Archive for the ‘Big Announcement’ Category Officially Launches!
February 7, 2009

Last night, held the official launch of its microfinance web-platform! Over a hundred people joined the founding team at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia for the unveiling of the site.

University of Pennsylvania Chaplain Chas Howard gave a moving invocation on the power of hope and opportunity can have on the Middle East and how working together across ethnic and religious boundaries may help us realize that Shalom and Salaam mean the same thing.  The ever insightful and articulate Dr. John DiIulio,  first director of the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives, described as a model of action in the face of an overwhelmingly complex conflict and lauded its ability to practice cura personalis, a Jesuit notion of addressing each individual’s unique needs and talents.

Then, Co-Founders Sam Adelsberg, Andrew Dudum, David Fraga and Allam Taj gave a presentation about through the eyes of Rabiha, one of the entrepreneurs on the site.  At 7:38 PM EST, they made the first loan through the live site.

David Fraga, Allam Taj, Sam Adelsberg and Andrew Dudum Co-Founders (from left to right): David Fraga, Allam Taj, Sam Adelsberg and Andrew Dudum

A surprise finale, the crowd was at that point joined live from Ramallah via teleconference by Salma Suleyman, Resource Development Manager at’s partner microfinance institution Asala.  Salma, who stayed up until 3AM to be a part of the event, thanked those in attendance for their support and explained how Asala’s partnership with would allow Asala to serve deserving entrepreneurs in the West Bank that they otherwise would not be able to fund.  She encouraged the attendees to go to the website, find their favorite entrepreneur and invest in peace.

Salma joins launch event live from Ramallah

Salma joins the launch event live from Ramallah

We plan to post more video and photo coverage of the event in the coming days.  In the interim, you can check out the following video summary of the launch event which was put together by the Univerity of Pennsylvania’s campus newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Now that the site is live we look forward to growing the community and working together to make a difference in the Middle East.

Advertisements selected for engagement with Harvard Kennedy School’s International Consulting Organization
January 14, 2009

We are pleased to announce that has been chosen by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s International Consulting Organization (ICO) for a semester-long collaborative consulting project.

Harvard Kennedy School Logo

ICO is a student-run group at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) that provides students with opportunities to work on consulting projects with organizations that have an international development mission. Through ICO, teams of students volunteer their unique skills over the course of the academic year to help these organizations address critical issues.

Three HKS students have been assigned to to assist with marketing, budgeting and fundraising. Each ICO team member that is working with has an impressive and relevant background:

Jo Aylor:

Jo is a first year Master of Public Policy candidate at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she is concentrating in International and Global Affairs. She was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany. After graduating from Austin College in 2004, she spent the next four years in Kyoto, Japan, where she worked first as an English teacher and then as Prefectural Advisor for the Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education. This position allowed her to explore her interest in intercultural communication and problem resolution. She recently served as Japan Coordinator for PEPY, an organization operating mostly in rural Cambodia and focusing on access to education.  Jo is fluent in English, German, French and Japanese.

Laila Kassis:

Laila is a candidate for an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPA in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to attending Harvard, Laila was a Senior Associate at Key Venture Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm investing in growth stage information technology, communications and media companies.  In Boston, she has volunteered for the Center for Women and Enterprise coaching female entrepreneurs on business building and capital raising. After completing her studies at Harvard, Laila plans to work in international development in the Arab World. She is fluent in Arabic and learning Hebrew and French.

Tidhar Wald:

Tidhar is a first year Master of Public Policy student at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University concentrating in International and Global Affairs. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, he graduated from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France receiving a BA in Political Science and History. Tidhar has worked as a Journalist for several Israeli newspapers, among them “Ha’aretz”, covering International Affairs, social and cultural affairs. Prior to entering the Kennedy School, he served as the European Union Liaison Officer of the European Jewish Congress, coordinating the political actions of this NGO within the EU Institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.  He is fluent in Hebrew, English, French and German and learns Japanese and Spanish.

Says ICO teammember Jo Aylor:

“The team, which includes both Jewish and Muslim members, and their mission to fund development through a global grassroots movement exhibit the spirit of cooperation so desperately needed in the Middle East.”

We at are excited to have the ICO team on board! receives grant from the Clinton Global Initiative!
November 16, 2008

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and the Wal-Mart Foundation recently announced the winners of forty-four student grants and two university grants through the CGI U Outstanding Commitment Awards.  The grants, made possible by the Wal-Mart Foundation, will support innovative, high-impact commitments to improve communities and lives around the world.

CGI U is a youth-focused project of the Clinton Global Initiative, which was founded by President Clinton in 2005 to mobilize world leaders to take action on major global challenges.  The CGI U Outstanding Commitment Awards are designed to support innovative, high-impact work that creates lasting and positive social change, most notably within CGI U’s focus areas – energy and climate change, global health, human rights and peace, and poverty alleviation.  The awards recognize students and student organizations from a wide variety of graduate schools, historically black colleges, Ivy League institutions, religious and tribal universities, and state schools.’s founding team, composed of two Palestinians and two Jews, reflects CGI’s commitment to diversity and cross-boundary collaboration in the pursuit of poverty alleviation and conflict resolution.

Check out the press release here.

We couldn’t be more excited to have the support of the Clinton Global Initiative and are looking forward to working with CGI U to make a success.

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