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Middle East Arts Supporter Sees Kennedy Center Recognition as "Bridge to the Rest of the World"

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- An Arab social entrepreneur wants an honor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to draw attention to the power of "cultural diplomacy" to build closer ties with the United States.

"This could be a bridge between our region and the rest of the world," said Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, Sharjah, UAE. "Art and culture offer the best representation of a people, and are a healthy approach to generating cross-border dialogue."   

Jafar and American music producer Quincy Jones are to be awarded the 2014 Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts Gold Medal in the Arts April 2 in Dubai. Jafar and Jones collaborated in 2011 to launch the Global Gumbo Group to develop new multimedia opportunities for artists in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Kennedy Center committee lauded their "extraordinary accomplishments and their long-lasting benefit for the international performing arts community."

Jafar said Arabs "haven't paid enough attention to the arts" in educational institutions. "We need to start catching up on that front – embracing culture and arts as life tools, not just entertainment, and as a means to generate economic value.

"We need to develop sustainable business models to generate a sustainable cultural economy. The Global Gumbo Group I created in partnership with Quincy Jones is an east-west collaboration doing just that."

Last year the group staged Dubai Music Week, the Middle East's first music industry convention, attracting more than 35,000 attendees.

Sharjah, Jafar's home emirate, is the third largest UAE member. It has a significant public commitment to the arts and was named the 2014 Capital of Islamic Culture by the Organization of Islamic Countries.  

Jafar said recognition from the Kennedy Center "gets us in touch with the U.S. arts scene and adds international credibility to our efforts."

Established in 2001, the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts supports the global arts community by convening in a new international location each year. This year's Dubai summit occurs March 30-April 3, 2014.

Badr Jafar, Managing Director of the Crescent Group and Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises, was named 2013 Philanthropist of the Year in the Campden Wealth Middle East Philanthropy Awards.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Bridges Media Consulting
Nancy Peckenham: 917-282-8122
Tom Farmer: 206-427-4570

SOURCE Crescent Enterprises

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