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LSE focuses new centre on collaboration with the people and institutions of the Middle East

Today (Monday 24 May), the London School of Economics and Political Science announces the launch of the Middle East Centre - a multidisciplinary research centre focusing on modern Middle Eastern cultures, societies, economies, and international relations.

The new Centre, which has received £9.2 million in initial support from the UAE's Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and The Aman Trust, will collaborate with Middle Eastern universities, scholars, civil society, policy makers, and speak to a global audience about the region's strengths and challenges.

Under the leadership of its inaugural director, Professor Fawaz A Gerges, and other prominent LSE scholars, the Middle East Centre will engage intellectuals and experienced practitioners to analyse and report on the region's economics, politics, and culture. The Centre will help train a new generation of specialists drawn from within the region and from the rest of the world. Throughout their careers, they will provide informed and balanced analysis of the nations of the Middle East, and the region's place in the international community.

Abdulrahman Al Owais, managing director of the Emirates Foundation, commented: 'We are delighted that the new Centre will solidify LSE's academic relations with leading Middle Eastern universities, including those in the United Arab Emirates. Our Foundation supports knowledge creation through research and high level training for young professionals, which are key objectives of the new Middle East Centre.'

Arif Naqvi, whose family endowed The Aman Trust, added 'As an LSE alumnus, I am delighted that the LSE has made an institutional commitment to the Middle East. As someone who has spent his life in the Middle East, it was important for me to help catalyse the Centre into being an important bridge linking scholars, policy makers, and business leaders from Europe and the Middle East, promoting constructive dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation, which are important challenges in today's polarised world.'

Howard Davies, LSE Director, said: 'With founding support in place from the Emirates Foundation and The Aman Trust, we will be inviting other stakeholders who share our values of impartiality and academic freedom to examine the LSE's existing strength in Middle East studies, and to contribute materially to the Centre's future development.'

The Centre is currently recruiting its core staff and will be based at LSE from October 2010, the beginning of the 2010/11 academic year. It will host its first major public event in spring 2011.

Ends

Contact: Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk| 020 7107 5025

Notes

* LSE has around 245 undergraduates and 249 postgraduates from the Middle East within its 9,000 strong student community. The School is also in touch with around 1,500 alumni from Middle Eastern countries either living or working in the Middle East or in the UK, including in the UAE.

* Fawaz Gerges is a professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He earned a doctorate from the University of Oxford and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gerges has taught at Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia, and was a research scholar at Princeton and chairholder (the Christian A. Johnson Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs) at Sarah Lawrence College, New York.

His special interests include Arab politics and Muslim politics in the 20th century, the international relations of the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, state and society in the Middle East, Islam and the political process, social movements, including mainstream Islamist groups, American foreign policy towards the Muslim world, the modern history of the Middle East, history of conflict, diplomacy and foreign policy, and historical sociology.

*The Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy is one of the UAE's foremost philanthropic organisations. It offers financial and technical support to projects that enrich the lives of people in the Emirates, particularly in the areas of youth development, knowledge creation, and society and culture.

The Foundation facilitates links between commercial businesses and the public sector to devise new projects and strengthen existing nonprofit initiatives throughout the country. Its funding comes from annual donations and an endowment fund supported by the Abu Dhabi government and private companies.

Launched on April 12 2005 by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, its Board of Directors is chaired by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs.

*The Aman Trust is a philanthropic organisation operating in the fields of healthcare, education and food security throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Its sister organisation, Aman Foundation, is active in Pakistan. The Aman Trust is headed by Arif Naqvi, CEO and Founder of Abraaj Capital, one of the largest private equity firms operating in the emerging markets.

* LSE has strong connections with the Middle East through the work of academics in its Departments of Government, International Relations, International History, Anthropology and Social Policy; the Centre for the Study of Global Governance; the Development Studies Institute; and the Crisis States Research Centre. Examples of internationally focused work include the translation of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance's Global Civil Society Yearbook into Arabic. Visit http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2006/GlobalCivilSocietyYearbook2006-07Launch.aspx| for further details.  

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