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February 1, 2000
Bobst Foundation Gift to Establish Center for Peace and Justice
PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 1 -- Princeton University today announced that a $10 million gift from the Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst Foundation will be used to create the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, a new academic center at the University. The Center will be devoted to advancing the causes of peace, of mutual understanding and respect for all ethnic traditions and religious faiths, and of justice, both within countries and across national borders.
The gift will support the programs of the Center as well as renovations of the historic collegiate gothic building at 83 Prospect Street, which will serve as the Center's home. The Center will begin its activities at the start of the 2000-2001 academic year.
As an arm of Princeton's Department of Politics, the Center will sponsor a wide variety of scholarly activities for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty drawn from nations and ethnic groups around the world. The headquarters of the new Center, to be named Bobst Hall, is envisioned as a place where students and faculty can meet for seminars and conferences concerned with issues of ethnic, religious and territorial conflict. The Center also anticipates having officials from different countries come to reflect on social and political problems and forge new strategies for resolving difficult conflicts.
"We are grateful for this generous gift," said Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro, "and we are hopeful that this new center will play a meaningful role in securing more equitable and harmonious relationships among all peoples of the 21st century."
Mamdouha S. Bobst was born in Lebanon. An expert in public health, she served on Lebanon's delegation to the United Nations before marrying Elmer Bobst in 1961.
Mr. Bobst, who died in 1978, was chairman of Warner Lambert and an architect of the modern pharmaceutical industry.
"It is my profound hope that the young people who study at the Center and participate in its programs will lead the way," said Mrs. Bobst, "whether as leaders in different parts of the world or as teachers and thinkers who bring new insights to age-old social and political problems."
Among its many activities, the Bobst Center will sponsor seminars and workshops on various conflicts and strategies for reconciliation; provide fellowships for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty to carry out research on pressing issues; and offer officials involved in current conflicts a place for calm thinking, informal discussion and, perhaps, development of new approaches to peaceful resolutions. Appropriate subjects for study in the Center would include, for example: the Middle East or Northern Ireland peace processes, which would be analyzed for factors that can be applied to other religious or cultural conflicts; the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, which could yield strategies that would be useful in reducing tensions with other groups in India and neighboring states; and recent peace-keeping efforts by the United Nations, in search of lessons to be applied in future missions.
The Bobst Foundation was established by Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst to promote initiatives ranging from medical research to cultural programs to higher education. Its gift helps achieve one of the goals of the Anniversary Campaign for Princeton. The Campaign, which ends on June 30, 2000, was launched in 1995 to bring the University into the 21st century with new resources for teaching, research and campus life.