AbdulAziz Saud Al-Babtain (Arabic: عبدالعزيز سعود البابطين),
born in Kuwait in 1936, is a poet and businessmen in Kuwait. He carries out commercial and industrial activities in Europe, the United States, China and the Middle East. He also has various investments in a number of Arab countries.
He published his first poetry diwan "Intimations of the Desert" in 1995, followed by "Wastefarer” in 2004. He is a member of the Kuwait National Committee for Educational Support, and a member of the Kuwait Writers Association, the Board of Trustees of the Arab Cultural Forum in Beirut, the Fez Saiss Cultural Association in Morocco, the Arabic Language Academy in Damascus, the Board of Trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain, and the Board of Trustees of the College of Arts at Kuwait University.
4. An honorary doctorate in Humanities from the Kyrgyz-Kuwaiti University in 2002.
5. An honorary doctorate in Humanities from the University of Joy, Kyrgyzstan in 2002
6. An honorary diploma from "The Progressive Social Union for Women" in Kyrgyzstan, for his efforts in supporting friendships between people on 26/04/2002.
7. An honorary doctorate from the University of Algiers on 11/05/2005.
8. An honorary doctorate from the Sidi Mohamed bin Abdullah University in Fez on 15/12/2006.
9. An honorary doctorate from the University of Khartoum, Sudan on 28/04/2007.
10. An honorary doctorate from Al-Farabi National University in Kazakhstan in 25/5/ 2009.
11. An honorary doctorate from University of Córdoba in 07/11/2013.
Accolades and Awards
1. The Cultural Order of Merit in the First Degree from the President of the Republic of Tunis on 18/06/1996.
2. The Independence Order in the First Degree from His Majesty the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 06/02/2001, for his distinctive role in supporting and encouraging cultural and poetic movement in the Arab world.
3. A shield from King Faisal's International Award.
4. The State Award from the National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters in the State of Kuwait, 2002.
5. The Cedar Order, in the rank of Officer, from the President of the Republic of Lebanon, 2004.
6. On 02/12/2004, he was the center of Arab and Yemeni hospitality and appreciation and was awarded the Golden Prize (Gold Medal of Distinction) by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) during the closing session of the 14th Conference of the Arab Cultural Ministers at the Republican Palace in Sana'a, (the capital of Yemen)in which Arab Cultural Ministers as well as Arab and foreign media delegations were in attendance. He is the first Arab businessman to receive this Medal of Honor.
7. On 14/06/2005, upon the order of H.H. the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and H.H. the Prime Minister, at that time, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, awarded Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain with the Kuwait Order of the Sash, First Degree, in recognition of his role in supporting and spreading Arab culture in numerous cultural and ideological Arab and International forums.
8. He has been granted the prize of the President of the Republic of Sudan, the Gold Medal of Science, Literature and Arts in Khartoum on 31/12/2005, the highest level of merit awarded by the President of Sudan.
9. The Italian Ambassador to the State of Kuwait awarded him the 'Knight Order' by the order of President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy on 09/02/2009, in appreciation for his efforts towards dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
10. The Spanish Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, by the order of King Juan Carlos, awarded him the 'High level Order of Civil Merits' on 07/12/2009, in appreciation for his cultural efforts in Andalusia that led the government to issue a decree to teach the Arabic language in its schools.
11. The University of Qurtuba awarded him the 'Thomas Aquinas Cultural Award' on 27/01/2010. It is awarded to international prominent figures, in appreciation for his academic services towards the university and the civilization of the Andalusia region.
12. The ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Hamaid bin Rashid Al-Nuaimi, awarded him an order on 24/03/2010, in appreciation for his social services offered in the fields of education, culture and poetic creativity.
Forms of Tribute
He has been honored in various forms and by different institutions, among them are: 1. The Monday meeting (Ithnainia) of Sheikh Abdul Maqsoud Khoja has celebrated him in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 21/02/2000
2. Chosen by the information Dept. of the University of Kuwait to be the personality of the year 2000.
3. The Monday meeting (Ithnainia) of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Saleh Al-Naeem in Al-Ahsa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 29/12/2003.
4. Al-Arabi Magazine honored him in recognition of his efforts in the field of culture, at its annual seminar in Kuwait, 2003.
5. Kuwait University honored him in April 2004, on 'Kuwait Day of Literate', in recognition of his efforts and contributions in the fields of culture and humanities.
9. The Center for Studies and Research in Sana'a (the capital of Yemen) awarded him the shield of the center on 02/12/2004.
10. The Yemeni Minister of Culture and Tourism, Khaled Al-Ruwaishan, awarded him with the "Commemoration of Sana'a, the Capital of Arab Culture," in 2004.
