While students are currently taking their final exams in almost every corner of the world, with the seniors most probably receiving their degrees at the end of the present academic year, Al-Alam News Website has compiled a report citing some of the Arab rulers’ degrees, level of education and university major.
Given the ongoing crises and recent developments in the region, it would be fascinating to know about the degrees held by those who decide the fate of the people living in the Middle East and their majors at university.
At the centre of attention these days is Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In 1997, he received a diploma from Sherborne School – a British independent boys’ school – and then was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), the British Army’s initial officer training centre located about 55 kilometres southwest of London. A few years later he graduated from RMAS. In addition to Arabic, he is fluent in English and French.
Due to the regional developments and ongoing crises, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is more than ever in the limelight these days. He finished his elementary school at the Princes’ School in Riyadh established in 1937 by Saudi Arabia’s founding monarch, King Ibn Saud. The school is specifically to ensure a high level of education for members of the Al Saud and sons of other foremost Saudis. He studied religion and modern science.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended elementary and high school in the Syrian capital of Damascus. He studied medicine and received a diploma in this major in 1988. He worked for a few years at a military hospital in Tishrin village, Hama Governorate, and then, in 1992, travelled to the UK to continue his studies in ophthalmology. In addition to Arabic, he speaks English, French and Spanish very well.
Oman’s Sultan Qaboos received his primary and secondary education at Salalah and Pune, India where he was the student of Shankar Dayal Sharma, the former President of India. He was later sent to a private educational establishment in England at age 16. At 20, he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and graduated from the RMAS before joining the British Army.
The UAE’s President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has received primary education in a school built by his father in the city of Al Ain.
Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, attended Manama secondary school in Bahrain. Later, he was sent to England to attend Applegarth College in Godalming, Surrey before taking a place at The Leys School in Cambridge. Hamad then underwent military training, first with the British Army at Mons Officer Cadet School at Aldershot in Hampshire, graduating in September 1968. Four years later, in June 1972, Hamad attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, graduating the following June with a degree in leadership.
Egyptian President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi enrolled in the Egyptian Military Academy, and upon graduating he held various command positions in the Egyptian Armed Forces and served as Egypt’s military attaché in Riyadh. In 1987 he attended the Egyptian Command and Staff College. In 1992 he continued his military career by enrolling in the British Command and Staff College, and in 2006 enrolled in the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received primary education at Al Mubarakya School during the 1930s and then completed his education under tutors.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum studied at various religious schools in Iraqi Kurdistan until the age of 18. He studied law and Sharia at Baghdad University. In 1958, Masum traveled to Cairo to complete his higher education at Al-Azhar University. He worked as a professor in Basrah University in 1968. He earned his PhD in Islamic philosophy from Al-Azhar in 1975.
King Abdullah II of Jordan began his schooling in 1966 at the Islamic Educational College in Amman, and continued at St Edmund’s School in England. Abdullah attended high school at Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in the United States. He began his military career at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1980. He was later admitted to Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1982, where he completed a one-year special-studies course in Middle Eastern affairs. The prince then attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1987, undertaking advanced study and research in international affairs.