Famous Kuwaiti People: Kuwaiti Artists, Scientists, Leaders, Musicians, Politicians and Athletes
In this Country Profile
Despite its small size the State of Kuwait has several notable personalities that placed their country on the world map, outside of the fact the Kuwait has one of the richest oil deposits. The vision of the Emirs to use the country’s wealth to benefit the citizens of Kuwait, giving them access to free educations and scholarships for further studies, and their more cosmopolitan outlook have contributed to a wide range of fields that several Kuwaitis excelled in.
:: List of Famous People from Kuwait ::
Ahmad Ajab is a Kuwaiti soccer player. He was born in the capital city of Kuwait on May 13, 1984. He is a striker and currently plays for Al-Qadisia after moving from his first club, Al-Sahel. He has established himself as the top goal scorer in Kuwait in 2007 after joining his new club. He was called up to play with the national team and promptly scored a hat trick during his debut with a game against Lebanon. Ahmad Ajab is trying to be the top scorer in the world and aims to one be hailed as the best player of the year in Asia.
Ahmad Meshari Al-Adwani
Born in 1923, Ahmad Meshari Al-Adwani was a teacher and poet. He was the one who wrote the lyrics of Al-Nasheed Al-Watani, the national anthem of Kuwait. He established several magazines during his lifetime, and collaborated with Dr. Abdulaziz Hussein, his long-time friend. Together then designed, founded and implemented various social and cultural programs that paved the way for the education, artistic and social knowledge not only of the people of Kuwait but also other people in the Gulf States. Notable among the institutions they have established are the Department of Arabian Literature, the Department of Musical Culture and the Fine Arts Gallery of Kuwait. Ahmad Meshari Al-Adwani died in 1990, leaving behind tons of unedited scripts and poems, all of them unpublished.
Thuraya Al-Baqsami is a female artist who had gained international recognition for her numerous art works. She was a bronze medal awardee of the Kuwaiti Society of Formative Arts in 1971 and got the Golden Palm Leaf award in 1989 from the GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) Biennale in Riyadh and again in 1992 in Doha. She also worked on the book entitled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Liberte 98 received praise from the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Also in 1987 and 1992, she was the first prize winner in the Kuwait National Museum Exhibit. The United Buddy Bears of Kuwait were designed by her.
Jaber III al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah
Sheikh Jaber III al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, born on June 29, 1926 served as Kuwait’s Minister of Finance and Economy from 1961 to 1965 and was appointed as Prime Minister. He became the Emir on December 31, 1977 up to his demise in 2006.
While he was the Minister of Finance, he was responsible for the circulation of Kuwait’s new dinar. He also established the Currency Board of Kuwait and became the inaugural chairman of Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development. He held that position for two years, from 1962 up to 1964. The Fund was able to extend loans to eight countries and provided aid to five countries. As the Prime Minister was also instrumental in the establishment of the Fund for Future Generations, wherein ten percent of Kuwait’s total oil revenues are invested for future generations when oil resources have been exhausted.
Kuwaiti footballer Faisal Al-Dhakil was born on August 13, 1957. He plays for the Al-Qadsiya football club. He was called up to the national team for the 1980 Asian Cup, where Kuwait won also represented Kuwait in the 1980 Summer Olympics. His shining moment came when he scored a goal against Czechoslovakia in their game during the FIFA World Cup held in Spain in 1982.
Jasem Mohammed Ibrahim Al Huwaidi
Jasem Mohammed Ibrahim Al Huwaidi was born on October 28, 1972 in the capital city of Kuwait. He is now a retired soccer player but he had several awards during his football playing days. He was called up to the national football team and helped Kuwait to reach the FIFA ranking of 24. He was a silver medalist in the Asian Games, has two Gulf Cups and was third placer in the Arab Cup. He represented Kuwait in Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992. Al Huwaidi was the top goal scorer in the world in 1998.
Nasser Al-Kharafi, born on June 17, 1943 was a businessman and chairman of M.A. Kharafi & Sons which has various commercial and industrial holdings locally and internationally in different fields. He died on April 17, 2011. As of 2011 his net worth was estimated to amount to $10.4 billion, making him the 77th richest man on earth. He has shares in Americana, National Bank of Kuwait, Mobile Telecommunications Co., and operates several US fast food chains such as TGI Fridays, Hardees, Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken. His financial portfolio is very diverse, showing stakes in oil and water resources and management, telecommunications and in power and energy. Their company’s business interests are also in Syria, South Africa and Egypt. Their group built the Ghalib International Marina port in Egypt.
Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, born in 1930, was from the Al-Sabah family’s Al-Salim branch. Held several government positions including being the President of the Police and Public Service Department for one year; then served as the Minister of the Interior for 17 years, during which time he served as the Minister of Defense, too. He became the Crown Prince on January 31, 1978 and served as the Prime Minister of Kuwait from February 1978 up to July 2003.
He has the one of the shortest reigns as an Emir, which lasted from January 15 to 24 in 2006, totaling nine days. He was suffering fro colon disease and there were speculations about his health and in him accepting the position, which was vacated by the death of Sheikh Jaber. After family consultations he was forced to abdicate and then Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah took over as Emir.
Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the concurrent and 15th Emir of Kuwait. He was born on June 16, 1929, coming from the main line of the Al-Sabah family. He is particularly interested in developing the tourism industry in Kuwait. He is a modern thinker and a strong advocate of the rights of Arab women. He has repealed the law against public gatherings and passed a law for increased press freedom in Kuwait, the strongest law for freedom of the press in the whole Gulf States and increased the number of licenses available for people wanting to establish private newspapers and broadcast stations. At the same time, the Sheikh also increased the annual stipend of the family from $25 million to $188 million.
Abdullah Abdul Latif Al Othman
Abdullah Abdul Latif Al Othman, born in 1895 was a well-loved businessman. He was one of the first people who settled in Hawalli, and was well-known for being generous in giving help to the poor people in Hawalli and the surrounding regions and in 1930 established the Al Othman School together with his brothers. He built a mosque in Hawalli in 1958 and a few others in Lebanon. Zakat Al Othman, the largest and the most popular charity in the Islamic world was established by him. A street in Hawalli was named after Abdullah Abdul Latif Al Othman who died in 1965.
Ema Shah, sometimes spelled as Emma Shah was born on June 7, 1981. She’s a very popular artist, well known for her activism, her radical views and her eccentricity. Ema Shah dons many hats. She is a musician, singer, composer, writer, dancer, guitarist, pianist, theater actress and director and a puppeteer. She is president and founding member of Anthropology, an artist group composed of actors from different nationalities. They perform shows and concerts in different languages. She recently (2011) starred in a short film with sexual allusions entitled Mooz, which translates to Banana. The film won the Dubai International Film Festival jury prize.
Fathi Kamel Marzouq
Fathi is one of Kuwait’s most talented soccer players during the 70s and 80s. He was born in 1955. He was instrumental in Kuwait winning the Asian Cup in 1980 and represented his country in the Summer Olympics in 1980. He was with the Kuwait national football team in 1982 and help his team qualify for the World Cup via a goal he scored against New Zealand. Fathi was considered as the secret weapon of his team.
Yousuf Saleh Alyan
Yousuf Saleh Alyan was the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of Kuwait Times Daily, the first daily and English-language newspaper in the Gulf. He was also one of the founders of Kuwait Journalists Association, which he chaired from 1978 to 1985 and in 1990 up to 1992. He was also the editor-in-chief for two years of the Al-Fajir Al-Jadeed newspaper after the Gulf War.
Born on September 12, 1932, he was once of the few Kuwaitis who went to Europe. He studied in London and earned a degree in economics in 1955. He was fluent in Arabic, English, Italian, Persian and French. After graduation he became a diplomatic agent in France for the government of Saudi Arabia before going back to Kuwait and founding the Kuwait Times Daily.
Abdallah Al Rowaishid
Abdallah Al Rowaishid is a singer and songwriter born in 1961. He has released more than 30 albums already and has a following in most of the Arab States. In 1973, at the age of 12 he formed his own group, Al Roba’y, together with his brother and two close friends. For seven years they became very popular in the Persian Gulf, He went solo when the group disbanded in 1979. He collaborated with poets and composers for his albums, the first of which was released in the 1980s, together with a music video for one of the tracks from the album, a first for an Arab singer. He temporarily relocated to Egypt when Iraq invaded Kuwait and collaborated with Mohamed Abdelwaheb, a famous Egyptian singer. He has become known internationally, having participated in several concerts in Canada and the United States.
Zed Al Refai
Zed Al Refai, popularly called Zeddy is a mountain climber born on October 28, 1966. He is the 46th person to climb the seven highest summits in seven continents. He is also the first Arab to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Zed Al Refai is a well-traveled man since he was a young boy, having spent his childhood in Finland and attended different universities in the United States, enrolling in educational institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. He spend his holidays in the Pacific Northwest, Nepal, New England and the Rocky Mountains in the US. He is currently serves as the Arabian Mountaineering and Alpine Climbing Club director to popularize mountain climbing in the Arab States.
He conquered Mount Denali or Mount McKinley in Alaska in 1999. The following year he climbed the Castensz Pyramid in Indonesia and Mount Elbrus in Russia. That was followed with Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa in 2001. In 2003 he successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal. It was the Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina in 2004. In 2005 he reached the summit of the last of the seven highest summits, Mount Kosciuszko, part of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. Al Refai has also climbed Cho Oyu in 2005. It is the sixth highest mountain in the world and located in Tibet, in the border between China and Nepal.
Mojeb al-Dousari, born in 1921 was considered the greatest draftsman and artist in Kuwait’s history and was regarded as the founder of portrait art in the Arab region. He was in high school when he started to study painting and spent five years in Egypt beginning in 1945 to study decorative arts before studying for two years at the Liverpool Academy of Arts and Chelsea School of Art in England in 1950 and 1951. He was the one who launched the first art gallery in Kuwait and painted over 300 landscapes and portraits depicting Kuwaiti culture. Members of the ruling family and other Kuwaiti personalities own most of his works. Mojeb al-Dousari died in 1956 at the age of 36.
Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan
Dr. Al-Suwaidan was born on November 23, 1953. He is a popular Islamic author, a speaker, and entrepreneur. He is world-renown for his motivational speaking, television appearances and his management and strategic planning training sessions. He was trained in classic Islamic sciences when he was younger and received his university and masters and doctorate degrees from the Penn State University and the University of Tulsa in petroleum and natural gas engineering.
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