Over $10 billion has flowed from foreign entities to US universities since 2012, according to a Clarion Project review of Education Department records.
A massive amount of the funding comes from foreign governments (and government-tied entities) that run influence operations in the U.S. to try to mold public opinion and policy.
See below or click here to find out which countries have given to which universities and how much
The Department of Education is currently investigating funding from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and (presumably) other countries.
The law requires universities to disclose information about foreign gifts and “any ownership interests in or control over the institution by a foreign entity.” Yet, many concerns exist about possible gaps in the accounting.
According to our tally, published June 13, 2019, Qatar alone has provided almost $1.5 billion to U.S. universities and colleges since 2012.
In some cases, the funding comes via government-tied entities with known links to subversion, spying, terrorism and extremist ideology. For example, the terror-linked Qatar Foundation donated a jaw-dropping $33 million to Georgetown University in 2018. That’s just a single year from a single worrisome donor.
Contrary to common belief, the Department of Education records do not show all donations from foreign actors. Disclosure can be avoided with simple evasive measures.
In a previous Clarion Project expose, we showed how the Iranian regime used a well-known front to send donations to about 30 universities in the U.S. and Canada. These donations, for example, do not show up in the Education Department records of foreign funding.
We also published an expose of how the Muslim Brotherhood has successfully used a front called the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to fund, engage and train academics. The expose included a long list of professors tied to IIIT.
- IIIT is a known entity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a foreign organization sponsored by foreign governments. IIIT has been investigated and nearly prosecuted for its links to foreign terrorist groups including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IIIT is known to have received significant foreign funding.
- But, because IIIT is based in the U.S. and is (supposedly) a completely independent entity, its donations are not included in the Education Department records of foreign donations to universities and colleges.
Therefore, we must conclude that the stunning amount of foreign financing coming to U.S. universities and colleges is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since 2012, that amount disclosed to the Education Department is $10,629,930,796.
Below is a summary – country by country — of some of the nefarious governments funding American academia. These countries aren’t known for having a deep-rooted love for objective education in America.
The figures raise a vital question that the Education Department records cannot answer: What is the return on investment that these donors are getting? What is happening that makes it so worth it to them?
The government of Qatar is known for sponsoring terrorism, Islamist extremism and running some of the most extensive influence operations in America. Its influence operations run the gamut from political corruption and manipulating media outlets to funding think-tanks, activist organizations and mosques.
The Qatari regime is a top supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian wing, the violent terror group Hamas, as well as affiliates of Al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime. It also openly promotes the puritanical “Wahhabist” brand of Islam that inspires Sunni jihadists around the world.
Al-Jazeera, the most influential Islamist extremist propaganda outlet in the world, is essentially an arm of the Qatari government. Recently, Al Jazeera’s Arabic language viral video channel, AJ+ Arabic, came under fire for producing an anti-Semitic Holocaust-denial video. The video denied that exterminations took place at Nazi concentration camps and claimed that the Zionist movement was the biggest beneficiary from the Holocaust.
As we reported, the Illinois-headquartered Northwestern University has an official partnership with Al-Jazeera. The University’s Qatar-based campus is funded by a terror-linked “charity” controlled by the regime. Their joint program is, according to the university’s own published statements, designed to benefit Al-Jazeera.
Since 2012, the Qatari regime has given $1,478,676,069 to 28 universities throughout the U.S. in the form of monetary gifts and contracts.
The Qatari regime does this through the Qatar National Research Fund and its parent organization, the Qatar Foundation (QF). The Foundation is an arm of the Qatari regime, founded and led by top Qatari officials.
As we wrote in 2014 and in 2015, the “charity” has strong links to Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader and Hamas financier Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi. It named a research center in 2008 after him. The Center’s stated objective is promoting the ideology of Qaradawi.
QF covers the expenses for six U.S. universities to have campuses in the country: Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern and Georgetown at a cost of nearly $405 million per year.
Qatar clearly has something to hide. The Qatar Foundation took the highly suspicious step of courts to stop the specifics of their university contracts from being disclosed. Recently, the legal watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Zachor Legal Institute announced an investigation into Qatar’s influence at Texas A&M University.
