Ashfaq Ishaq

More than 5 million children across the globe have participated in the Arts Olympiad thanks to Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq.

Ishaq founded the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) in 1997 and it has become a leading art and creativity organization for American children and their international counterparts. The ICAF developed and runs the Arts Olympiad, the world’s largest and most prestigious global program for 8- to 12-year-old children that includes art with a sport motif.

For his contributions to art and sport, Ishaq is being honored by the United States Sports Academy with a 2011 Distinguished Service Award. The DSA is given annually by the Academy to those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service.

Ishaq, who was an award-winning child artist, also produced the first World Children’s Festival in 1999. Held every four years on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., it has become the world’s largest international children’s celebration. He also hosted the first-ever European Children’s Festival at Olympia Park in Munich in 2006.

As a result of 9/11, Ishaq helped develop a Peace through Art approach with leading psychologists and psychiatrists. That led to a team of art therapists developing a healing arts program that has aided child victims of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Ishaq is a senior advisor to the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) on entrepreneurship development in the Muslim world. Ishaq, who earned a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University, has authored two books “Success in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” published by Oxford University Press and a forthcoming book, “The Creativity Revolution.” In 2011, he won The Zeigfeld Award for outstanding leadership in art education and in 2004 won the World Culture Open Award for Exemplary Humanitarian Service.