12. Makassed Islamic Charitable Association of Sidon awarded him a shield on 15/06/2005.
16. On 30/06/2006 the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, in the presence of the Minister of Culture, Tareq Mitri, honored Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain for donating 10,000 books towards the project of rehabilitating the Lebanese National Library.
19. Arabian Business Magazine, issued by the ITP Publishing Group for Information Technology, on 16/12/2007 awarded him a prize in recognition of his social responsibility initiative in this field.
20. University of Yazd in Iran awarded him its 'Golden Key' on 24/12/2007, in recognition of his role in holding a session concerning Arabic-language skills and the appreciation of poetry.
24. Received a shield from University of Alexandriaon 17/04/2008, in recognition of what he has contributed to the field of Arab poetry in general and in particular to the University of Alexandria.
26. The Minister of Information in Kuwait awarded him a commemorative shield on 15/04/2009.
29. He has been chosen as Emeritus President of the Medical Association of Kuwait on 14/02/2010.
31. The Arab Media Forum awarded him a media creativity prize called "The Cultural Media Adaptation Award" on 25/04/2010, under the patronage of Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait.
His Efforts in Various Fields
Firstly, in the cultural field…
1. The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for Poetic Creativity. Towards the end of the twentieth century, literature in the Arab world began to surge and its role and relevance began to diminish, particularly in the field of poetic creativity. This sparked a comparison between the current unfortunate position of literature and the painful neglect of the creative poets and poetry, the primary art of the Arabic language and the Arab divan, as well as to record their good deeds and pride and its prosperous past. It was this reality that influenced Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain to establish a foundation that patronizes literature and honors the intellectuals. He called it "The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for Poetic Creativity" and made it a body for honoring the creative poets and poetry critics and publishing manuscripts about them. It was established in 1989 in Cairo, the capital of culture, art and Arab creativity. Since then the Foundation has flourished and has opened regional offices in Tunisia and Kuwait, in addition to its main office in Cairo. Since its establishment, the Foundation has held eleven sessions and it is currently undergoing preparations for the 12th session, which will be held in Sarajevo from 19 – 21/10/2010. It includes six literary symposiums, which are: El-Oyoun Poetry (Morocco, 1997), Mohammad bin Laaboun (Kuwait, 1997), Saadi Al-Shirazi (Tehran, 2000), The Centennial Death and Birth; in celebration of the two great poets Abdullah Al-Faraj and Amin Nakhla (Kuwait, 2001), The First Kuwaiti Forum for Arab Poetry in Iraq, (Kuwait 2005), and Mohammad Abdulmunem Khafaji and Adnan Al-Shayji (Cairo, 1-2/11/2009); on the occasion of the Foundation's 20th Anniversary "The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for Poetic Creativity 1989-2009". The Foundation has also issued several publications about poetry and poets(1989-2010), among them is the "Al-Babtain Encyclopedia for Contemporary Arab Poets," which was first issued in 1995 and then again in 2002. It also issued the "Al-Babtain Encyclopedia of Arab Poets in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" in 2008 and it includes 25 volumes and features around 10,000 poets. The Foundation now is preparing to issue "Al-babtin Encyclopaedias in Fife Centuries 1301-1800 AC". As of 2011, the Foundation's Board of Trustees has decided to allocate the even numbered years for literary seminars and odd numbered years for the inter-civilization dialogue seminars. The Foundation invites around 500 dignitaries to attend and participate in each session it holds in the host countries in addition to participants from inside host country. It has also made many contributions in various cultural fields and it takes part in celebrating the cultural capitals of Arab and Islamic countries, among them the selection of Kuwait as the capital of Arab culture in 2001. On this sole occasion, the Foundation issued 11 publications.
2. The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Prize: "The Grandchildren of Imam Al-Bukhary" It is an annual prize worth US$100,000 and its aims to restore the original cultural bridges between the Arab nation and the Islamic countries in Central Asia that have recently gained their independence from the Soviet Union. It also aims at reminding this generation as well as future ones of what those cultural relationships have accomplished for human civilizations, through Islam. The product of this was intellectual and cultural thought, which resulted from the merging of Arab and beyond the river ideologies. The prize is supervised by a committee, which comprises Dr. Khaled Al-Mazkour, Dr. Abdullah Al-Mohareb, Dr. Adel Al-Falah, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Sharida and Mr. Osama Al-Babtain.
