Saudi Prince Who Funded Harvard Program Visits - 08 February 2012 - From Michelle M. Hu and Justin C. Worland

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia—who donated $20 million to create the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard in 2005—discussed the future of the Middle East at a panel on Wednesday.

His donation, one of his six multimillion dollar contributions to fund academic centers at universities around the world, has endowed four professorships and pushed the program to the forefront of the University’s efforts to improve teaching and learning and to promote international engagement at Harvard.

"At Harvard, we’re talking about teaching and learning initiatives, but what this network does is provide us with partners to be able to take this teaching and learning initiative to new heights.” said Director of the Islamic Studies Program Ali S. Asani ’77, referring to the other five institutions—Georgetown University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cambridge, the American University of Cairo, and the American University of Beirut—that received donations from the Prince and attended the conference.

Asani currently teaches an Extension School course in a "virtual classroom,” where he lectures and holds sections online with students from around the world. He hopes to offer this course to students at the College in the future, he said.

Asani also said he believes that the program will encourage similar efforts in other areas of the University. (...)