Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani is the Sixth Ruler of the State of Qatar. His reign had seen many achievements such as the re-organization of the government, the Interim Basic law was amended, the country concluded a number of agreements to extract and market oil, schools and colleges were set up and the first university in the country was established.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani was born in Al-Rayyan in 1932. He acquired his leadership skills from his father and grandfather and gained a deep understanding and appreciation of the affairs of Qatari he assumed his responsibilities early in life. In 1949, he was appointed as a Chairman of Security Affairs in Qatar and in 1957 he became the first Minister of Education.
On October 24, 1960 Sheikh Khalifa became the Heir Apparent and Deputy Ruler. On the 5th November of the same year, he assumed the portfolio of the Ministry of Finance and became the first Chairman of Qatar National Bank, after it was founded in 1964, and chaired the first Council of Ministers in 1970.
On September 3, 1971 Sheikh Khalifa declared the independence of Qatar and the abrogation of Anglo-Qatari Treaty of 1916 and all related conventions. In the same year, the law for the establishment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was issued with Sheikh Khalifa assuming its administration along with his other responsibilities. During that period several critical measures had been adopted in the country such as the process of Arabisation and promotion of the government’s power. For that purpose laws were issued to regulate new ministries and departments.
On the international stage, Qatar maintained its sovereign policy through friendship treaty with Britain in September 3, 1971, joining the League of Arab States, and accession to the United Nations on September of the same year.
On February 22, 1972 Sheikh Khalifa became the Amir of Qatar. He soon started the process of reorganization of the government, appointing Sheikh Suheim Bin Hamad as the first foreign minister and amended the Interim Basic law in 19 April 1972 to enlarge the cabinet.
Diplomatic relations were also established with a number of foreign countries at ambassadorial level. The cabinet was reshuffled for the first time replacing most of the previous ministers and bringing their number up to fifteen.
In line with the expansion of government activities and services the education system of the country was also reformed. A number of schools and other educational institutions were inaugurated and the University of Qatar, the first university in the country, was established in 1973.The first museum in Qatar was also established in 1975.
Among the key achievements of that era was the issuance of the Amended Interim Basic law in April 19, 1972 replacing the previous one issued on April 2, 1970. In that constitution Qatar is identified as “part of the Arab nation”. The text also provided for the organization of authorities in the country, establishment of an Advisory Council contributing to enact legislation and laid the foundations for budget approval and State Audit Bureau.
The state revenue from the oil sector had increased due to the signing of a number of production sharing agreements with a number of foreign oil companies. In 1991, the production of gas in the Qatari North Field, the world’s largest single non-associated gas field, commenced. The North Field has estimated reserves of more than nine hundred trillion cubic feet of gas leading to Qatar becoming an energy super power.
Sheikh Khalifa remained the Ruler of the country until June 26, 1995. He passed away on 23 October 2016 and his body laid to rest in Al Rayyan cemetery.