REPORT: Top journalism school Northwestern partners with Al Jazeera, owned by Qatar

  • Since 2012, Northwestern’s journalism school has accepted roughly $340 million in donations which have come through the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit group with links to terrorism.
  • In 2008, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism partnered with the Qatari government-owned media company Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, to create a satellite campus in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Northwestern University received more than $340 million from the country of Qatar from 2012 to 2019 as it operated a campus in the Middle Eastern country and continued a years-long collaboration with Al Jazeera, a media outlet owned by the Qatari government.  

That's according to a 2019 Clarion Project report, which found that Al Jazeera and Northwestern University formed a relationship in 2008 when the Qatar Foundation, which the Clarion Project alleges of being linked to terrorism, funded a Northwestern campus in Qatar. 

"It is stunning that American universities are willing to partner with anti-American propaganda sites like Al Jazeera."   

Northwestern, one of the top journalism schools in the U.S., partnered with Al Jazeera in an agreement to conduct "joint research and strategic studies projects, training workshops, a co-designed lecture series, internships, and faculty contributions as well as journalist-exchange programs," according to a Memorandum of Understanding published in 2013. 

“The relationship between Northwestern University and Al Jazeera began in 2008 when the Qatar Foundation, a 'charity' linked to terrorism and controlled by the Qatari regime, funded the establishment of a campus in Qatar for Northwestern University (NU-Q)," the report states.

[RELATED: Harvard, Yale under federal investigation for shady foreign gifts]

According to Alex VanNess, a research analyst for the Clarion Project, foreign influence in higher education "is muddying the waters on issues relating to national security and relating to our relationships with our allies and it's being done so by governments and entities that don't have things like freedom of speech and are generally antagonistic to America and the American government."

Furthermore, the report stated, “Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, which is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbyists, think-tanks and U.S. universities to influence American public opinion and policy so it can get away with aiding and supporting Al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Qatar is among the several countries that has allegedly given millions of dollars to American higher education institutions. The U.S. Department of Education has opened multiple investigations into those institutions for allegedly not properly disclosing those gifts to the federal government. Northwestern is not currently one of the universities under investigation.

[RELATED: US colleges received millions from China, Russia, Saudia Arabia… and didn’t report it]

In a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos said that taxpayers deserve to know if colleges and universities are accepting foreign gifts.

“If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom. Moreover, it’s what the law requires. Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all. We will continue to hold colleges and universities accountable and work with them to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent, as required by the law.”

Dan Gainor, vice president of the Media Research Center's TechWatch, said that it is "stunning" that Al Jazeera partners with Northwestern.

"It is stunning that American universities are willing to partner with anti-American propaganda sites like Al Jazeera. Northwestern claims it gives students a chance to work with 'leading media industry professionals.' That gives the impression that Al Jazeera is somehow a neutral news organization. That’s simply not accurate," Gainor said.

Campus Reform previously reported that the Department of Education also launched an investigation into “Harvard and Yale’s undisclosed foreign gifts.” In fact, “more than $140 million dollars in funding from China to 48 universities and 281 contracts have gone undisclosed. About $500,000 in funding from Russia to New York University went undisclosed in 2018. And over $70 million dollars in funding from Saudia Arabia to 19 universities and 193 contracts have gone undisclosed.”

In 2019, Campus Reform reported how Georgetown University and Texas A&M University came under investigation for their alleged failures to disclose foreign gifts from Qatar, amounting to millions of dollars that were unreported.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan



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Ashley Carnahan
Ashley Carnahan | California Campus Correspondent

Ashley Carnahan is a California Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. She is student at the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Russian. Ashley is also a member of Berkeley's Turning Point USA chapter.

20 Articles by Ashley Carnahan