A symposium honoring Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdul Aziz entitled “Humanitarian and Social Aspects in the History of King Abdul Aziz,” was opened Saturday by Defense Minister Prince Salman at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh.
The event will be held from Feb. 4 through Feb. 7. It also marked the institution of the new “Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Chair for Historical and Civilization Studies of the Arabian Peninsula" at the university in honor of the defense minister.
In his speech at the symposium, Prince Salman said he was proud of the Saudi youth just as he was proud his forefathers and reminded them that they had the responsibility to maintain and develop the achievements of their forefathers with hard work.
The prince also cautioned the youth against being influenced by attempts by some quarters to divide them through media.
The defense minister said the King Saud University was established and developed under his responsibility as the governor of Riyadh. “This university reminds me of our youth who are the pillars of the country and its future,” the prince stressed.
He said the Kingdom’s universities have produced large number of qualified youth in all branches of specialization and they are now in responsible positions such as ministers, judges, business leaders, military officers, rectors, doctors, scientists, economists, writers and intellectuals.
“The Saudi youth have before their eyes the historical models that highlight the sincere efforts of their fathers and grandfathers who contributed to the unification and building of the nation alongside the founder King Abdul Aziz,” the prince said.
He added that the goal of the founder from a very early age was to unite the country by providing security and stability.
Illustrating the courage and wisdom of King Abdul Aziz, the prince said the king at the age of 15 went to negotiate, at the orders of his father, with enemies who were besieging Riyadh.
“Although he had to leave Riyadh with his family at an early age he did not forget his country or people or the history of his family and relied on Almighty Allah, and, then, his devoted men to return and unite the people under the banner of justice and stability,” the prince said.
The king’s nature of forgiveness is well known and made even his bitterest enemies to become his most devoted supporters, Prince Salman said.
He said the king used to prod youth to work hard and never to be lazy. During a meeting with the first group of graduates of the Saudi Institute in Makkah the late king stressed the importance of hard work, saying, “Sons, you are the first fruits of the plants we planted in the institute. Learn as much as you can and know that knowledge without work is like a tree that does not bear fruit. Just as knowledge can help you it can also work against you.”
In his statement prior to the occasion, KSU Rector Abdullah Al-Othman said the symposium would highlight the Kingdom's march to progress under successive rulers from King Abdul Aziz through to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. It will trace the saga of progress and prosperity.
He added: "King Abdul Aziz’s fight for unification has left so many memories on humanitarian and social attitudes that occur outside the military frameworks."
On his part, Fahd Al-Sammari, secretary-general of Darah King Abdulaziz, said Prince Salman's patronage demonstrates his full support to make the chair an instrument in promoting its objectives as well as the historical aspects of civilization in the Arabian Peninsula during that period.
It will highlight civilization values and human knowledge in the Arabian Peninsula. On the last two days, the symposium will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the men’s site at Hall A7 in the College of Arts on the main campus, and the women’s activities held in Khadija Hall on the Olaysha Campus.
The symposium is being complemented by a dedicated website, which features published research papers as well as the background to the symposium’s program and capsules of the chairman of the symposium’s six sessions.
Information includes the symposium’s content and a series of main topics involving the late ruler’s personality from humanitarian and social perspectives, his humanism on the battlefield and in personal confrontations, his magnanimous treatment of opponents and numerous benevolent actions during a life that ended in 1953.
The objective of the Prince Salman chair at King Saud University is to promote and consolidate knowledge of the historical and cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula through advanced research methodologies and techniques in interpretation, analysis and deduction.
The chair’s objectives will be met through extensive research incorporated into the production and publication of books, the development of research partnerships with other national and regional historical departments and scientific centers.
The chair will also help support researchers and graduate students and recruit experts and visiting professors in similar domains for giving lectures on relevant topics. Finally, the chair will co-sponsor joint research projects with groups and will provide consultation and collected data to both private and public agencies involved in related activities.
The Prince Salman chair was launched in December 2009 through an agreement with the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) and King Saud University.
The chair organized its first workshop at the Darah headquarters in June 2010, while operations began in July 2010 at a ceremony attended by Prince Salman, Al-Othman and Al-Sammari.