Building an Empire: Visionary Leader – His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said



His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, born in Salalah, Oman, on 18th November 1940 is a visionary and a strong-willed leader whose strategic decisions has resulted in great success for the country’s growth in areas of commerce, education, international alliances, art, culture ad heritage. To celebrate 45 years of success of the nation this year, we bring you insights into the life of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.

A charismatic leader, Sultan Qaboos grew up in Salalah and when he reached the age of 16, his father sent him to a private school in England. In 1960 he studied at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, after which he spent a year with a British infantry battalion on duty in Germany and then held a staff appointment with the British Army.

After completing his military service, His Majesty did local government studies in England and then embarked on a journey to tour the world. On returning to Oman, he spent the next six years studying Islam and Omani history in Salalah. On his accession on 23rd July 1970, Sultan Qaboos moved to Muscat to implement his vision for the country’s development in the future.

During his first address to the nation, His Majesty declared that the country would be unified as the Sultanate of Oman, with a new Flag, and ended restrictions on freedom of Movement. He called on Omanis who had left the country to return home in order to contribute to the challenges that lay ahead and to use their talents and expertise to modernise and build the nation.

Apart from his role as a ruler, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is a man with diverse interests. As an enthusiastic horseman since childhood, he enjoys equestrian related sports and other outdoor pursuits, including walking and tennis.He has studied a variety of subjects ranging from religion to astronomy and the environment, languages, literature and history and his passion for music led him to establish the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra in 1985 in Muscat.

His Majesty looked into improving all aspects of life in Omani societies and looking at the phenomenal achievements that has been made in the country over the last years with the extensive highways, well equipped hospitals, schools and universities, the Sultanate has indeed emerged successful under His Majesty’s leadership and guidance.

The idea of shared decision-making and national development by the people and the government has always been evident in His Majesty’s political thinking. Oman’s population, both male and female, have been provided with full access to education and economic, social and cultural developments, with Basic Law of the State ensuring the freedom and rights of all citizens in all aspects of growth in life.

His Majesty is committed to preserving Oman’s deep-rooted traditions and customs inherited from ancestors so he invests in the positive growth and upbringing of the Omani youth. He ensures that the Omani youth is protected from the dangers of the subversive influences, which are engulfing the world’s youth today by providing more positive opportunities to them for their benefit.

Sultan Qaboos’ hopes to achieve a civilised future for all humanity and his ambitions for Oman play a prominent role in the world for human development.He desires a nation, which is proud of its heritage but is always ready to reach out for new horizons and learn new things.

Consequently, these are the founding concepts of the Sultan Qaboos University, which was inaugurated and received its first intake of students in 1986. It now has numerous colleges covering a wide variety of subjects and students travel long distances in order to study, while some choose to stay in the halls of residence to have easy access to the campus.

Other than focusing on general education, His Majesty also saw the need for vocational training, an integral part of nationalising the country’s workforce. Vocational training centres now exist in the country offering threeyear courses in areas of commerce (business, banking, insurance, administration, accountancy and secretarial work) and in technology (electrical studies, radio and televisual engineering, electronics, air-conditioning and refrigeration, communications, power engineering, mechanics, welding and other engineering skills).

A further contribution towards adult education is in the establishment of the Oman Nursing Institute, teaching skills in intensive care, low birth-weight babies, dialysis patients and maternity care. The system of open meetings at the state level ensures that popular participation is promoted and feelings of social cohesion exists with education opportunities provided for the country’s growth.

The positive growth has resulted in a country that stays rich in culture and heritage while attracting people into the country with the beautiful natural surroundings.The beautiful Arabian Sea and rugged mountains flank Muscat, the capital of Oman. The city has three core districts of Muscat, the old port area, Muttah, a trading and residential area and Ruwi, the commercial district.

The natural attractions, the city’s green lawns and trees offset the sand-coloured buildings and minarets of this fascinating desert city. Increasingly a destination for travelers in the know, Muscat’s warm, blue waters lure divers and snorkelers and it indeed hard to resist the soukswith their enticing Middle Eastern Delights and exotic arts and crafts in bustling market set ups.

Muscat is full of attractive old forts, walled gateways and beautiful Islamic architecture that adds exotic charm with an old-world feel but all the comforts of the new. The architecture, with Forts and Castles together with its towers and city walls, have historically been used as defensive bastions or look-out points and they look charming today, adding character to the landscape of the city.

Tourists, regional travellers and local residents love Oman for the wide beaches, clear blue seas and the seafront Corniche for an evening promenade. With a coastline of 1700km, Oman offers some of the cleanest, most stunning beaches in the region so picnics and barbeques are popular and many coves offer perfect locations for snorkeling.

Adventure seekers can get the adrenaline pumping with desert camping excursions andwadi-bashing trips into the dunes. For a more tranquil day out, there are also camel rides and Omani barbeques under the stars with friends, music or just alone time for reflection.

Oman has lush gardens with elaborate floral displays lining the highways and parks are free to enter. Muscat boasts several parks with popular ones being the Qurum Natural Park, Riyam and Al Naseem. The country has a surprisingly varied wild life and strict laws have been established to ban hunting as a number of indigenous exotic animals are now endangered, such as the Arabian Leopard and the Arabian Oryx. To ensure protection, nature reserves have been setup throughout the Sultanate to protect the natural habitats of mammals such as the leopard, Oryx, gazelle, taher, ibex, desert foxes and wild cats.

With amazingly beautiful natural resources and a visionary leader at the helm of it all, Oman is a destination that is definitely the region’s best-kept secret. One can only experience its unique charm and exotic appeal by spending time in different parts of the country to explore the many attractions this beautiful nation has to offer travellers from far and near. Our team would like to congratulate His Majesty Sultan Qaboos on the 45th Anniversary celebrations this year and we wish the country more prosperity in years to come.

Shereen Shabnam