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Qatar Grants Millions in Aid to New Orleans

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    Qatar Grants Millions in Aid to New Orleans By Stephanie Strom The New York Times Tuesday 02 May 2006 http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050206N.shtml The
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2006
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      Qatar Grants Millions in Aid to New Orleans
      By Stephanie Strom
      The New York Times
      Tuesday 02 May 2006
      http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050206N.shtml


      The nation of Qatar plans to announce today roughly $60 million in
      grants to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina, including $17.5
      million to Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically black
      Catholic university in the United States.

      Other beneficiaries are Tulane University, Children's Hospital in
      New Orleans, Habitat for Humanity, Louisiana State University and the
      March of Dimes.

      Nasser Bin Hamad M. al-Khalifa, Qatar's ambassador to the United
      States, said the remainder of the $100 million his country had pledged
      would be assigned in the coming months.

      "Hurricane Katrina was so devastating that everyone in Qatar and
      the rest of the world felt a responsibility to really act," Mr.
      Khalifa said. More than 50 countries donated money, expertise and
      materials, according to a tally by Foreign Policy, a magazine
      published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

      Qatar was one of several Persian Gulf nations to donate tens of
      millions of dollars. Saudi Arabia, for instance, gave more than $100
      million, and the United Arab Emirates pledged $100 million.

      Poor nations also donated. Less than a year after the Indian Ocean
      tsunami engulfed it, Sri Lanka gave $25,000 to the American Red Cross.
      Bangladesh gave $1 million, Cyprus $50,000, Ghana $15,000 and the
      Dominican Republic $50,000.

      European countries tended to offer expertise, supplies and
      equipment instead of money. Denmark, for example, donated blankets,
      water purification units and first aid kits.

      Many donor countries funneled their gifts through the State
      Department or other government agencies. The Federal Emergency
      Management Agency, for instance, used $66 million of foreign
      assistance to underwrite Katrina Aid Today, a consortium of nine
      religion-based and secular relief organizations led by the United
      Methodist Committee on Relief that is using the money to offer case
      management services to 100,000 families for two years.

      The Department of Education now controls $60 million donated by
      foreign governments that it said it would disburse to organizations to
      rebuild classrooms and libraries, buy books and maybe even pay
      teachers' salaries.

      "We want to give the money where it will have the greatest impact
      so the foreign governments can see how their funds are being used,"
      said Valerie Smith, an Education Department spokeswoman.

      Countries also gave money to the American Red Cross and to the
      Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, the charity set up by former Presidents
      George Bush and Bill Clinton.

      Qatar elected to distribute its money directly, rather than rely
      on an intermediary.

      Ambassador Khalifa said the country wanted to insure transparency
      and accountability.

      "Our past experience is that while you can give to any
      organization or to a government," he said, "you have no control over
      the money and then you discover the people most affected have not
      benefited."

      To identify projects Qatar might want to support, the ambassador
      and his representatives talked to relief organizations, educators,
      members of Congress and other experts, and some embassy staff members
      traveled to the region.

      Mr. Khalifa also drafted former Secretary of State James A. Baker;
      Laura D'Andrea Tyson, dean of the business school at the University of
      California, Berkeley, and a former economic adviser to President
      Clinton; Lee Raymond, former chief executive of the Exxon Mobil
      Corporation; and John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown
      University, to serve as an advisory board.

      Qatar is giving Xavier, which is in New Orleans, $12.5 million to
      add 60,000 square feet to its College of Pharmacy so it can increase
      enrollment. The gift has additional benefits, the ambassador said,
      because it will provide construction jobs and because students from
      the university work in community clinics.

      Xavier will also get $5 million for scholarships for students
      affected by the disaster.

      "It's going to allow us to help those students to finish their
      educations," said Norman C. Francis, Xavier's president. "That's
      important because Xavier is the No. 1 producer of African-American
      graduates in the natural sciences, and those students then go on to
      get admitted to medical school."

      Tulane will receive $10 million to help undergraduate students
      from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who were affected by Hurricane
      Katrina, as well as students from those states entering the university
      next fall.

      "The money will follow those students all the way through to
      graduation," said Scott S. Cowen, the university's president. "We
      anticipate over four years it will support roughly 300 students."

      Qatar's $5.3 million gift was the biggest Children's Hospital has
      ever received, said Steve Worley, its president. The hospital will use
      $5 million to establish the Qatar Cares Fund, which it will use to
      underwrite medical care for needy children whose families were
      affected by the hurricane. The remaining $351,000 will go toward
      restoring the two of the hospital's five primary care clinics that
      were left standing after the storm.

      "It's hard to know how to express our gratitude," Mr. Worley said.

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