Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and Governor of Makkah Province, has been named the Cultural Personality of the Year by the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). Known as the Poet Prince, the SIBF has bestowed the title on Prince Khalid Al Faisal in recognition of his cultural, humanitarian and charitable contributions.
The 34th edition of the SIBF, which is a subsidiary of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), will be held from November 4-14 at the Expo Center and will host a ceremony to honour the Prince for his constant pursuit in consolidating the values of tolerance and moderation by encouraging intercultural dialogue and interaction. The Cultural Personality of the Year ceremony will be held as part of the opening ceremony in the presence of many of the high ranking intellectuals, writers, dignitaries and celebrities from across the world.
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, and Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair, said: “We are proud to bestow this title on His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal for his numerous cultural achievements, which were not limited to poetry and literature, but also include art, heritage and intellectual pursuits. Prince Khalid's contributions extend to honouring creative individuals in various fields through his supervision of the International King Faisal Award, and the Arab Thought Foundation Awards, among many others.”
Al Ameri added, “Honouring Prince Khalid Al Faisal is an appreciation by the emirate of Sharjah to His Royal Highness for his accomplishments in raising the profile of the Arab culture and Islamic civilization. This honour also exemplifies the international acclaim that he earned for his wonderful poetry, which prompted international publishing houses to translate his works into English, French, Dutch and Spanish languages, as well as many others, thus enriching the literary and poetic interaction between various cultures from around the world.”
As a graduate with a degree in Economic and Political Science from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Prince Khalid Al Faisal is an avid fan of culture, literature and art. He wrote several poems, some of which he himself read in poetry events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond.
Prince Khalid chairs a number of intellectual, educational and charitable foundations. He is the Director General of the King Faisal Foundation and the Chairman of the Jury of the King Faisal International Award. He also chairs Lebanon-based Arab Thought Organization and is the Honorary Chairman of the (Fas Sys) Society for Economic, Cultural and Social Development in Morocco, in addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, in Frankfurt University, Germany.
Prince Khalid Al Faisal has held several public positions. He was appointed Governor of Asir Province in 1971 and served as Governor of Makkah Province from 2007-2013. In 2013, the Poet Prince was appointed Minister of Education. In January 2015, he was appointed Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and was re-appointed Governor of Makkah Province in the same year.
In 2010, he established the Prince Khalid Al Faisal's Chair for Consolidating the Saudi Moderation Approach in the King Abdulaziz University, with the aim of promoting the culture of moderation to counter challenges arising from radicalism, extremism and westernization. The Prince Khalid Al Faisal's Chair also aims to enhance national loyalty among members of the Saudi society, presenting a successful model of an Arab Islamic country, which adheres to its values, yet is open to scientific and cultural achievements of the modern times in a manner that does not contradict the essence of Islam and its values.
His Royal Highness launched a number of pioneering initiatives, including the Abha Literary Club, which is considered one of the most active cultural foundations in the Asir region in Saudi Arabia. He also oversaw the establishment of the Al Faisal Falcon Breeding Centre, and set up a modern theatre for various cultural and art activities. He also founded the Al Faisal Magazine and Al Watan daily newspaper. In recognition of his rich contributions to humanity, the US space agency, NASA, named its 2003 space shuttle to Mars after Prince Khalid.
Prince Khalid Al Faisal received a number of decorations, awards and accolades from world leaders, including the Royal Renaissance Medal of First Class, which was awarded to him by King Abdullah 11 of Jordan in 1999. He was conferred with the Lebanese National Order of Cedar, the highest order given in Lebanon, and the Medal of Honour with gold insignia by the Arab Portuguese Institute, which is awarded only to heads of state in the Arab world.
His Royal Highness has been recognised by several academic institutions and decorated across the world for his contribution to furthering cultural, artistic and educational understanding.
The Cultural Personality Award is given to a person or an organization active in the field of culture. The winner of the Cultural Personality of the Year Award is selected in accordance with the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and announced annually prior to SIBF. Winners are selected based on their contribution to culture in general, their productivity in the field of writing and creativity, or their roles in the government or social-cultural activities.
In the past, a number of prominent cultural figures from both the Arab and Islamic worlds won the award, namely Dr Abdul Aziz Othman Al Tuwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), who received the award in 2014, while Farouk Abdul Aziz Hosni, former Egyptian Minister of Culture, won the title in 2013.
Emirati Author and Poet Habib Al Sayegh, Board Chairman of the Emirates Writers Union, won the award in 2012, while Mohammed Bin Eisa, Secretary General of Morocco-based Aseela Foundation Forum received the award in 2011.