The years preceding the founding of the Arab British Centre saw significant events in the Middle East, the ramifications of which can still be felt today. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, friends of the Arab world in Britain formed The Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding (CAABU) to address what they saw as an imbalance in the British media and politics.
A decade later the founders of CAABU, with the support of Arab and British donors and organisations, established a centre for like-minded Arab-British organisations in London that would ‘promote friendship and political, economic and cultural relations with the British people’.
The Arab British Centre was opened in Kensington, London on 13 July 1977, by Secretary General of The Arab League, Mahmoud Riad, and British Foreign Secretary, David Owen.
Over the past 40 years The Arab British Centre has supported more than thirty resident organisations by providing subsidised workspace. Today, resident and associate resident organisations continue to have the opportunity to grow and develop their work alongside like-minded individuals. The Arab British Centre has also expanded its work in culture and arts, whilst staying true to its founding mission to promote understanding of the Arab world and disseminate Arab culture in the United Kingdom.
In 1989 The Arab British Centre was registered as a non-political, non-religious UK charity, and has grown and diversified its own work to include a cultural programme with reach across the United Kingdom.
The Arab British Centre is now based in 1 Gough Square in the City of London.
The Arab British Centre was awarded the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture 2012, for its work to disseminate Arab Culture in the United Kingdom
The Starch Foundation and The Arab British Centre presented Blueprint Beirut at the International Fashion Showcase 2016, as part of London Fashion Week. The exhibition was awarded the ‘Curation Award’.
Watch the showcase video here.
The Arab British Centre continues to develop its reach with programmes touring both regionally and internationally.