This award was made in recognition of Mr Kirdar’s distinguished career in international banking and finance, as well as his work to enhance the role of institutions of higher education around the world. Past honorees have included former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Richard M Smith, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek.
The Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, Lisa Anderson, paid tribute to Mr Kirdar’s leadership and commitment to international and pubic affairs. This honor, she said, was one of significant meaning at Columbia University, especially as 2006 was SIPA’s 60th anniversary year.
Presenting Mr Kirdar with his award at the dinner, attended by more than 375 distinguished guests from the world of politics, business and finance, Arnaud De Borchgrave, Editor-at-large of The Washington Times and Senior Adviser and Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, described Nemir Kirdar as a bridge-builder between the Gulf States, Europe and North America.
“His achievements are the stuff of legend,” he said, referring to Nemir Kirdar as a “friend and advisor to Kings, Presidents and Prime Ministers, the creator of an awesome financial empire and a strong supporter of institutions of higher learning”. He applauded the fact that Investcorp’s success was “a means to a laudatory Kirdar objective – the betterment of mankind through higher education”.
Mr De Borchgrave continued: “Nemir works tirelessly for Investcorp, ever mindful of the urgent need to do everything humanly possible to avert a clash of civilizations, which extremists on both sides work hard to provoke. Managing globalization in such a way that it narrows, rather than widens, the gap between those who have access to knowledge and resources and those who do not, is Nemir’s credo.”
He ended with Winston Churchill’s statement that one mark of a great man was the power of making lasting impressions on the people he met: “Nemir Kirdar is such a man – the world over. He makes what matters happen”.
Accepting his award, Mr Kirdar spoke of the privilege of being associated with Columbia University and SIPA’s visionary leader, Dean Lisa Anderson, who, he said, had the “awesome responsibility” of grooming leaders for tomorrow’s world: “That is the mission to which SIPA is dedicated, and it performs it with spectacular success. For 60 years, the best and brightest from around the world have come to SIPA to gain a gold-standard education at a world-class faculty to enable them to pursue careers in government, business, the media, non-profit organizations, NGOs and international bodies.”
He concluded by congratulating SIPA on its 60 years of achievement and expressed his deep gratitude to friends and family who had chosen to join him and his wife for the occasion.
Nemir A Kirdar is President and Chief Executive Officer of Investcorp, the global investment group that he founded in 1982 and which operates out of New York, London and Bahrain specializing in investments in the US and Western Europe. The Firm offers four lines of alternative investment products: private equity, real estate investment, hedge funds and venture capital, and manages total investments in alternative assets of around $9.5 billion.
In his civic activities, Mr Kirdar is a Member of the United Nations Investments Committee overseeing the United Nations Pension Fund and a member of the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
He serves on Visiting Boards at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and at the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; and on the Advisory Boards at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. He also serves on the board of the Qatar Financial Center Authority. Mr Kirdar is a Member of the Board of International Councillors at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C.; a Member of the Board of Trustees, Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship, Philadelphia; and is a founding member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.
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