British entrepreneur Nasser David Khalili named UNESCO goodwill ambassador

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

16 October 2012 – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, today named British entrepreneur and philanthropist Nasser David Khalili as the agency’s newest Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of peace among nations through culture and education.

Mr. Khalili, a scholar and renowned art collector, is the founder of the Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, as well as the co-founder and chairman of the Maimonides Foundation, which promotes peace and understanding between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Since 1970, Mr. Khalili has assembled five outstanding art collections: The Arts of the Islamic World (700-1900), Japanese Art of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Swedish Textiles (1700-1900), Spanish Damascened Metalwork (1850-1900) and Enamels of the World (1700-2000). Together, the five collections comprise some 25,000 works.

As a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, he will join the ranks of outstanding celebrity advocates, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela of South Africa, United States jazz musician Herbie Hancock, Cuban ballerina and choreographer Alicia Alonso, and Dubai-based philanthropist, educator and entrepreneur Sunny Varkey.


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