A Builder of Bridges Between the Cultures and Religions
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Salmi, Minister of Religious Affairs and initiator of the German University of Technology in Oman, GUtech for short, received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2007, GUtech was established in Muscat with support from RWTH Aachen University.
In a festive ceremony, the German Ambassador to Oman, Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, presented the honor to His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Salmi in the presence of high-profile guests from politics, business, and academia, including H.H. Sayyid Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture, H.E. Dr. Rawiyah Al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education, and H.E. Yusuf Bin Alawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
A delegation from Aachen also attended the ceremony, including the former Mayor of the City of Aachen, Dr. Jürgen Linden; RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg; the founding Rector of GUtech Professor Michael Jansen; and Professor Burkhard Rauhut, former Recotor of both RWTH Aachen and GUtech. The current Rector of GUtech is RWTH Professor Emeritus Michael Modigell.Copyright: GUtech
“I would like to thank the Federal Republic of Germany for honoring me with the Grand Cross, and I hope we shall continue to work together as a shining example of excellent human relations and for the future progress of knowledge and science in our societies and nations,” said H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Salmi in his acceptance speech. “Germany is a great nation – diverse and advanced with a rich history and culture. We feel huge admiration and affection for this enchanting and thriving country.”
"Islam Includes Peace and Devotion"
Several speakers expressed their deep admiration for H.E. Sheikh Abdullah’s life-long work, his notion of tolerance, and for being a bridge builder between Oman and Germany, the Orient and the Occident, as well as between different religions.
“There is an alarming absence of humanity and the will to pursue the human rights. His Excellency, Sheikh Abdullah is different. He knows Islam includes salam – peace – and taslim – devotion,” said Dr. Jürgen Linden, former Lord Mayor of the City of Aachen.
Ambassador Freiherr von Reibnitz honored the awardee’s life work. “You are truly living the value of tolerance.” In particular he lauded the Sheik’s initiative to establish GUtech: “Actions speak louder than words. And you have acted.”
GUtech Founding Rector emphasized the awardee’s longstanding relations with Germany: “Sheikh Abdullah builds bridges. For a long time now he has been on very good terms with Germany and the Germans, and especially with two German cities and universities: the University of Tübingen and RWTH Aachen.”
Established in 2007, GUtech already has gained a high reputation. In cooperation with Omani investors, RWTH Aachen coordinated the establishment of the university according to its academic standards. There is a strong focus on collaboration between teaching, research, and the regional industry – a concept that has proved to be successful for RWTH Aachen. All Bachelor's programs offered by GUtech are internationally accredited.
The German Ambassador to Oman, Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, presents the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit to His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Salmi.