Report: Qatar funding globalization curriculum in U.S. public schools

by WorldTribune Staff, August 27, 2017

Qatar, which has been accused of funding terrorist organizations, is pumping millions of dollars into U.S. elementary, middle and high schools for the purpose of globalization instruction, a report said.

The Qatar Foundation over the past eight years has given $30.6 million to several dozen schools from New York to Oregon for Arabic programs, including paying for teacher training, materials and salaries, the Wall Street Journal reported, adding that the funding came through Qatar Foundation International (QFI), the foundation’s U.S. arm.

The Qatar Foundation has given more than $30 million to U.S. schools over the past 8 years. / AFP

Maggie Mitchell Salem, QFI’s executive director, says the foundation “partners” with U.S. school districts “to advance Arabic language learning and the understanding of Arab culture to develop global competency and critical 21st century skills that young Americans need to compete globally.”

In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf nation of supporting terrorist groups.

According to an Associated Press report, Saudi Arabia said it cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region” including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaida, Islamic State (ISIS) and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom’s restive Eastern Province.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” toward Cairo and said “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed.”

While Arab nations often contribute to U.S. colleges and universities, Qatar seems especially interested in donations to K-12 public schools with an eye on globalization.

In September of 2016, QFI announced its awards of $111,069 to the Tucson Unified school district in Arizona and $68,305 to the Minneapolis Public school district (MPS).

QFI said its award to Tucson Unified would “establish an Arabic feeder program” from the district’s original program at Cholla Magnet High School to include another high school, an elementary school, and a middle school.

“Tucson Unified is committed to offering a global education, and we are excited that this partnership allows us to expand opportunities for our students and our community to learn more about the world,” said Tuscon Unified superintendent H.T. Sanchez.

According to the announcement of the awards, MPS is the only district that offers Arabic from an elementary level to a high school level in the Twin Cities.

“With the grant award, MPS will solidify the Arabic pathway from Lyndale Elementary School, Ramsey Middle School, to Washburn High School,” QFI states.

“Minneapolis Public Schools believes in providing an urban education that prepares students to be global citizens,” said superintendent Ed Graff. “Thanks to this partnership, our students will have even more opportunities to learn important languages useful for both college and career.”

“We are going to definitely look at ways to expand in the future,” said Omran Hamad Al-Kuwari, executive director of the Qatar Foundation’s CEO office. “We’ve been quite surprised about the interest.”

Qatar has also been a major supporter of the Clinton Foundation, even though the Hillary Clinton State Department expressed its “continuing human rights concerns” about the Gulf state – including in the areas of “freedom of religion … trafficking in persons … legal, institutional, and cultural discrimination against women.”

Breitbart News reported in October of 2016 that, despite the “concerns” of the Clinton State Department about Qatar’s alleged human rights violations, “Qatar has donated $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 to the Clintons, with many of those high-dollar donations flooding in while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State.”

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