The Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has over the past half century emerged as one of the foremost philanthropic and humanitarian figures of our time. A global humanitarian leader, he has helped establish Kuwait as the undisputed centre of philanthropy in the Middle East. In so doing he has fostered a culture of generosity and compassion among his own people, while driving humanitarian issues to the top of the international agenda.
Throughout his life and career Sheikh Sabah has embodied the traditional Kuwaiti values of kindness and consideration towards others. He has impacted in a positive way almost every facet of modern Kuwaiti life, while at the same time spreading a message of peace and humanity around the world. He is one of the largest contributors to humanitarian efforts to support Syrian refugees, and one of the leading funders of the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where he has helped provide safety and shelter to an estimated 80,000 refugees.
Sheikh Sabah was also the principal driver of a series of record-breaking giving conferences to support Syrian refugees. These conferences raised more than $20bn for international humanitarian agencies, including the largest amount ever raised in a single day. Throughout his life he has made many such public calls to the international community to encourage philanthropic efforts globally.
The Amir has championed democracy and the rule of law, and peace and stability in the region and beyond. He has taken a personal hand in efforts to broker peace in regional disputes including those in Yemen, Oman and Lebanon, and during the Iran-Iraq War. Kuwait, at the behest of the Amir, was also the first country to offer assistance to ordinary Iraqis caught in that nation's on-going conflict - and this just two decades after the invasion of Kuwait by its Arab neighbour.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children across Africa and South Asia, from Mauritania to the Philippines, have benefitted from the Amir's swift and generous response to humanitarian crises caused by natural disaster. Today huge numbers of Kuwaiti NGOs and humanitarian agencies carry out life-changing work all around the world, many of them inspired directly by the words and deeds of the Amir.
This remarkable work has been duly noted and recognised at international level. In 2014, for example, the Amir received the Humanitarian Leader award from then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "We are sitting together with a great humanitarian leader of our world," said Ban. "Kuwait has shown exemplary humanitarian leadership in supporting operations under the compassionate and passionate leadership of the Amir. Kuwait may be a small country in size but she has a big and broad and compassionate heart."