Prince Al-Walid Accepts Award

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2005 | Go to article overview

Prince Al-Walid Accepts Award


Before accepting ADC's Global Achievement Award, Prince Al-Walid bin Talal Al Saud, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, gave remarks that were broadcast nationally on C-SPAN and which earned him a standing ovation. A nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, Prince Al-Walid has business interests around the world, in companies such as Disney World, Citibank and Fox News. The prince has also donated millions of dollars to humanitarian causes, including aid for tsunami victims.

A month after 9/11, Al-Walid tried to give $10 million to the City of New York to help in the cleanup and to assist the families of 9/11 victims. He also tried to give Americans some hard-to-hear advice: "We must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack [on the World Trade Center]," the prince said. "I believe the government of the United States should reexamine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause."

After hearing Al-Walid's frank advice, New York's then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned the prince's check. So instead of donating to American victims of terrorism, Prince Al-Walid gave the $10 million to Palestinian victims, to build three hospitals and clinics.

Once again demonstrating his commitment to humanitarian causes, Al-Walid threw an unexpected line into his opening remarks. Referring to Abourezk's call for donations to purchase a home for ADC, he said, "James, you'll get the $2.6 million next week." Needless to say, the audience went wild.

Al-Walid went on to praise ADC for correcting Americans' unflattering views of Muslims and Arabs. "Prejudice is prejudice," he said, reminding the audience that, "All men are created equal. No other ethnic group is better than Arab Americans. All people should be able to partake of the American dream."

Speaking to Arab Americans in the audience, Al-Walid said, "You have proven that Arabs can be successful, and not only that, to be ahead of other ethnic groups." He listed statistics from the latest U. …

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