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Ibn Abdul Aziz.
Five Decades of Service to Country and People
For some five decades, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz has been closely involved in the profound changes that have taken place in Saudi Arabia, working with five Kings as they successfully brought about far-reaching socioeconomic development while preserving and strengthening the foundations of Saudi society - commitment to Islam and Arab heritage.
Under the guidance of his elder brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, who appointed him Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister in 1982, Crown Prince Abdullah has assisted in the implementation of the country's series of development plans and in King Fahd's efforts to ensure the nation's peace and prosperity as well as serving Islam and the Muslim community.
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Born in Riyadh in 1924, Crown Prince Abdullah received his early education at the royal court. Growing up around his legendary father, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, who was at that time involved in the successful effort to unify the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah demonstrated early on an abiding commitment to Islam and a keen interest in Arab history, culture and traditions.
Like King Abdul Aziz's other sons, he was tutored by scholars in Islam and Arab history and underwent the rigorous training that the King demanded of all of them. To develop the physical and mental strength of his sons, King Abdul Aziz is quoted as saying: "I train my own children to walk barefoot, to rise two hours before dawn, to eat but little, to ride horses bareback" and to study the Holy Qur'an, the Sunnah (teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) and Arab history. As they came of age, the Crown Prince and his brothers spent much time in their father's daily majlis, meetings where any citizen could approach the King and discuss a grievance or concern. In this way, they learned the intricacies of statesmanship and the art of communicating with people.
To develop a strong bond with the people, a deep respect for their heritage and understanding of their aspirations, King Abdul Aziz required that his sons spend time with the bedouins in the desert.
The years Crown Prince Abdullah spent living with the tribes instilled in him a respect for their values of honor, simplicity, generosity and bravery and strengthened his desire to serve the people.
Crown Prince Abdullah's close association with the affairs of government and the people continued after King Abdul Aziz passed away. He acted as advisor to King Saud Ibn Abdul Aziz and later to King Faisal Ibn Abdul Aziz and was deeply involved in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.
In 1962, Crown Prince Abdullah was appointed to command the Saudi National Guard, which was formed from the descendants of bedouins who were King Abdul Aziz's followers during the years he was working to establish the modern Kingdom. Given his knowledge of the tribes of Saudi Arabia and their heritage, which was accumulated over years of close association with the tribal elders and members, Crown Prince Abdullah's appointment to this position proved to be particularly appropriate.
Over the following years, Crown Prince Abdullah worked tirelessly to modernize the National Guard and make it a potent force committed to the preservation of the Kingdom's peace and security. He supervised the establishment of military and technical schools with a view to modernizing the force, as well as the establishment of hospitals, clinics and housing facilities for guard members and their families.
On the succession of King Khalid Ibn Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah was appointed to the prestigious position of Second Deputy Prime Minister, while retaining his command of the National Guard. In 1982, King Fahd appointed him to the role of Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince, appointing Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz as Second Deputy Prime Minister.
With his appointment to the position of Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, Crown Prince Abdullah intensified his involvement in the ongoing national development program, as well as with the Kingdom's foreign relations. At the side of King Fahd, Crown Prince Abdullah became intimately involved in major foreign policy issues, such as Saudi Arabia's relations with Arab, Islamic and other countries, its efforts to resolve crises, including the civil war in Lebanon, the factional fighting in Afghanistan, the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Middle East peace process.
As King Fahd's emissary, Crown Prince Abdullah has represented the Kingdom at various international conferences, including summit meetings of member states of the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Non-Aligned Movement. He has met with world leaders in Saudi Arabia and conducted state visits to other countries, including the United States in 1976 and 1987.
In recent years, he has undertaken visits to Egypt, Syria and Jordan in an attempt to restart the stalled Middle East peace process and to promote Arab unity and cooperation. Crown Prince Abdullah has stepped up the frequency and duration of his visits to various parts of the Kingdom. Just this year, he undertook visits to Asir, Taif and Al-Baha, in the western part of the Kingdom, to inaugurate universities, dams, power generation plants and other development projects.
|While performing all these duties, Crown Prince
Abdullah has steadfastly supported efforts to preserve Saudi Arabia's
rich heritage. As chairman of the organizing committee for the
Jenadriyah National Culture and Heritage Festival, he has overseen the
two-week festival held annually since 1985 to promote a greater respect
for and a deeper understanding of Saudi Arabia's rich past, its dynamic
present and its promising future.
Throughout his life, Crown Prince Abdullah has retained a love of the desert, which is reflected in his patronage for equestrian clubs, the Crown Prince's Camel Race and other activities associated with the bedouins. He also has developed a passion for knowledge and reading. He has established two libraries, the King Abdul Aziz Library in Riyadh and one in Casablanca, Morocco.
After decades of public service in positions of importance, Crown Prince Abdullah is today recognized, not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Arab and Islamic worlds, as a leader dedicated to ensuring his country's continued future development while preserving past achievements.