Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Jimmy Carter
During the meeting, Carter dutifully "commended the prince for his efforts to encourage East-West dialogue to bridge the understanding between the two cultures," but, as Campus Watch noted in 2012, Bin Talal's funding of Middle East studies is not intended merely to promote cross-cultural understanding. A representative for his foundation admitted at the time that it's part of an "effort to combat Islamophobia after September 11," including "an anti-campaign against Islam in general." In other words, its purpose is to promote a whitewashed, positive image of Islam in the West.
Saudi-funded Middle East studies academics have eagerly embraced this goal, whether wittingly or not. Such academics are not so much "created" by the Saudis and other Middle Eastern funders, as drawn to centers and positions that confirm and amplify preexisting biases. Bin Talal's funding magnifies the field's pro-Islamist, anti-Western voices and, for that reason, remains a cause for concern.