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BYU recognizes Sen. Bennett for support of scholarly initiative

Brigham Young University will recognize Sen. Bob Bennett's long-standing support of higher education and scholarly endeavors on Tuesday (May 8) with the presentation of several volumes of English translations of important Arabic writings.

Andrew C. Skinner, executive director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, will represent the university at Bennett's Washington, D.C., office in honoring the senator's support and friendship over the years.

Since 2005, Bennett has been instrumental in securing for the Library of Congress $750,000, which has been critical for funding the Middle Eastern Text Initiative (METI) at BYU. The project provides English translations of Middle Eastern philosophers, theologians, scientists and physicians from the Golden Age of Islam. Previously, these works had not been available in English. Bennett has requested the final $250,000 this year for the Library of Congress, which administers the funding.

Daniel Peterson, director of the METI project, said, "Senator Bennett's interest has allowed METI to achieve its broader vision of understanding between peoples that transcend religious and ethnic boundaries."

His Excellency Ambassador Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah of Kuwait added, "Kuwait is proud to be associated with the translation series at Brigham Young University . . . bridging the knowledge gap between cultures and civilizations is the first major step toward peaceful coexistence in our multi-cultural world. I would like to commend the Middle Eastern Text Initative and its noble objective."

Bennett noted, "The work done by METI not only adds to our intellectual understanding of past civilizations, it also fosters bridge-building between cultures today. Officials from Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait have publicly praised and recognized BYU's effort to bring these great scientific, philosophical and religious treasures of the Islamic world forward, and I am happy to lend my support."

James Hadley Billington, librarian of the Library of Congress who will also attend Tuesday's meeting, said, "As the former chairman of the appropriations subcommittee with oversight over Library of Congress operations, I appreciate Senator Bennett's efforts. We enjoy a close working relationship with Brigham Young University on a variety of initiatives. The translated works produced by METI are prime examples of important scholarly work done by BYU."

Since its inception in 1992, METI has published 13 volumes of English translations from Arabic or Syriac writings by important Middle Eastern philosophers, theologians, scientists and physicians. METI consists of four projects: The Islamic Translation Series, the dual-language Eastern Christian Texts, the English-only Library of the Christian East, and the Medical Works of Moses Maimonides.

For additional information please visit METI's website http://meti.byu.edu/.

Writer: Cecelia Fielding

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