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Bridgeport Mayor Ganim Gives Saudi Prince Key To The City

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, right, and Saudi Prince Turki M al Saud meet for lunch in downtown Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Saudi Prince Turki M al Saud, third from left, receives the key to the city from Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, third from right. Star of Istanbul Restaurant owner Helim Yildiz, right, looks on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Saudi Prince Turki M al Saud and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim discuss the Saudi community in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Mayor Joe Ganim proclaimed Thursday His Royal Highness Prince Turki M al Saud Day in Bridgeport, presenting the visiting prince with a key to the city and gratitude for his charitable efforts in Connecticut and beyond.

“I look forward to discussing the humanitarian needs of the city of Bridgeport with you, your royal highness,” he told al Saud, shortly before sitting down to lunch at Star of Istanbul Restaurant downtown.

The prince has been in the state for about two weeks for personal and humanitarian reasons, said Yvonne Davis, a spokeswoman for Kingdom International Economic Development Corporation.

The 30-year-old non-profit works to educate and empower women and youth through entrepreneurship. al Saud assists KIEDC on international charitable initiatives to combat poverty, hunger and the effects of global disasters.

Davis said she and KIEDC leader Metashar Dillon briefed the prince on different challenges facing cities in Connecticut, one of the nation’s richest states.

“He wanted to see what is happening in the cities,” she said.

The prince visited Hartford and New Haven before arriving in Bridgeport for lunch. He is schedule to leave the U.S. this weekend, Davis said.

Ganim told the prince that Bridgeport is home to many Saudi Arabians, including several University of Bridgeport students. Davis suggested the university might like to offer the prince an honorary degree someday.

In giving al Saud a plaque featuring the key to the city, he and others wished the prince “mabrouk,” or congratulations.

“We want to open our hearts — the people of the city — to you and all you represent,” the mayor said.

Helim Yildiz, who owns Star of Istanbul, said it was an honor to have a royal prince dine in his restaurant.

“It is good, you know,” he said. “It is good for downtown and the city.”

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