Partnership for Lebanon and Cisco Systems: Promoting Development in a Post-war Context
(10 pages of text)
The project manager of the Partnership for Lebanon (PFL) and Cisco Systems’s regional director of corporate affairs for the Middle East and Africa met in September 2009, three years after the PFL was first initiated. The meeting primarily revolved around the challenge of sustainability and what useful suggestions they could put forward to their partners to ensure that the projects initiated through the PFL were not dependent on the continuous investments of the partners.
The PFL, a major partnering initiative in a post-war context, was initiated in September 2006 after President George W. Bush called for the assistance of U.S. companies to help in the relief and reconstruction efforts in Lebanon after the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. The five companies involved were Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Ghafari Inc., Occidental Petroleum, and Microsoft. They leveraged their core competence under five main work streams: emergency relief/response, job creation/private-sector revival, developing information and communication technology infrastructure, workforce training/education, and developing connected communities. Cisco took a leadership position within the PFL, establishing a management office in Beirut staffed by five senior full-time Cisco employees, and committed an investment of $10 million in the Lebanese private sector over a three-year period. The PFL’s corporate partners engaged closely with the Lebanese government as well as with various international and local NGOs to develop initiatives under the five work streams and yield a long-term sustainable impact.
- Encourage critical thinking about the sustainability of development projects.
Introduce the notion of strategic CSR and how CSR must go beyond simple philanthropy to be effective and beneficial for both business and society.
Discuss the different complementary roles of various partners in public-private partnerships.
Consider how a company’s core values and principles influence its inclination to give back to the community.
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