First Saudi businessman to get honorary knighthood

Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel is awarded for his philanthropic activities and support for the development of the arts and culture in the UK

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Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has approved an Honorary Knighthood in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Saudi businessman Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel for his philanthropic activities and support for the development of the arts and culture in the UK, announced the British Embassy in Riyadh.

Jameel is a businessman and noted philanthropist who has supported job creation and poverty alleviation initiatives in the Middle East and globally. He is chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI), which supports numerous programs to address unemployment issues, enables research for poverty alleviation, and provides education and training opportunities across the Arab world. He is the first Saudi businessman to have been conferred this honor, a source told Saudi Gazette. Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel said: “I am deeply humbled that Her Majesty The Queen would see fit to bestow this honor upon me.


This award is a great honour for my family and me, and also reflects the hard work and support of the hundreds of ALJCI team members who run the numerous programs that help make such a difference. I would also like to thank the many partners that we work with across the globe, including MIT, and particularly the Victoria & Albert Museum for their support in preserving and promoting Islamic arts and culture.” Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to the Kingdom, congratulated Jameel on the award. “Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel’s association with the UK began many years ago. His business successes are well documented, as are his philanthropic activities.

This award is in recognition of his contributions to strengthen the role of the arts and culture in society and his work with the UK’s Victoria & Albert Museum is one example of his strong contribution in this area.”

Jameel is also well recognized for his support for the development of the arts and culture. He has played a significant part in a project to restore the Islamic Gallery housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

ALJCI also founded the Jameel Prize in partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum. Awarded every two years, the international prize is awarded to up-and-coming artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of art, craft and design.

Jameel has worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to establish the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS). The overarching goal of both organizations is to utilise scientific methodology and inform government policy in order to improve lives worldwide.

Honorary knighthoods are awarded by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, to those who have made an important contribution to British interests.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 27, 2014.

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