Friday, March 7, 2014

Royal Profile: Prince Al Waleed bin Talal

Al Waleed bin Talal was born 7 March 1955 as the son of Prince Talal and Mona Al Solh {Source:Fandy, Mamoun (2007). (Un)civil War of Words: Media and Politics in the Arab World. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-275-99393-1. Retrieved 21 October 2012.}

His parents separated when he was seven years old, and he resided in Saudi Arabia with his mother {Source}. During his youth, he would often run away from home for a few days, sleeping in the backs of unlocked cars{Source}. Later on, he was sent to a military school, where he learned strict discipline{Source}.

He attended university in the United States, earning a bachelor of Sciences degree in business administration form Menlo College in 1979{Source}.  In 1985, he obtained a master's degree in social science from Syracuse University{Source}.

He founded, is CEO and 95% owner of the Kingdom Holding Company, founded in 1980 {Source}. In 2011, he made an investment in the social media network Twitter {Source}. As of March 2013, he is listed on Forbes  list of richest people in the world, ranking #30{Source}.

Over the years, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal has made several significant charitable contributions, many of which were not met without controversy. Imediately after the 9/11 attacks in New York City, he gave a check to now former New York City Mayor Giuliani and published a written statement stating that:
At times like this, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. I believe the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.
As a result of this statement, Mayor Giuliani returned the Prince's check. {Source}

After the failed donation to the 9/11 Fund, the Prince again made a controversial donation. This time, it was an £18.5 million check to the families of Palestinians during a TV telethon following Israeli operations in the West Bank city of Jenin {Source}. Also in 2002, the wealthy prince donated to the Philips Academy to assist in the funding of the George H. W. Bush Scholarship Fund {Source}. After the Indian Ocean earthquake in 2004, the Prince contributed $17 Million to the victims {Source}. In 2008, he donated £16m to Edinburgh University to fund the "centre for the study of Islam in the contemporary world."{Source}.

Prince Al Waleed bin Talal has been married three times. His first marriage was to Princess Dalal bint Saud bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, whom he has two children and grandchildren with and would later divorce {Source}. he married Princess Eman bint Naser bin Abdullah al Sudair{Source}. They too divorced, but have no children together{Source}. His current wife is Princess Ameera bint Aidan al Taweel{Source}.

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