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History

The Barakat Trust was founded as a UK charity in 1987 by two of its founding trustees, Hamida Alireza and Shahnaz Bagherzade, who were struck by the inadequate initiatives to preserve the heritage of the Islamic world, and in many cases, limited professional expertise and understanding in countries where that heritage was to be found. The Barakat Trust was therefore set up to train, educate and enable new generations of professionals committed to preserving the heritage of the Islamic world, and to provide support and nurture their professional growth. Many of The Trust’s grantees are today leading practitioners and academics in the field. Indeed, many of them combine several of these skills, and have benefited from the interdisciplinary approach with which The Trust views the preservation of heritage.

“We started The Barakat Trust in 1987 because we felt the need to make sure that our past wasn’t forgotten or appropriated by others……We always try to fund projects in innovative ways that have the maximum educational impact. A British archaeological team on a dig in Syria once applied for a grant from us by saying they would be using laborers on the excavation site. We said ‘no’ but suggested that they hire 10 Syrian archaeology students instead to help in the dig, so that they would gain invaluable experience and build relationships with established experts. They found those students and we then funded their dig!”

Hamida Alireza in an interview with Arab News (11-12-2004).

Below: Archaeological Excavations in Walila, Morocco, funded by The Barakat Trust.