- The inaugural ceremony held at Al Diriyah, Al-Turaif Historical District on 08 December 2022 welcomed over 100 guests.
- Seven globally renowned educational and cultural institutions across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia will gather to improve cross-cultural understanding in Saudi Arabia this December.
- The Alwaleed Cultural Network patrons of the academic, arts, and culture ecosystem include Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Edinburgh (UK), American University in Cairo (Egypt), American University of Beirut (Lebanon), the History of Science and Pitt Rivers Museums at Oxford University (UK), and Pergamon Museum, Berlin (Germany).
Riyadh, KSA: Chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Alwaleed Philanthropies "Global", today launched the Alwaleed Cultural Network (ACN), a distinguished global networking platform, to spearhead tolerance and cross-cultural understanding on an economic, specialist, collegiate and cultural industries level in an era of great transformation and diversification in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Leading with an inaugural group of more than seven globally renowned educational and cultural institutions from five countries around the world, Alwaleed Cultural Network’s debut convening was held by Diriyah Gate Development Authority at Al Diriyah, Al-Turaif Historical District, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Thursday 08 December 2022.
During the ceremony, HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud AlSaud, Secretary General and member of the Board of Trustees, Alwaleed Philanthropies, said, “We are deeply grateful to be launching the Alwaleed Cultural Network - gathering patrons of this stature with distinguished philanthropic intel into the world of arts and culture. Alwaleed Cultural Network is an endeavor to actively recognise that culture is indispensable to human existence. Through this initiative, we collectively extend an arm to the world and provide opportunities to those who may not have access to concrete infrastructure and resources otherwise. Alwaleed Cultural Network is a platform for mavericks who want to add value to the everchanging cultural world vernacular. The collaboration is only continuing to grow as we engage in the realm of global cultural discourse for the better good of the next generation of cross-cultural exchange.”
Exploring stories of cultural connections, Alwaleed Cultural Network is built on a series of projects and online workshops, whereby current partners unanimously recognise the significant value of working more closely together to increase collective global impact. Pioneering academic and cultural institutions across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia, all supported by Alwaleed Philanthropies, have come together under one umbrella to promote education, awareness, and Islamic knowledge – recognizing that diverse cultures have remarkable histories and exchanges in common. These institutions are Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University (USA), Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Center For American Studies, American University in Cairo (Egypt), Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge (UK), Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, University of Edinburgh (UK), History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University (UK), and Museum of Islamic Art, Pergamon Museum, Berlin (Germany).
The inaugural ceremony welcomed over 100 guests and was attended by His Excellency Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Samari, General Supervisor of the National Center of Archives and Records, Secretary-general of the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah); Mr. Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority; Paola Leoncini Bartoli, Director for Cultural Policies and Development, UNESCO Culture Sector; Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, University of Edinburgh; Dr. Silke Ackermann, Director, History of Science Museum at the University of Oxford; Professor Dr. Stefan Weber, Director, Museum for Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum; Professor Dr. Herman Parzinger President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation; and Dr. Robert Myers, Director, Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), American University of Beirut.
Speaking of resourceful tools for cross-cultural understanding, a panel discussion took place during the event titled, “Culture as a Tool for Understanding and Development”. Moderated by Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE, the panelists, HRH Princess Lamia, HE Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Samari, Paola Leoncini Bartoli, Dr. Silke Ackermann and Dr. Robert Myers discussed ways in which institutions engage with, and enhance, human culture through education, research and public engagement.
Alwaleed Philanthropies is involved in philanthropic work since the 1980s. It is the main donor to the Islamic art wing at the Louvre Museum in Paris unveiled in 2012 and designed by Italian architect Mario Bellini and French architect Rudy Ricciotti. In 2018, Alwaleed Philanthropies donated EUR 9 million to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin - currently undergoing renovation and is due to reopen in 2026. Alwaleed Philanthropies worked collaboratively with the University of Oxford to launch a new phase of Multaka-Oxford – training over 200 refugees as tour guides across several Oxford museums and improving cross-cultural understanding. Alwaleed Cultural Network is a myriad of projects joining important strategic partners under one umbrella to promote cross-cultural discourse and provide foundational support systems in the global academic and cultural ecosystem.
