Significant Celebration: Participants in the celebration of the Middle East Initiative-Kuwait Foundation partnership.
Photo courtesy of Middle East Initiative
"Middle East Initiative Celebrates 10-Year Partnership with Kuwait Foundation"
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative
The Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative (MEI) celebrated the tenth anniversary of its partnership with the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) in Kuwait in December. The celebration began with a dinner in the home of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister HE Dr. Mohammed AlSabah, with more than 250 alumni of the program in attendance along with nine Harvard faculty and representatives of MEI and KFAS. The dinner was followed by a twoday conference that highlighted the participation of faculty from Harvard in MEI’s programs and provided an opportunity for research funded through the Kuwait Program at Harvard to be presented in Kuwait.
In January 2001, the Harvard Kennedy School and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences launched the Kuwait Program at Harvard, a program of engagement, partnership, and intellectual exchange aimed at building bridges, opening and furthering dialogue, advancing scholarship and informed research, training leaders, and developing relationships between Harvard University and Kuwait. The program included customized executive education programs, sponsored research addressing public policy issues in Kuwait and the Gulf, fellowships for Executive Education participants from Kuwait, and a visiting professorship at HKS.
The program has since met many of its goals. According to Middle East Initiative Director Hilary Rantisi, it has customized 13 executive education training programs for Kuwaitis covering topics ranging from management to trade and diplomacy issues. These programs have graduated more than 339 Kuwaitis, including several who are now government ministers. Two of the first four women to be elected to parliament are alumni of these programs. In addition, 27 research projects in Kuwait and the Gulf have been completed. Gregory Gause served as the Kuwait visiting professor (2008–2010) and Rima Khalaf as a visiting scholar (2010). Throughout, the program has increased scholarship on the Middle East at Harvard and has trained many experienced leaders from Kuwait in leadership, governance, and management skills.
“We are pleased with the significant impact the Middle East Initiative’s Kuwait programs have had on Kuwait and on Harvard,” Rantisi said.
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