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Arabs, The - A Living History, Part 5 - New Knowledge for Old

(50 mins) 900 years ago Arab Muslims were the world’s greatest seekers after knowledge and wisdom of the Greeks. Today that Arab scholarship is a natural part of the inheritance of all scientists and thinkers, not least of the modern generation of Arab research-workers, many of whom work in the new Institutes in the Gulf States which we visit in the course of this film. Abdulhamid Sabra, himself an historian of science, stresses the need for all modern societies to recognise and embrace their own scientific and cultural heritage.

Only forty years ago Kuwait was dominantly a small community of traders, fishermen and pearl divers on the Eastern fringe of the Arab world. But there was already the promise of oil. The oil-generated wealth of the past twenty years has transformed Kuwait into a thriving, modern city state with highest per capita income in the world.

It’s a place to which scholars and scientists now come to share in the new technological opportunities, and where modern education and research are pursued with vigour.

Now Kuwait is making a major contribution to the preservation and sharing of the Arab heritage, with the opening, in February 1983, of the new National Museum and especially its magnificent collection of Islamic art.