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Unwavering belief in the power of hope

The Nuwah Foundation empowers changemakers that illuminate our collective future. Together, we are building a creative, healthy, and prosperous society in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Nuwah Manifesto

Since time immemorial, the Middle East and North Africa have been fertile grounds for creativity and innovation. Our heritage is a tapestry of visionaries who have illuminated global paths with their ideas, stories, and ingenuity.

Today, this legacy endures. Whether it is a classroom in Manama, an art studio in Ramallah, or a research lab in Cairo, sparks of creativity continue to manifest.

It is from these sparks that Nuwah emerges, and to them, we are devoted.

Our Vision

To nurture and catalyze the sparks of creativity and innovation across the Middle East and North Africa region to reach their fullest, brightest potential. And in doing so, co-create a healthy, thriving future for all.

Our Mission

To drive profound social transformation through a strategic approach that is defined by deep-rooted analysis and systemic solutions - emphasizing the pursuit of long-term collaboration, capacity-building programs, and strategic investments that drive tangible, sustainable impact.

Our Guiding Principles

“All that we do – from our funding methodology to our choice of projects – is grounded in our core strategic principles. These serve as our compass, guiding us through every step of our journey.”

At the heart of Nuwah is a deep reverence for the rich diversity and creativity of our land and its people. It is my lifelong belief that the solutions we seek already exist among us, woven in the fabric of our heritage and the burgeoning ideas of each new generation. It is with this understanding that Nuwah was created, fueling change in vital sectors that shape the well-being of our society.

Sheikha Hala bint Mohammad Al KhalifaCEO of Nuwah Foundation

Areas of Focus

Our programs and initiatives each fall under one of our multi-faceted areas of focus, which have been carefully selected in recognition of the important role each area plays in harnessing healthy, thriving and empowered communities.

Meet The Founders

Nuwah Foundation is powered by a team with diverse experience covering arts, culture, education, development, finance and more – with a particular focus on the MENA region. Our team is committed to leveraging their expertise to realize Nuwah Foundation’s mission to deliver impactful initiatives across the MENA region.


Hisham Ahmed Alrayes

Hisham Alrayes is the Chairman of Nuwah Foundation and the Group CEO and Board Member of GFH Financial Group. With vast experience in delivering regional developments and projects that enrich and serve the communities they are present in, Al Rayes will provide guidance and direction to Nuwah’s initiatives that aim to foster the growth of societies across the region.

In his role as Group CEO and Board Member of GFH, Hisham brings extensive expertise and banking knowledge to the Group and was instrumental in driving the creation and execution of the Group’s regional and international investment strategy. Hisham Alrayes is leading the Group forward towards its vision of becoming the region’s most prominent, diversified financial Group, and one that provides a remarkable platform for delivering superior Wealth Management, Commercial Banking and Asset Management services. Hisham currently chairs and holds a number of directorships in financial, industrial, and real estate companies including Esterad Investment Company, Khaleeji Bank B.S.C., GFH Capital, GBCORP and Infracorp.


Sheikha Hala bint Mohammad Al Khalifa

Sheikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa serves as the CEO of Nuwah Foundation, bringing with her a depth of experience in heritage preservation, community building and knowledge sharing. With a background that seamlessly bridges her roles as a practicing artist and her extensive work in the museum sector, Sheikha Hala has made a lasting impact on both local and international art communities.

As an accomplished artist herself, Sheikha Hala’s creative insight and dedication have played pivotal roles in the successful realization of exhibitions, public art commissions, and publications. She firmly believes in the transformative potential of art, viewing it as a catalyst for enlightenment, education, and inspiration.

Her dedication to the museum field has further enriched her artistic perspective, allowing her to spearhead innovative programs and projects. She has a deep-seated passion for museum education and a commitment to leveraging diverse collections for enriching experiences. She champions the fundamental role that cultural institutions play in disseminating knowledge and sharing the richness of history, as well as in nurturing the continuous evolution of creative minds, which in turn contributes to community growth. Sheikha Hala’s vision underscores the importance of cultural institutions in the art of storytelling, thematic development, and the dissemination of knowledge and beauty.

