The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center held a discussion on philanthropy in Pakistan with Robin Raphel, senior adviser on Pakistan, Office of Special Representative for Af-Pak, US Department of State; Qaisar Shareef, executive volunteer and USA representative, I-Care Fund America; and Farrokh K. Captain, chairman, i-Care Foundation and director, Shell Pakistan, Limited. South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz moderated the discussion.

Philanthropy plays an increasingly important role in the world, through the support of critical issues such as health, education, and human rights. Pakistan is no exception to this phenomenon, but faces a series of challenges to increase the level of philanthropic investments within the country, by domestic and foreign (including diaspora) donors. Lack of transparency and limited information about social impact organizations on the ground has led to low levels of donor trust.  In a country where the need for philanthropic investment is greater than ever, what are the avenues for providing support for important causes within Pakistan? How can challenges such as impact and accountability be addressed to ensure that donor funds are being effectively spent? What is the role of government and public-private partnerships in facilitating philanthropy within Pakistan?  These and other key questions regarding the challenges and opportunities for philanthropy in Pakistan were addressed.

Ambassador Robin Lynn Raphel is a career diplomat who is currently the coordinator for non-military assistance to Pakistan with the rank of ambassador. She has been the ambassador to Tunisia and assistant secretary of State for South Asian affairs during the Clinton Administration. In this capacity she managed US relations with the newly formed Taliban government in Afghanistan. She also served as a member of the Iraq Reconstruction Team during the Bush Administration, and as senior vice president at the National Defense University in Washington.

Ambassador Raphel previously worked in the Office of Investment Affairs in the Economic and Business Bureau; on the Israel Desk; staff aide for the Assistant Secretary for the Near East and South Asian Affairs Bureau; and as special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. In 1984 she was assigned to the US Embassy in London where she covered Middle East, South Asia and East Asia, and Africa. She served as counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Pretoria (1988–91), and at the US Embassy in New Delhi (1991–93). In August 1993, she was named the first assistant secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. She retired from the State Department in 2005 after thirty years of service. The Obama Administration appointed Ambassador Raphel as a member of the team of the late Richard Holbrooke, the special representative to the Af-Pak region.

Ambassador Raphel received a BA in history and economics from the University of Washington and earned a MA in economics from the University of Maryland.

Mr. S. Qaisar Shareef is the executive volunteer for i-Care Fund America, Pakistan’s first donor advised charitable fund. He recently concluded a nearly thirty-year career with Procter & Gamble. Most recently, he headed up the P&G operations in Pakistan; a role in which he served until early 2011, before returning back to the United States.

During his time as country head at Procter & Gamble Pakistan, Mr. Shareef worked closely with several nonprofit organizations engaged in providing education to the underprivileged and in disaster relief.  He is a charter member at US-Pakistan Foundation, serves on the board of HOPE USA, and is the representative of i-Care Fund America in the United States, where he serves as executive volunteer. P&G Pakistan received the Award for Corporate Excellence from the US State Department in Washington, DC, recognizing the company’s contributions in corporate social and environmental responsibility, and it’s excellence in community engagement. 

Mr. Shareef is originally from Pakistan and first moved to Cincinnati in 1977. He has a BSc in management from the Middle East Technical University, in Ankara, Turkey, and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Farrokh K. Captain serves as the director of Shell Pakistan Limited, and chairman of the i-Care Foundation, a donor-advised fund in Pakistan. After completing a BA and MA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked as a management consultant with Arthur D. Little First in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then went on to establish their practice in Pakistan. From 1978 to 1994 he lead a US-Pakistan joint venture chemical manufacturing business in Pakistan: Captain-PQ Chemical Industries (Private) Limited. He is also a member of the Board of the American Business Council. Mr. Captain later stepped back from active business, turning this over to professional management, and focusing on the social sector. In addition to serving as chairman of i-Care Fund America, he is a trustee of the Layton Rehmatulla Benevolent Trust, a much-renowned chain of ten hospitals for curable blindness spread throughout Pakistan, which treats 1 million patients per year free of charge, and to-date has treated 10 million patients. Since 2002 he has served the Human Development initiative in Pakistan as chairman of the Pakistan Human Development Fund. Presently he is also a member of the Special Cabinet Committee for Human Development, and chair of its Committee for determining Pakistan’s future literacy programs. He is also a director of the Mobilink Foundation. Mr. Captain has served for thirty years as MIT’s regional chairman for Pakistan and is chair of the recently accredited MIT Enterprise Forum of Pakistan. He is also a member of the Pakistan Board of The Acumen Fund, a novel new entrant to the Pakistani social service sector, operating in the field of social entrepreneurship.

Related Experts: Shuja Nawaz