As a young man, Haitham Alaini followed an innate desire to be an entrepreneur and pursued his higher education abroad at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Having earned his degree in economics, he acted quickly upon the knowledge and acumen he had acquired and returned to his homeland of Yemen with a new focus. Driven with passion for improving his country, he undertook construction projects that broadened his nation’s oil and gas infrastructure, as well as championed important humanitarian causes. Over the last twenty years, Alaini has embarked on a steadfast journey of philanthropic endeavors that has helped thousands who have joined him in working towards a better future in Yemen.
Enlisting other successful and influential businessmen to support his education, preservation, environmental, and cultural initiatives, Haitham Alaini began dedicating his time to the Acacia Foundation. Recognizing the significance of national traditions and their legacy in a land with a long and diverse history, this non-profit organization seeks to protect local heritage, while promoting the arts amongst the youth. Insisting that poverty and illiteracy are two of the most perilous issues facing his country, he has directed the foundation to assist individuals achieve their dreams by providing educational scholarships. Through a selective process, grants fund underprivileged students’ intent on entering the medical and educational fields, and whose training will contribute to the health and intellectual progress of the region.
Haitham Alaini also cares greatly for his nation’s natural resources. Through the Acacia Foundation he has promoted an agricultural program with farming strategies that incorporate herding and goat cheese manufacturing techniques that help rural families diversify, increase production and utilize existing resources in a sustainable manner. Further still, he has pushed for movement away from the cultivation of qat leaves and its detrimental effects on water supplies, and towards high-value crops such as almonds, and coffee. Appealing to the government to offer credits, he hopes to establish a compensatory fund for farmers shifting to valuable export crops. Alaini’s interest extends to the animal kingdom as well, as a member of the Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard, a group dedicated to ensuring a sustainably managed wild population of the critically endangered species that lives in harmony with local communities. He believes the plight of the official national animal mirrors the people’s own challenges, and its return to viable numbers will be indicative of Yemen’s own betterment.
Haitham Alaini’s altruistic vision aims to protect the landscape for years to come: beyond his own infrastructural works, he has invested in the restoration of the country’s mosques, monuments and historically meaningful structures. Projects include the traditional stone and locally sourced materials of the Nehm Mosque and the 16th century palace, the Alabhar Quarter Old Sana’a. Alaini’s efforts to restore ancient architecture while continuing to build new structures throughout the country will help reinforce the old while strengthening the new and courageous Yemen of tomorrow.