For more information on Alwaleed Philanthropies and its initiatives, visit alwaleedphilanthropies.org and follow Alwaleed Philanthropies on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
More information on how to apply to Alwaleed Cultural Network is available on AlwaleedCulturalNetwork.org.
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About Alwaleed Philanthropies
Over four decades, Alwaleed Philanthropies has supported and spent more than 4.4 billion dollars on social welfare and initiated more than 1000 projects in over +189 countries, managed by 10 Saudi female members, and reaching more than 1 billion beneficiaries around the world, regardless of gender, race, or religion. Alwaleed Philanthropies collaborates with a range of philanthropic, governmental, and nongovernmental to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief, and create cultural understanding through education. It seeks to build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant, and accepting world.
About Alwaleed Cultural Network
Alwaleed Cultural Network is a hybrid networking platform, propelling cross-border cultural funding and critical global discourse to strengthen academic and cultural aptitude. Established in December 2022, Alwaleed Cultural Network launched with an inaugural group of more than eight globally renowned educational and cultural institutions from five countries around the world. Current Alwaleed Cultural Network patrons of the academic, arts, and culture ecosystem include Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), Georgetown University (USA), University of Edinburgh (UK), The American University in Cairo (Egypt), The American University of Beirut (Lebanon), the History of Science and Pitt Rivers Museums at Oxford University (UK), and Pergamon Museum, Berlin (Germany).
The platform is accessible to anyone looking to join the initiative. More information on how to apply to Alwaleed Cultural Network is available on AlwaleedCulturalNetwork.org.
Partners and Projects
By way of bridging cultures and challenging common perceptions of the GCC region and Islam, Alwaleed Philanthropies have carried out important initiatives to establish institutional centres promoting education, awareness, and Islamic knowledge in top universities around the world including:
- Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
- Harvard University Islamic Studies Program
- University of Edinburgh Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World
- University of Cambridge Centre for Islamic Studies
- American University of Beirut Center for American Studies and Research
- American University in Cairo Center for American Studies and Research
Alwaleed Philanthropies is the main donor to the Islamic art wing at the Louvre Museum in Paris which was unveiled in 2012. The Islamic wing was the first of its kind at the Louvre, housing a collection of 10,000 historical pieces in a space designed by Italian architect Mario Bellini and his French colleague Rudy Ricciotti. Alwaleed Philanthropies looked to improve visitors’ experience of the Islamic Arts department at the Louvre Museum in Paris by way of amplifying awareness of Islamic Arts for over 10 million visitors in 2019 – enriching their experience through reinforced presentations of artworks and layouts. This project was completed after two years following challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Islamic Arts is now redesigned for all to enjoy a memorable and educational experience.
In 2018, Alwaleed Philanthropies donated EUR 9 million to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin - currently undergoing renovation and is due to reopen in 2026. The donation was introduced in parallel to the German culture budget increase to EUR 1.8 billion at the time which allocated EUR 5 million to fine arts, literature, music and translation, EUR 7.5 million to purchasing artworks, EUR 1.5 million for institutions to increase digital presence, and EUR 1.5 million for archival preservation. The main objective of this project is to support the renovation process and expansion of the Museum of Islamic Art that sits within the Pergamon Museum Berlin and to raise awareness and amplify education programmes for refugees as tour guides at the museum. The museum holds 100,000 artifacts – one of its kind in Germany and the largest in Europe located on the Museum Island which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site attracting about one million visitors a year.
A stellar collaboration project with Turquoise Mountain Myanmar supported Myanmar artisans that is ongoing until 2023 since 2019. Alwaleed Philanthropies trained 705 artisans by 2021 via 42 training sessions and workshops across building, textiles, and jewellery skills. Despite the pandemic, artisans’ income increased, on average, by 30% and the organisation launched a new jewellery and fabric collection.
This initiative aimed to preserve Saudi crafts, develop their products, and market them to reflect Saudi heritage both within Saudi Arabia and through export trade. A four-year programme that ran between 2016 – 2021 with 2,500 beneficiaries and more than 6,802 art pieces produced. Craftswomen were given the opportunity to live out their skills, heritage, and identity - empowered and enabled by Alwaleed Philanthropies.