The government of Saudi Arabia is most responsible for the worldwide spread of the puritanical, theocratic and anti-Western Salafi ideology called “Wahhabism.” The Saudi government is also known to spend lavishly on lobbying and various influence operations in the U.S.
Former CIA case officer Robert Baer, wrote in his book Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold its Soul for Saudi Crude:
“Saudi money also seeped into the bureaucracy. Any Washington bureaucrat with a room-temperature IQ knows that if he stays on the right side of the kingdom, one way or another, he’ll be able to finagle his way to feed at the Saudi trough. A consulting contract with Aramco, a chair at American University, a job with Lockheed—it doesn’t matter.
There’s hardly a living former assistant secretary of state for the Near East, CIA director, White House staffer or member of Congress who hasn’t ended up on the Saudi payroll in one way or another, or so it sometimes seems. With this kind of money waiting out there, of course Washington’s bureaucrats don’t have the backbone to take on Saudi Arabia.”
On the positive side, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) has taken steps towards reform and curtailing the Wahhabist establishment and Muslim Brotherhood within Saudi Arabia. However, there is no public record of the Saudi government curtailing the promotion of Islamist extremism in the West, nor has the Saudi government publicly disclosed the extent of its past campaigns in the U.S.
To date, the Saudi government remains a theocracy that believes that promotion of its Islamic beliefs is a religious duty. The Saudis have not publicly detailed any effort to end its spreading of its ideology in the U.S, nor have they disclosed or curtailed its other influence operations like funding universities.
Since 2012, Saudi Arabia has contributed at least $649,971,586 to 63 universities in America.
Perhaps the most impactful donations are those to Georgetown University and the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, which is part of the university’s School of Foreign Service. The institution, which was founded in 1993, took the Saudi prince’s name after he donated $20 million to the center in 2005.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire and cousin to the crown prince, is accused of being corrupt by the current Saudi government. He was detained for months in Riyadh during a crackdown on alleged corruption by wealthy and prominent figures.
The Bridge Initiative’s head, Professor John Esposito is tied to a myriad of Brotherhood-affiliated groups and served as an advisory board member for the Hamas-linked United Association of Studies and Research.
Esposito served as a witness for the defense when the U.S. Justice Department prosecuted a Brotherhood front, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, for financing the Hamas terrorist group.
He also continues to consider convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian a close friend. Although Al-Arian provided aid to terrorist groups, his biggest objective was to become integrated into the most powerful political circles in Washington D.C., both Democrat and Republican. He and his cohorts succeeded in this.
NATO “ally” Turkey is currently governed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of the Islamist party the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The party is essentially the Turkish wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Turkish government under Erdogan and the AKP has transformed Turkey, which is basically now an Islamist dictatorship and a sponsor of terrorism and extremism.
Erdogan’s government has become one of the main patrons of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and is allied with Qatar. He is also improving Turkey’s relationships with Iran and Russia at the expense of its relationships with the U.S. and other NATO members.
Turkey supports a variety of Sunni extremists, including affiliates of Al-Qaeda, and has been accused of assisting ISIS. Since 2012, Turkey has reportedly been one of the top financial supporters of Hamas, with Erdogan arranging for the transfer of $250-300 million to the terrorist group annually.
During this same timeframe, Turkey has contributed to 15 separate American universities to a tune of $37,724,394.
The Pakistani government, and especially its intelligence service (ISI), is a major sponsor of Islamist terrorism and extremism. It backs terror groups, including the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jammat ul-Fuqra, the Muslim Brotherhood and Jammat-e-Islami.
Like the other governments mentioned, Pakistan engages in bipartisan influence operations on U.S. soil to manipulate American opinion and policy-making.
Since 2012, Pakistan has contributed to five separate American universities to a tune of $4,895,309.
The U.S. government regularly condemns the Iranian regime as the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s proxies include the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, radical Shiite militias in Iraq, as well as Sunni terrorists like Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who it helps to kill American troops in Afghanistan.
Instead of direct gifts, the Iranian regime uses front groups to donate to U.S. and Canadian universities. At least one front has donated to about 30 universities in the U.S. and Canada.
