The MSFF is fortunate to have five exceptional Trustees who bring our philanthropy forward into its full potential.
Hani Farsi was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to the United States when he was 15 to attend South Kent School in Connecticut. After graduating he went on to study for his Bachelor and Master’s degree in International Studies at The American University in Washington DC. Hani moved to London in 1993 where he started the office of the Farsi family, organising the investments and holdings of the family and acting as a platform to explore further opportunities. During the mid 1990s he created a hospitality company that grew to include various well-known London restaurants including Cecconi’s and the internationally known Soho House chain of members’ clubs.
The Arts have always been a passion of Hani Farsi’s, which has led to his involvement in the areas of theatre and motion pictures. Between 1993 and 2000, he dedicated himself to the Donmar Warehouse Theatre Company in London by becoming a member of its Board of Trustees, under the direction of Sam Mendes. During Hani’s time at the Donmar Warehouse, Sam Mendes created such noted productions as The Blue Room starring Nicole Kidman.
In 2007 he established Corniche Group, which is active in IT, media and film, energy and mineral resources. In the summer of 2008, Corniche took a significant stake in Le Pacte, a French distribution company. Hani is Executive Producer on Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains, which was in the Official Selection at The Cannes Film Festival in 2009 and was very well received.
David Terence Puttnam, Baron Puttnam, CBE, is a British film producer and educator. David set up his own production company, Enigma Productions, in 1976 and he also founded and chairs Atticus Education which delivers audio-visual seminars to students all over the world. David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He is the recipient of over 50 honorary degrees, diplomas and fellowships from the UK and overseas. As a member of the House of Lords he pursues an active role in a variety of areas, including as Chairman of two Joint Parliamen- tary Committees, Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports.
He is the President of the Film Distributors’ Association, Chair of Nord Anglia International School Dublin, Life President of the National Film & Television School, Chair of Film London Executive Task Force, a UNICEF Ambassador (previously, President), a WWF Ambassador, Adjunct Professor of Film Studies and Digital Humanities at University College Cork and Adjunct Professor at the School of Media & Communications, RMIT University Australia (from 2nd April 2018).
David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award- winning films, including ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. He was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at BAFTA, and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship. He is currently overseeing pre-production of ‘Arctic 30’ – Ben Stewart’s account of the Arctic 30 incident, Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg.
He founded the National Teaching Awards, and was Chancellor of the Open University, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland. He was also Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television and The Sage Gateshead (2007–2012), founding Chair of NESTA, and Chair of both the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Film and Television School. He has served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum, the Thomson Foundation and a great number of other organisations.
Joshua Hanfling is the co-founder of Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs based in Denver, Colorado. He launched the firm in 2012 to provide lobbying, public affairs and business expertise services. Hanfling also currently serves as the Honorary Consul General to the Kingdom of Morocco for Colorado.
Hanfling founded his first business, a wood recycling company, while in college and has been building companies ever since. He has been involved in many other companies in Colorado, Washington DC and London. Hanfling was the founding CEO and is a current trustee of The Mohammed S. Farsi Foundation. Prior to that, he was CEO of Qube Visual, a Denver based sign and graphics company, which he founded in 2001. In 2008, he stepped out of his role as CEO to run for political office. The company was sold in 2012.
Hanfling has been actively supporting philanthropy, non- profits, political organizations and candidates throughout his career. He serves on the boards of the Friends of the Denver Fire Department, Imagination Library Denver, AMP the Cause, Democrats for Education Reform and is the board chair of The Denver Health Foundation.
Hanfling was named one of Denver’s 25 most powerful people by 5280 Magazine, elected to the 40 under 40 by the Denver Business Journal, named one of Colorado’s “Hottest Politicos” by Face the State, voted one of Denver’s ‘Movers & Shakers” by the Colorado Statesman, and one of Colorado’s top philan- thropists by Colorado Company Magazine.
Hanfling spent 2012 living and working in London to focus on the global work of the foundation while working with a private equity firm based there. Hanfling grew up in Washington, DC and has a BS in management with a major in Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College.
Abdul Aziz Said is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the School of International Service at American University. He founded the University’s Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies Program as well as the Center for Global Peace. Professor Said was the first occupant of the university’s Mohamad Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace.
He is the author and editor of 25 books and over 100 papers on international relations and peace and conflict resolution. Professor Said has lectured in more than 50 countries and has served as a consultant to several government ministries. He has been the recipient of numerous awards related to his academic and peace work, including the Distinguished Scholar of Peace Studies Award from the International Studies Association, the Living Legend Award from the Jewish Fraternity Phi Episilon Pi, the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize, and the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation’s Fellowship of Peace Award. During his career, Professor Said has served on the boards of 30 non-profit organizations dedicated to non-violent conflict resolution, human rights, and international development.
Professor Said has also served as an advisor to UNESCO and the United Nations Development Program. His U.S. government service has included advising the U.S. Departments of State (including serving as a senior consultant to the Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy) and Defense as well as the United States Information Agency. Professor Said was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the White House Committee on the Islamic World and appointed by President George Bush to serve on the Iraq Democracy Project.
Vincent Chevance was born in Paris. He studied law at ASSAS and attended the Sorbonne for postgraduate studies. He then moved to New York, where he studied law at Fordham University and became a member of the New York Bar. Chevance worked in derivatives law and structuring while at Paribas in New York City. In 1999, he moved to London to start the European commodity derivatives team for BNP Paribas and in 2003, he was asked to co-head the Global Commodity Derivatives team for ABN Amro. He joined Corniche as Managing Director in 2007. He also founded The Archeology and Development Foundation in 2007. Since 2013, Vincent has been focusing on a luxury real estate project and private equity transactions.