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December 10, 2008

MEDIA CONTACTS: Menachem Wecker
(202) 994-8025;     
Nick Massella
(202) 994-3087;


WASHINGTON - The State of Kuwait, through the generosity of the Amir His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, has presented The George Washington University with a $1,050,000 gift in support of the Institute for Middle East Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs.  The institute, established in 2007, supports the work of the University's Middle East Studies Program.  The program offers bachelor's and master's degrees in Middle East studies and research fellowships to GW faculty and students.  It also hosts the University's Middle East Policy Forum.

"Mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and of the Middle East region is vital to ensuring global peace and prosperity," said GW President Steven Knapp.  "His Highness's generosity will help us continue to build one of this nation's premier centers for the study of this important region."

Edward W. Gnehm, Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to several nations, including Kuwait, said, "The George Washington University's Institute for Middle East Studies focuses on the region's history, cultures, and conflicts.  This contribution greatly enhances the strong relationship that already exists between the University and the State of Kuwait and provides important support for the Elliott School's commitment to preparing our graduates for careers in the international arena."  Ambassador Gnehm also is a GW alumnus.

This latest gift follows other steps to strengthen ties between GW and Kuwait.  In 2006, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences gave the University $3.4 million to fund the Kuwait professorship held by Ambassador Gnehm.  The University conferred an honorary law degree on His Highness the Amir of Kuwait in 2005.  In September 2008, President Knapp conferred the President's Medal on His Highness Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, prime minister of the State of Kuwait, in recognition of his professional achievements, his commitment to the Kuwaiti people, and his support of the University's mission.

The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs is one of the world's leading schools of international affairs.  Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues, and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world.

For more information about GW's Institute for Middle East Studies, visit

For more news about The George Washington University, visit the GW News Center at

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