Graduates of Brandeis University will be getting their final lecture from an Arab prince noted in the international community for his commitment to fostering understanding among Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz said he chose Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan as this year's commencement speaker and as an honorary degree recipient because he is ''a standard bearer for religious tolerance, human rights, and religious peace."
''He's setting a very important example for others to follow. He's a leading advocate of interfaith dialogue and understanding," said Reinharz. ''He's done this for decades, and he's promoting the kind of understanding that we aspire to at Brandeis."
El Hassan is noted as an intellectual as well as a statesman. The prince graduated with a degree in Oriental studies from Oxford University. He is the author or co-author of several books, beginning with 1979's ''A Study on Jerusalem" and more recently a 2003 book based on a series of interviews with Italian writer Alain Elkann, ''To Be a Muslim: Islam, Peace and Democracy."
El Hassan was heir to Jordan's throne for more than 30 years until 1999, when the line of succession passed to the present King Abdullah II.
In 1994, he founded Jordan's Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, conceived as a place to study the Christian and Jewish traditions in the Arab world and now geared toward worldwide interfaith cooperation.
He is also moderator of the World Conference on Religion and Peace and heads the Club of Rome, an international think tank.