Husain Ali Al Musallam, director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia and the first vice president of the Federation Internationale de Natation, which administers international competitions in water sports, was presented with an honorary Ph.D. in sports science by Kookmin University on Monday.
At the 11 a.m. ceremony, the former swimmer received the degree from university President Yu Ji-soo and Park Chan-ryang, the dean of its graduate school.
Husain Ali al-Musallam (center), director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia and first vice president of the International Swimming Federation, poses for photographs after receiving an honorary degree from Kookmin University on Monday. Kookmin University President Yu Ji-soo and Dean of Graduate School Park Chan-ryang are seen on the left and right, respectively. / Kookmin University
According to the university, the degree was granted in recognition of Musallam’s dedication to the Olympics and his contributions to world peace through sports.
Born in 1960, the swimmer, who formerly represented Kuwait’s national swim team, has been director-general of the council since September 2005 and vice president of FINA since 2015. Previously, he was a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees and in 2013 he was appointed to the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Movement Reform Committee.
“The fact that Musallam has played a pivotal role in IOC and also in ANOC to strengthen the relationship between the worldwide NOCs (National Olympic Committee) and the Olympic Family for the benefit of the entire Olympic Movement already proves his significant contribution to build the peace and better world through international Olympic movement,” Association for International Sport for All President Chang Ju-ho wrote in his recommendation letter.
Upon receiving the degree, Musallam stressed the importance of sports, calling them an introduction to rules and regulations and saying that’s what makes them so important in life. He also said sports play a role in promoting world peace.
“In this context, the goal is to place the sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind with a view to promote a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” he said. “By disregarding both geographical and social borders, strengthening social ties and network, the sport has become one of the strongest instruments to promote peace around the world.”
He said what he had learned as an athlete and as manager of the Kuwaiti national team had helped him during his career as a commercial pilot. During a hijacking incident in 1981, he said he was able to negotiate with the hijackers and bring the aircraft to safety because sports had taught him to be patient and positive and had helped him build good communication skills.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)