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Dr Abdullah: Beacon of bold thinking
January 30, 2015
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Dr Abdullah Omram Taryam changed the course of the lives of many people, who developed a lot of respect for him. For many of his staff he was a source of inspiration, working for whom had been a privilege. He was steely-edged, but at the core of his heart he was sweet and understanding and forgiving. His faith in us is like a debt that we owe him — for the success in our careers. He was our guardian angel, keeping tabs on our growth, and steered the nation through the initial throes of its development.

He had a stellar role in promoting virtually every aspect of the nation’s role, be it in education, the judiciary, the media, the empowerment of women, or industry.

He felt strongly on several issues: the Arab ethos, the Palestinian cause, the plight of Egypt, education, the health sector... He unravelled each strand of the body politic, untying the knots, clearing the minefield of complexities, making things smooth — and life comfortable — for the nation’s people.

His attitude to work was marked by an indefatigable spirit. Few could match his commitment to work: every day, he would stay up till late in the night at work overseeing the issue of Al Khaleej. He would even check other publications of the Dar Al Khaleej group. He was like a father-figure to the staff in his organisation.

He had a strong scholastic trait. He wrote several books, but he did not remain detached from problems. Rather, he had a hands-on approach to issues, believing in solving them instantly.

He was a beacon of compassion, a torch-bearer of free thinking, a shining light of professional zeal. He worked towards making Dar Al Khaleej a paradigm of bold and enlightened journalism.

Dr Abdullah held the Spirit of the Union in his soul.

As Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the Apple mobile phone, said, ten years ago, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Dr Abdullah had the courage of conviction, and he followed it with his heart and soul. He followed, to the hilt, the dictates of his heart and intuition. And it is this that has made him what he is: an institution larger than life, particularly in the world of the media.

A year has passed since he left us to be with his Maker, but he left behind a legacy that few can emulate. The Dar Al Khaleej Group will continue to strive to live up to his ideals: the tenets of fair and unbiased journalism and an unwavering commitment to the profession will forever remain etched in our hearts. He gave journalism a human face, a trait that will remain embedded in our minds for a long time to come.

Tribute to an untiring pioneer

As part of the series of books “Aalamm Al Emarat,” the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation issued the book titled  “Abdullah Omran Taryam ... The Comprehensive Character,” by famous writer Abdul Ghaffar Hussein on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Dr Abdullah.
The author has dedicated the book to the late Dr Abdullah’s children Khalid, Omran, Amira, Aysha and the formidable Umm Khalid. The first page of the book carries the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in which he says, “Today we lost Abdullah Omran the brother, the friend and one of the loyal sons of the United Arab Emirates. I present my condolences to his family, friends and all the sons of the homeland. Dr Abdullah Omran participated in the talks of the establishment of the UAE. He was the first Minister of Justice, oversaw the establishment of the Emirates University and founded with his brother Dar Al Khaleej, the leading publishing house. He served his country sincerely and contributed to the awareness and education of the UAE community, I ask God to inspire his family with patience and fortitude. “

The book includes two introductions, the first by Abdul Ghaffar Hussein and the second by Dr Abdul Khaliq Abdullah, professor of political science at the Emirates University.

The book has  eight chapters and three appendices including a personal message from the author, images from the archives and the biography of Dr Abdullah Omran. The book describes Dr Abdullah Omran as a man who kept pace with the origin and evolution of the United Arab Emirates, stressing that he was not only a witness to its growth but also a constructive arm, a man who held several active tasks and was sincere in every task entrusted to him. He is also described as an exceptional man who left his mark on people’s lives.

Dr Abdul Khaliq Abdullah stresses the roles and qualities of the late Dr Abdullah Omran, noting that he deserves the title of the “Founding Father of Education” in the United Arab Emirates. Dr Abdul Khaliq also says, “The late Dr Abdullah was a man of national stature, a rare commanding figure and a pioneer of the national press in the United Arab Emirates.”

Abdul Ghaffar Hussein says that what he presented in the book was a mixture of realistic and heartfelt thoughts, full of real brotherhood, friendship and mutual respect between him and Dr Abdullah. He talks about many details of Dr Abdullah Omran and his late brother Taryam Omran, who had a wealth of experience and displayed pathbreaking political and intellectual maturity.

