Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis-Kanoo
Board of Directors
H.E. Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis
Founder, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) Founder & Artistic Director, Abu Dhabi Festival
Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis is an Emirati philanthropist who has dedicated her life to inspiring artists to create, generations to innovate and communities to unite and prosper. She worked tirelessly to found the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) in 1996 and is also the Artistic Director of the jewel in its crown, the Abu Dhabi Festival, which she established in 2004.
Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis’ unquantifiable contribution to the UAE’s national cultural sector was recognised by H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2006. He appointed her to the Board of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH) on which she served until 2012. For Huda’s dedication to the arts and education and women’s development, she has received numerous awards and commendations including The Abu Dhabi Award & Abu Dhabi Medal (conferred by H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi), L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur of France, The Medal of Civil Merit of Spain, Commander of the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain), the Bundesverdienstkreuz of Germany, Commendatore dell’ Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà of Italy, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, , the Belgian Officer of the Order of the Crown, The Gloria Artis Medal of Poland and The Order of the British Empire (OBE).
In 2011, she received the Aspen Institute Emerging Voice Award for Cultural Stewardship in recognition of her role in fostering the arts in the Middle East.
Huda also spearheads a range of initiatives concerning issues close to her heart. She is a member of the Cleveland Clinic International Leadership Board; the Advisory Council of the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture; the International Circle of the Queen Sofía College of Music; and the International Advisory Board of the Edinburgh International Festival. She is also sits on the National Advisory Council of Zayed University– College of Arts and Creative Enterprises and is an Advisor to the Board of Directors of Ewa’a Shelters for Women & Children, an Abu Dhabi-based organisation that supports victims of human trafficking.
The daughter of a pioneering Saudi businessman and a Syrian mother, Huda was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Raised at a crossroads of cultures, her education took her to the American College of Paris, where she read French Literature and Art History. Huda returned to the region and settled in Abu Dhabi. She is married to businessman and artist Mohamed Abdul Latif Kanoo, a member of the prominent business family of the Kingdom of Bahrain, with whom she has three children, Abdul Latif, Noor and Abdul Rahman.
“Invest in the young. Create the future. Partner with the world.”
About the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation
Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development
ADMAF is among the oldest, non-profit cultural organisations in the Arabian Gulf. Founded in 1996, it is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, of development, of culture and of creativity. Over those last 20 years, ADMAF has pioneered new practices and new works, it has supported Middle Eastern debuts and nurtured the careers of gifted young professionals throughout the Arab world.
Today, ADMAF reaches nearly 40,000 children, young people and adults annually through arts- education and community-outreach programmes as well as the Abu Dhabi Festival. The annual multidisciplinary Festival is the largest cultural celebration in the entire region.
Founded in 2004, the Festival has been graced with the patronage of distinguished members of the UAE leadership:
2004: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Information & Culture, subsequently UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs
2007–2011: H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces
2012–2015: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research, subsequently UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development 2016: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
2017: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development
Abu Dhabi Festival is the festival of Bilad Al Khayr (The Land of Blessings), reflecting the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the founding founder of the United Arab Emirates. It reaches across the world through co- commissions and the international presentation of innovative Arab creativity. Each year, the Festival Awards honour outstanding individual contributions to arts and culture with previous recipients including Plácido Domingo and Amin Maalouf. In essence, the Abu Dhabi Festival strives to deepen global cross-
cultural dialogue whilst inspiring a deeper interest in the cultures of the Arab world.
The diversity of ADMAF’s programmes has been astonishing and seminal, including pioneering music in hospitals; embedding best practice for art therapy among PMLD and SEND children; co-commissioning with international cultural organisations, such as the Zaha Hadid JS Bach Chamber Music Hall (with Manchester International & Holland Festivals); City of Light: Ravel’s Mother Goose with Installation (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic); presenting the Arab world debuts of Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Valery Gergiev, The London Symphony Orchestra and The Bolshoi; fostering innovation through initiatives such The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award; and nurturing contemporary cultural expression among musicians such Naseer Shamma and composers Mohammed Fairouz.