|Speech of His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the dinner banquet held in honor of His Excellency Mr. William Henry Gates III, on the occasion of his official visit to Kuwait|
|7 December 2015|
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Their Excellencies the sheikhs and the Ministers,
It is my pleasure to welcome you in Kuwait, as an official guest of His Highness the Amir.
It is my pleasure as well, to convey to you the greetings of those who admire the experiences of success, those interested in charitable and humanitarian activities, and those interested in the industry of thought, knowledge and culture, and finally those working in computer and software industry. All these categories of people consider Bill Gates as a personality that has left a significant impact on each of these activities throughout history, especially his efforts which shortened the way to acquire knowledge. Yet, Bill Gates wasn’t content to enter human history as the most important computer software maker, nor as the leading self-made man who was ranked on the top of the Forbes magazine list for many years. Instead, you insisted on entering the history books through the door of charity and humanitarian work. In the year 2000, you founded the largest private humanitarian work Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and you focused your interest and thinking on the poor and the people in need. And like our Prophet Muhammad said, “wealth is not diminished by giving in charity.”
The greatest acts that a person can do in this life are those that serve humanity as a whole, such as fighting diseases, defeating poverty, and helping others to overcome difficulties of life. History immortalizes the names of people who do so, such as Pythagoras, Alhazen, Archimedes, Al-Khawarizmi, Aristotle, Euclid, Koch, Jaber ibn Hayyan, Pasteur, Avicenna, Volta and Edison. These names remain immortal because their actions were directed to the human being alone. They surpassed national, ethnic, racial, and political differences. If the computer is one of the miracles of this era, in reducing the complexity of conducting scientific research, facilitating complicated calculations and mathematical equations, providing a wide range of methods for the flow of information, and shortening the means of communication in general, software was the tool that facilitated all of these achievements. And Bill Gates, as the inventor of Microsoft software, is one of the most important figures in history. However, as science is the accumulation of knowledge to which nations, peoples and generations contribute, and innovators come to light where they make a useful contribution to the accumulated knowledge, it is to mention that the basis of this domain was laid by Muhammad bin Musa Al-Khwarizmi, the inventor of algorithms, in the eighth century. Here Mr. Gates, I recall the early days of your studies at Lakeside School, when you, along with four of your colleagues, designed software to your school.
We in Kuwait, count ourselves interested in philanthropy, and this interest did not start after the flow of oil wealth. Our social history is full of examples of social solidarity. And after the flow of oil, Kuwait has witnessed a variety of civil activities of charitable work. Our history witnessed many figures known for helping the poor, and perhaps the most famous among them is the one that you traced in your article, the late Dr. Abdul Rahman Houmoud Al-Sumait, who was distinguished from others by his presence among the poor. He chose to go to them, live in their villages, and eat their food. He dedicated his medical career to treat them and relieve their pain. He devoted himself to the African continent, so much that most of the African countries know his efforts by now. I would like here to extend my thanks to you, Mr. Gates, for the great article you allocated to Dr. Sumait. Your words bridged the divisions of cultures, religions and nationalities, to assure the reader that humanity is the objective of charitable work, and those words were very much appreciated by Kuwaitis. It is my pleasure tonight to have amongst our guests, Mr. Suhaib Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, the son of the late Dr. Sumait, to share with us the celebration of his father’s memory.
The charity work in Kuwait is not only done by people. It has a formal approach as well. In 1961, the State of Kuwait established Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and the logo of this fund is: "Help the poor to help themselves". Most of the aid dispensed by the fund has been focused on agriculture, irrigation, transport, communications, energy, industry, water and sanitation. Later on, social sectors were added to include education and health buildings. The aid from this fund has covered all the needy countries across the continents. Kuwaitis were very proud when the United Nations valued humanitarian efforts carried out by the State of Kuwait, under the leadership of His Highness the Amir, nominated as the Global Humanitarian Leader.
In conclusion, I would like to welcome again our distinguished guest, Mr. William Henry Gates the third, and I hope his visit to Kuwait will be an incentive for further humanitarian and charitable works.
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