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Crown Gift to Boost Middle Eastern Studies Program

Northwestern will expand its curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies and hire additional faculty who are experts in that area, thanks to a recent endowment gift from the Crown Family of Chicago.

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February 26, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern will expand its curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies and hire additional faculty who are experts in that area, thanks to a recent endowment gift from the Crown Family of Chicago, Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen announced today (Feb. 26).

The gift will enable Northwestern to hire new faculty members, endow library acquisitions related to the Middle East, endow graduate fellowships and provide funds for faculty and student research in the area.

"Expanding our curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies is one of the University's top priorities and this wonderful gift will help us significantly in doing so," Bienen said. "Courses in this area already are in high demand by our undergraduate students and our planned opening of a campus in Qatar will heighten the need to provide them with greater opportunities for studying in the region. We deeply appreciate the continued support of the Crown family for Northwestern and this important new gift."

"Actions in the Middle East have a direct impact on all of our lives," said Lester Crown, chairman of Henry Crown and Co. and a long-time member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees. "Therefore, it is very important that University students learn the factual history and reasons for the complex relationships in the region. Too often, opinions and assessments are based on misinformation or lack of accurate information."

The University will continue to raise funds to endow more faculty positions in Middle Eastern Studies and to provide additional research and library support, Bienen said.

"Strengthening Middle Eastern Studies is an important next step in our efforts to internationalize our curriculum," Bienen said. "This program will offer our students the opportunities for greater understanding of Middle Eastern civilizations, both pre-modern and contemporary."