Educated at Tufts University & The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, with a Bachelor’s degree, and holding an MFA in Arts from The Slade School, UCL, London, Sheikha Hala made a deliberate choice to actively engage in the fields of culture and arts. Her journey includes prestigious roles in various institutions and the development of grassroots projects, such as the Fire Station Artist in Residence in Doha, Qatar, and the establishment of educational programs for the Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, Qatar. She also played a pivotal role in the creation of two newly designed art and archeology galleries at the new airport in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

In her current capacity as the CEO of Nuwah Foundation, Sheikha Hala is leading the charge in Nuwah’s strategic development and fostering crucial partnerships. Her vision and extensive background make her a driving force behind the Foundation’s mission to support meaningful change both regionally and on a global scale.

Our Council Members

Our Council Members are highly distinguished leaders from across the MENA region who are luminaries in their respective fields - representing a rich tapestry of expertise covering culture, arts, humanitarian work, media, education, business and beyond. While diverse in their backgrounds, they are unified by their commitment towards advancing their local communities and beyond.

Council Member

H.H. Sheikha Intisar AlSabah

Princess of the AlSabah family of Kuwait, Her Highness Sheikha Intisar AlSabah is an internationally recognized philanthropist, entrepreneur, author, film producer, and columnist.

HH Sheikha Intisar has also on lists of Most Influential Women in The Arab World by leading magazines in the MENA region.

For her active devotion to fostering Peace in the Arab world by supporting women’s self-empowerment, positive psychology education, and Peacebuilding, HH Sheikha Intisar has received multiple honours and recognitions including the insignia of the Knight in the Order of the Crown from His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, as well as the insignia of the Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour from H.E. Former French President François Hollande.

HH Sheikha Intisar is the founder of non-profit organisation Alnowair that promotes socio-emotional skills based on positive psychology. To date, Alnowair has engaged 2,5 million people across four programmes and 220 campaigns, and its youth-oriented program which uses applied theatre to address bullying has positively impacted 15,100 students, 264 real life victims, bullies, and by-standers across 33 private schools. Its sister organisation Bareec has conducted +20 trainings while being implemented in 47 high schools and reaching more than 500 teachers and 11,600 students.

HH Sheikha Intisar’s UK-registered charitable organisation Intisar Foundation has introduced an innovative and culturally acceptable approach to sustainable Peacebuilding in the Arab world based on enabling the psychological recovery and self-empowerment of women traumatised by war and violence through the use of drama therapy. Intisar Foundation has conducted over 5,395 hours of field work and implemented over 405 virtual and field drama therapy sessions, reaching over 405 women in Lebanon and Jordan and close to 3,588 indirect beneficiaries.

HH Sheikha Intisar is a member of the Women and Business Committee by the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait, Board of Governors of the Pearl Initiative, a Co-Chair of The Global Diwan, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Authority for Youth’s Volunteer Academy, a Vice Chair of the Kuwait-French friendship association and an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Lebanese American University.

HH Sheikha Intisar’s vision of fostering Peace in the Arab world and beyond is being regularly advocated during her many international and regional board engagements, advisory roles, media appearances, and UN General Assembly keynotes.

Council Member

H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani

His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D. serves as Advisor in The Amiri Diwan in Doha, Qatar.

He was appointed Chairman, Media City in Apr il 2021. He is also Chair of the Executive Board and Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents of Qatar University. He is Vice Chairman, Board of Directors and Managing Director, Qatar Leadership Centre.

Dr. Al-Thani was Vice President, Education at Qatar Foundation for 10 years. He served as President of Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar for its first five years. At Qatar Foundation, Dr. Al-Thani was founding Chairman of the World Innovation Summit for Education, a leading global forum for innovative thinking and practice in education. While at QF he led the strategic planning for the project to build a central library, now the Qatar National Library.

His board memberships include Board of Directors, Georgetown University in Washington; Life Member, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University in Houston; and the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut. He also serves as Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and Chair, Lusail Museum Advisory Committee.

He has a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Southampton, an MS from Colorado State University, and a BS from Qatar University, both in engineering. He has also taught engineering at Qatar University.

Dr. Al-Thani is a keen patron of the arts; he established Al-Markhiya gallery in Doha in 2008 to promote Arab art regionally and globally, and founded East Wing in Doha in 2012 as a platform for innovative dialogues in photography. He is active in supporting arts and cultural initiatives of Qatar Museums.

