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Tue 2 Jul 2019 10:36 AM

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Ireland's top university to open Al Maktoum Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

Four new professors will be appointed to the UAE-funded institution within Ireland's Trinity College

Ireland's top university to open Al Maktoum Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
The new centre – known as the Al Maktoum Centre for Middle Eastern Studies – will be part of Trinity’s School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies within its faculty of arts, humanities and social sciences.

Ireland’s premier academic institution, Trinity College Dublin, has penned a “strategic alliance” with the UAE-sponsored Al Maktoum Foundation and Dundee, Scotland-based Al Maktoum College of Higher Education to establish a new centre for Middle Eastern studies at the university.

The new centre – known as the Al Maktoum Centre for Middle Eastern Studies – will be part of Trinity’s School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies within its faculty of arts, humanities and social sciences.

The alliance will also see the appointment of four new Middle Eastern studies professors.

“This generous gift from the Al Maktoum Foundation comes at a vital moment in the history of Trinity College’s relationship with the Middle East, its peoples and its cultures,” said Dr Patrick Prendergast, provost of Trinity.

“Continuing a long-established tradition of Middle Eastern studies in the history of Trinity College, this generous gift comes at a time when society in Ireland must seize the opportunity to enhance the role which all can play in a pluralistic society,” he added. “Social challenges created by multiculturalism also present unique opportunities for engagement and enrichment.”

Global reputation

Trinity – which is best known internationally for housing Ireland’s famous Book of Kells – first appointed a professor of Oriental Studies in 1762, and later appointed a professorship of 1855.

Today, Trinity’s Near and Middle Eastern Studies stream at the college offers a degree in Middle East and Islamic civilisations as well as offering teaching in Arabic in which students a year at a university in the Middle East. Other courses delve into ancient Egypt, Babylon, Persia and South Arabia.

“We are very proud to support this initiative and with the association with Trinity College Dublin, with its global reputation for excellence in research and education,” said Mirza Al Sayegh, chairman of the board of Trustees of Al Maktoum College and the Al Maktoum Foundation.

Dr Abi Abubakar, the acting head of college at Al Maktoum College, said that the agreement with Trinity is “of great significance” for the college.

“It now only validates the quality of programmes we now offer but also, importantly, provides a first step towards an even closer and long-lasting academic collaboration between us and Trinity College,” he added. “This is a key alliance that will be of major benefit to students seeking to undertake Middle Eastern studies.”

In addition to the Al Maktoum College, the Al Maktoum Foundation also funds the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh, a suburb of Dublin, The centre is home to the largest mosque in Ireland.

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