Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal realizes you can make a world of difference by sharing the wealth
It’s not easy being filthy rich (sarcasm); you need a good imagination to know what to do with all that money. Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal may well have been grappling with this problem when he decided to give his entire fortune away to those in need.
In a recent address to the media (see subtitled video), 60 year-old Al-Waleed said he promised to use his $32 billion fortune to make the world a better place, saying that“the philanthropic pledge will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world.”
In addition to being a member of the Royal family, Prince Al-Waleed is a prominent business tycoon. He was listed as one of Time magazine’s Time 100, an annual list of the hundred most influential people in the world in 2008. Al-Waleed is the founder and CEO of the Kingdom Holding Company, a Forbes Global 2000 company with investments in companies within various sectors such as banking and financial services, hotels and hotel management companies, mass media, entertainment, retail, agriculture, petrochemicals, aviation, technology, and real estate. He also has substantial investments in Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, and Twitter to name a few. Al-Waleed has been called the “Arabian Warren Buffett” by Time Magazine, and is arguably one of the most influential men in the Arab world, which is why his actions are so important.
The Prince owns a fleet of private jets, more than 200 cars and lives in extravagant palaces, and hasn’t said whether he plans on giving any of these up. The answer is probably no, because Al-Waleed isn’t committing to his philanthropic plan until after his death. Then, he says, he will “make giving back to Saudi Arabia my number one priority, after which our philanthropic efforts will extend to countries around the world.”
Saudi Arabia has a horrendous human rights record and has a long way to go before it comes anywhere close to inspiring positive change in the world. But let’s give credit where it’s due: this gesture by its Prince is a step in the right direction (even if we have to wait a while to see the results) and hopefully his words will inspire other billionaires to make the same pledge.
A note on video subtitles: Don’t be confused by the use of the third person ‘he’ or ‘his’ in the subtitling. The person speaking is Prince Al-Waleed, so we can assume the correct translations would be ‘my’ and ‘I’.
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