The Department of Education officially records two peculiarly small gifts directly from the Iranian regime to Johns Hopkins University since 2012 for a total of only $80. The context of these two transactions is not known at this time.
The Assad dictatorship of Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism (including al-Qaeda) and a puppet of the Iranian regime.
According to the Department of Education records, Johns Hopkins University has received four monetary gifts from Syria since 2012, totaling $1,364,702.
The Iraqi government is massively influenced by the Iranian regime via corruption, trade, ideological bonds and the integration of radical Shiite militias into Iraq’s security apparatus. The influence is so subversive that there have been huge protests, including among Iraqi Shiites, against Iran in Iraq.
The Iraqi government has donated to four universities in America since 2012 a sum of $44,006,913.
The Department of Education lists the Iraqi government separately from the Kurdish Regional Government that is allied with the U.S. That sum does not include funds from our Kurdish friends.
Lebanon is strongly influenced by the Hezbollah terrorist group and, therefore, the Iranian regime.
Since 2012, Lebanon has contributed at least $5,708,001 to seven universities in America.
Of that amount, over $3.3 million was gifted to Columbia University by the Mikati Foundation, whose leaders are tied to Hezbollah.
The Mikati Foundation, also known as the Azm & Saade Association, was co-founded by billionaire brothers Taha and Najib Mikati. Najib is a former prime minister and has strong connections to Hezbollah. The Iranian proxy helped usher Mikati in as prime minister.
Though the U.S. government refers to Kuwait as an ally, the government is friendly to Islamist terrorist and extremist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliates.
In 2012, the Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said, “Our ally Kuwait has become the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria.”Since 2012, Kuwait has contributed to 17 separate American universities totaling $65,782,667.
The Palestinian Authority continues to promote acts of terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. It spends millions of dollars paying salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families who are imprisoned by Israel.
Since 2017, the Palestinian Authority has provided two monetary gifts to Harvard University totaling $1,050,000.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates is a U.S. ally that has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, including U.S.-based organizations linked to the Islamist extremist movement.
Since 2012, the UAE has given 32 American Universities a total of $230,945,101.
The Chinese government is officially communist and follows an ideology hostile to the West, leading it to support the governments of Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. China has even helped protect the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, an al-Qaeda affiliate backed by Pakistan, from the United Nations. It only relented when the UN appeased its Pakistani allies.
The Chinese government’s massive influence operations on U.S. college campuses is now getting mainstream media attention due to numerous exposes regarding China’s establishment of over 100 Confucius Institutes on campuses across the country.
The Chinese Ministry of Education uses an affiliate named Hanban to transfer this funding. Hanban provides the materials, chooses the activities, and selects the directors and teachers who oversee each Confucius Institute.
Chinese University of Hong Kong Willy Lam described the Institutes as “a base where Beijing’s experts in propaganda and united front work can ‘infiltrate’ their host universities and shape the opinion of scholars and students.”
A Chinese government official made the startling frank admission in 2011, “It [Confucius Institute] has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”
A year earlier, the Chinese propaganda minister explicitly stated that the Confucius Institutes and China-backed overseas cultural centers are part of its “international propaganda battles” to “create a favorable international environment for us.”
In February, a bipartisan Senate Homeland Security subcommittee report recommended shutting down the Confucius Institutes. The recommendation is also supported by various organizations like the National Association of Scholars and the American Association of University Professors.
The report said that the Chinese government had donated over $158 million to schools in the U.S. since 2006 for its fronts. About 70% of the schools that received $250,000 or more violated U.S. government regulations by failing to disclose the transactions to the Department of Education.
In addition, China is funding “Confucius Classrooms” in over 500 K-12 schools in the U.S., supposedly just for the purpose of teaching the Chinese language.
Since 2012, Chinese interests have given $680,273,016 to 87 separate U.S. universities in the form of gifts and contracts.
A second plank of China’s efforts to influence and infiltrate American academia can be seen in the Education Department records.
The state-controlled Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies has given $13,052,159 to U.S. universities.
Huawei Technologies is the world’s leading manufacturer of base-station equipment for 5G networks. The potential for Huawei, and therefore the Chinese government, to dominate 5G is viewed as a major security concern.