3. The Al-Babtain Central Library for Arab Poetry in Kuwait It was established as a gift from the Foundation's President on the occasion of Kuwait being selected as the capital of Arab culture in 2001. Its first stone was laid during a ceremony on 06/01/2002 and it was inaugurated on 08/04/2006 under the patronage of H.H. the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. More than 200 Arab and foreign dignitaries in the fields of culture, intellect, media and politics were invited to attend the ceremony. In addition to directors of national and central libraries, deans of Arabic language departments in Arab and foreign universities and a large number of dignitaries from within Kuwait. Many Heads of State, government officials and VIPs, who visit Kuwait, will pay a visit to see this great monument dedicated to civilizations. The library contains tens of thousands of valuable and rare books and manuscripts and more than 3,500 university dissertations.
4. The Al-Babtain Kuwaiti Library in Jerusalem It was founded in 1999 at the campus of the Faculty of Arts, University of Jerusalem, and was inaugurated in 2004 to provide research facilities to the citizens of Jerusalem and Palestine.
5. The Al-Babtain Kuwaiti Award for Arabic Poetry in Palestine It is directed for the Palestinian youth under the age of 35 years.
6. The Al-Babtain Translation Center It was established in 2004 and it contributes to the Foundation by translating foreign languages, specifically from English to Arabic and vice versa.
7. Al-Babtain Center for Authenticating Poetic Manuscripts It was established in 2007 and began work on 14/11/2007 and aims at publishing poetry diwans and cultural books related to poetry, under the condition that they are exclusively published. The Center has issued 12 poetry diwans to date, which have been neglected for many centuries.
Secondly, in the educational field…
1. The Saud Al-Babtain Kuwaiti Commission for Higher Education This Commission was set up in 1974 and it annually grants 100 scholarships to students in Islamic countries in central Asia to study at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. It also grants 50 scholarships annually to students in Africa and 100 to Iraqi students. The Commission also covers accommodation, food and clothing, air travel, tuition and book expenses, as well as medical treatment they may require during their stay in Cairo. The total number of students and graduates that have benefited from this commission has now reached some 3,000. The Head of this Commission has received 45 students from Africa, Asia and Europe, and the Commission has granted all of them the "Saud Al-Babtain Kuwaiti Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies," enabling them to continue their education until they obtain a doctorate degree from Al-Azhar University.
2. Training Courses in Prosody, Appreciating Poetry and Arabic Language Skills These courses are free of charge and were set up in 2000 in cooperation with over 46 Arab and foreign universities. The course’s objective is to raise awareness and understanding of poetry, prosody and linguistics. It has held 270 courses throughout the Arab world and the Islamic countries till the mid of 2010 and has graduated more than 20,000 students. Since 01/05/2009, the Foundation has initiated 15 simultaneous training courses over the next 15 years, with the aim of introducing Arabization to the Comoros Islands; where the majority speaks Comorian (similar to Swahili) and the elite speak French. The Imam Al-Shafi'i College in the capital, Moroni, is equipped with a linguistics laboratory with a capacity to fit 50 trainees.
3. The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Center for Inter-Civilization Dialogue This Center was established in 2005 and Dr. Abdullah Al-Mihna was appointed as its advisor. The Center works in collaboration with foreign universities to supervise the "Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Professorship of Arabic Studies" and to organize the scientific training courses in the fields of linguistics and historical and cultural tourism. The Center specializes in the following activities: • Spanish Tour Guide Courses The first courses were set up in 2005 in collaboration with the University of Cordoba and fully financed by the President of the Foundation. It is a comprehensive cultural course in which 118 Spanish tour guides in Andalusia participated to correct their knowledge of the historical sites and monuments within the region, under the supervision of an elite group of Arab and Spanish specialist professors. The duration of the course is 50 hours over the space of six months. 85 tour guides graduated from the second course and the third course is currently ongoing for the academic year of 2009/2010. Moreover, the tour guide courses began at the University of Granada from the academic year of 2008/2009 and 89 tour guides have graduated to this day. It is currently holding its second session. The tour guide courses also started at the University of Malaga during the academic year of 2009/2010 and they are currently preparing to set up a similar course at the University of Seville. However, the agreements that the Foundation has signed with the four universities require them to provide the courses for the Spanish tour guides.
• Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Chair of Arabic Studies at the University of Cordoba The Foundation signed an agreement with the Head of the University, Professor Eugenio Dominguez Velches, to establish this chair on 08/10/2004. The University thereby committed to following modern scientific methods that enabled their students to master the Arabic language. 400 students have benefited from this chair so far and they have organized the "First National Symposium in Arabic" at the Faculty of Literature in the University of Cordoba. The Foundation has renewed their contract with the University until the year 2013 and a global publishing house will issue the conclusions of the symposium in English in the near future.
• The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Chair of Arabic Studies at the University of Granada The agreement was signed to establish this chair on 12/04/2007 with the Head of the University of Granada, Professor David Aguilar Peña. To this date, it has offered four courses in Arabic language and some evenings of poetry. From this, the decision was taken to teach the Arabic language in two secondary schools in Andalusia, which have to publicize their results to the other secondary schools in Spain.
