Middle East Arts Supporter Sees Kennedy Center Recognition as “Bridge to the Rest of the World”
By Ray Hanania
“This could be a bridge between our region and the rest of the world,” said Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, Sharjah, UAE. “Art and culture offer the best representation of a people, and are a healthy approach to generating cross-border dialogue.”
Jafar and American music producer Quincy Jones are to be awarded the 2014 Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts Gold Medal in the Arts April 2 in Dubai. Jafar and Jones
The Kennedy Center committee lauded their “extraordinary accomplishments and their long-lasting benefit for the international performing arts community.”
Jafar said Arabs “haven’t paid enough attention to the arts” in educational institutions. “We need to start catching up on that front – embracing culture and arts as life tools, not just entertainment, and as a means to generate economic value.
“We need to develop sustainable business models to generate a sustainable cultural economy. The Global Gumbo Group I created in partnership with Quincy Jones is an east-west collaboration doing just that.”
Last year the group staged Dubai Music Week, the Middle East’s first music industry convention, attracting more than 35,000 attendees.
is the Managing Director of the Crescent Group, President of Crescent Petroleum, the Crescent Group’s oil and gas company; and Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises, the Crescent Group conglomerate’s operating across multiple industry sectors. He is also the Chairperson of Gas Cities – a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas; a member of the International Advisory Board of Dana Gas PJSC, the Gulf region’s first and largest listed private sector natural gas company; Chairperson of Pearl Petroleum – a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas, OMV, and MOL Group; and Vice-Chairperson of Gulftainer. Jafar serves as a board member for Enshaa, an UAE real estate company, The Abraaj Group (UAE), and GrowthGate Capital in Bahrain.
Jafar is a recipient of the Young CEO award in 2009 and the Middle East’s Energy CEO of the year award in 2010. In September 2010, Jafar launched the Pearl Initiative at the United Nations headquarters in New York, an initiative in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships to jointly promote corporate governance, accountability, transparency, and good corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices within the Middle East. In March 2011, Jafar was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Sharjah, Jafar’s home emirate, is the third largest UAE member. It has a significant public commitment to the arts and was named the 2014 Capital of Islamic Culture by the Organization of Islamic Countries.
Jafar said recognition from the Kennedy Center “gets us in touch with the U.S. arts scene and adds international credibility to our efforts.”
Established in 2001, the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts supports the global arts community by convening in a new international location each year. This year’s Dubai summit occurs March 30-April 3, 2014.
Badr Jafar, Managing Director of the Crescent Group and Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises, was named 2013 Philanthropist of the Year in the Campden Wealth Middle East Philanthropy Awards.
Badr Jafar is Managing Director of the Crescent Group, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum.
Badr serves as Chairman of Gas Cities LLC, a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas PJSC, and serves on the International Advisory Board of Dana Gas PJSC, the Gulf region’s first and largest listed private sector natural gas company. He also serves as Chairman of Pearl Petroleum, a partnership between Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas, OMV of Austria and MOL of Hungary.
Additionally, Badr has a variety of international and commercial interests, including aviation, serving as a board member of Gama Aviation (UK); shipping, serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board for Gulftainer Ltd. (the world’s largest private container port operator); and real estate, serving as a Board Member of Enshaa PSC (UAE). He plays an active role in private equity initiatives, serving as a member of the boards of The Abraaj Group (UAE) and GrowthGate Capital (Bahrain).
Badr founded the Pearl Initiative, a Private-Sector venture between the Gulf Region of Middle East and the United Nations Office for Partnerships to promote a corporate culture of transparency and accountability. He sits on the Global Board of Education for Employment (EFE), is a member of the Synergos Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) Program Board of Governors and is a Founding Board Member of Endeavor UAE, an initiative encouraging entrepreneurship in the Gulf Region.
Badr is also actively involved in higher education, chairing the Alumni Advisory Council of the Cambridge University Judge Business School and serving as Board Member of their International Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah, and a member of the Research and Innovation Advisory Council for The Centre of Excellence for Applied Research & Training (CERT) at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi.
Badr is a keen patron of Middle Eastern Arts; he is an appointed member of the Guggenheim Middle Eastern Circle and the Artistic Director’s Circle of The Old Vic Theatre Trust, and Founder of the Middle East Theatre Academy. He is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organisation, serving as Ex-Officio Chair of the YPO Emirates Chapter. Badr was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is Vice-Chair of their Global Agenda Council on Energy Security.
Badr attended Eton College and studied Engineering in Cambridge University (Churchill College) graduating with a Master’s Degree. He also holds an MST from Cambridge University’s Judge Business School.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and managing editor of the Arab Daily News www.TheArabDailyNews.com.)