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A great loss

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan

The loss of a towering figure such as His Highness King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud will be felt across the Arab and Islamic world, and the news of his demise was received with much sadness. His death is not only a great loss for Saudi Arabia, but also for the rest of us in the Gulf, who looked up to him as a father figure. The late king continued the development of the country and took major steps towards its future generations. However, his contributions reached far beyond his kingdom, as he was a man known for his generosity and loyalty.

The achievements I would like to highlight the most are those in education. King Abdullah's reign saw the development of over 28 universities and various educational research centers. These vast educational facilities will surely pave the future of Saudi Arabia, led by his eponymous university that has spared no expense and effort to develop the sciences in the country.

King Abdullah was adamant on the education of the Saudi youth, to the extent that he nearly quadrupled the number of Saudi students studying abroad on government grants. He wanted them to experience different cultures and broaden their minds to ensure that these leaders of the future are progressive in their outlook and help the kingdom reach greater heights.

King Abdullah's name will always be remembered in Kuwait for his courageous stance against Saddam's invasion of the state in 1990. King Abdullah was the crown prince at the time, and so great was his outrage and eagerness to stand with Kuwait that he was ready to push Saudi Arabia into a lone, suicidal war against Iraq if the international community was not willing to take action.

In recent years, the late king was a bedrock of stability in a volatile region, with his firm stances on political issues and forward thinking on social matters. A simple man with simple tastes, King Abdullah devoted his life in serving his people and Arab and Muslim causes. He greatly expanded pilgrimage sites in the kingdom, eradicated the scourge of terrorism and encouraged citizens, especially women, to effectively contribute to the society.

King Abdullah has departed this world, but he has left behind a legacy that is inspiring and lasting.

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This article was published on 23/01/2015