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Emirates Foundation and LSE set to establish a new Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

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Today (Tuesday 19 December), in the presence of prime minister Tony Blair, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Emirates Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in relation to a new Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at LSE in London.

Both LSE and the Emirates Foundation believe that the Middle East region as a whole would benefit from the establishment of a new social science research centre with independent academics committed to addressing the political, economic and social issues faced by Middle Eastern countries.

They also share the view that the UAE and other countries in the region would derive greater benefit if more of their citizens were able to take advantage of the kind of education, both at undergraduate and graduate level, which LSE can offer. They have therefore committed to establishing a joint task force to explore ways in which more students from the UAE, in particular, might be equipped to benefit from an education at LSE and other top British universities.

The Centre for Middle Eastern Studies will be fully endowed and will have a number of professors and senior research fellows driving the academic agenda. Its Director-designate is Professor Fred Halliday|, professor of international relations at LSE. The Emirates Foundation has agreed to consider endowing a new chair, and other research posts. It would also facilitate and finance conferences and publications designed to ensure effective dissemination of the work of the Centre throughout the region. The Emirates Foundation will also consider naming the main LSE lecture theatre in the New Academic Building the Sheikh Zayed lecture theatre at a cost of £2.5million. The total financial commitment by the Foundation to the Centre and LSE will amount to £9 million.

Commenting on the agreement, Howard Davies, LSE director, said: 'We are most grateful to the Foundation for its support, which will get our new Centre off to a flying start. And we look forward to working closely with the Foundation to try to increase the flow of well-qualified students from the UAE to the UK in general and to LSE in particular.'

Ahmed Al Sayegh, the managing director of Emirates Foundation, said: 'The Emirates Foundation is investing in the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies because we believe the UAE and countries of the region will benefit from research and analysis conducted at LSE. We are also eager to support initiatives which bring tangible benefits to UAE students, in this case those students interested in pursuing further studies in the UK.'

Ends

Contact Judith Higgin, LSE Press Office, j.a.higgin@lse.ac.uk|

Notes

* LSE has around 54 undergraduates and 111 postgraduates from the Middle East within its 8,000 strong student community. The School is also in touch with around 1,400 alumni from Middle Eastern countries either living or working in the Middle East or in the UK, including in the UAE. 

* The PJD Wiles/Abraaj Scholarship| provides ten awards for five years each to successful applicants for MSc study at the School. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit/need and applicants should be resident nationals in a Middle East country applying to a one year taught MSc programme at the School.

* LSE has strong connections with the Middle East through the work of academics in its Department of International Relations and Department of International History, Department of Government, Department of Anthropology, Department of Social Policy, the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, the Development Studies Institute and the Crisis States Research Centre. The Centre for the Study of Global Governance has, for example, a translated its Global Civil Society yearbook| into Arabic

LSE academics have written numerous books on the Middle East, including Professor Fred Halliday's The Middle East in International Relations| (2005) and Dr Katerina Dalacoura|'s Western Human Rights Policies towards Turkey, Iran and Egypt (2003).

* The Centre for Middle Eastern Studies will be established in 2007 at LSE's main campus. The School is currently developing a New Academic Building off Lincoln's Inn Fields which will effectively double teaching space when it opens in autumn 2008.

* Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan - Sheikh Zayed - was ruler of the Arab state of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven Arab Emirates, from 1966 until his death in 2004. During his rule, Abu Dhabi, along with the other Emirates, gained independence from the UK and formed, in 1971, the United Arab Emirates, and Sheikh Zayed, as ruler of the largest of the seven states, was lifelong president of the new state.

Press cuttings

Gulf News (9 Feb 07)
Supporting initiatives in community-building
Article refers to the fact that last December, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed an MoU to set up a centre for Middle Eastern studies at the London School of Economics.

10 Downing Street
Street by Tony Blair to business leaders in Dubai (20 Dec 06)
"Yesterday I was present at the signature and agreement between the London School of Economics and the Emirates Foundation on the establishment of the Sheikh Zayed Chair in Regional Studies at the LSE's new Middle East Centre, alongside a programme of educational exchange and training in both countries."

Kuwait News Agency
UK, UAE issue joint statement on Mideast, bilateral relations
The two governments welcomed the signing yesterday of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the London School of Economics and the Emirates Foundation. 

Media Newswire
Emirates Foundation and LSE set to establish a new Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
Both LSE and the Emirates Foundation believe that the Middle East region as a whole would benefit from the establishment of a new social science research centre with independent academics committed to addressing the political, economic and social issues faced by Middle Eastern countries.

Dubai City Guide
Emirates Foundation signs agreement with London School of Economics (20 Dec 06)
A major new centre for Middle East studies is to be established with support from the Emirates Foundation at the world-famous London School of Economics and Political Science under the terms of an agreement announced today. A Memorandum, of Understanding on establishing the centre was signed this afternoon at Zayed University by Emirates Foundation managing director Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh and the Director of LSE, Howard Davies, in the presence of visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair and UAE Minister of Economy Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. 

19 December 2006

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