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Paris, 19/09/2003

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber to sponsor UNESCO programmes in the Arab world

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, Chairman of MBI International and founder of the London based MBI Al Jaber Foundation and the London Middle East Institute, is reinforcing his commitment to education and reform in the region through UNESCO projects.

This is almost certainly the first major intervention by a significant regional business leader designed to help build civil society in the region. In Paris last week (19 September 2003), MBI Al Jaber and the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura formalised mutually agreed programmes and projects that will be sponsored by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, including a project to reform the education system at all levels in the Arab world, the Arabization of internet domain names, and Kitab Fi-Jarida, an innovative programme designed to bring literature to the mass market through serialisation in popular newspapers.

This is the latest demonstration of MBI Al Jaber's commitment to education and reform in the region. Under his patronage, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation has defined its mission to promote better understanding between the peoples of the Middle East, North Africa and the wider world, fostering links of cooperation amongst nations through education, science, culture and communication, with the aim of creating a healthy society where peace and democracy prevail.

Through his Foundation he has for many years offered scholarships to students from across the Arab world for postgraduate study at some of the world's finest educational institutions. He is also dedicated to the pursuit of better education and opportunities for women, recently donating some £4 million to the Dar Al-Hekma private college for girls in Jeddah. Of the 19 students to graduate this year, 7 have won MBI Al Jaber Foundation scholarships to continue their studies in London.

MBI Al Jaber has proposed to UNESCO the formation of a group of scholars and Arab Educational experts to include ALESCO (Arab League for Education, Science & Culture) based in Tunis & ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation ) based in Rabat, as a forum for educational strategies towards building modern societies in the Arab World.

MBI Al Jaber said: "I have always strongly believed that peace and stability in the Middle East can only be brought about with better education, which in turn is a prerequisite for democracy. UNESCO's pursuit of peace and security based on human rights and fundamental freedoms is totally in accordance with my own beliefs."

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