Former French Culture Minister Jack Lang awards the Aladdin Award to Professor Nasser David Khalili


During the Euro-Mediterranean meeting of the Aladdin Project which took place at the French  National Assembly on 12 June, 2014, the former Culture Minister Jack Lang awarded the Aladdin Award for Dialogue Among Cultures to Professor Nasser David Khalili, principal contributor to the exhibition “Hajj, le pèlerinage à la Mecque” which is currently taking place at the Arabic World Institute, in Paris.

Jewish born in Tehran, but also British and American citizen, Nasser David Khalili is a philanthropic collector and founded the first chair of Islamic arts of the University of London in 1989. He is currently the President of the Maimonides Foundation which promotes peace and understanding between the three Abrahamic faiths.

Often considered as a « cultural ambassador of Islam » by State representatives from the Islamic world, he is also the only non-Christian who ever received twice the title of Knight, by John-Paul II and later by Benedict XVI, as recognition of his work of interreligious dialogue and reconciliation. He was also designated as Goodwill Ambassador by the UNESCO in 2012.

Former French Culture Minister Jack Lang expressed his happiness to reward a “deeply humanist” man of culture and science, without who the major exhibition about the Hajj taking place in the Arab World Institute in Paris would never have taken place. Mr. Lang praised Pr. Khalili’s determination of carry dialogue between cultures and religions and to improve the mutual knowledge of men of different cultures.

“You indicate to all of those who are here this evening that culture is also a path, even one of the greatest paths toward the love for the others, toward the dialogue which you call for”, said the former Culture Minister to Professor Khalili

In his word of thanks, Nasser David Khalili called the audience to continue “building bridges around cultures”: it is “a mutual bridge, you cannot label it: you can only appreciate it”. Through his effort to create dialogue between cultures and religions, Professor Khalili contributes to create a common language, bringing harmony, peace and respect.