“Omani people … I will work as quickly as possible to make you live happily in a better future … Each of you must help in this duty … Our country was in the past famous and powerful, and if we work in unity and cooperation, we will restore our past again and reach the prestigious place in Arab world”.
Through the aforementioned words, late Sultan Qaboos bin Said addressed the Omani people in his first speech after he took over the throne of the Sultanate on 2 July 1970.
From this date until his death, in January, Qaboos worked to fulfil this promise of massive reforms and achievements in various political, economic, military, social, and cultural fields.
For 50 years, Qaboos was the founder of renaissance in Oman, his rule was characterised by wisdom, and resulted in a balanced policy that was rarely present in the world.
Qaboos was born on 18 November 1940 in Salalah city as the only son of Sultan Saeed bin Taimur bin Faisal Al Said. He received primary and secondary education in Salalah, and in September 1958 his father sent him to the United Kingdom where he continued his education in a private school.
In 1960, he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he spent two years, which is the prescribed period for training, there he studied military science and graduated with the rank of second lieutenant, then joined a battalion operating in the Federal Republic of Germany at the time for six months.
Afterwards, he returned to the United Kingdom where he received training in management style in the local government, he also completed specialised courses in administration and state organisation affairs.
Then, he made a 3-month tour around the world, during which he visited many countries.
After returning to his country, he deepened for six consecutive years in the study of the Islamic religion, and everything related to Oman’s history and civilisation.
This study had a great impact in expanding awareness of his responsibilities and granted him the opportunity to know many political and philosophical ideas of many thinkers who shaped the world.
Qaboos had wide interests, as this was demonstrated in his great and continuous support for many cultural projects locally and internationally, whether through UNESCO or other regional and international organisations.
Moreover, Qaboos was interested in changing Oman to an advanced state while preserving the identity of Oman, and in this context, Qaboos’ interest in culture was the most prominent thing in his rule.
Among the most prominent of his projects in Oman are Sultan Qaboos Encyclopaedia of Arabic Names, as well as some projects of Al-Azhar University, the Gulf University and a number of Arab and international universities and scientific centres, in addition to the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation, which is provided every two years through UNESCO.
Qaboos transferred Oman from the traditional tribal rule to the systemic democratic rule, by establishing the state’s advisory council, and after several years he replaced it with the Shura Council, whose members represent all regions.
The Shura council is an advisory entity supervised by a higher executive body known as the Oman Council.
One of the most important achievements of Sultan Qaboos is that he established a government based on democracy, so he began to form an executive authority consisting of an administrative body that includes the cabinet and various ministries, in addition to the administrative and technical departments and specialised councils.
Sultan Qaboos clarified the main lines of his foreign policy, and stated that it is based on good-neighbourliness, non-interference in their internal affairs, friendly relations with other countries of the world, stressing positive neutrality.
Unprecedented Local Development
Locally, he established schools in all parts of the country, built a large numbers of hospitals, clinics and medical centres in all parts of Oman and provided them with all their needs of doctors, equipment, tools, and medicine, and expanded oil production, in addition to cement factories, fish canning factories, dates, and other products.
Sultan Qaboos encouraged farmers and worked on developing agricultural methods and transferring them from old traditional methods to modern methods that rely on modern machinery and equipment, so the country produced all the food it needs; wheat, vegetables, fruits,… etc., and exports the surplus its need fresh or after packaging it to neighbouring countries.
Sultan Qaboos has also achieved his country’s cooperation with the rest of the Arab Gulf countries in the common defence field and in achieving various economic projects.
Taha Sakr is a political affairs journalist and news reporter, with seven years of experience in TV and newspapers. Sakr’s works featured in Daily News Egypt, Cairo Post, and Egypt Independent.