About Us

The Barakat Trust was founded as a UK charity in 1987 and operates for educational and heritage purposes, providing scholarships and grants for study and research projects at the world's most respected academic and cultural institutions at post-graduate and post-doctoral level amongst other initiatives.

The Barakat Trust is an international non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian and independent charity based in the United Kingdom.

The aims of the charity are;

a) Intellectual Excellence; support, nurture and promote study and scholarship of Islamic art history, architecture and archaeology.

b) Preservation of Heritage; conserve the material culture of the Islamic world and elevate the level of curation and skills in conservation. To further make the material culture of the Islamic world more accessible through digital and other means.

c) Create Awareness; provide a platform for cross cultural understanding and tolerance across the world by promoting the findings, research and project outputs and study of Islamic culture.

d) Sustainable growth & development; develop effective long terms partnerships and sustain current and future aims of the trust.

For fourteen centuries, the art and architecture of the Islamic world has represented a pinnacle of achievement for some of the greatest civilizations in history. In recent years there has been deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and looting of art and antiquities in the Levant regions in Iraq, Syria, Libya and beyond, which has been branded "a form of cultural cleansing" by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

In light of the current socio-political climate, there is a pressing need for the arts and culture of the Islamic World to be nurtured through scholarship and study programmes, preserved through elevated levels of curation and conservation, better understood through wider access and digital platforms creating long term growth and sustainability through a range of creative initiatives including the 'curated culture' programme aimed at adults and families.


Hamida Alireza

Founder & Trustee

Hamida A. Alireza, was born in USA, raised and educated in Switzerland. Alireza is a Founding member of the Mansoojat Foundation: The Museum of Saudi Arabian Costume and was an Advisory Board member to the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University. In addition she has co-organised a conference on ‘The History of Islamic Art, Collectors, Collections & Scholars’ at the internationally renown Victoria & Albert Museum and curated a range of exhibitions; ‘Word Cultures Through Traditional Costumes’ for the Singapore National Heritage Board during the Youth Olympic Games, 51 & 21 Costumes, hosted at the Jeddah Economic Forum and ‘Souk, Scripts & Sand Bites’ at the V&A London, respectively. The latter has been complimented by a diverse and eclectic mix of events such as film screenings at the IMAX, London and cultural educational trips to Jordan (Amman, Petra, Dead Sea), Syria (Damascus, Hama, Palmyra, Aleppo), Saudi Arabia (Abha, Makkah, Madinah, Taif), Turkey (Istanbul, Konya), Bahrain. Alireza is fluent in English, Arabic, and French and has a strong interest in contemporary ceramics, Islamic art and calligraphy. In 1987 she Founded The Barakat Trust, together with several trustees and has overseen the trust’s evolution, funding more than 500 students in a range of specialities, across the globe, over 25years. She is also a board member of the Barakat Trust Academic Advisory Committee and is instrumental in communicating with and developing the Grantees database.

