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Prince Alwaleed bin Talal at the inauguration ceremony of the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard on Thursday

Harvard Islamic Studies Program Opened
Arab News

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal at the inauguration ceremony of the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard on Thursday. (AN photo)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., 10 May 2008 — Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Foundation, had endowed $20 million in 2005 to establish an Islamic Studies program at Harvard University. He was at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday to inaugurate the program.

The program was named “Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program.” Roy P. Mottahedeh, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, had been appointed director of the program.

Prince Alwaleed and the accompanying Kingdom Foundation delegation were briefed about the program. The program is building on Harvard’s strong commitment to the study of the religious traditions of the world. It is also augmenting Harvard’s existing strength by increasing the number of faculty focused on Islamic studies, providing additional support to graduate students, and making rare Islamic textual sources available in digital format.

“I am pleased to support Islamic studies at Harvard and I hope that this program will enable generations of students and scholars to gain a thorough understanding of Islam and its role both in the past and in today’s world,” said Prince Alwaleed. “Bridging the understanding between East and West is important for peace and tolerance.”

Scholarship on the Islamic tradition at Harvard encompasses a broad range of disciplines, from religious studies, history, and law, to art and literature. This endowment will make it possible to add strength in important disciplines such as the history of science and new areas of study, such as Islamic Inner-Asian, Southeast Asian, or South Asian studies.

The foundation has funded many cultural, educational and philanthropic projects globally including a £16 million endowment to create two new research centers for Islamic studies at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh. In 2005, $20 million was presented to Georgetown University to create the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, a $20 million donated to the Louvre in support of its collection of Islamic art.

Prince Alwaleed also made a $5 million donation to establish the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at the American University in Beirut (AUB) and donated $10 million to finance both the construction of the Humanities and Social Sciences building in the new campus of the American University in Cairo (AUC), and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, UK, received a 1 million euro endowment from the prince.

He also gave a $5 million gift to support Harvard Medical School’s research center in Dubai. He has also made donations to President George H.W. Bush Sr. Scholarship fund established by Phillips Academy, the Carter Center for Peace and the James Baker III Institute, Rice University.



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