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Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain stated during a virtual seminar: "The State of Kuwait, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (may Allah protect him), provided a contribution of $60 million to finance research for combating the coronavirus."

June 24, 2020

Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation held a virtual seminar titled "Solidarity in the Context of COVID-19: A Fundamental Value for Confronting the Pandemic." The seminar featured political figures, heads of civil society organizations, and officials from ten different countries around the world.

In his opening address, Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, the Chairman of the Foundation, stated:

"Throughout different eras, humanity has faced various epidemics and infectious diseases that spread rapidly. This year, the dangerous and highly contagious COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe, affecting over nine million people in a matter of months, with the death toll surpassing half a million so far. This impact has extended beyond these numbers, disrupting the economies of many nations and leaving millions unemployed, homeless, hungry, and without support."

Mr. Albabtain emphasized the necessity for all benevolent efforts to align in working based on the noble value of solidarity and to unite forces in order to mitigate its spread and its destructive consequences.

He also provided an explanation to the seminar's international guests about the significant solidarity efforts in the State of Kuwait. He then proceeded to discuss the efforts of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation in the same context, stating:

"The State of Kuwait, under the Humanitarian Leadership of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect and bless him, has proactively collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of international efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In alignment with these efforts, the Kuwaiti Cabinet decided to provide financial support of $60 million to the World Health Organization. This contribution represents Kuwait's commitment to financing research endeavors aimed at combatting the pandemic, fulfilling its humanitarian obligations."

The Director of the WHO commended Kuwait's initiative during a press conference, affirming that Kuwait had delivered the largest and most significant support for funding response programs aimed at addressing this pandemic.

Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain clarified that "at the local level within Kuwait, there has been no discrimination between citizens and residents. Kuwait has remained true to its principles of justice and human equality, treating everyone on its land equally. His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed gratitude to both residents and citizens without exception in two historic speeches, one in April and another in May". Albabtain further added: "I also recall, for example, the significant role played by the Kuwait Red Crescent Society in providing material donations to residents in Kuwait who were affected by the halt in their economic activities. In a similar spirit of unique solidarity, the Kuwaiti government conducted hundreds of free evacuation flights for stranded nationals of various countries, using Kuwait Airways and other carriers. The government also carried out its largest evacuation operation in history to bring back Kuwaiti citizens residing abroad. This commitment was so strong that even a Kuwaiti citizen stranded in Senegal was safely and healthily repatriated to Kuwait."

Albabtain discussed an initiative named "Fazaa Kuwait," saying: "Since March of the past year, a campaign titled 'Fazaa Kuwait' was launched by the International Islamic Charitable Organization in collaboration with more than 40 Kuwaiti charitable associations. This campaign aimed to support governmental efforts in confronting this pandemic. The Ministry of Social Affairs announced that the 'Fazaa Kuwait' campaign has collected donations exceeding 30 million euros. These funds were contributed by the benevolent individuals of the Kuwaiti community, who are renowned for their commitment to charity and aiding those in need."

"Furthermore, it's worth noting that Kuwaiti charitable organizations have undertaken numerous valuable humanitarian initiatives. These initiatives have benefited thousands of workers in restricted and isolated areas through direct support to numerous families and individuals."

Albabtain emphasized that there are thousands of volunteers from Kuwaiti citizens, both males and females, as well as residents who continue to work tirelessly under the most challenging circumstances to serve both citizens and residents in Kuwait. He particularly highlighted the efforts of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior.

Regarding Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, Mr. Albabtain pointed out "that the Foundation has played its humanitarian role within this context of solidarity. Inside Kuwait, the Foundation contributed financially to the "Fazaa Kuwait" campaign and supported charitable organizations with in-kind donations." He stated that "these efforts are considered a moral, ethical, and religious duty, and there is no need to elaborate on them."

He added "As for the international efforts, we have provided financial support to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) through the Kuwait office. Personally, I have been keen on monitoring the situation of the students who are being sponsored by our Foundation to continue their education, numbering more than 500 students, in various countries such as Somalia, Egypt, Italy, the Netherlands, and England. Our Foundation continued to disburse their monthly stipends and even increased them for some, enabling them to support their families in their home countries. In the coming days, we will renew our support for Syrian students and other refugees in Europe who are studying at the University of Lisbon through the Fast-Track Mechanism for Higher Education, which is managed by President Sampaio, at his request."

On another note, Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain stated, "We have reaffirmed our commitment, in the midst of this challenging economic situation, to the World Forum for the Culture of Just Peace, scheduled to take place on November 5-6, 2020, in Malta under the supervision and patronage of President George Vella. This will be a significant event where we will host approximately 500 guests. God willing, we will all meet at this Forum. I pray that by that date, we will have been able to overcome the pandemic that is currently keeping us apart."

At the conclusion of the virtual seminar, Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain expressed his gratitude to the speakers for enriching this seminar with their diverse experiences. He stated, "I wish you all safety and I pray that we all overcome this pandemic together. I look forward to meeting you all soon in Malta, God willing."

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