Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has appointed Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz as Crown Prince and Deputy Interior Minister following the passing of Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz on Saturday. Crown Prince Salman will also retain his position as Saudi Defense Minister. Prince Salman previously served as the long-time Governor of Riyadh Region before his appointment as Saudi Defense Minister last year. Under his governorship, the Saudi capital developed from a mid-size oasis town into a major urban metropolis with a population of more than 5 million.
Prince Salman is the 25th son of the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Al Saud. He was born on 5 Shawwal 1354 A.H. [31 December, 1935], in Riyadh, and was brought up – alongside his brothers – in the Governance Palace in Riyadh, where he would accompany his father in meeting with other kings and heads of state. When he was 19, King Abdulaziz issued a royal decree appointing Prince Salman as his representative and the Emir of Riyadh on 11 Rajab 1373 A.H. [17 March, 1954], whilst he was appointed Governor of Riyadh Region at the rank of minister on 25 Shaban 1374 A.H. [19 April, 1955], returning to the Riyadh palace where he was born and grew up, but this time as the governor of the second-largest province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In addition to his position as Governor of Riyadh Region, Prince Salman has held a number of important positions within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including; Chairman of the Arriyadh Development Authority, Higher Commissioner of Development of Diriyah, Chairman of the King Fahd National Library, Chairman of the King Abdulaziz Foundation, Secretary-General of the King Abdulaziz Islamic Foundation, Honorary President of the Prince Salman Social Center, Honorary Chairman of the Riyadh Development Company, Chairman of the Riyadh Charity Association, Honorary Chairman of the Patient Friend Committee in Riyadh Province, Chairman of the Bin Baz Benevolent Project for Assisting Youth to Marry, Chairman of the Prince Salman Charity Housing Project, Chairman of the Riyadh Charity Science Organization, Chairman of the Orphan Care Association in Riyadh Region, Chairman of the Renal Failure Patients organization in Riyadh Region, and honorary chairman of the Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Baz Charity Organization, amongst others.
For 57 years, Prince Salman led the development of the Saudi capital Riyadh, which is one of the fastest growing cities in the Arab world with a population of more than 5 million people today. In less than half a century, Prince Salman transformed the Saudi capital from a small oasis town deep within the new Kingdom into a thriving metropolis, one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East. In fact, Riyadh today has a political, social, and economic impact and influence not just locally or regionally, but also globally, and this is all thanks to Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz.
There are more than 5 million people living in Riyadh today, Saudis and non-Saudis, Arabs and non-Arabs, whilst in 1862 the city had a population of less than 8,000. Estimates indicate that by 2020 the population of Riyadh may grow to more than 10 million. Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz led and supervised the Saudi capital, and indeed the entire Riyadh region, during a difficult period of growth and development which resulted in huge achievements being made.
Prince Salman was succeeded as Governor of Riyadh in 2011 by Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz, upon his appointment as Saudi Defense Minister, following the death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz. He has concluded a number of major deals since his appointment as Saudi Defense Minister, continuing to strengthen the Kingdom’s military and strategic ties with foreign allies.
As far as being recognized for his achievements, Crown Prince Salman has been awarded a number of international decorations and awards thanks to his political, humanitarian, social and cultural efforts.
Prince Salman holds the highest national award, namely the King Abdul Aziz Medal – First Class. He was also presented with the Paris Millennium Medal by French President Jacques Chirac in 1985. King Hussein II of Morocco awarded Prince Salman the Medal of Philosophy in 1989 in Casablanca.
In 1995, the new Saudi Crown Prince was awarded the Handicapped Children’s Society Prize in Saudi Arabia in recognition for his humanitarian works, whilst in 1997 he received the Golden Star of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Presidential Medal of Bosnia and Herzegovina for his support for the country, as well as his humanitarian support for victims of racism in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Also in 1997, Crown Prince Salman was awarded the UN Shield for his efforts to reduce world poverty. In 1998, he was awarded the Al-Quds Star by President Arafat of Palestine in recognition for his extraordinary work – characterized by courage and sacrifice – in serving the Palestinian people.
In addition to the awards from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Palestine, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz has also been awarded a number of national awards by many countries across the world. He was awarded the Order of Sikatuna – the highest Philippine award – by Philippines President Joseph Estrada in Manila in 1999. He was awarded this award in recognition to his active and effective support for humanitarian activities and charitable organizations, as well as his efforts to increase understanding of Islamic culture, as well as his efforts and friendship towards the Philippine people, particularly the Philippine community in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Salman was also awarded the highest national award from Senegal in 1999 by former Senegalese President Abdou Diouf. In 2001, the newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince was awarded the Emblem of the Union of Yemen – Second Class, by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, during a visit to Aden.