Tarik Alireza

Founder & Trustee

Tarik A. Alireza, was born in Cairo, raised and educated in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Switzerland and the USA. He completed a degree in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Alireza worked with John Laing Design Associates, London, and then Robert Matthew-Johnson Marshall (RMJM) in Cambridge on residential, commercial and industrial projects in the UK and Saudi Arabia. Further he participated in RMJM's master planning project in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia for the Deputy Ministry of Municipalities, Ministry of Interior. In 1977, he established Tarik Ali Alireza Consulting Engineers, a multi-disciplinary architectural and engineering practise with offices in Jeddah and later Athens, Greece. The international and Saudi Arabia based projects have included private residential, housing complexes, commercial towers, touristic resorts and most recently, museums. Al Daama Co. Ltd. was established in 2001 to work in tandem with the design office on projects incorporating traditional heritage arts and crafts from throughout the Islamic world. Between 2006-2008, Tarik Alireza Consulting Engineers acted as advisors to the developers WTD/Colony Capital for master planning, project planning and concept design of a number of mixed-use development projects in Jeddah and Riyadh. Tarik Alireza served as member of the first Board of Directors of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (2000-2004). Tarik Alireza is a member of the Board of Directors of Haji Abdullah Alireza & Co. Ltd., the oldest family business in Saudi Arabia, with a history dating back over one and a half centuries. Tarik is a founding member and Trustee of the Barakat Trust and for over 50 years has been an avid collector of classical philately and the postal history of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Alireza has been an active researcher, exhibitor, lecturer and author of numerous articles in the international philatelic press. He has won major awards (Gold, Large Gold, Championship Class) at International Philatelic Federation (FIP) exhibits in London, Tokyo, Granada, Istanbul, San Francisco, Milan, Madrid and Washington DC. He is a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and is a long-standing member of a number of international philatelic societies, including the Saudi Arabian and American Philatelic Societies. The Collectors Club (NY) and the Society of Postal Historians (UK). Alireza was co-founder with HH Prince Faisal Ibn Abdullah Ibn Mohamed Al Saud of Attawhid Collection, commissioned oil paintings by the late American artist Gerhardt Liebmann and photographs by the Brazilian Humberto da Silveira of various archaeological and built heritage sites from all regions of Saudi Arabia. The Attawhid Collection has been exhibited in the historic Bait Nassif in Jeddah, the UNESCO Building in Beirut, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the National Museum in Riyadh. Tarik has collected maps, engravings, photographs and books on the Near East and Middle East for fifty years. He has a passion for antiquities worldwide and is an amateur photographer.

Shahnaz Bagherzade

Founder & Trustee

Shahnaz Bagherzade was born in Iran, with a high school degree ‘Abitur’ from Germany. She holds an MPhil in Islamic Art & Architecture from Oxford University and supports various charities preserving the material culture of the Islamic world.    

Abir Dajani Tuqan


Abir Tuqan, was born in Jaffa, Palestine and educated initially in Switzerland & later England. A member of Middle Temple, Inns of Court School of Law, London, Tuqan was called to the Bar in 1973 and later specialized in Islamic Law at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), London University. Tuqan practiced Civil Law in London and Commercial Law in Kuwait after marrying in 1975. Whilst living and working in Kuwait she was one of the early members of Al Sadu, an association for the preservation of local culture & weaving. In the late 1970s Tuqan was closely involved with the Script writer Franco Solinas & director Costa Gavras to develop the idea & production of a major international film on the Palestinian Israeli conflict. The film, Hanna K was first inaugurated at the Venice Film Festival in September 1983. She continues to be interested in all matters relating to Palestine and is passionate about art and culture. Tuqan brings extensive experience as an advisor and trustee, having been a member of the Board of the Council of Anglo Arab Understanding (CAABU), the Arab British Centre, and the Jordan River Foundation. Most recently Tuqan continues to be actively involved with the Spafford Children Centre and as a member of the Board of Patrons of Art Dubai, brings a great deal of expertise to the Barakat Trust, for which she has actively assisted in a number of fund raising events in London.

Sara Alireza


Sara A. Alireza, was born in London, raised and educated in Saudi Arabia and the UK. Having graduated from The London School of Economics in Industrial and Business economics, Sara spent a short stint at Banque Baring Brothers, Switzerland working as an analyst focusing on emerging markets. In 2005, she became a trustee of the Barakat Endownment Trust and was responsible for fund management, organising a diverse and eclectic range of cultural events and fundraising activities including gala dinners, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and craft fairs. She was instrumental in the co-ordination of the global cultural immersion programmes. In 2013, Sara became a member of the Saudi Art Council and was responsible for the organisation of the annual 2139 Jeddah Arts Festival and was Head of the Education Committee, which developed and implemented the symposium, talks, workshops and exhibition tours for the public. Sara is an avid art enthusiast, collector and patron of the arts. She is an active supporter of The British Museum, The Centre Pompidou and the Delfina Foundation.

