The Yale Law School, thanks to a $10 million gift from Saudi banking and real estate magnate Abdallah Kamel, will create a center “for the study of Islamic Law and Civilization.”
Kamel has a net worth of almost $20 billion.
The center, to be named after Kamel, “will bring scholars of Islam to campus for lectures, seminar discussions, visiting professorships and fellowships.”
[Dean of Yale Law School Anthony] Kronman, who will serve as one of the co-directors of the center, said the plan is to build up “layer by layer” over the next couple of years. The roster is already set for the continuation of the lecture series, and the center’s first resident fellow will arrive later this fall. The center will also provide support for research, and possibly even travel, Kronman said, adding that he hopes to bring in a visiting professor in the field of Islamic law within the next few years as well.
“We’re taking this step by step — it will require some time and a lot of thought to put a program this ambitious, this complex into motion,” Kronman said. “The hope is that by the end of this year, several major components of the program will be in place and others will follow in short order.”
Kronman also noted that the center will have reach far beyond just the law school, extending throughout the University to cater to any interested students. Harvard Law School has had an Islamic Legal Studies Program since 1991 — but Kronman explained that Yale is hardly playing catch up.
“Every program that is established, every initiative at the Yale Law School is undertaken with the ambition to be the very best in the world,” Kronman said. “We mean for this program to be a model in that regard as well.”
Student Margaret Moor, class of 2018, said “… I think it [the center] is absolutely necessary given the changing relationship between the United States and states in the Middle East.”