Skip to main content

Sir David delivers landmark keynote at the University of Cambridge

Sir David Khalili delivered a landmark keynote lecture to the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge on 23rd May.

The lecture titled “The Art of Peace”, based on Sir David’s recently published autobiography of the same name, took the audience on the journey of a collector whose primary purpose has always been to spread the message of peace, harmony and mutual respect through art and culture.

He gave examples of objects from the Khalili Collections, including a 13th century Persian miniature depicting Abrahamic unity, a 15th century Judeo-Arabic astrolabe showing cross-faith collaboration and Japanese Meiji period vases first shown at the 1983 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Sir David was invited by the Faculty of Divinity, which run the Cambridge Interfaith Programme. Chair of the Faculty, Professor Richard Rex said:

“There is a phrase, ‘citizen of the world’, which we use in all sorts of ways, sometimes casually, sometimes cynically, almost always as a cliché. But there is an authentic citizenship of the world, which transcends the cliché because it really does take the whole world for its city, its state, its patria, and therefore shows the world that loyalty and even that love which the noble republicans of ancient Rome or medieval Florence felt for the community to which they belonged. It is this citizenship that is embodied in the person of our guest lecturer this evening. Sir David’s well-known concern to promote amicable and respectful relationships between the faiths is one that the Cambridge Interfaith Programme is proud to share and play its own part.”

Sir David is Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD). The lecture followed a series of roundtable discussions on faith-inspired peacebuilding and system-based philanthropy, led by the CRSD, which assembled and consulted leading experts in the areas of religion, peacebuilding and philanthropy as part of ongoing research.