In May 2011, Khalaf Al Habtoor visited Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois for the opening of a leadership centre which bears his name. The Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Centre also includes the Paul Findley Congressional Office, named after his good friend and colleague – the former Congressman and author Paul Findley.
This was not the first time Mr Al Habtoor had visited the university. In 2010, he was honoured with a Doctorate of Humane Letters – in recognition of his financial support for Illinois College. At the time he also visited the Whipple Hall, which was being renovated and was later renamed the Al Habtoor Leadership Centre.
At the commencement ceremony in May, Mr Al Habtoor launched an essay writing competition for IC students, on the topic ‘Bridging the West and the Middle East’.
The students were invited to write an essay on how to develop better communication and relations between the West and the East. The winners were announced during his latest trip. The first prize was a full scholarship to Illinois College, the second – a trip to Dubai and the third – a cash prize.
The Al Habtoor Leadership Centre was set up to educate young leaders of the future. It provides lectures on leadership and includes a large library of books on the subject. It is one the few congressional offices that celebrates the life and achievements of a politician.