In the wake of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s death on Friday, April 9th, the world has been reflecting on an extraordinary life of service, a life that helped inspire and shape the lives of more than 16,000 people in Oman.
Throughout his 99 years, The Duke was associated with 992 charities in one capacity or another, usually as president, patron or as an honorary member. The charity with which he was associated for the longest time was Outward Bound, joining as Patron in 1953, before stepping down some 66 years later in 2019. His active support helped inspire over 1.2 million people in the UK to participate in an Outward Bound programme, and his influence was instrumental in spreading the Outward Bound mission around the world, including to Oman, where Outward Bound Oman was launched in 2009, the first Outward Bound school in any Arabic speaking nation.
Initially founded by Dentons, Shell and Suhail Bahwan, and quickly supported by many of the leading corporates in Oman through their social investment programmes, Outward Bound grew rapidly in The Sultanate. Thousands of young people, as well as the emerging talent of many companies, were challenged through focused outdoor journeys as Outward Bound helped equip people with the skills and attitudes to succeed in life, and in the workplace.
In 2013 HRH Prince Charles visited Oman, and his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, saw the opportunity to write a letter to congratulate the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for being the first Arab leader to have the vision to challenge and develop the national talent of his country through Outward Bound. The response of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was to establish Outward Bound Oman by Ministerial Decree in 2014 and grant land upon which international standard training centres were to be constructed to enable greater numbers of people to benefit in the future.
With the generous support of the then Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Social Investment Committee and The Ministry of Education, a third training centre is now just 5 months away from completion on Jabal Akhdhar, so giving Oman three high-quality purpose-built national training centres.
In partnership with the government and private sectors, the vision and legacy of two great leaders in the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will be realised in the development and training of many more thousands of people in Oman in the coming years to help support Oman’s Vision 2040.
Outward Bound Oman Patron His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al Said stated that ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s 66 years at Patron of Outward Bound UK is an example of extraordinary public service. The Duke clearly believed, as do I, in the difference that Outward Bound makes to people’s lives, be that in the UK, or here in Oman.’
Outward Bound Oman Executive Director Mark Evans said that ‘Outward Bound has flourished in Oman thanks to the support of many, but principally due to the vision and support of two inspirational people in the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Our three national training centres will soon give us the capacity to train many thousands more people in the coming years, doing our part to help develop the next generation of leaders and so help shape the character of the nation in line with what both men would have wanted’.