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Between Bahrain and AUB
 

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 institutions.

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 Development

HE 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.