On behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, H E Dr Rawiyah bint Saud al Busaidiyah, received the University of Cambridge Medal for Excellence in supporting charity. The medal was presented by Lord Sainsbury, chancellor, Cambridge University, on the 800th anniversary of the university.
This medal is in recognition and appreciation for the efforts of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the education sector and for his contributions at the international level. The award also reflects the spotless international reputation of His Majesty the Sultan.
The award was presented at the ‘Second seminar on Sultan Qaboos Scientific Chairs’ held from November 12-14 under the theme, ‘Leading Contributions in Middle East Studies.’ The chair was supervised by the Ministry of higher Education in cooperation with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). Dr Jennifer Barnes, vice-chancellor for international strategy, expressed deep gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for creating two chairs at Cambridge University.
The seminar, which started on November 12, was attended by H E Dr Rawiyah, H E Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud al Busaidi, Secretary- General of the Foreign Ministry; Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al Hinai, Oman's Ambassador to the United Kingdom and a number of professors of the university. Lord Sainsbury highlighted the importance of scientific chairs and their roles.
H E Dr Rawiyah said that the close and long relationship between the sultanate and the University of Cambridge paved the way to found two Sultan Qaboos scientific chairs – one for contemporary Arabic studies in 2005 and one for the Abrahamic religions and common values in 2011.
The importance of these scientific projects is highlighted in its contribution to the development of interreligious understanding and finding solutions to many of the events resulting from misunderstandings and cultural distortion. Dr Rawiyah referred to the long tradition of knowledge in the sultanate, as the country has a long history of cooperation with Europe, America, Asia and Africa. She said that the sultanate believes that it has a role to play in improving the development of complex cultural and historical relations between all nations, especially the relations between Muslim and non-Muslim world.
She added that the chairs symbolise the effort towards a rapprochement and understanding between cultures and civilisations of the world. Dr Rawiyah said that the seminar is a followup of the first seminar held at SQU in 2010, which agreed to conduct seminars in universities that host Sultan Qaboos chairs.
H E Busaidi highlighted the historical ties binding the sultanate and the UK. He said that current global events and crisis on the economic, political and cultural fronts in the Middle East underlines the importance of this event.
He said that Oman’s diplomacy has managed to have a special framework, which is based on dealing with events at regional and international levels through dialogue. The opening ceremony also included a film on the scientific chairs situated in educational institutions around the world.
The film explained their roles since the establishment of the first chair at Georgetown University in the United States in 1980 to the latest Sultan Qaboos Chair of Middle East Studies at the College of William and Mary in the United States in 2011.
The seminar witnessed presentation of papers on Shariah law in Europe, on the principles while reading the Q'uran and on the emergence of lawyers in Egypt in ancient times. Habib bin Mohammed al Riyami, Secretary General of Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science, gave an overview about the centre.