and respond to incidents.

  • Our staff is fully aware of our policies. CIDT and CAWU have a grievance mechanism. If staff members would see anything that gives them cause for concern, they can contact the CEO. In case it would concern the CEO, they could write the shareholders of CIDT and/or write the board of CAWU.

  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Description of how the company monitors and evaluates anti-corruption performance.

  • No staff member has used the CIDT and CAWU grievance mechanism between 2017 and 2020.