Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain (Arabic: سلمان بن حمد آل خليفة‎) (born 21 October 1969) is the heir apparent of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain defence force. Prince Salman is the eldest son of the current king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and his first wife Queen Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

Salman completed his high school education at Bahrain School, and then went on to earn a BA degree in Political Science from the American University in Washington D.C. (1992), followed by a MPhil degree in History and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge, England (1994). He has since participated in numerous seminars addressing Persian Gulf security issues and Middle East affairs.

Salman established the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme to guide Bahrain’s young people in to the 21st century. Under the programme, the most able high school students from Bahrain are awarded scholarships to continue their higher education overseas, and return to productively contribute to the building of the country’s economy. By allowing the country’s brightest pupils to benefit from foreign expertise and to broaden their experience abroad, it is hoped to prepare young Bahrainis for the challenges of the modern job market, and in particular for employment in fields such as information technology, finance and law.

Unfortunately many scholarships were revoked for Bahraini students participating at the pro-democracy protests in Manchester and London. However, no Crown Prince Scholar had her/his scholarship revoked. On Wednesday 20 April 2011, an open letter produced by National Union of Students Executive member Mark Bergfeld and activists at the University of Manchester Students Union called upon the UK government to provide financial support and protection to Bahraini students in the UK. The letter states, “Universal access to education is a right and should not be denied as a punishment for participating in protest,” and points out that the government has already agreed to provide similar support for Libyan students in the UK at risk of punishment from the Gaddafi regime.  Previously revoked scholarships were later reinstated.

Prior to assuming the duties of crown prince, Salman was vice-chairman of the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research (BCSR) (1992–1995), undersecretary of defence at the Ministry of Defence (1995–1999), and chairman of the board of trustees of the BCSR (1995–1999).

Salman was sworn in as Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain on 9 March 1999 and held the post of commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force from 22 March 1999 to 6 January 2008.

On 24 February 2001, Salman was appointed as chairman of the committee for the implementation of the National Action Charter. The Charter was approved by over 98% in a referendum held in February 2001 and provided a comprehensive blueprint for Bahrain’s future development based on transparency, cooperation and popular participation. The committee proposed a number of laws to implement the National Charter, including laws on government procurements and freedom of the press.

On 3 March 2002, Salman was installed to the post of chairman of the Economic Development Board, which is responsible for formulating and overseeing the Bahrain’s economic development strategy, and aims to attract foreign direct investment to Bahrain. Salman has played a major role in promoting national dialogue regarding economic and labor market reforms.

Salman is also chairman of the housing and urban development committee and the gas committee.

On 6 January 2008, his father, the king, issued a royal decree installing Salman to the post of deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain defence force to oversee the management and implementation of public policy as well as military, administrative, economic and financial plans of the Bahrain defence force and the national guard.

Sports enthusiast
Salman is chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, which oversees sports in Bahrain as well as the extracurricular activities of Bahrain’s youth, which has embarked on a programme to upgrade the sporting facilities in Bahrain.

Salman also spearheaded a major national initiative to bring Formula One racing to Bahrain and the Middle East, initiating the construction of the Bahrain International Circuit. On 4 April 2004, the Bahrain Grand Prix became the first Formula One grand prix to be held in the Middle East.

Salman holds PADI Advanced Open Water Diver scuba diving certification, is a motorsport enthusiast, and enjoys skeet shooting, computers, sports cars, and motorcycles.

Marriage and children
Prince Salman is married to HH Sheikha Hala bent Daij Al Khalifa, who is the youngest daughter of HE Sheikh Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance & National Economy. Sheikha Hala herself is Honorary President of the Information Centre for Women & Children, and Chair of the Bahrain Society for Mental Retardation. They have two sons and two daughters:

    * HH Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, currently attending American University in Washington DC.
    * HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa (born 1991), educated at Bahrain School (Class of 2009). Graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2011.
    * HH Sheikha Fatima - Al Dana bint Salman Al Khalifa
    * HH Sheikha Al Joud bint Salman Al Khalifa

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