Rabya Alfadl


Rabya Alfadl was raised in Saudi Arabia and educated in the USA. Alfadl graduated in Psychology from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, completed a range of executive management and leadership courses and currently completing a Diploma in Behavioural Science at The London School of Economics. Having worked in marketing, brand management, research design and strategic development in both the public and private sector with some of the worlds leading organisations ranging from Focus EuroRSCG, Bahrain Telecommunications Co., Unilever Arabia, PLC Arabia, and Elixir Consulting, Alfadl brings a whole host of skills and experience to the board of trustees. Further, she continues to work as a consultant working between Europe and the Middle East and remains passionate about supporting and nurturing female talent. Alfadl was appointed an Endowment Trustee of The Barakat Trust. She was responsible for developing a fundraising strategy to meet financial targets and managed the corporate video and marketing collateral. She is an instrumental part of the Trust’s activity and continues to organise lectures and fundraising dinners. Fluent in Arabic and English, Alfadl is also an avid ceramist, with a BTEC Award in Art and Design/ Ceramics from Kensington and Chelsea College and continues to produce works at Heatherley’s School of Art, London.

Rima Alsafadi


Rima Al-Safadi was raised and educated in Damascus, Syria graduating with a BA in English Literature & Civilisation from Damascus University. Rima brings a diverse range of skills and experience to her role as Trustee, having founded and managing various businesses including ‘The Glass Art’, ‘Wow Flowers’ and Dania Trading Establishment’, all of which are based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She has been active in the voluntary sector as a member of a wide variety of charities, including the ‘Barakat Trust’ since 1991. She also founded and continues to run a private family non-profit charity organisation, the ‘SAKR Fund’, supporting humanitarian causes centered around education, health care and financial support to families in need. Rima is fluent in Arabic, English, with a good knowledge of French and is ‘PADI Scuba Open Water Diver’ certificated. She enjoys sports, appreciates literature, music, calligraphy and fine arts.



Hadramut, Yemen
Masnat Dawan05476 copy2
Hadramut, Yemen
IMG 0289 copy2
Manuscript, Indonesia
Pottery, Egypt
Masnat Dawan Jam copy2
Minaret Jam, Afghanistan
Joachim Tantau 2787 copy
Alhambra model
Multan 0925 copy
Multan, Pakistan
imad din shrine after copy
Imaddin Shrine
Dawan Damage Rehab Rock2211
Daw'an Damage
Hadramut, Yemen
VITA Rosalind Whitman 1 copy
Mughal Miniature
Shafi conservator at work copy
Al-Shafi'i Conservation, Egypt

Grantee Profile

Ahmed Mustafa exhibition

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    Harpers Bazaar Arabia featuring Barakat Trustee

    Abir Dajani Tuqan takes Bazaar on a journey through a rich and textured life that includes an enviable collection of fashion moments More »

  • Art Patronage

    Art & Patronage - The Middle East by Thames & Hudson

    The Barakat Trust was featured in 'Art & Patronage The Middle East' published by Thames & Hudson. More »

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    Barakat Culture Vulture Kids Camp was featured in Arab London. More »

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    Arab News

    Arab News has consistently featured the growth and evolution of the Barakat Trust from its early years to the present day. More »

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    The Wells of Memory

    One of the first travelers in a century to walk through the Hejaz desert of Saudi Arabia, Paul Salopek encounters a fabled past of caravans and pilgrims, of empires come and gone. He encounters cultural preservationists including trustees of The Barakat Trust. More »

News & Events


Converging Paths: Cultural Counters in Medieval Islam

date: 12 February 2019

To celebrate the inception of Converging Paths—a series of events aimed at building bridges with the......  More »
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Converging Paths: Joseph Tawadros - the Art of the Oud

date: 19 March 2019

Join us for an unforgettable evening in which traditional Arabic music meets jazz and classical in t......  More »
Amr Ibn Al as Mosque

Misr and Mosque: Architectural Splendour and Political Authority in Medieval Cairo

date: 19 July 2018

Misr and Mosque: Architectural Splendour and Political Authority in Medieval Cairo Illustrated talk ......  More »
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The Barakat Trust's Lectures with Leighton House Museum

date: Thursday 4 October 2018

The vast Muslim cemeteries of Cairo, known as the “City of the Dead”, were always also meant to be a......  More »