Exchange Scholars at the Supreme Court
At a time when it is crucial to establish good relations with moderate voices in the Islamic world, the Washington based non-profit, World Leadership Program Institute, worked to establish an exchange of scholars between Egypt’s preeminent Islamic University, Al Azhar and young theological students from many faiths in America.That program was to be established at the University of Michigan. After signing contracts to host the exchange program, University officials abruptly pulled out of the agreements at the last minute, leading organizers to scramble to move the program to Georgetown University. Organizers were able to pull off a successful conference at Georgetown but the last minute scramble and additional expenses soured the relationship between the non-profit and the sponsor so what was supposed to be an ongoing exchange program became a one-and-done conference. The University of Michigan still pocketed approximately $300,000 despite pulling out of the agreements.
The World Leadership Program Institute has filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan officials who sabotaged the program, alleging breach of contract and fraud.
The exchange program showed great promise and was supported by senior White House officials. The Los Angeles Times wrote about the conference;
Other Islamic scholars at prominent American Universities expressed their hopes for such exchange programs;
The World Leadership Program Institute alleges in their press release that;
The court will decide what responsibility these University officials have for the failure of this promising initiative but the world would have been better off had it succeeded in improving relations between these very important religious faiths.