For nearly six decades, the new King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz has been closely involved in the profound changes that have taken place in Saudi Arabia, working with five kings as they successfully brought about far-reaching socio-economic development while preserving and strengthening the foundations of Saudi society-commitment to Islam and Arab heritage. Under the guidance of his elder brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques late King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz, who appointed him Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister in 1982. The then Crown Prince now King Abdullah has assisted in the implementation of the country's series of development plans and in former King Fahad's efforts to ensure the nation's peace and prosperity as well as serving Islam and the Muslim community.
Born in Riyadh in 1924, King Abdullah received his early education at the Royal court. Growing up around his legendary father, king Abdul Azia Bin Abdul Rahamn Al-Saud, who was at that time involved in the successful effort to unify the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah demonstrated and abiding commitment to Islam and a keen interest in Arab history, culture and traditions. Like King Abdul Aziz's other sons, he was tutored by scholars in Islam and Arab history and underwent the rigorous training that King Abdul Aziz demanded of all of them. To develop the physical and mental strength of his sons, King Abdul Aziz is quoted saying" "I train my own children to walk barefoot, to rise two hours before dawn, to eat but little, to ride horses bareback" and to study the Holy Quran, the Sunnah (teachings and sayings of the prophet Muhammad) and Arab history. As they came of age, the then crown Prince and his brothers spent much time in their father's daily majlis, meetings where any citizen could approach the King and discuss a grievance or concern. In this way, they learned the intricacies of statesmanship and the art of communication with people.
To develop a strong bond with the people, a deep respect for their heritage and understanding of their aspirations, King Abdul Aziz desired that this sons spend time with the tribes instilled in him a respect for their values, simplicity, generosity and bravery and strengthened his desire to serve the people.
King Abdullah's close association with the affairs of government and the people continued after King Abdul Aziz and later to King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz and was deeply involved in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.
In 1962 the then Crown Prince Abdullah was appointed to command the Saudi National Guard, which was formed from the descendants of Bedouins who were king Abdul Aziz's followers during the years he was working to establish the modern Kingdom.
The then Crown Abdullah worked tirelessly to modernise the National Guard and make it a potent force committed to the preservation of the Kingdom's peace and security. He supervised the establishment of military and technical schools with a view to modernising the force, as well as the establishment of hospitals, clinics and housing facilities for guard members and their families.
On the succession of king Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz, the then Crown Prince Addullah was appointed to the prestigious position of Second Deputy Prime Minister, while retaining his command of the National Guard. In 1982 former King Fahd appointed him Deputy prime minister and Crown Prince. With his appointment to the position of Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, the then Crown Prince Abdullah intensified his involvement in the ongoing national development program, as well as with the Kingdom's foreign relations. At the side of late King Fahad the then Crown Prince Abdullah became intimately involve din major foreign policy issues, such as Saudi Arabia relations with war in Lebanon, the factional fighting in Afghanistan, the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Middle East peace process.
As late King Fahad's emissary, the then Crown Prince Abdullah as represented the kingdom at various international conference, including summit meetings of member states of the League of Arab State; the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) the Gulf co-operation Council (GCC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). He has met with world leaders in Saudi Arabia and conducted state visits to other countries, including the United states.
While performing all these duties, the then Crown Prince now King Abdullah has steadfastly supported efforts to preserve Saudi Arabia's rich heritage. As chairman of the organising committee for the Jenadriyah National Culture and Heritage festival, he has overseen the two-week festival held annually since 1985 to promote a greater respect for and a deeper understanding of Saudi Arabia rich past, its dynamic present and its promising future.
Throughout his life, King Abdullah has retained a love of the desert, which is reflected in his patronage for equestrian clubs, the Camel Race and other activities associated with the Bedouins. He also has developed a passion for knowledge and reading. He has established two library, the King Abdul Aziz library in Riyadh and one in Casablanca, Morocco.
After decades of public service in positions of importance, The new King Abdullah is today recognised not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Arab and Islamic worlds, as a leader dedicated to ensuring his country's continued future development while preserving past achievements.