Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3
Between Bahrain and AUB
The AUB Alumni Association in Bahrain: Now and Then
Dr. Abdul-Rahman Abdallah Bou Ali
Member of the Advisory Committee for the Higher Gulf Cooperation Council
Bahrain's historic links to AUB are not like its links with any other
university. The second Bahraini to receive a university degree, the late
Youssef Shirawi, graduated from AUB. (The first Bahraini to receive a
university degree, the late Dr. Quassem Bahzad, graduated from a university
in India in 1928.)
The first Bahraini student group to study abroad went to AUB. In his book,
Taste of the Past, friend and author Khalil Al-Marreekhi quotes the 1938
annual report of the government of Bahrain as follows: "two of Sheik
Mouhammad Ban Issa Al-Khalifeh's sons are studying at AUB." It was
from this university that a generation of pioneering Bahrainis came to
play important roles in building our nation and establishing many Bahraini
AUB looms large not only in the memories of generations of Bahrainis,
but also in the development of the ideas and philosophies that accompanied
the wave of nationalism that spread across the Arab world. It is AUB that
provided many Arab societies, particularly Bahrain, with generations of
thinkers, experts, and intellectuals who contributed so mightily to the
development of Bahrain and the Arab world.
The AUB Alumni Association in Bahrain grew out of the League of Bahraini
Students at AUB that Dr. Ali bin Mohammad Fakhro established. It was the
first such association of Bahraini students abroad. When the idea to establish
an alumni association in Bahrain was first proposed five decades ago,
it was greeted with widespread approval and enthusiasm from AUB alumni
throughout the country. Many people made invaluable contributions to the
establishment of the Bahrain AUB Alumni Association including the late
Ahmad Al-Oumran, the late Youssef Shirawi, HE Sheikh Mouhammad bin Moubarak
Al Khalifeh, the late Minister of Labor Sheikh Khalifeh bin Salman bin
Mouhammad Al Khalifeh, and Dr. Ali bin Mohammad Fakhro. Their efforts
and commitment were critical in the development of this association and
in building our nation.
Although the Bahrain AUB Alumni Association has played an instrumental
role in Bahraini intellectual, cultural, and civic life since it was established,
it was not officially registered according to the law of associations.
This oversight could have required us to shut down the association. We
are enormously grateful for the willingness of the Minister of Social
Dr. Fatima Balloushi to make an exceptional ruling that enabled us to officially
register the AUB Alumni Association in Bahrain - a decision that recognizes
the historic role that this association has played in the country.
Today, as the association prepares to hold elections to select its new administrative
council, we reflect back on the accomplishments of the pioneers who led
the way. We recall their efforts with gratitude and appreciation for what
each one of them did for this association - and for Bahrain and its people.
In addition to the men I mention above, we also salute Mrs. May Utaibi,
who is the heart and soul of the association and Adnan Bsiso, who takes
care of the association's administrative affairs.
We look forward to working together in a spirit of love and loyalty to the
nation for an enlightened society and a modern community.