In 2012, a bipartisan House Intelligence Committee report found that Huawei creates an opportunity “for further economic and foreign espionage” from China. Last year, six U.S. intelligence chiefs, including the heads of the CIA, FBI and NSA, told the Senate Intelligence Committee they would not advise Americans to use products or services from Huawei.
Last year, Huawei’s chief financial officer was detained by Canadian law enforcement. The U.S. government has sought her extradition for Huawei’s suspected violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The Trump Administration banned U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei, citing national security risks posed by its hardware. President Trump then lifted some of the restrictions on Huawei. He most recently said his position has not changed and that the U.S. will not work with Huawei.
The largest recipients of Huawei funds include Cornell University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The University of California-Berkeley has decided to halt Huawei’s funding for research partnerships. It’s also reported that MIT has decided to revisit its relationship with Chinese technology companies due to concerns about cyber security.
Russia has an ideological strategy of trying to fuel the “the war of the extremes” in the West by intensifying political and racial tensions. Putin has also found an ally in white supremacist and anti-government movements.
In the Muslim world, Russia primarily supports the radical Shiite wing led by Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian dictatorship. However, on the Sunni side, Russia is alleged to be helping the Afghan Taliban and refuses to say that Hamas is a terrorist group. Putin is also getting closer to Turkish dictator Erdogan.
Russia has a long history of targeting U.S. universities for infiltration, influence operations and intelligence-gathering.
Since 2012, Russia has contributed to 13 separate American universities to the sum of $99,461,804.
The largest recipient of those funds was MIT with $83,358,344, more than half of which ($51.5 million) came from the Skolkovo Foundation.
The Skolkovo Foundation is a Kremlin-backed initiative and the principal agency responsible for the Skolkovo Innovation Center. MIT partnered with Skolkovo to establish the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (SkolTech).
The president of the Skolkovo Foundation is Viktor Vekselberg, who brokered the deal with MIT to create the joint institute. In 2013, the university elected Vekselberg to its board of trustees.
Last year, MIT removed Vekselberg from their board after the Treasury Department sanctioned him for facilitating Russia’s “malign activities” around the world. The U.S. government accused him of engaging in corruption in Russia’s energy sector.
Venezuela’s anti-American, Marxist regime is allied with Iran, Turkey, Russia, the Palestinian Authority and individual terrorist groups like Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Jammat ul-Fuqra. The U.S. says that the Maduro dictatorship is also in bed with Colombian narco-terrorists.
The Venezuelan regime has donated $3,311,132 to three universities in the U.S. since 2012.
These anti-Western governments have made influence operations on U.S. soil a central part of their strategies. They are looking for fertile grounds where ideological allies and malleable finds can be found and reached.
Based on these numbers, it is apparent that they have found such fertile grounds on American university and college campuses.
These governments do not have an unlimited supply of money and do not innocently have American students at the top of their priority lists. They have determined that they are receiving very valuable returns on their investments.
We don’t know what those benefits are, but it is clear that these regimes see American academia as a force multiplier for their agendas.
