The death of Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, in September 2020 marked the passing of one of the Arab world’s most influential diplomats and a humanitarian champion.
Sheikh Sabah, 91, who had ruled Kuwait since 2006 and steered its foreign policy for more than 50 years, was a voice for compassion, tolerance and peace in a region often beset by conflict and tensions. Widely known as the ‘dean of Arab diplomacy’ he played a central and conciliatory role in many disputes, leading by example with his efforts to pursue stability and peace between states.
His greatest legacy, however, is arguably that of his philanthropy, which extended from supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable and needy communities, to rallying global aid responses.
Under Sheikh Sabah’s leadership, Kuwait became a leading humanitarian actor, galvanising huge financial assistance from around the globe to support relief efforts for Syrian refugees, following the outbreak of civil war in 2011.