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The Barbra Streisand Institute is officially a go at UCLA as the showbiz icon has committed an undisclosed sum to fund research dedicated to four “societal challenges” she’s most passionate about, from climate change to disinformation.
“While it’s easy to reflect on the past, I can’t stop thinking about the future and what it holds for our children, our planet and our society,” Streisand said in a statement. “The Barbra Streisand Institute at UCLA will be an exploration into vital issues that affect us all … and the fact that my father, Emanuel Streisand, was an educator makes this Institute even more meaningful to me.”
The four research centers of the Barbra Streisand Institute include the Center for Truth in the Public Sphere, the Center for the Impact of Climate Change, the Center for the Dynamics of Intimacy and Power Between Women and Men and the Center for the Impact of Art on the Culture. These centers will be housed in UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences until the formal establishment of the institute, which is expected when the full gift amount is received. No timetable was given.
What was revealed is that the first area of study and advocacy will focus on truth with research aimed at investigating “urgent and existential threats to democracy,” including “how lies and the proliferation of disinformation can destroy a civic sense of decency, as well as entire countries,” per today’s press release.
“It is my great pleasure to be able to fund an institute at UCLA, one of the world’s premier universities,” Streisand added. “This will be a place where future scholars can discuss, engage and argue about the most important issues of the day; where innovators will speak truth to power, help save our planet and make glass ceilings for women an anachronism; and in the process give us a chance to have a brighter, more promising future.”
Said UCLA chancellor Gene Block: “Building upon her decades of work as an artist and activist, Barbra Streisand’s visionary act of generosity will enable UCLA scholars from many different fields to collaborate on research that will move society forward.”
“This incredible gift will have an impact on our university for generations, and it is an auspicious moment for us to mark the second century for UCLA,” said Dr. Eric Esrailian, a UCLA faculty member who serves as co-chair of the Second Century Council and is said to be a longtime friend of Streisand’s. Esrailian will also collaborate on programming for the Barbra Streisand Institute.
The launch of the institute extends a long-term partnership Streisand has with UCLA following the 1984 establishment of the Streisand Chair in Cardiology, and the 2014 creation of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program. The noted philanthropist and activist has also supported cardiovascular research and education at Cedars-Sinai since 2007. In 2012, the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai was renamed in her honor.
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