Badr Jafar is a businessman and social entrepreneur from the United Arab Emirates. He is the CEO of Crescent Enterprises, a diversified business operating across nine industry sectors in 15 countries. He also serves as Chairman of Gulftainer, the largest privately-owned container port operator in the world.
In addition to his day-to-day business interests, Badr is actively engaged with a diverse range of organisations and initiatives focused on humanitarian aid and international development, strategic philanthropy, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, education and the arts.
He serves in a number of advisory positions in the humanitarian and development sectors, as a member of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, a member of the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education, a member of the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and a member of the Board of the International Peace Institute (IPI). Badr is also appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee and as a Special Representative for Business & Philanthropy & Private Sector for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In 2010, he founded the Pearl Initiative, a non-profit, private sector-led organisation committed to promoting a corporate culture of transparency and accountability across the Gulf Region of the Middle East, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships.
Consistent with his interest in promoting social entrepreneurship in the MENA Region, Badr 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 supporting high-impact entrepreneurship.
Badr is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Cambridge Judge Business School and MIT Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship, the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut, and the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah. He is the Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy based at the Cambridge Judge Business School, which is dedicated to enhancing the impact of strategic philanthropy both within and from the world’s fastest growing economies; and is the Founding Patron of MENA’s first Strategic Philanthropy Initiative at NYU Abu Dhabi to study and promote high-impact philanthropy in the region. He also serves on the advisory board of the US-based Milken Institute for Strategic Philanthropy.
As an ardent believer in the essential role of the arts in innovation economies, Badr founded the non-profit Middle East Theatre Academy in 2011 to encourage young people in the Region to express their talents through writing, directing, producing and acting. In the same year, he co-founded the Global Gumbo Group with esteemed music producer Quincy Jones to bridge cross-cultural divides through entertainment. He is a member of the Middle East Institute’s International Advisory Council, Guggenheim Middle Eastern Circle, the Artistic Director’s Circle of The Old Vic Theatre Trust and the Kennedy Center’s Centennial Circle. In 2014, Badr was awarded the Gold Medal in the Arts by the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts for his work to bridge cultures through music and theatre.
Badr has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization since 2005 and served as Chair of the YPO Emirates Chapter. Recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011, Badr is currently acting 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 and is Co-Chair of the WEF Family Business Community. Badr also serves as a Champion of the WEF EDISON Alliance, WEF Reskilling Revolution and GAEA – Giving to Amplify Earth Action, a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the financing needed to reach net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Advisory Council.
Badr attended Eton College and earned a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Master of Studies from the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School.