The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was created in 1956 by the last will and testament of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a philanthropist of Armenian origin who lived in Lisbon between 1942 and the year of his death, 1955.

Established in perpetuity, the Foundation’s main purpose is to improve the quality of life through art, charity, science and education. The Foundation directs its activities from its headquarters in Lisbon and its delegations in Paris and London, with support provided by Portugal in Portuguese-speaking African Countries (PALOP) and East Timor, as well as in countries with Armenian Communities.

The Foundation has a museum, which houses the Founder’s private collection, alongside a collection of modern and contemporary art; an orchestra and a choir; an art library and archive; a scientific research institute; and a garden, in a central area of the city of Lisbon, where educational activities also take place.

In conjunction with cultural activities, the Foundation fulfils its mission through innovative programmes that develop pilot projects and support, by providing scholarships and grants for other institutions and social organisations.

For the period 2018-2022, the three priority areas are: – social cohesion and integration, sustainability and knowledge – which are reflected across the whole intervention strategy.

Calouste Foundation


The Foundation is a perpetual institution of Portuguese nationality with charitable, artistic, educational and scientific statutory aims.

It is committed to full independence and preservation of its heritage, and its main priority is defined as the development of a society that provides equal opportunities and that is sustainable.


A leading private philanthropic institution, open to the world, which contributes to a more just and united society preparing citizens of the future.


Integrity – Independence – Transparency – Responsibility

Relationship with Society

  • To affirm the Foundation as an arena, open to the world and to the broad participation of social groups to which it is related, creating a consultation process that spans the Foundation as a whole, ensuring a balanced composition with regard to competences, generations and international scope;
  • To affirm the Foundation as a key partner in strengthening civil society organisations;
  • To participate in key international networks of foundations and to partner in projects that tackle the major themes of today;
  • To further the Foundation’s networks of beneficiaries and connections;
  • To extend the Foundation’s activities beyond its Headquarters;
  • To promote a culture of accountability, transparency, and to maximise social impact.