Thursday, December 15, 2005

Follow the Prince

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has donated $20 million dollars to Harvard and Georgetown universities to promote American understanding of Islam. He has also given a similar contribution to universities in Cairo and Beirut for American studies programs. His goal is to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding. I think he obviously has the right idea, especially in giving money to universities in Cairo and Beirut.

This should cause us to reflect on how much more we can do to promote understanding of America throughout the Middle East. One major step could be funding more universities in general, while also promoting American Studies programs, in more Middle Eastern cities. Improved education in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq will do a lot to improve our image. As the general population becomes more educated and involved in the world, it will be harder for their oppressive governments or terrorist organizations to blame all the problems on the West. Education will also help improve the economies of these countries by encouraging foreign investment to flow into the country.

One of the major things this administration has not yet realized is that this war is about more than violence. We need to fight the forces that allow terrorists to recruit and allow anti-Americanism to spread. Education (propaganda alone will not do it) can dramatically help us win this war.