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New $5 Million Gift Will Promote Understanding of Arab, Islamic Worlds

by José Rodriguez, University Relations
posted December 02, 1998

A Saudi Arabia-based foundation has donated $5 million to Berkeley to establish programs fostering understanding of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

A delegation from the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation presented Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl with the contribution Monday, Nov. 23. Representing the foundation were its secretary general, Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, as well as Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

The gift will establish the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Program in Arab and Islamic Studies within the campus' Center for Middle Eastern Studies. It will cover a visiting professorship, a visiting scholars and graduate fellows program, a research fund, an outreach fund and new quarters for the center.

Among similar programs at 13 universities across the country, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies is ranked in first place, along with the University of Texas at Austin, based on the level of funding it receives from the U.S. Department of Education.

In making the gift, the foundation recognized the "historic friendly relations" between UC Berkeley and educational institutions in Saudi Arabia, as well as Berkeley's academic excellence and public service mission.

"We are delighted to accept this gift from our friends in Saudi Arabia," said Berdahl. "The endowment funds will allow us to broaden Berkeley's already remarkable resources at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, which is a study area of critical global value."


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