Amal - ‘hope’ in Arabic – is a programme of the Saïd Foundation making grants in the UK in support of a rich diversity of arts projects and activities, including storytelling, visual arts, theatre, poetry, film, music and dance. The programme aims to further the following dual interlinked objectives:
- To increase understanding of Britain’s Muslim communities among people of other faiths and none;
- To foster a stronger sense of belonging in the UK among its Muslim communities.
During its 2017 pilot year, Amal supported 39 projects, covering a range of arts and cultural activity of varying size and ambition. These included partnerships with nationally-known arts organisations like Southbank Centre, Cheltenham Festivals and English Touring Theatre as well as projects with local arts and community-based organisations such as Grassroots Luton, Stratford Circus Arts Centre and CAST Doncaster. Amal-supported activities took place at festivals, arts centres, theatres, schools, places of worship and in the community. Amal’s projects were carefully selected to reflect diversity (faith, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, art form and type of organisation) as well as a mix of heritage and contemporary art idioms. Following the success of its pilot year, Amal has entered a new three-year phase from August 2018, with revised funding criteria informed by its learnings from the pilot year.
At Amal, we believe that engagement in arts and cultural activity broadens horizons and forges common ground within and between communities. We hope to touch the lives of many, creating greater understanding and bringing people together in creative, innovative and exciting ways.
ABOUT THE SAÏD FOUNDATION
When Wafic Rida Saïd, a Syrian Muslim businessman and philanthropist, left Syria as a young man, he experienced first-hand the feeling of being welcomed in another country after leaving the place he called home. His international life and career started in the UK, where he came to greatly admire the openness and diversity he encountered. Many years later he chose to base the Saïd Foundation in London, from where it has supported young people in the Middle East and UK for over 30 years, allowing many of them to build profound cross-cultural connections.
The Saïd Foundation’s vision is of a world where people from all backgrounds can realise their full potential. Its mission is to bring positive and lasting change to the lives of children, young people and the wider community in the Middle East and UK. Initiatives include the Foundation’s prestigious Scholarship Programme which has brought hundreds of exceptional students from its target countries in the Middle East to study at British universities and act as ambassadors for their communities. In 1997, Wafic Saïd founded Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, now one of the world’s leading business schools. Since 2011, the Foundation has responded to the humanitarian catastrophe that has afflicted Syria’s people by focusing on providing assistance to displaced and refugee children and young people in and from this country, in particular in partnership with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.