• The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Chair of Culture and the Arabic Language at the University of Malaga The agreement was signed to establish this chair on 28/11/2008 with the aims of promoting Arabic language and literature in education, spreading Arab culture and setting up special courses for tour guides. The University also launched the "Malaga Islamic Gallery" from 07/05/2009 to 27/06/2009, with special support from the Foundation. The chair also organized an intensive course in Arabic language studies in cooperation with the Faculty of Education at the University of Alexandria from 01-31/07/2010.
• The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Chair of Arabic Studies at the University of Seville It was established on 27/05/2009 and it operates according to the guidelines of the other chairs and signed agreements with the other universities; Cordoba, Granada and Malaga. It has implemented programs that teach Arabic language and tour guide course.
• The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Global Prize for Historical and Cultural Studies in Andalusia The University of Cordoba agreed to establish an annual international prize called “The Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Andalusia Global Prize for Historical studies,” fully financed by Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain and primarily specializes in the role of the Andalusia villages that contributed to the creation of its civilization, but were not accredited in studies and researches, unlike other Andalusia cities like Cordoba, Seville and Granada. The award is worth US$30,000. The Foundation awarded the prize to the researcher, Dr. Anna Arsuaga in the first course, for her research on "The Role of Andalusia Villages in Contributing to Civilizations; the Islamic Presence in the City of Ayla from the 11th to the 16th Century." The Foundation also decided to translate the research into Arabic and English and gave all the copies to the winner as a gift. The prize is also being awarded at the University of Granada for the academic year of 2009/2010 and then at all Andalusian University. There are also plans on setting up these professorships of studying Arabic language in other universities, including Missouri and Florida in the United States, Sicily, Malta and Italy.
4. The Kuwait Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies
The President of the Foundation established this faculty as part of the Imam Al-Shafi'i College in center Islands university on 27/01/2009, to support education and Arabization in order to be a radiant source that culturally links the Islands to the Arab homeland and eliminates geographical distance. Dr. Saed Burhan Abdullah has been appointed as Director of this center. 5. Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain established more than 23 schools, colleges and institutes in several countries as charitable contributions on behalf of Kuwait. The requirements are to maintain the reputation of the school and to teach Arabic language and the Islamic religion. The schools are listed below: - President Hosni Mubarak Secondary School in Alexandria, Egypt. - King Fahad Secondary School in Heliopolis, Egypt. - Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Secondary School in Mokattam, Cairo. - Kuwaiti Moroccan Brotherhood Secondary School in Guelmim, Morocco. - Sheikh Mohammad Amin Al-Shanqeeti Secondary School in Basra, Iraq. - Kuwait School in Drenka, South Cairo. - Kuwaiti-Moroccan Friendship School in Marrakech, Morocco. - Kuwait School in Kyrgyzstan. - Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz School in Bamako, Republic of Mali. - Kuwait School in Kidal, Republic of Mali. - Kuwait School in Quetta, Republic of Pakistan. - Kuwait School in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. - Kuwait School in Karabakh refugee camps, Azerbaijan. - Kuwait Algerian Brotherhood School in Aghwat, Algeria. - Kuwait School in the Republic of Georgia – Qadiati governorate that seats 300 students and operates in two shifts; morning and evening. - Abdulrahman Al-Babtain Kuwaiti College of Islamic Studies in Shamkent, Kazakhstan. - Saud Al-Babtain Kuwaiti College of Literature at the University of Aligra, India. - Abdulrahman Saud Al-Babtain Kuwaiti Institutes for Oriental Languages at the University of Joy, Kyrgyzstan. - Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Secondary School in Mongolia(under construction).
Thirdly, in the humanitarian field…
1. He donated the cost of the building and the equipment to the Ministry of Health to establish “The Saud Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Center for Skin Burns and Cosmetic Surgery” in Kuwait, to treat and provide services for patients free of charge.
2. The Kuwaiti Medical Center in Hamidieh, South Iran.
3. The Saud Al-Babtain Wedding Ballroom in Riyadh, dedicated to citizens with low income who would like to hold wedding ceremonies.
4. The Mutli-Purpose Kuwaiti Cultural Hall in Tulkarem, Palestine.
5. He established and renovated many mosques in Arab and Islamic countries, the most recent was three mosques in the Republic of Mali, Africa
- An Overview of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain, Compiled by Abdulaziz M. Juma’a, Kuwait Ninth Edition, September 2010.
- The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain's Prize for poetic creativity Web Site: www.albabtainprize.org.
- Book: Years of Cultural Output, 2010