The New York Public Library has cancelled a workshop for 300 people, after criticism from human rights groups of the event’s Saudi sponsor.

The MiSK-OSGEY Youth Forum was due to take place at the library on 23 September 2019, but the event was partly funded by the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK), the Saudi crown prince’s personal charity. The co-sponsor was UN’s Office of the secretary general’s envoy on youth (OSGEY).

UN rapporteur found in June that there is “credible evidence” linking Prince Mohmammed with the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and critics argued that the event at the library would help the prince improve his reputation abroad.

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, welcomed the decision: “With world governments and the UN unable or unwilling to hold the Saudis accountable for the gruesome murder of Khashoggi and the imprisonment and torture of other independent thinkers,” she said, “this gesture by the library is a potent way to show the Saudis that there is still such a thing as shame and our society will not countenance this brutality.”

The New York Public Library is not the only institution to cut ties with MiSK over the journalist’s murder. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pulled its funding in November 2018, while the Harvard University Extension School cancelled an agreement to reserve some of its summer school places for MiSK-sponsored students in July 2019.


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