The Government of the Republic of France named him Commandeur, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for achievements in education and culture. He accepted the Magisterio Prize for Education Leaders from Her Royal Highness Letizia Ortiz of Spain. The World Economic Forum earlier named him a Young Global Leader for his regional role in education reform.

Council Member

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal

Emirati businessman and patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal is the founder of Alserkal, a socially responsible cultural enterprise that has helped transform the cultural landscape of the UAE and wider region. Through his vision, Alserkal Avenue, which was established in 2007, has become a thriving community of more than 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers and entrepreneur-led businesses, providing an essential platform for the development of creative industries in the UAE.

Alserkal is renowned for its experimental approach, ground-breaking artistic productions, and for the creation of culturally meaningful spaces that inspire and shape communities. The enterprise comprises three major initiatives: Alserkal Avenue, a renowned cultural district based in Al Quoz, the industrial area of Dubai; Alserkal Advisory, which consults public and private entities on their engagement with the arts and culture sector; and Alserkal Arts Foundation, which supports cultural practitioners, scholarship and research through public artist commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes. Abdelmonem commissioned Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) to design Concrete, a multi-disciplinary space that was the first building in the UAE to be completed by the practice. Concrete was shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Abdelmonem is also the managing director of Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal Est., a Dubai-based family business with diversified interests in the UAE and abroad, and serves as a member of the board of the Alserkal Group. Abdelmonem sits on the boards of some of the UAE’s foundational businesses, including Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC (Etisalat) and contributes in an advisory capacity to numerous other concerns such as the Tharawat Family Business Forum.

Abdelmonem serves on the boards of numerous art institutions around the world, including: the British Museum’s Contemporary and Modern Middle Eastern Art Acquisition Group; the Tate’s Middle East and North Africa Acquisition Committee; and the Guggenheim’s Middle Eastern Circle. He is also a Supporter of the Centre Pompidou International Circle – Middle East, a patron of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a member of Art Dubai’s Board of Patrons, and an honorary member of the Thinkers & Doers Forum, Paris.

Abdelmonem and the Alserkal family have long been supporters of the arts and have been awarded the UAE Patron of the Arts award twice.

Council Member

Sheikh Khalid bin Hassan Al Gahtani

Sheikh Khalid bin Hassan Al Gahtani is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. A graduate of Northampton University, UK, with advanced studies from Harvard Business School and Wharton Universities. He is the Chairman of HAKA Group Holding, RIKAZ Properties, Radian Oil & Gas, Adeem Capital and Natixis Bank Saudi Arabia.

He held various positions in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Chamber of Commerce including Chairman of the National Real Estate Committee, Eastern Chamber representative in the Council of Chambers. He was a board member in various councils at the Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the Eastern Province including the Saudi-Chinese Friendship Council, the Arabian-American National Chamber Council, the Saudi-Irish Business Council, the Saudi-Japan Business Council and the Saudi-Russian Business Council and a member of the G20 Saudi trade taskforce.

Sheikh Khalid bin Hassan Al Gahtani is a strong advocate of corporate social responsibility and is actively involved in many charitable and social activities. As the president of Arabian Salayel Group for Horse Riding, he co-founded Asharqiya International Arabian Horse Festival. He is the chairman of HAKA Charitable Foundation, a founding member of Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Baz Charity Foundation and the Saudi Association for Cancer Fighting. Among many, he received the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Award for Philanthropy, the International Knight Golden Order, the 3rd Middle East CEO of the Year Award and was honored as the Ambassador for Saudi Companies at the International Leadership Conference in Dubai.

Council Member

Souad El Tayeb

She is a graduate of the Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Paris and a Master’s degree in sociology from Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and is trilingual in Arabic, French and English.

Souad El Tayeb had been Director of the Middle East department of the Associated Press Television News agency since 1998.

She began her career in the written press for the pan-Arab magazine Addawliya in the 1990s, then worked as an editorialist and editor for the magazine Saudi Ashark.

Souad El Tayeb also regularly collaborated with Voice of America from 1994 to 1998 and with Radio Sawa from 1998 to 2007.

At the same time, she was a Bahrain television correspondent in Paris and presented a cultural program on the Saudi channel Al Ikhbariya.

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