Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister and ruler of Dubai and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, has announced that he is donating $10 billion to establish an educational foundation in the Middle East, BBC News reports.
In a keynote address to the in Jordan, bin Rashid said the initiative is aimed at creating "a knowledge-based society" in the Middle East. The UAE-based Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation will work to improve the levels of education and research in the region and stimulate job creation by encouraging entrepreneurship. In a press release, the sheikh said that the mission of the foundation will be to invest in knowledge and human development, focusing on research, education, and the promotion of equal opportunities for the region's youth. "The foundation's programs," he added, "are also aimed at enhancing the standing of scholars and intellectuals in the Arab world."
Noting the high rate of illiteracy in the Middle East, where more than 40 percent of Arab women cannot read or write and spending on scientific research is a small fraction of that of developed countries, bin Rashid said, "There is a wide knowledge gap between us and the developed world in the West and in Asia. Our only choice is to bridge this gap as quickly as possible, because our age is defined by knowledge."