PARSA Community Foundation
art collectors and academics, Dr. Nasser David Khalili is known as the "cultural
ambassador of Islam." His collection of Islamic art is the largest privately
held in the world - with over 20,000 items. As a Jewish Iranian, Khalili is also
a dedicated proponent of interfaith understanding and dialogue, and art's role
in moving both forward.
Born in Isfahan in 1945, Dr. Khalili settled in
the United Kingdom in 1978, where he has assembled not only a collection of
Islamic art, but also collections of Japanese Meiji art, Swedish textiles and
Spanish metalwork as part of the Khalili Family Trust. To date, he has held over
35 exhibitions around the world to share this collection with the public.
Dr. Khalili is chairman and cofounder of the
Maimonides Foundation, an organization which aims to promote peace and
acceptance among Jews and Muslims. He is also a cofounder of the U.K.-based Iran
Heritage Foundation and a Trustee of the City of Jerusalem, an honor bestowed to
him in recognition of his efforts to bridge religious divides and promote
cultural knowledge. He has received numerous other awards recognizing his
philanthropy, including the High Sheriff of London award in recognition for his
cultural contributions to the city.
2005, Dr. Khalili published The Timeline History of Islamic Art and
Architecture, which has been translated into ten languages. Dr. Khalili's
passion for Islamic art has guided his philanthropic endeavors as well. In 1989
he endowed the Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art at the University of
London's School of Oriental and African Studies, where he is Professor and Chair
of Islamic Art. Additionally, he has boldly supported programs at the University
of Oxford: a research fellowship in Islamic Art and a £2 million endowment gift
to support the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the
Dr. Khalili has become a leader in the area of
interreligious and intercultural understanding through his scholarly and
philanthropic accomplishments. As he says, "Religion and politics have their own
languages, but the language of art is universal. Never has there been a greater
need for this universality."
... Payvand News - 02/20/09 ... --