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New scholarships for Islamic Studies


Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities Chair Larry Shaben, Faculty of Arts Dean Daniel Woolf, His Excellency Dr. Musaed Rashed Al-Haroun, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Canada and University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera

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By Melissa Boisvert and Ileiren Byles

March 14, 2007 - Students in the Faculty of Arts received a generous gift from the State of Kuwait, which joins a growing list of donors supporting the university's emerging area of Islamic Studies.

Kuwaiti Ambassador to Canada Musaed Rashed Al-Haroun confirmed a $400,000 gift, which will be used to establish several new scholarships associated with the Faculty of Arts' Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities Chair in Islamic Studies (ECMC Chair).

"The money is going to go to several different scholarships - somewhere around six or seven - and are open to anyone doing work or study in the Islamic area," said Dean of Arts Daniel Woolf at the gift announcement today, adding that the kinds of community connections that lead to this gift are "absolutely essential."

"Scholarships are a major campaign priority for the faculty and, I think, for the university as a whole, and this deals with that need. But also, it will actually steer students in the direction of more study and research in the area of Islam and its relationship with the rest of the world. It does build a momentum of knowledge. It snowballs."

Announced last year, the ECMC Chair is the result of a major commitment made by the ECMC on behalf of Edmonton's diverse Muslim community. The ECMC and the Faculty of Arts have a common vision, said Woolf.

"We are committed to increasing knowledge about the diverse traditions, cultures and interpretations that form the Islamic world and its relationships with others, both internationally and here at home. The gift from the State of Kuwait adds immeasurably to that commitment by supporting the recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest students in the field of Islamic studies."

Al-Haroun, former minister of education and higher education for Kuwait, said he was pleased to support the ECMC Chair. "We applaud the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities for its vision and the Faculty of Arts for its commitment to this important area of study. Students are the future, and the State of Kuwait is honoured to help in this way."

Larry Shaben, chair of the ECMC board of directors, said, "It is the students of this generation who will be leaders of the next. The State of Kuwait undergraduate and graduate scholarships in Islamic Studies help ensure that ECMC's vision to enhance mutual respect and understanding can be achieved."


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