Lady Jamileh Kharrazi is a philanthropist and activist based in the United Kingdom. Lady Kharrazi has advocated and campaigned fiercely for the betterment of humanity throughout her entire life. Specifically, she has dedicated herself to preserving Eastern and Western artistic legacies, defending of human rights in the Middle East, and to advancing education and gender equality for children in the developing world.
While philanthropy is her calling, the arts are Lady Kharrazi’s first love. She brings these two great passions together as a trustee of the Iran Dance Association and founder of the Art and Culture School in the United Kingdom. In these roles, Lady Kharrazi has held countless performances and concerts. Many of these events are centered around folkloric music of the Middle East and building international connections through joint concerts with the European Orchestras. Lady Kharrazi also worked to develop acclaimed documentary and winner of the My Hero Film Festival, Phoolan. The film follows the real-life story of India’s “Bandit Queen” turned politician, who overcame extreme violence and oppression to become a member of India’s Parliament. Lady Kharrazi’s cross-cultural efforts go far beyond the screen and stage.
Informed, reasoned thought is critical in international public policy and global development. As a result, Lady Kharrazi strives to ensure that everyone across the world has access to higher education. Lady Kharrazi currently sits on the Harvard Dean’s Council for the Department of Government, the National University of Singapore International Council, the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Dean’s International Council, and the Buck Institute Advisory Council.
In addition to her involvement in these prestigious universities, Lady Kharrazi attended last years’ Annual Friends of the American University of Afghanistan (FAUAF) Benefit Dinner in Washington D.C.. There, she advocated for greater access to higher education in war-torn Afghanistan. Increasing educational opportunities in Afghanistan continues to be an important part of Lady Kharrazi’s work, and she is actively working to raise money for FAUAF scholarships that will allow more young men and women to attend university.
Standing up against intolerance and increasing cultural understanding is critical to building understanding between nations and fighting extremism. Lady Kharrazi recently attended the UNESCO Global Hope Leadership Summit in New York City, the second event held by the Global Hope Coalition. The summit brought hundreds of prominent businesses and individuals together to discuss cultural conservation and what else can be done to suppress extremism
Building cultural understanding is a crucial pathway to peace. As a celebrated ballerina, classical singer, producer, choreographer and costume designer, Lady Kharrazi has traveled the world connecting Eastern and Western cultures through art and music. Lady Kharrazi now works closely with Harvard’s Middle East Initiative to unpack cultural, historical and religious misunderstanding in the region.
In December 2017, Lady Kharrazi helped bring the plight of Iranian lawyers and human rights advocates to the forefront of the 11th International Rule of Law Lecture. This annual event held by the U.K. Bar Council featured Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian attorney and human rights activist. Lady Kharrazi assisted in securing Dr. Ebadi as a prominent speaker at the event, where she discussed the particular challenges facing lawyers in Iran.
Lady Kharrazi believes that we all have a role to play in making the world a better place. To date, her foundations have hosted countless, high-profile charitable events. In total, Lady Kharrazi’s efforts have grossed over $80 million for charities and important social causes.
Throughout her remarkable decades-long career as businesswoman, real estate developer, investment banker, professional ballerina and classical singer, Lady Kharrazi has become acquainted with very influential people. As a result, she has been able to facilitate charitable giving on others’ behalves. For example, Lady Kharrazi’s organizations have worked with the Jackson Family Foundation, which has channeled revenue from the Jackson Five musical group towards humanitarian causes.
In a career spanning over five decades, Lady Kharrazi’s philanthropic initiatives in developing countries have focused on improving the lives and wellbeing of children. In 2006 Lady Kharrazi started the Toos Foundation, a charitable organization devoted to helping millions of children in developing countries with literacy education and gender equality. Lady Kharrazi also founded and directs the Jamil Kharrazi Charitable Foundation, which is deeply involved in several philanthropic activities.