King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, granted Prince Salman the Baden-Powel Scouting Fellowship in 2008, whilst he was also awarded the Bahrain Award for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC].
He was awarded the 2009 Special Olympics Award by the Regional Presidency of International Special Olympics for the Middle East and North Africa in appreciation for his efforts in the service of Saudi Arabia’s disabled community, as well as his support for scientific and medical research in the field of disability.
Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mustafa Ceric, awarded Crown Prince Salman the Bosnian Medal – First Class in 2010 in recognition of his role in the service of Islam and Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
As for local honors, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz was the recipient of an honorary doctorate in the arts from Umm Al-Qura University in 2008 in recognition of his role in the arts.
In 2010, the Islamic University in Delhi awarded Prince Salman an honorary doctorate in recognition for his charitable work and his commitment to education, as well as his unique role as a statesman. He was also awarded the ‘Kant” medal by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences in the same year, for his contribution to the field of science.
In 2011, Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz was awarded an honorary doctorate in Saudi national history from the Islamic University in Medina for his outstanding efforts to maintain and preserve Saudi history, as well as for his role in various fields.
As far as his philanthropic activities, Crown Prince Salman has played a major role in supporting organizations and committees in Saudi Arabia and abroad. In 1956, he served as Chairman of the Donation Committee for People Afflicted by the Suez War, as well as Chairman of the Primary Committee for Donations for Algeria. Prince Salman also served as Chairman of the Public Committee for Helping the Families of Jordanian Martyrs in 1967, as well as Chairman of the Public Committee for Helping the Palestinian People. In 1973, he served as Chairman of a number of important public committees, including the Committee for Helping Afflicted Pakistanis, in the wake of the India – Pakistan war, as well as the Committee for Supporting Egyptian Military Efforts and the Committee for Supporting Syrian Military Efforts, in the wake of the 1973 war with Israel.
In 1980, Prince Salman served as Chairman of the Public Association for Receiving Donations for Afghan Fighters. In 1988, the newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince served as Chairman of the Local Committee for Helping People Afflicted by Floods in Sudan, whilst in 1989 he served as Chairman of the Local Committee for Gathering Donations for the Democratic Republic of Yemen. He served as Chairman of the Local Committee for Providing Aid, Support and Assistance to Kuwaitis following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Prince Salman also served as Chairman of the Local Committee for Receiving Donations for People Afflicted by Floods in Bangladesh in 1991. In 1992, he served as Chairman of the Executive Association for Gathering Donations for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also served as Chairman of the Executive Association for Gathering Donations for People Afflicted by the Egypt Earthquake in the same year. Between 1985 and 1992, Crown Prince Salman served as Executive Chairman of the “Saudi Arabia: Yesterday and Today” fair, which was held in a number of Arab and European countries, in addition to the US and Canada. Whilst in 2000, he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for Gathering Donations for the Jerusalem Intifada in Riyadh Governorate.
Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz is also strongly interested in cultural, health, and social affairs, and has played a strong role in this field. Since 1956, Prince Salman had headed a number of charity associations and organizations both inside the Kingdom and abroad, whilst he has also sponsored and supported numerous major cultural and charitable projects. He is presently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Riyadh Charity Association for Sciences, which has ties to the Prince Sultan University and the Prince Salman Science Oasis. He is also the Chairman of the Prince Salman Award for Memorization of the Holy Quran for Boys and Girls at the national level. Crown Prince Salman is also the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research.
Prince Salman also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Prince Fahd Bin Salman Charity Association for Renal Failure Patients, Honorary Chairman of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, Honorary Chairman of the Prince Salman Center for Kidney Diseases, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Prince Salman Charitable Housing Association, General Supervisor of the King Fahd National Library, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the History Center for Mecca and Medina. He is also Honorary Chairman of the Hamad al-Jasser Charity Association, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Award for Young Businessmen and Honorary Chairman of the Saudi Historical Association.
As he embarks on his new challenging path, the people of Saudi Arabia are confident that Prince Salman will bring the professionalism, expertise and wisdom that he is known for to his new posts as Saudi Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister.