Iraqi-born British businessman and philanthropist Nadhmi Auchi has been awarded the order of Knight Commander (KCN) in a ceremony in St John’s, capital of the former British colony of Antigua and Barbuda, in recognition of his longstanding contribution to charitable, humanitarian and inter-religious endeavour in Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth and the wider world.
A high-level delegation of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George paid an official visit to Antigua and Barbuda in November 2014 at the invitation of the country’s Prime Minister. The main purpose of the visit was to announce publicly the creation of a permanent Order Delegation for the Caribbean, based in Antigua and Barbuda, and to launch a number of significant charitable projects in the country. The benefits of these projects go well beyond the minority Catholic community to impact the multi-faith Antiguan society as a whole.
The eighteen-member delegation was led by HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and 59th Grand Master of the Constantinian Order, HRH the Duchess of Castro, and His Eminence Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, Grand Prior of the Constantinian Order and Cardinal Proto-Deacon of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The delegation also included interfaith campaigner HE Sir Anthony Bailey, OBE, Magistral Delegate for Inter-Religious Relations and Secretary General of the Royal Order of Francis I. His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams, GCMG, KGN, GCFO, Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, performed the investiture.
Sir Nadhmi, born in Baghdad but a British citizen since 1989, has spent over forty years in international business and has a long history of charitable, philanthropic and humanitarian interests. His company General Mediterranean Holding SA represents a strong and diverse multi-national organisation with activities ranging from banking and finance, real estate and construction, to hotel and leisure, telecommunications and aviation. He is a passionate campaigner for the dissemination and exchange of information about Arabic and English cultures and civilizations, and for the integration of British Arabs into mainstream British society, and in 2002 became the founding President of the not-for-profit Anglo Arab Organisation, whose main purpose is to foster greater understanding between people of Arab origin and their adopted societies.
Sir Nadhmi has funded major construction projects in Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan and has a played an influential behind-the-scenes role in organising the release of French, British and Italian hostages in Iraq. Education and research have also figured prominently in his lengthy list of charitable interests: these include the creation of a fellowship for young Arabs studying business management and leadership, for which in October 2007 he was presented with the Presidential Award by the President of the American University of Cairo.
He also has a long-standing interest in and support for medical science and patient care. He funded Hammersmith hospital’s state-of-the-art acute haemodialysis unit, the biggest provider of dialysis treatment in Europe and widely regarded as being one of the best in the world. Other major contributions include the Kingston Hospital Cancer Unit Appeal, the International College of Surgeons in Chicago, and the Royal Society of Medicine, on whose Court of Benefactors Sir Nadhmi has served since 2009.