Bridging Cultures Together

Alwaleed Philanthropies “Global” launches a global initiative to spearhead cross-cultural understanding

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.

The inaugural ceremony welcomed over 100 guests.

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).

Alwaleed Cultural Network is an endeavor to actively recognise that culture is indispensable to human existence

The inauguration was also 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.


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