New Research Reveals Qatari Proxies Funneling Billions of Dollars into Cornell Including Via Unreported Funds

Report shows Qatar donated over $1.95 billion to Cornell University campus at Doha Education City and $7.9 billion to Sidra Hospital, partly operated by Cornell

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, April 11, 2024 / — The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) today released new research uncovering previously unknown revelations about the flow of funds from Qatari foundations into Cornell University. The findings shed light on previously undisclosed channels through which billions of dollars have been directed to Cornell, raising significant concerns about transparency and foreign influence.

The research exposes the staggering scale of Qatari funding to Cornell, with over $1.95 billion USD donated directly to the university from 2001 to 2023. This makes Qatar the largest direct foreign donor to the university, some 30 times higher than the next largest, Hong Kong, which has donated just $69 million USD since 1995.

The report also includes findings showing that Qatar donated a further 7.9 billion USD to the Sidra Hospital in Doha, which is partly operated by Cornell and is a crucial component of the Cornell Weill School of Medicine – Qatar, and that Cornell failed to sufficiently report this donation to the Department of Education. Donating or investing substantial sums of money in strategic areas is a fundamental element of Qatar’s soft power strategy. The aim of these massive investments is to wield direct or indirect influence in alignment with the interests of the Qatari regime.

The findings specifically shed light on the significant influence of Qatari state proxies, such as Qatar Foundation and Qatar National Research Fund. These entities are used to mask direct Qatari government investment in US universities, as part of Qatar’s soft power strategy of buying its influence in the West. ISGAP’s research shows that the Qatari Emir and the Qatari government are directly behind the industry funneling billions of dollars into leading American universities such as Texas A&M, Georgetown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Virginia Commonwealth and others.

The report shows that the Qatar Foundation/Qatar National Research Fund, the Hamad Medical Corporation, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy stand out as the primary contributors to Cornell. Specifically, the Qatar Foundation/Qatar National Research Fund jointly contributed a total of $1,946,768,020 USD, in addition, Hamad Medical Corporation provided $1,057,161 USD, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy donated $4,174,819 USD.

Despite these significant contributions, Cornell University’s financial declarations to the Department of Education reporting system do not provide evidence of specific funds from Qatar before the start of the DoE investigation and are missing essential details regarding Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s operating budget. The lack of transparency extends to agreements with Qatar Foundation, potentially granting access to sensitive student information and intellectual property rights over research projects, as discovered by ISGAP’s November 2023 report to be the case in Texas A&M’s previous contract with Qatar.

The research also underscores broader concerns about Qatar’s influence in US higher education, as evidenced by significant investments in other prestigious universities and institutions worldwide. Qatar’s strategic approach to funding suggests efforts to advance state interests rather than purely philanthropic motives.

Dr. Charles Asher Small, Executive Director of ISGAP, said, “Cornell’s ongoing lack of transparency and potential violations of federal laws regarding Qatari funding underscore the urgent need for scrutiny. The omission of substantial Qatari grants in financial statements raises alarming questions about academic integrity and foreign influence. As proved in our previous research, antisemitic incidents are more prevalent on campuses receiving significant amounts of Qatari funding, and we therefore worry that the same is happening at Cornell, which has seen a sharp rise in antisemitism on campus since the October 7 attacks in Israel.”

In light of the findings, ISGAP has issued letters to relevant authorities calling on Cornell to close its campus at Doha Education City and expose all contracts related to the university partnership with Qatar. Earlier this month, the Board of Regents at Texas A&M decided to end the university’s 20 years partnership with Qatar and close the TAMUQ campus in Qatar.

Dr. Small continued, “I call upon all American universities to follow Texas A&M’s decision to pull out from Doha Education City. Qatar, a state that supports, funds and hosts terrorists should have no place in America’s higher education.”

Since the October 7, 2023 terrorist attacks in Israel, which resulted in over 1,200 deaths and approximately 250 kidnappings by Hamas, antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment have surged at Cornell University. Threats of violence against the Jewish community, including specific mentions of the Center for Jewish Living, have appeared online, leading to the arrest of a Cornell student. As a result, Jewish students, constituting about 22 percent of the student body, have felt compelled to prioritize their physical safety over their education. Cornell’s response to these incidents has come under scrutiny, prompting calls for comprehensive action to combat antisemitism and donors to pull funding. ISGAP is calling on Cornell to create of a serious strategy and comprehensive work plan to fight antisemitism at the university.

Cornell, along with three other top universities, faces an April 4th deadline set by the House Ways and Means Committee to respond to inquiries regarding campus antisemitism and their tax-exempt status, prompted by Rep. Jason Smith’s letters questioning their efforts and suggesting potential consequences. These letters, part of a broader investigation, demand detailed information on disciplinary actions, institutional responses, and foreign funding, underscoring the urgency for significant institutional changes to combat longstanding issues.

The full report can be accessed here.

The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) initiated the “Follow the Money” research project in 2012, focusing on the illicit funding of United States universities by foreign entities promoting anti-democratic, antisemitic ideologies, often linked to terrorism. This ongoing investigation unearthed substantial Middle Eastern funding, primarily from Qatar, to U.S. universities, previously unreported to the Department of Education (DoED) as required by law, revealing billions of dollars in unreported funds. This groundbreaking work led to a federal government investigation in 2019. ISGAP remains at the forefront of exposing and addressing these intricate issues concerning foreign funding and ideological influences within U.S. academia.

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