NEWS RELEASE, 11/23/98

Foundation donates $5 million to UC Berkeley to promote understanding of Arab, Islamic worlds

By Jose Rodriguez, University Relations

BERKELEY -- A Saudi Arabia-based foundation is donating $5 million to the University of California, Berkeley, to establish programs that will broaden understanding of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

A delegation from the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation presented UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl with the contribution this afternoon (Monday, Nov. 26, 1998). 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, who is Saudi ambassador to the United States.

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

UC Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies is ranked in first place, along with the University of Texas at Austin, among the 13 universities offering similar programs across the country, 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 UC Berkeley's academic excellence and public service mission.

"We are delighted to accept this gift from our friends in Saudi Arabia," said Chancellor 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."

UC Berkeley is in the midst of a $1.1-billion fundraising effort - the Campaign for the New Century - that seeks to reach its goal by 2001.

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