Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
As a member nation of the United Nations (UN), Kuwait is a strong supporter of the role of the UN in preserving international peace and security. Kuwait firmly believes in international cooperation to fight all forms of terror and coercion that threaten individuals and nations. It supports every country’s right to defend itself and to restore sovereign rights as enshrined in the United Nations charter.
The United Nations intervention during the Gulf War of 1990-91, besides support from member nations, helped Kuwait regain its independence and honour. On March 2, 1991, the Security Council asked Iraq to revoke the annexation of Kuwait, on April 3, the Security Council voted a permanent cease-fire in the Gulf, the inviolability of the borders, payment of war damages and destruction of weapons. On April 5, the Security Council declared that Kuwait had regained its independence. The UN took prompt and decisive action by issuing 10 resolutions against the Baghdad government justifying the faith that Kuwait and member states have in the United Nations.
KISR has been playing an outstanding role in the field of scientific and technological research and consultations, and in orienting them toward the objectives of social and economic development of Kuwait. This is done through close coordination with the various related organisations and institutions in Kuwait.
KISR was established in 1967, and at that time its activity was confined to introductory studies and field surveys in the field of agriculture. Later, by a Decree in 1981, it became a government institute of scientific research operating autonomously through a clearly defined scientific strategy aiming at achieving the following objectives:
Encouraging Kuwait’s citizens to pursue scientific research and inculcating interest in scientific research in the younger generation.
Studying, developing, making use of and protecting natural resources, especially water, marine, energy and farming resources.
Conducting technological and scientific research and providing scientific consultancy to government bodies.
Following up recent developments in the fields of science and technology and applying them to the local environment.
Establishing and developing scientific cooperation through joint research and information exchange programmes with academic and technological institutions locally and abroad.
To achieve these goals, the Institute drew up a five year plan (1984-1989) under the title Strategic Research Programmer which is based on major scientific programmes closely related to the local needs of Kuwait.
Positive results have been achieved by the Institute, and its programmes are now being implemented in many fields. The Institute, for instance, in an attempt to develop food resources, has succeeded in developing techniques for producing new types of fish, and in discovering a protein which can be used for feeding animals. Studies have also been conducted to improve agricultural production and certain types of plants have been developed to be planted in the water front project. It has also conducted scientific studies in the field of sea water desalination through the method of reverse osmosis, and has developed new designs for computers used in forecasting the low spread of oil slicks in regional coastal waters. It has also undertaken studies using solar energy in some chemical processes.
Since its inception, KISR has helped in the preparation of national qualified cadres and in setting training systems aiming at improving the skill and proficiency of the Institute’s researchers, especially the young cadres, who now constitute 50 per cent of its scientific staff.
The new premises inaugurated in 1986 have helped the Institute to double its efforts in the field of scientific research. It is now ranked fifth out of 50 scientific institutions in the third world countries.
For more information, visit: www.kisr.edu.kw
Kuwait has consolidation of the role of science and technology into the growth and development of the nation, and the investment of the results of scientific research in extending development to broader and newer horizons to meet the challenges of a changing world. These values have led to the creation of new opportunities and enhancement of the potential and capabilities of Kuwaiti citizens, especially the youth.
The main tenets of Kuwait’s science and technology strategy have been the use of modern scientific methods as the base for building an advanced society that selects the best practices from around the globe.
The implementation of plans and programmes have placed Kuwait in a more advanced position than many of the region’s countries.
Kuwait has established specialised scientific bodies which can undertake work in the field of academic research with the ultimate aim of building up modern Kuwait. These bodies are: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), The Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) and the Scientific Club.
Kuwait’s constitution forbids offensive war, but the defence of the homeland and the preservation of its independence and sovereignty is a sacred duty.
Based on this principle, the Ministry of Defence has provided the armed forces with modern technology and equipment of war fighting.
Military service in Kuwait is compulsory for all Kuwaiti male citizens who have attained 18 years of age; they spend two years in the army. The period is reduced to one year for university graduates. The Ministry of Defence and the Army leadership use the most modern systems such as computers and microfilms for preparing and training Kuwaiti youth as ranked army officers.
