Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, says he is giving $10bn (£5bn) to set up an educational foundation in the Middle East.
The money is meant to improve the standard of education and research in the region, and aims to stimulate job creation, Sheikh Mohammed said.
It is thought to be one of the largest charitable donations in history.
At the moment, he explained, there was high illiteracy in the region – where more than 40% of Arab women cannot read or write. The whole Arab world publishes fewer books than the country of Turkey.
And spending on scientific research is only a tiny fraction of that in developed countries.
“There is a wide knowledge gap between us and the developed world in the West and in Asia. Our only choice is to bridge this gap as quickly as possible, because our age is defined by knowledge,” the sheikh said.
I am ecstatic beyond belief in regards to this donation. I used to live in the U.A.E and although I went to a private school, I would always wonder why there were no libraries or bookshops that my friends and I could go to? Was the country purposely trying to keep it’s citizens illiterate? Being that most women would barely finish high school it was and is a serious issue. I am so happy for them!
“The only difference between where you are right now, and where you’ll be next year at this time, are the people you meet and the books you read”-
To Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum:
JAZAKALLAH KHAIR! (“May God grant you what is good.” )