Riyadh, Asharq Al Awsat – Saudis commemorated an important phase in the history of their monarchs last week, the reign of King Saud who was the second king of the third Saudi state. This historic event took place through an informative symposium on the history of King Saud, which was organized by King Abdulaziz’s administration. The inauguration took place on the evening of Sunday 26 November and was held at the King Faisal Conference Hall in Riyadh. It was sponsored by Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the governor of Riyadh and the chairman of the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah).
The symposium documented the biography of King Saud, his attributes, achievements and the efforts undertaken during his reign. It also provided documented information that
revealed his achievements in founding the kingdom, and recounted elements related to his governance on a number of levels, including the administrative, economic, social, military, health and education fields. The country’s internal and external policy and its foreign relations with the rest of the world were also explored. Additionally, the symposium featured stories and anecdotes of King Saud, which were telling of the different aspects of his personality. Photography exhibitions that were open to the public were held at the King Abdulaziz Historic Center at the National Museum, in addition to the launch of an illustrated book and a website that features the biography, history and achievements of the late king.
A number of speeches were delivered during the ceremony by the organizers and participants of the event, including one by the sponsor of the symposium, Prince Salman who was also the one to direct a number of seminars in which the different aspects and topics related to the king’s life were tackled, including his contributions to the development of the society and its institutions. The seminars saw the participation of researchers, officials and authors from Saudi Arabia and from other Arab countries.
The King Abdulaziz administration has plans to organize a series of symposiums about Saudi kings in order to document their biographies and methods in building the country, developing society and documenting the historical phases of society with their political, economic, cultural and social aspects. Over two days (27 and 28 November), 16 sessions dedicated to the early years of King Saud and his life before and during his rule, were held featuring his achievements as well as his efforts in supporting Arab and Islamic causes, serving the Two Holy Mosques, which he reconstructed, and improving conditions for the pilgrims on the Hajj.
In a press conference held at his palace in Riyadh 25 November, Prince Mohammad Bin Saud, who is one of the late King’s sons, addressed various aspects of his father’s remarkable achievements. Prince Mohammed had assumed a number of posts during his father’s reign; he was president of the Royal Court, Minister of Defense, and was also a member of the first Council of Ministers that was formed during the reign of King Saud, and finally assumed the post of Minister of Treasury. He described the late King as kind, benevolent and compassionate, always helping the needy, in addition to full confidence in his people and extreme loyalty. He cited an example of the late king’s confidence in his people when he recounted an incident in which King Saud was told not to drink any of the milk offered by the Bedouins, men and women alike, who usually stand on the road to greet him and offer him milk as a celebratory gesture. One of the king’s assistants warned him during his visit to the southern region, saying “Do not drink this milk, perhaps they put poison in the cup,” to which the king replied, “What you have just said would never cross my mind, I cannot think that any of the people of my country would ever try to poison me one day.”
Prince Mohamed Bin Saud expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince for their noble approval for holding a session to commemorate the history of King Saud. He expressed his deep appreciation for the huge role played by Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz and for his support and inauguration of the symposium. Prince Mohamed believes that the symposium reflected the Saudi leadership concern by remembering the former kings of the country who had achieved many services for the nation and the citizens. He supported and praised the idea of establishing a special exhibition on King Saud in other provinces of Saudi Arabia, with the possibility of holding one during the National Festival for Heritage and Culture (Al Janadria).