Saudi donates millions to two U.S. schools

Dec. 12, 2005 at 11:07 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A Saudi businessman is donating $20 million each to Georgetown and Harvard universities to help promote interreligious understanding.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, told The Washington Post he also has established the first two centers for American studies in the Middle East, to be located at universities in Beirut and Cairo.

Alwaleed said the American studies programs in the Middle East will "teach the Arab world about the American situation" and that his gifts to the two universities will be used "to teach about the Islamic world to the United States," the newspaper said.

The $20 million gift to Georgetown will be used to expand the activities of the university's 12-year-old Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The center will be renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Alwaleed said that his $20 million donation to Harvard will fund its Islamic studies program, which crosses many disciplines.

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