Established in 1969, the Ministry of Defence has about 1,500 employees, excluding the forces. The Ministry works towards enhancing the skills and abilities of land, air and naval forces by sending them to military courses, both in Kuwait and abroad. Further, the Ministry allows for acceptance of qualified women in various specialities such as the engineering and military facilities, moral guidance and public relations departments.
Kuwait’s Army is an active member of the ‘Peninsula Shield’ force, which is a joint force constituted by the GCC. It includes representative units from all the Council members. Military officials exchange visits and conduct joint maneuvers aiming at coordination and integration among themselves.
Kuwait has known the consultative system (Al-Shoora) since 1920. The first state consultative council in the region was formed during the reign of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The first elected legislative assembly was formed in the country in 1938 with 14 members. Though it was short-lived, it speaks volumes of Kuwait’s serious attempts to create democratic institutions way back in 1930s.
Modern parliamentary life in Kuwait began on June 19, 1961 with the elections to the Constituent Assembly. This was followed by the first session of the National Assembly held on January 29, 1963.
The total strength of the Kuwaiti National Assembly is 50. The members are elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage and secret ballot. The legislative term is divided into annual sessions which are of no less than eight months’ duration; the legislative term may be extended by law in times of war or may be shortened if the Assembly is dissolved by a decree. In such an eventuality general elections will have to be held within two months from the date of dissolution.
Each of Kuwait’s 25 constituencies elects two members to the Assembly. Only Kuwaiti males who are 21 years of age have the right to vote. Candidates for the National Assembly must be Kuwaiti nationals and not under 30 years of age.The Assembly’s sessions are only valid when more than half of the total number of members are present. Every member has the right to initiate bills. The bill passed by the National Assembly becomes law after it is sanctioned by the Amir, and promulgated and published in the official gazette.
The National Assembly’s financial responsibilities include approval of the state budget and final accounts. The Assembly also supervises executive power through deferment means, like submitting questions, initiating discussions, and setting up commissions of inquiry. Such supervision can lead to a vote of no-confidence against a minister and result in his resignation. A vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister is not allowed, but the Assembly has the right of deciding not to cooperate with the Prime Minister. In such a case, the issue is taken to the Amir, who may either relieve the Prime Minister of office and appoint a new Cabinet or dissolve the Assembly and hold fresh elections.
The National Assembly has the right to set up standing as well as ad-hoc committees from among its members. These committees include Committee on Petitions and Complaints, Committee on Interior Affairs and Defence, Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs, Committee on Legislative and Legal Affairs, Committee on Affairs of Education, Culture and Guidance, Committee on Health, Social Affairs and Labour, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Public Utilities, Committee on Protection of Public Funds and the Committee on Defence of Human Rights.
Minister of Education: Nouriya Subeeh Barrak Al-Subeeh
Established in 1962, the Ministry of Education is one of the largest ministries with about 50,000 employees. The Ministry aims at updating and developing educational and teaching methods to ensure education to all citizens of Kuwait.
Education in Kuwait is imparted at four different levels:
- Kindergarten, with a duration of two academic years,
- Primary, with a duration of four academic years,
- Intermediate, with a duration of four academic years and
- Secondary, with a duration of four academic years.
Primary education is a fundamental right and is free and compulsory for all Kuwaitis. The education system in Kuwait can also be divided into three categories: Public, Private and Qualitative.
As per the data of academic year 1998-1999, there were 148 kindergartens, 179 primary schools, 164 intermediate schools and 117 secondary schools in Kuwait.
Private education was originally established to accommodate foreigners working in the country accompanied by their families. The following categories of schools fall under the umbrella of private education: Arabic private schools, foreign private schools (British, American, Indian etc), and cultural institutes (specialising in training, vocational and career studies).
The Arabic private schools receive support from the government and are run according to the academic requirements of the State of Kuwait. Foreign schools are run according to the academic curriculum of the country they emulate, but under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has made it mandatory for these schools to provide courses in Arabic language, Islamic religion, and history, geography and culture.
Qualitative education can be further subdivided into the following segments:
- Religious education It consists of the intermediate and secondary levels. There were 81 religious institutes in 1998-99.
- Special education The Ministry provides special education to handicapped and disabled children in the State.
- Adult education Adult education focuses primarily on the obliteration of illiteracy among adults. The rate of illiteracy continues to decrease.
Kuwait is an independent and sovereign Arab state. It is a hereditary Emirate and follows a democratic system of governance.
The Amirs of Kuwait are descendants of the late HH Mubarak Al-Sabah. Legislative power is vested in the Amir and the National Assembly. Executive power is vested in the Amir, the Cabinet and the Ministers, while Judicial authority is vested in the courts.
The Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister includes ministers in charge of one or more portfolios. The Prime Minister, traditionally the Crown Prince, is appointed by the Amir. The ministers are appointed by the Amir on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Kuwait has an effective and well-functioning Judiciary, which decides all kinds of conflicts between various parties. A constitutional court, set up in accordance with the constitution, arbitrates on disputes relating to the constitutionality of laws, law decrees and regulations.
Kuwait also has an Audit Bureau which is responsible for preserving public funds and ensuring their optimal use through effective financial supervision. It reports to the Speaker of the National Assembly.
The country is divided into six Governorates. Each Governorate is administered by its own local governing body called the Governorate Council.
Foreign Affairs is an important portfolio. The main task of the Ministry is to define, implement and shape the nation’s foreign policy to meet the challenges of fast-changing regional and global developments. The Ministry is responsible for defining and shaping Kuwait’s relations with other countries, and its response to international issues and related subjects.
Kuwait’s Foreign Policy
In essence, Kuwait’s foreign policy is based on the principles of clarity, straightforwardness and quiet diplomacy. It aims at strengthening constructive cooperation with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, and non-intervention in the internal affairs in accordance with the principles of fairness and justice. Kuwait’s foreign policy is also concerned with the maintenance of its own independence, sovereignty and freedom of political decision.
The formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is an expression and extension of Kuwait’s primary foreign policy goals. Created on February 4, 1981, the GCC has based its work on these principles to intensify efforts towards broadening cooperation among its members. The Charter of the GCC was signed by Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia in May 1981. The GCC groups together countries that are similar in culture, political structure and legal framework. The preferred approach of the GCC States is political mediation, crisis management and balance of power politics. The Charter aims at establishing a free market aiming a currency union and free movement of labour among the member countries.
The Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) was set up under the GCC Charter to investigate and fund development projects within the GCC for the production of import substitutes. The GIC has made impressive strides in the various fields.
Kuwait is also a member of the Arab League, where it realises its belief in a common Arab destiny by enhancing its relations with the Arab States. Kuwait actively supports, and works for the advancement of the cardinal principles of the Arab League and all its associated organisations.
At the level of the Islamic States, Kuwait has achieved reasonable success in overcoming the obstacles that weaken Islamic cooperation. The fifth Islamic Conference hosted by Kuwait in January 1987 played a catalytic role towards attaining greater success.
Kuwait joined the United Nations on May 14, 1963 thereby becoming the 111th member of the world body. Kuwait has upheld the UN’s principle of constructive cooperation, based on peace, equality and justice, among the nations of the world. The UN, on its part, has reciprocated by lending international support to Kuwait during the invasion by Iraq. Kuwait has worked for strengthening the organisation and has pledged more funds to the UN corpus than its prescribed quota.
Executive power in Kuwait is vested in the Cabinet or the Council of Ministers. It is headed by the Prime Minister, a position held traditionally by the Crown Prince. The Prime Minister is appointed through an Amiri Decree. The ministers of the Cabinet are appointed by the Amir on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
According to the Kuwaiti constitution, the number of ministers in a Cabinet must not exceed one-third the strength of the National Assembly. This number does not include the Head of the National Guard, the Amiri Diwan Affairs Minister, the Amir’s Advisor and the Chairman of the Audit Bureau.
The Cabinet controls the state institutions. It is responsible for the general policy of the government and its execution. Each minister in the Cabinet holds one or more portfolios. The Prime Minister and his ministers are accountable to the Amir and the National Assembly.
Besides executive powers, the Constitution grants the Cabinet authority to declare defensive war, proclaim martial law, promulgate law decrees when the National Assembly is not in session or its legislative term has expired, grant pardons, and issue executive and administrative regulations.
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