Jamil Khoury

Founding Executive Artistic Director
Founder & Director, Polycultural Institute

Jamil is a producer, playwright, essayist, and filmmaker. His passion for promoting cultural interchange and the stories of Silk Road peoples dovetail seamlessly with his overseas living experiences and “past life” as an international relocations consultant. Jamil’s art focuses on Middle Eastern themes and questions of diaspora. He is particularly interested in the intersections of culture, national identity, religion, and belonging.

A noted artist and activist, Jamil is the recipient of numerous awards, including: The University of Chicago Diversity Leadership Alumni Award, the Community Leader Award from the Association for Asian American Studies, the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award from Actor’s Equity Association, the ChangeMaker Award from South Asian Americans Leading Together, the 3Arts Artist Award for Playwriting, the After Dark Award for Outstanding New Work (Precious Stones), and the Distinguished Alumni Award from John Hersey High School.

Jamil earned a Master’s in Religious Studies from The University of Chicago Divinity School and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, with an emphasis on the contemporary Arab world. He is a Kellogg Executive Scholar (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University) and has been awarded a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Nonprofit Management.

Committed to collaborative artmaking, Jamil has been an Artist-in-Residence at New Orleans’ Joan Mitchell Center and Playwright-in-Residence at Tufts University, Benedictine University, North Central College, Valparaiso University, and Knox College. His work has been translated from English into Arabic, German, and Russian, and enjoyed by audiences in Canada, Germany, Jordan, Lebanon, Portugal, Russia, the UK, the US, and beyond.

In his arts service capacity, Jamil proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Asian American Theatres and Artists (CAATA) and on the Advisory Board of Say Gay Plays. He was a founding steering committee member of the Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA).

Jamil is the Director of Polycultural Institute, Silk Road Cultural Center’s think-and-create tank. The institute’s mission is to generate art and ideas that advance polyculturalism.  He conceived of and is developing “The ROCO Path: A Polycultural Life Practice,” a series of conversations and workshops that explore Rootedness, Openness, Connectivity, and Opportunity. 

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