The George Washington University received a $4 million gift from the government of Kuwait to support the endowment of the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) and the Gelman Library’s Middle East and North Africa Research Center.
The gift follows $4.5 million given to the university by Kuwait and His Highness Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in February 2011.
“The George Washington University is grateful for the ongoing support of the government of Kuwait and his highness the amir,” said George Washington University President Steven Knapp. “We look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Middle East through research, education and policy engagement.”
Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Al-Sabah formally presented the gift on April 19, addressing Dr. Knapp and Edward W. “Skip” Gnehm Jr., B.A. ’66, M.A. ’68, a professor and director of the Middle East Policy Forum who served as the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait between 1991 and 1994. After Dr. Knapp expressed the university community’s gratitude for the gift, they discussed promoting more student and faculty exchanges in both countries.
The government of Kuwait has been a strong supporter of George Washington’s Middle East programs. In 2005 the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences established the Kuwait Chair for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs, which is held by Amb. Gnehm Jr. In addition to financial support, the prime minister of Kuwait and other Kuwaiti officials have participated in the Middle East Policy Forum at the Elliott School of International Affairs.
“I am deeply appreciative of the strong support we have received from the amir for our Middle East programs,” said Amb. Gnehm. “He understands the importance of educating young people to better understand the Middle East region.”
IMES was founded in 2007. The multidisciplinary program draws on politics, anthropology, geography, culture and economics to better understand the greater Middle East. The program covers issues ranging from politics and governance to economic development and environmental challenges.
Elliott School Dean Michael Brown said the gift “will enable GW's Elliott School of International Affairs to achieve even higher levels of excellence in our important work on one of the world's most important regions. My Elliott School colleagues and I are very grateful for this tremendous support.”