Under the title “The patriotism of Dr Abdullah Omran,” Abdul Ghaffar Hussein mentions the wonderful characteristics of Dr Abdullah and stresses his pivotal role in the social and political structuring of the United Arab Emirates. The book has an appendix including pictures from the different stages of his life and the contribution of Dr Abdullah Omran to the cultural, media and social fields.
Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development said, “I find it difficult to talk about the brother and friend, Dr Abdullah Omran. He was a national figure, and a leading community and media personality. He lived his life to the full and spared no effort to serve his country, in order to achieve more progress and to be always in the forefront of the advanced countries.”

He added saying that the Late Dr Abdullah had exceptional abilities in the field of journalism and the media, in addition to his sincere and loyal commitment to his country. We are sure that no one has forgotten and will not forget this great national model. His cultural and scientific character was unique and stretched to the farthest borders. He read a lot and talked with many officials and intellectuals. His writings were a model of wisdom. His excellence and the unchallenged uniqueness was recognised by all. There are many who have been educated through extensive reading of his enlightened ideas and writings of great impact. The deceased had established a sophisticated media school.

Sultan Al Badi

Sultan Al Badi, Minister of Justice, said that the late Dr Abdullah Omran is considered a national symbol and a pioneer of the judiciary, intellectual, cultural and media fields in the Arab world, and he was the first Minister of Justice after the announcement of the foundation of the United Arab Emirates union.

Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami

Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami, former Minister of Education, said that the late Dr Abdullah Omran played a major role in the process of education in the country and made great efforts to develop the basic building block of modern education. He also adopted many of the most important educational issues like literacy. Qatami added, “Dr Abdullah Omran was able, with his patriotism and love for the homeland, to translate the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to reality which changed the face of education in the UAE.”

Judge Abdulwahab Abdul

Judge Abdulwahab Abdul, Head of the Federal Supreme Court, said that Dr Abdullah Omran Taryam is a legend who cannot be forgotten and cannot be erased from the memory of everyone who dealt with him. He added, “A year has passed since the demise of Dr Abdullah Omran, but his memory is still fresh in the hearts of all those who love him, because he was a man of thought and pen, policy and administration, education, journalism and media. He left his imprint on each of these fields.”

Judge Ahmed Al Khatri

Judge Ahmed Al Khatri, Head of Courts Department in Ras Al Khaimah, who was a contemporary of Dr Abdullah Omran during his tenure as a Minister of Justice, said that he was a high calibre man of institutions (pioneer of institutions). He valued the judiciary, and worked hard during his tenure on its independence, and strengthened its position in the hearts of the litigants.

He pointed the local Courts of Ras Al Khaimah had multiple meetings with the federal judiciary and the Ministry while Dr Abdullah Omran was the Minister, stressing that he was sending judges and prosecutors to help and support the development of the judiciary in Ras Al Khaimah.

Judge Ahmed Saif

Judge Ahmed Saif, Head of the Dubai Civil Court, stressed that Dr Abdullah Omran played an effective role in what the UAE judiciary has achieved through efforts as a Minister of Justice. He was a statesman who greatly contributed to the development of the Union.

The period in which Dr Abdullah was a Minister of Justice was very important in building an honourable and independent Emirati judiciary. He was of the generations of founders who left his important mark on the history of judicial work and building the Ministry of Justice.

Fawzia Hassan Gharib

Fawzia Hassan Gharib, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, Educational Assistant for Operations, said that Dr Abdullah Omran was the leader of the development phase of education that began with the foundation of the Union. His trends, he added, were focused on spreading education in the UAE and on the eradication of illiteracy.

Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh

Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh, assistant undersecretary of Support Services at the Ministry of Education, said that Dr Abdullah Omran had extensive knowledge of the bases, principles, history, and civilisation of Islam. The history of education in the United Arab Emirates in the era of Dr Abdullah Omran witnessed tremendous achievements and the curricula underwent great development, as he was keen to make a quantum leap in education.

Ali Meyhed al Suwaidi

Ali Meyhed Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, said Dr Abdullah Omran led the march of education at a difficult stage. He led an intensive effort to promote education and from the start, his keenness to spread education and increase the number of schools and students started showing results the moment Dr Abdullah Omran took charge of the Ministry of Education.

Khawla Al Mualla

 “The curriculums in the country witnessed their first development by Dr Abdullah Omran, as he founded the stage of development in implementation of the directives of late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He revolutionised the education system to impart free education for females and males in public schools,” said Khawla Al Mualla, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Polices at the Ministry of Education.

The private education emerged later to complement public education. It provided education to more than 40 per cent of students who study in the UAE. It concentrated on educating the foreign languages to many of the citizens and children of the residents, as well as adopting various subjects like science, mathematics and others, she said. 

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