Bahraini historian and strong advocate for interfaith coexistence Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Daij Al Khalifa passed away Friday morning at the age of 65.
A member of the kingdom’s ruling family, Al Khalifa was one of the first Bahrainis to visit Israel after the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020 and called for peace and coexistence among all religions, sects and peoples. He also received many Jews during their visits to the Kingdom of Bahrain before the signing of the Accords.
The doctor was seen as one of the most prominent supporters of launching the King Hamad Center for Peaceful Coexistence and played a major role in Bahrain's steps towards peaceful coexistence. He was also among the officials who planned Pope Francis's landmark first visit to Bahrain in November 2022.
Who was Aal Khalifa?
Until his death, Al Khalifa was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Executive Director of the Isa Cultural Center, a national institution affiliated with the Royal Court in Manama. He had also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence since March 2018.
“Some countries make tolerance and peaceful coexistence centers to have peaceful coexistence in their countries,” Al Khalia told The Media Line in 2020. “Bahrain is just the opposite. We have had peaceful existence for many years – hundreds of years – and we would like to reflect this to the world through our center.”
Earning his Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, the historian held several positions at the University of Bahrain, including Vice President for Academic Affairs and Scientific Research between 2000 and 2002; Vice President for Financial and Administrative Affairs between 1995 and 2000; Director of the Admission and Registration Department between 1992 and 1995; and a professor of history.
He previously served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arab Center for Youth Empowerment in Jordan and Honorary President for Bahrain of the Arab Youth Council for Integrated Development in Egypt in 2016. He was a founding member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al-Shahba University in Syria and a founding member of the Union of Arab Historians in Egypt.
He was also an honorary member of the Regional Network for Social Responsibility and the Society for Tolerance and Coexistence of Religions in Bahrain. He was a member of the Committee of Arab Wise Men, concerned with issues of arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, and a member of the International Academic Affairs Committee at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies affiliated with the University of Oxford in 2015.
“Illiteracy breeds violence and corruption, good education breeds discussion and development: it elevates society,” Al Khalifa said in a 2018 interview with a Bahraini news outlet.
He was a member of the Shura Council of Bahrain between 2002 and 2014, chairing its Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committee, in addition to his membership of Bahrain’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature.
He was awarded the Arab Historian Medal from Iraq in 1988 and received the Mediterranean Award for Culture and Peace from the Mediterranean Foundation in 2018.