'Sheikh Sultan is a constant source of support for scholars': 90-year-old historian talks about friendship with Sharjah Ruler

Yusuf Fadl Hassan has been named Cultural Personality of the Year at the 41st edition of Sharjah International Book Fair


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Thu 3 Nov 2022, 2:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 3 Nov 2022, 2:51 PM

Sudanese historian Yusuf Fadl Hassan won't ever forget that day in 1974 — when the Sharjah Ruler visited the African and Asian Studies at Khartoum University.

It marked the beginning of his friendship with His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

"His Highness has been a constant source of support to us since then, and our work has been enriched by the virtuous and generous support of the UAE," said the 90-year-old author and professor.

Hassan was named Cultural Personality of the Year at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) for his substantial efforts in promoting the research movement in Africa and Asia. He has published more than 30 books.

The Arab world has a significant influence on the history and the people of Sudan, Hassan said at a session during the opening day of SIBF.

"What is world history without the Arabs?" he asked his audience. "My university thesis was about the migration of Arabs to Sudan and it later became the repository that influenced my thinking about the future.”

Speaking about the diversity of the people in Sudan and its recorded migration, he said "the Arab tradition there is very long and very old".

Much of Sudan's history, he said, is anchored on stories that people speak about.

"When I was studying and doing my research in Sudan, I found more spoken narratives than written records, passed on from our forefathers, one generation to another. It's the narrative that I delved into much more than written history," Hassan said.

An eminent researcher, he has chronicled Sudanese heritage; led teams of researchers; and served as the president of Khartoum University and editor of various publications.


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