Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah delivered on Thursday a Kuwaiti gift of $4.5 million as an endowment to the Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) at the George Washington (GW) University. Sheikh Salem handed over the contribution to GW President Steven Knapp, where the meeting was attended by Dean of GW's Elliott School of International Affairs Michael Brown.
In an interview to KUNA, Sheikh Salem said that the Kuwaiti government is accustomed to supporting educational institutions worldwide, especially those specialized in Middle East studies. He added that the horizons of the Kuwait-US relations covered many domains, indicating that the joint cooperation being witnessed between the two countries in many sectors is considered "distinctive and fruitful".
The ambassador affirmed that the relations between Kuwait and the George Washington University is "distinctive and solid", as the university presented to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah an Honorary Doctorate in Law in 2005 for his "great contributions" to public service. Sheikh Salem said that in 2005, GW established the Kuwait Chair which conducts research and studies on the Arabian Gulf region.
GW President Knapp said that he is "deeply grateful to the Government of Kuwait and His Highness the Amir for their continued support of the George Washington University". He stressed the importance that both countries "recognize what this kind of academic program can do to contribute to mutual understanding and the need to help developing the generations of students who will continue that relationship".
He said that this program would prepare generations of students who can continue to develop the relationship but also continue to exchange knowledge between the two countries, "which I believe is very positive". Also, Kuwait's Cultural Counselor in Washington DC Dr Abdulaziz Al-Omar indicated that there are around 25 Kuwaiti students at GW, out of which 11 are graduate students.
We look forward to increasing this number especially in specialties in which the University is really strong at such as MBA," he said. He affirmed that Kuwait is very keen on having students in such a program and to increase "our student body in such a well acclaimed institute".
Furthermore, Brown told KUNA that this an "extraordinary gift that will provide tremendously important support to the IMES". He indicated that the school has a three-part mission: "Educating the next generation of international leaders, connecting research on important international issues and engaging with the policy community around the world.
He affirmed "this gift will enhance all three aspects of that mission - supporting students, supporting faculty-research and supporting out-reach to the policy community. All of this will help to enhance global understanding of the Middle East at a very important juncture, not just now but into the future because this will help to educate future generations of international leaders," he remarked. "It is a gift that will not only have a tremendous impact now, but for decades and decades to come," Brown stre
He noted that the partnership between Kuwait and GW "is very strong and very important and a mutually enriching partnership". "It goes back many years and has got stronger and stronger through the years," and that "it's a wonderful partnership and one which we very much treasure," he said.
Edward Gnehm, Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs told KUNA that the institute is a "young one but it is a dynamic one", where this gift "allows us to expand our programs and to explain the region". "We are building our young people and I want the students I am teaching today to know about my experiences with Kuwait and with my experiences with the Gulf so that when they become professionals they will be able to help maintain a relationship that I worked so hard for in the past," he rema
rked. He said "we really appreciate the support from HH the Amir and from the Kuwaiti government and people of Kuwait and we hope to have even more Kuwaiti students here at the university in the future."