Zeyba Rahman is the director for the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is an operating foundation under the umbrella of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In this capacity, Rahman oversees the program’s grantmaking to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2013, Rahman led internationally and nationally recognized projects as a creative director/producer to promote understanding between diverse communities. Her prior roles include: director, Asia and North America, Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco; artistic director, Arts Midwest’s Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet; curator, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Mic Check Hip Hop; creative consultant, Public Programs, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia Galleries; and senior advisor, Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas Festival.
Throughout her career, Rahman has dedicated herself to collaborative approaches that strengthen cross-community bonds to advance social change through creativity. To that end, she is a frequent public speaker whose topical writing includes the contribution of an essay to the New York University Press published anthology titled “Are the Arts Essential?” The book, which includes a seminal set of essays by artists, cultural practitioners, scholars and thinkers explores the vital meaning of art and its power as a civic need. She serves as an advisor to Artworks for Freedom, a Steering Committee member for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Music Awards and a director of the board for Grantmakers in the Arts. Twice honored by New York City’s government, Rahman is the subject of two television profiles as a global arts leader.