Nasser David Khalili
Professor Khalili is an entrepreneur as well as a scholar, collector and philanthropist of international standing. Since 1970 he has assembled, under the auspices of the Khalili Family Trust, five of the world’s finest and most comprehensive art collections in the following fields: 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.
The Khalili Collections are fully represented in a series of over 40 volumes, 90% of which have already been published. Selections from each collection have been exhibited in over 35 world-class museums.
Professor Khalili has made notable contributions to the scholarship of Islamic art, including the founding of the Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, of which he is a graduate and Honorary Fellow. He has also endowed the Khalili Research Centre for the Arts and Material Culture of the Middle East at the University of Oxford, and is the co-founder and chairman of the Maimonides Foundation, which promotes peace and understanding between the three great monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Professor Khalili has been awarded various honours, which include Trustee of the City of Jerusalem, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Boston University, and Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I (KCFO). Exceptional is the fact that he has Knighthoods from two Popes: His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II honoured him as Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Sylvester (KSS), and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has further elevated him to Knight Commander of the said order (KCSS), in recognition of his pursuit of peace and culture amongst nations.