Prince Alwaleed’s endowment of $30 million to Cambridge & Edinburgh extension of HRH’s initiative for building bridges between East & West

Sunday, 25 Jan 2009
Category: Education Services
Countries: Saudi Arabia
Description: Centres for Islamic Studies at Cambridge & Edinburgh Universities approve the appointment of the centers’ directors.
Centres for Islamic Studies at Cambridge & Edinburgh Universities approve the appointment of the centers’ directors.

The centres were funded by a $30 million endowment by HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation and equally shared ($15 million for each university) by the two universities. The centres will carry out both research and public engagement designed to enhance understanding between the Muslim world and the West.

Cambridge University’s General Board has approved the appointment of Professor Yasir Suleiman as the first Director of the HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Islamic Studies. The centre will enable the development of a constructive and critical awareness of the role of Islam in wider society, initially through research programs on Islam in the United Kingdom and Europe, and Islam and the media.

It will also run various public program, such as public lectures, conferences and summer schools, designed to promote understanding of Islam in the wider world. Policy-makers and other public figures will be invited to become visiting fellows at the Centre and take part in its research programs.

The Director Designate of HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at Edinburgh University is Prof. Hugh Goddard, Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations from the University of Nottingham who formally joined on 12 January 2009. The centre aims to improve public knowledge and awareness of Islamic civilization and of Muslims in Britain. It will do so partly through educational outreach to policy-makers, students and the public.

A signing ceremony for the Prince’s endowment was formalized at Buckingham Palace on May 7th 2008 and was attended by both Prince Alwaleed and HRH Prince Philip to announce plans to create two new research centres for Islamic studies at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh. Prince Philip is the Chancellor of both universities.

"I am pleased to support the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at the University of Edinburgh. It is paramount for both Islam and the West to reach mutual ground for pro-active dialogue, respect, acceptance and tolerance," said Prince Alwaleed. "We are determined to continue building the bridge between Islam and the West for peace and humanity."

HRH has contributed to many cultural, educational and philanthropic projects globally including: in 2005, a $20 million donation was presented to Georgetown University to create the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, $20 million to the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University that was named 'Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program' and a $20 million donation 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 (HUSS) 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 endowment from the Prince.

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