Badr Jafar is an Emirati businessman and social entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Crescent Enterprises and the Chairman of Gulftainer, the world’s largest container port operator that is privately-owned.
Besides his business interests, Badr is also actively involved in various organisations and initiatives that are focused humanitarian aid and international development, strategic philanthropy, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, education and the arts.
Badr has several advisory roles in the humanitarian and development sectors, such as being a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education, the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Board of the International Peace Institute (IPI). He also serves on the Advisory Committee and as a Special Representative for Business & Philanthropy for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In partnership with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, Badr founded the Pearl Initiative in 2010, a non-profit organisation led by the private sector to promote a corporate culture of transparency and accountability in the Gulf Region of the Middle East,
Badr is also interested in supporting social entrepreneurship in the MENA Region. He co-founded the Arab World Social Entrepreneurship Program (ASEP) with Ashoka and is a member of the Synergos Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) Board of Governors. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) and Gaza Sky Geeks, and is a Board member of Endeavor UAE, a network that helps high-impact entrepreneurship.
Badr is a member of the Advisory Boards of several educational institutions, such as the Cambridge Judge Business School and MIT Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship, the American University of Beirut’s International Advisory Council, and the American University of Sharjah’s Business Advisory Council. He is the Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the Cambridge Judge Business School, which is focused on enhancing the effectiveness of strategic philanthropy both in and from the world’s fastest growing economies; and he is the Founding Patron of MENA region’s first Strategic Philanthropy Initiative at NYU Abu Dhabi to research and promote high-impact philanthropy. He also serves on the advisory board of the Milken Institute for Strategic Philanthropy in the United States
Badr is a firm believer in the vital role of arts in innovation economies. He founded the non-profit Middle East Theatre Academy in 2011 to inspire young people in the Region to express their talents in writing, directing, producing and acting. He partnered with the esteemed music producer Quincy Jones to launch the Global Gumbo Group in the same year to foster cross-cultural dialogue through entertainment. He serves as a member on the International Advisory Council of the Middle East Institute, the Guggenheim Middle Eastern Circle, the Artistic Director’s Circle of The Old Vic Theatre Trust and the Kennedy Center’s Centennial Circle. Badr was honored with the Gold Medal in the Arts by the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts in 2014 for his contributions to bridging cultures through music and theatre.
Badr has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization since 2005 and has served as Chair of the YPO Emirates Chapter. In 2011, the World Economic Forum recognised him as a Young Global Leader, and he is now actively involved as a member of the WEF Stewardship Board on New Economy and Society, the WEF Stewardship Board on Digital Economy and New Value Creation, the WEF Board of Leaders for a Sustainable Middle East and North Africa and the WEF Board Jobs Consortium 2022-2024. He is also the Co-Chair of the WEF Family Business Community. Badr serves as a Champion of the WEF EDISON Alliance, WEF Reskilling Revolution and GAEA – Giving to Amplify Earth Action, a global initiative to fund, support and grow public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the financing needed to achieve net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050. He is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Advisory Council.
Badr is an alumni of Eton College and earned a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Cambridge. He also has a Master of Studies from the Judge Business School from the same university.
His personal blog can be found at badrjafar.com and Twitter feed @BadrJafar.