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US military to host essay contest to honor King Abdullah

In this Friday, June 27, 2014, file photo, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at Abdullah's private residence in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AP

By ARAB NEWS (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE) Published: January 30, 2015

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has established a research and essay competition in honor of King Abdullah, to be hosted by the National Defense University.

King Abdullah oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the National Guard, a position he held from 1963 until he became king in 2005.

Announcing the creation of the competition on Monday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said it is a fitting tribute to the life and leadership of King Abdullah.

King Abdullah was a lifetime supporter of his country’s alliance with the United States.

“This is an important opportunity to honor the memory of the king, while also fostering scholarly research on the Arab-Muslim world, and I can think of no better home for such an initiative than NDU,” Dempsey said in a statement announcing the competition.

The competition will focus on issues related to the Arab-Muslim world and is designed to encourage strategic thinking and meaningful research on a crucial part of the world. The program will be in place at NDU for the next academic year, officials said.

Dempsey first met King Abdullah in 2001, when he was a brigadier general serving as the US adviser to the National Guard. “In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in our relationship since, I found the king to be a man of remarkable character and courage,” Dempsey said.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, the president of the National Defense University, welcomed the opportunity to challenge future students while honoring the late king.

“This scholarly research competition presents NDU students with a unique opportunity to focus their research and writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of US security interests and the Arab-Muslim world,” he said.

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©2015 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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