UCF to have first endowed chair in Kurdish political studies
A Washington, D.C., neurosurgeon who leads the Washington Kurdish Institute has donated $600,000 to the University of Central Florida to create the nation's first endowed professorship in Kurdish political studies. State matching funds are expected to boost the endowment to $1.02 million.
Dr. Najmaldin Karim (left) said in a news release that the chair "will offer a new opportunity for the academic study of Kurdistan and the Kurds in the United States. ... UCF is shaping a leadership position in Middle Eastern studies, and a Kurdish Political Studies chair can only increase the breadth of its programming."
The school's growing attention to Middle East studies has led special assistant to the president John Bersia to make the connections that have allowed for such contributions. Earlier this year, the university announced the establishment of The India Program supported by Indian businessman Anil Deshpande, focusing on that nation's politics, technology, community, culture and religion.
"Dr. Karim's generous gift will allow UCF to continue to expand our global focus and help our community gain a better understanding of an ancient culture that has gained new stature in the Middle East," UCF President John Hitt said in the news release.