110 Universities Receiving Funding From the Above Countries Since 2012 (for full data, see below or click here)
Arizona State University
Saudi Arabia: $1,489,888
United Arab Emirates: $6,808,927
Saudi Arabia: $3,421,701
United Arab Emirates: $799,975
Ball State University
Saudi Arabia: $10,386,082
Saudi Arabia: $500,000
United Arab Emirates: $20,000,000
Saudi Arabia: $349,601
California Institute of Technology
Saudi Arabia: $9,177,931
Carnegie Mellon University
Saudi Arabia: $1,050,000
United Arab Emirates: $5,000,000
Colorado School of Mines
United Arab Emirates: $3,500,000
Columbia University in New York
Saudi Arabia: $5,644,467
United Arab Emirates: $330,455
Saudi Arabia: $2,579,426
Saudi Arabia: $4,310,585
Eastern Washington University
Saudi Arabia: $24,056,212
Saudi Arabia: $8,473,132
Fort Hays University
George Mason University
Saudi Arabia: $58,926,776
United Arab Emirates: $4,672,269
George Washington University
Saudi Arabia: $75,181,430
United Arab Emirates: $3,621,726
Saudi Arabia: $6,000,000
United Arab Emirates: $2,500,000
Georgia Institute of Technology
Saudi Arabia: $14,713,882
Palestinian Authority: $1,050,000
Saudi Arabia: $30,637,202
United Arab Emirates: $16,825,000
Indiana University – Bloomington
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Saudi Arabia: $1,584,048
Iowa State University School of Science & Technology
United Arab Emirates: $417,809
Saudi Arabia: $2,005,558
Johns Hopkins University
Saudi Arabia: $32,618,021
United Arab Emirates: $2,014,441
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Saudi Arabia: $83,100,000
United Arab Emirates: $9,535,725
Saudi Arabia: $8,966,944
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Missouri State University
New Jersey Institute of Technology
The New School
United Arab Emirates: $3,500,000
New York Institute of Technology
Saudi Arabia: $13,868,962
United Arab Emirates: $3,309,595
New York University
Saudi Arabia: $453,312
United Arab Emirates: $80,739,559
Saudi Arabia: $16,333,243
United Arab Emirates: $250,258
Ohio State University
United Arab Emirates: $1,066,735
Oregon State University
Saudi Arabia: $5,359,320
United Arab Emirates: $1,050,115
Pennsylvania State University
Saudi Arabia: $500,000
Saudi Arabia: $420,000
Saudi Arabia: $425,003
United Arab Emirates: $11,018,150
Saint John’s University
Saudi Arabia: $7,901,376
School of the Arts Institute of Chicago
Soka University of America
Saudi Arabia: $17,520,063
United Arab Emirates: $250,000
Stevens Institute of Technology
United Arab Emirates: $500,000
Teachers College, Columbia University
Texas A&M University
Saudi Arabia: $9,300,602
Thunderbird School of Management
Saudi Arabia: $2,769,651
Saudi Arabia: $37,896,715
University of Arizona
Saudi Arabia: $5,288,168
University of Arkansas
Saudi Arabia: $7,999,936
University of California—Berkeley
Saudi Arabia: $24,143,617
United Arab Emirates: $338,654
University of California—Davis
University of California—Irvine
Saudi Arabia: $1,320,000
University of California—Los Angeles
Saudi Arabia: $12,032,553
United Arab Emirates: $453,438
University of California—San Diego
University of California—San Francisco
University of California—Santa Barbara
Saudi Arabia: $901,528
University of Chicago
Saudi Arabia: $699,982
University of Colorado—Boulder
Saudi Arabia: $750,000
United Arab Emirates: $43,559,494
University of Colorado—Denver
University of Georgia
Saudi Arabia: $286,000
University of Houston
Saudi Arabia: $720,000
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Saudi Arabia: $280,000
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
Saudi Arabia: $29,898,072
United Arab Emirates: $1,140,803
University of Kentucky
University of Louisvile
Saudi Arabia: $291,477
University of Miami
Saudi Arabia: $2,990,157
University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
Saudi Arabia: $8,938,503
United Arab Emirates: $661,351
University of Minnesota—Twin Cities
Saudi Arabia: $674,095
United Arab Emirates: $1,498,033
University of Missouri—Columbia
University of New Hampshire
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
University of North Texas
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
Saudi Arabia: $2,403,183
United Arab Emirates: $1,716,000
University of Oregon
Saudi Arabia: $5,669,090
University of Pennsylvania
Saudi Arabia: $1,324,000
United Arab Emirates: $857,100
University of Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh
Saudi Arabia: $101,750
University of Southern California
Saudi Arabia: $25,343,601
University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
University of Texas—Arlington
University of Texas—Austin
Saudi Arabia: $3,885,104
University of Texas-Dallas
University of Utah
University of Washington—Seattle
Saudi Arabia: $10,150,738
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Saudi Arabia: $799,960
Saudi Arabia: $310,000
United Arab Emirates: $9,305,747
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Saudi Arabia: $426,054
United Arab Emirates: $850,000
Wake Forest University
Washington Adventist University
Saudi Arabia: $1,581,497
Washington University in St. Louis
Westminister Theological Seminary
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Saudi Arabia: $999,948
Saudi Arabia: $1,259,310