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

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

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.'