MacArthur has announced a grant of $125,000 over three years to Columbia University's School of International Public Affairs in support of Gulf/2000, a web-based project that promotes international dialogue on issues relating to security in the Persian Gulf.
Gulf/2000 provides an effective tool to facilitate open communications and dialogue towards peace and security in the Middle East, said Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. This web-based project allows scholars, government officials, business leaders and others with an interest in the Gulf to share ideas and strategies in the continuing search for ways to bring stability to that region. Because of distance and politics, this is work that would be difficult, if not impossible, without the Internet.
The Gulf/2000 project, which began in 1993, is an online information clearinghouse and discussion forum about the Middle East. It provides public access to an online research library with information about the region as well as a private, members-only online discussion forum. The project began as a strategy to help reduce the threat of weapons proliferation in the region and has taken on new issues such as the growing tension between the U.S., its allies, and Iraq as the political climate changes. Gulf/2000 also commissions studies and research papers from experts in the field.
Support for Gulf/2000 was made through the Foundations General Program, which includes among its priorities support for projects in which the Foundation has an interest but which may not fall within its regular grantmaking strategies. The General Program is also the source of grants in support of public interest media made by the Foundation.