The Sultan of Oman Endowed Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies was established to honour His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said under whose leadership Oman has made a leading contribution to the preservation and promotion of Arab and Islamic civilization. The Chair represents an enduring testimony to the amity and partnership between the Sultanate of Oman and Australia.
In 2003 Professor Abdullah Saeed was appointed as the first Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies. He continues to hold this appointment.
Establishment and launch of the Sultan of Oman Endowed Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies
In March 2003, an agreement was finalised by the Omani Minister of Higher Education, Dr Yahya Mahfoodh Al Manthri and the then Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Gilbert to establish The Sultan of Oman Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies. The Chair was created with an endowment from the Sultanate of Oman.
According to Dr Al Manthri, “the signing of this agreement in Australia represents a significant step forward in building a partnership between our two countries that will continue to benefit the international world of scholarship and diplomacy.”
On Tuesday 19 October 2003 Professor Abdullah Saeed delivered his professorial lecture, “Muslims in the West – Coexistence or Conflict.”
In the lecture, Professor Saeed explored Muslim responses to this debate, the transformation that is taking place about what it means to be a Muslim in the West and the prospects for a more harmonious and pluralist approach to living in the West.
The launch was attended by a delegation from the Sultanate of Oman led by the Minister for Higher Education, Her Excellency Dr Rawya Saud Al Busaidi. Other attendees included former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Governors-General Sir Ninian Stephen and Dr Peter Hollingworth and leaders of Melbourne's Muslim community, including Yasser Soliman and Sheik Femi.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Academic Chairs worldwide
The Sultanate has established sixteen Academic Chairs and scholarships at prestigious universities worldwide that are leaders in the fields of political, religious, cultural and economic studies. The Chairs share the common objective of encouraging the creation of a contemporary global community that lives in peace and is governed by mutual understanding and tolerance. Through the work of the Chairs the Sultanate aims to contribute to the development of an international academic heritage that benefits all humankind.