Recent philanthropy events
Lebanon - Voices from the field
Join us for a conversation with UBS Optimus Foundation partners supporting the people in Lebanon through challenging times.
ICRC, Luminos Fund, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, and War Child Holland will share their experience in the aftermath of the deadly blast on August 4 as well as their long-term efforts to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis and the threat from COVID-19.
Basma Tabaja, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC Lebanon
Basma Tabaja is the Deputy Head of Delegation at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Lebanon. She previously served as Political Advisor and Communication Officer at the ICRC, and as a broadcast journalist for 5 years prior to that covering Lebanon and Syria.
She holds a BA in Political Studies and an MA in Media Studies from the American University of Beirut.
Caitlin Baron, Chief Executive Officer, The Luminos Fund
Caitlin Baron is the inaugural CEO of the Luminos Fund, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to advancing education innovations for the world’s most vulnerable children. Luminos has enabled over 130,000 children to have a second chance at an education. Luminos believes in the power of creative pedagogies and play-based education to transform children’s lives, even in the poorest corners of the world. Caitlin spent the previous decade as a senior leader within the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, helping to grow the organization to steward over $1 billion in charitable giving. She founded and led the foundation’s office in South Africa and built MSDF’s impact investing portfolio. She graduated from UCLA in Political Science and is pursuing an executive masters with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Yasmin Kayali, Co-founder and Chief PR & Communications Officer, Basmeh & Zeitooneh
Yasmin Kayali is the co-founder and Chief PR & Communications Officer of Basmeh & Zeitooneh a local Lebanese nonprofit organization that was established in 2012. Yasmin is responsible for the communication, fundraising and marketing of B&Z. Yasmin is a graduate of the American University in Beirut, and began her career at Proctor & Gamble.
With her colleagues, Yasmin helped creating a fast growing organization, which at the peak served up to 1 million persons in the region while maneuvering a very difficult political and logistical context. With a mission to build the capacities of the vulnerable and at risk individuals and empower women and youth for them to become independent and self-sufficient and lead a life of dignity, Yasmin has made it her life mission to be a voice and an advocate for those who are left unheard and unseen. Yasmin developed a strong sense of devotion to the nonprofit sector since the beginning of the Syrian Crisis. As a Syrian woman married to a Lebanese man and mother of two children, she couldn’t stand still witnessing one of the worst humanitarian crises of our recent history.
Flutra Gorona, Interim Country Manager, War Child Lebanon
Flutra Gorona was raised in Montenegro in Albanian household. Just when she started the studies in University of Croatia in 1991, the siege of Dubrovnik started. This also marked the start of civil wars in former Yugoslavia. She was one of the lucky ones that was able to seek refuge in the United States of America.
Flutra entered the humanitarian and development sector by chance. Since she is fluent in Albanian and Serbo-Croatian, she volunteered with a refugee resettlement organization in NY. It was the time when Bosnians and Kosovars were being resettled in USA. From then until now, Flutra has spent 20 years working with refugees and asylum seekers from Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Eretria, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan, Iraq, survivors of torture and refugee trauma, survivors of human trafficking mainly from South America, workforce development and education for refugee and asylum seeking youth, underprivileged youth in New York City deprived areas, and now, responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon.
Martina Gaus, Head Philanthropy Services Switzerland (moderator)
Martina Gaus is head of UBS Philanthropy Services in Switzerland and advising philanthropists and impact investors to find innovative and scalable solutions to solve some of the world's most pressing issues. She works mainly with clients who are served out of Switzerland and is focusing in particular on client cases with an angle on Social Finance.
As the UBS Optimus Foundation's previous Director for Program Strategy and Performance, she has played a central role in growing the Optimus Foundation's innovative programmatic solutions since joining in 2012.
Beyond a profound programmatic understanding in social impact programs, she brings more than 10 years of experience from strategy consulting, having worked for UBS Wealth Management, Booz & Company, and Executive Insight. She is an Alumna from HSG University of St. Gallen where she graduated with a Master in Business Administration and a doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology.