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Sheikh Ali Al Khalifa Al-Sabah

Sheikh Ali Al Khalifa Al Sabah is one of the most important and dynamic leaders of our time. He is the great grandson of the sixth emir, the late Sheikh Mohammed Al Sabah who ruled Kuwait in 1892-96.

Sheik Ali Al Sabah served as Kuwait's Minister of Finance from 1983 to 1985 and again from 1990 to 1991. He also held the office of Minister of Oil from 1987 to 1990.

Sheik Ali Al Sabah is recognized as an International authority on the oil industry. In 1978 he was appointed as President of Opec and OAPEC. From 1980 to 1990, his Excellency acted as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kuwait National Petroleum Company, which manages 10% of the world's oil reserves.

His Excellency also served as the Chairman of Kuwait's Investment Authority, which manages Kuwait's $200 billion International investments.

Since 1991, he has held a variety of positions in several international banks and institution. His wealth of experience and successful management style has won his Excellency acclaim in the international business arena. He was nominated as one of the World's top 50 CEOs by Fortune Magazine in 1987.

Sheikh Ali Khalifa remains a very influential in the fields he previously held posts in. In US relations, Finance, Oil, and even in OPEC matters the influence of Sheikh Ali is unsurpassed.

Sheikh Ali Al Khalifa Al Sabah is considered to be one of the most influential financial and political figures of our time. Abu Khalifa however, prefers to keep a low profile and is reputed to retain a very close circle of associates and partners that he implicitly trusts.

Sheikh Ali al-Khalifa al-Sabah, known to all as Abu Khalifa is highly regarded among both Kuwaitis and foreigners. "He can sell you the shirt off your back while you're wearing it," says a friend, affectionately. "He is absolutely one of the smartest, shrewdest people I have ever met."

Although born into the ruling Sabah family, Abu Khalifa worked his way up through various jobs in the Finance and Oil ministries. Over the past years he has held each of those crucial Cabinet portfolios several times, and was once minister of both simultaneously.

Until he was 12, Abu Khalifa attended elementary school in Baghdad. Sheikh Ali learned English at a private academy in Cairo (it so happens by chance that this was the same school attended by my grandfather and King Hussein also).

Like every Kuwaiti who wanted a college education before Kuwait University was inaugurated in 1966, went abroad to study. Before being graduated with a B.A. in mathematics from San Francisco State University, Abu Khalifa spent two years at Berkeley, where his chemistry lab partner was Mario Savio, the radical student leader who founded the Free Speech Movement. "To be at Berkeley in the '60s was wonderful," says Abu Khalifa. "We studied a bit, attended anti-Vietnam demonstrations and listened to Joan Baez, who was always around singing."

Pegged a comer early on, Abu Khalifa worked for the Finance Ministry between graduate studies in London and Beirut, often jetting home weekly for meetings. Before he was 30, Abu Khalifa was representing Kuwait at important OPEC meetings.

It was Sheikh Ali Al Khalifa who designed many of Kuwait's successful investment strategies, and Abu Khalifa who reorganized Kuwait's oil industry following the government's 1975 takeover of the Kuwait Oil Co. -- a joint venture of Gulf Oil Corp. and British Petroleum. And, to no one's surprise, it was Abu Khalifa who was at the center of his country's most ambitious effort: the restructuring and re-inventing of Kuwait.