Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Qataris to the rescue in New Orleans

Qatar also donated over $17 million to Xavier University, the nation's only historically black Catholic institution.

Folks, this is sort of dated but I heard it in NPR last Sunday, along with an interview with the Qatari ambassador, who was "making the rounds" in New Orleans to identify more needs that his government may be able to satisfy. According to The New York Times:
Qatar Grants Millions in Aid to New Orleans
By STEPHANIE STROM

Flag of QatarThe 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-KhalifaNasser Bin Hamad M. al-Khalifa (pictured left), 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.
Read the entire piece here.

Commentary. Credit where credit is due. I have to applaud the Qataris for their help. Sure, in the interview the Qatari ambassador denied that the aid package was a "publicity stunt," and I'm inclined to believe him. I mean, $100 million buys the same publicity that $10 million would've bought in terms of attention.

The donation to Xavier University was a particular nice gesture, considering the tense international climate existing between Christians and Muslims.

So, my hat-tip goes to the Qataris on this one. Thanks, Qatar!