US Universities and Saudi/Arab/Islamic Funding:
Relevant Facts from the book The Arab Lobby by Mitchell Bard (PhD, UCLA).
“Starting as early as 1976, Arab governments and individuals began to make large gifts to universities to create chairs and centers in Arab, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. More than 90 universities sought assistance from the Saudis, but the first endowment was created at USC, with $1 million. Though universities usually jealously guard their prerogatives to choose their faculty and normally refuse to allow donors a say in hiring … Saudis were given the right to approve the appointment of the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Studies. Their first choice was Willard Beling, an IR professor who had worked for Aramco (oil company)” (p 301)
“Three years later, the Saudis gave $200,000 to Duke for a program in Arabian and Islamic studies… Libya donated $750,000 for a Chair in Georgetown.. UAE gave Georgetown another $250,000 for a visiting professorship… Harvard Divinity School.. took $2.5 million in 2000 from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, the dictatorial ruler of Abu Dhabi… (who also elsewhere) established a think tank that promoted Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and anti-American conspiracy theories..” (p 301)
“According to the U.S. Department of Education, between 1986 and 2007, donors from Arab countries made more than 100 contributions, worth in excess of $320 million, to American universities. This report does not include Saudi Arabia’s $20 million gifts to Harvard and Georgetown…. Counting the recent gifts, Saudi Arabia has invested more than $130 million in American universities; Qatar $150 million, the UAE, $52 million; Kuwait, $12 million; and Oman, $9 million” (p 307)
“Columbia … happily (some might say greedily) took money from the United Arab Emirates, among others, to endow a chair in Middle East Studies named after Edward Said… predictably the Chair was filled by… former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi… For many months, efforts were made to learn where the estimated $4m had come from to endow the chair, but the university refused to disclose the information until bad publicity forced the publication of the names of the donors.” (p 308)
“Berkeley, for example, received two large gifts from the Saudis in the 1990s.. $2 million for a program to promote understanding of Muslims…. (and) $ 5 million to broaden understanding of the Arab and Muslim worlds” (p 309)