Georgetown University has received a $20 million dollar gift from HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, an internationally renowned businessman and global investor, to support and expand its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU). The Center, part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, is an international leader in inter-religious scholarship and research, in particular Islamic studies and Muslim-Christian relations. The Center will be renamed The HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. This endowed fund is the second largest single gift in Georgetown University history.
"We are deeply honored by Prince Alwaleed's generosity," said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. "This gift will deepen Georgetown's ability to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization and Muslim-Christian understanding and strengthen its presence as a world leader in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. At this time of world conflict, Georgetown is committed to build upon our role as a Catholic, Jesuit institution in fostering greater understanding among religions around the word."
"This generous gift reflects the commitment of Prince Alwaleed to inter-religious understanding in the Muslim world and the West. It will enable the Center in these critical times to significantly expand its programs, influence and impact both here and overseas," said Dr. John L. Esposito, Founding Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
"I am pleased to support the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. It is vital for the monotheistic religions to reach a common ground of understanding and to gain knowledge about what unites our civilizations," said Prince Alwaleed. "We are determined to build a bridge between Islam and Christianity for tolerance that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries."
Prince Alwaleed's gift will allow the Center, founded in 1993 as the only program of its kind to build stronger bridges between the Muslim world and the West as well as between Islam and Christianity, to strengthen its mission. The founding of the Center was made possible through the initiatives and generous support of Hasib Sabbagh, a longtime supporter and former member of the Georgetown University Board of Directors. The gift will endow three faculty chairs, expand programmatic and academic outreach activities, provide new scholarship support for students, broaden opportunities for research and policy discussions and expand library facilities. The professorships and scholarships funded by HRH Prince Alwaleed's gift also will be named in his honor.
Prince Alwaleed, Chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and a member of the Saudi Royal Family and one of the world's leading philanthropists, supports many educational and humanitarian initiatives. He recently donated $20 million to the Louvre in support of its collection of Islamic art and created the first Centers for American Studies and Research in the Arab World at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. He has also made donations to President George H.W. Bush Sr., Scholarship fund established by Phillips Academy, the Carter Center for Peace and Health Programs in Africa, and given substantial aid to the Tsunami victims.