Husain Al-Musallam, Director General of Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and First Vice President of Fédération Internationale De Natation (FINA) has received the Degree of Doctor Of Philosophy, Honoris Causa In Sports Science by Kookmin University, Seoul, South Korea for his dedication and contribution towards the development of sports internationally and promoting Olympic values.
Previously a swimmer and breaststroke champion who proudly represented the State of Kuwait and winning multiple titles at National, Gulf Regions, Pan-Arab, Asian and World Championships, Husain Al-Musallam retired from sports and joined Kuwait Airways as a co-pilot and flew for over 37 years. Despite being a pilot, Musallam continued to support sports by contributing in terms of organization, leadership and management.
Moving forward, Husain Al Musallam joined the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) – the apex sporting body which controls all the sports in Asia and is one of the five continental associations recognized by the International Olympic Committee. As a member, Musallam encourages the development of sport, culture and education of Asian youth, maintaining moral and physical qualities of fair competition in sports, and also to promote international respect, friendship, goodwill, and peace and environment sustainability.
Musallam also joined the Fédération Internationale De Natation (FINA) – International federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competition in water sports. Musallam has promoted and encouraged the development of Aquatics in all possible regards throughout the world while maintaining fair play and also raising awareness on environmental sustainability – ‘Water is Our World’.
He believes that sport goes beyond geographical and social borders, strengthens social ties and network and is now one of the strongest instruments to promote peace around the world.
Expressing his gratitude in his speech at Kookmin University, Husain Al-Musallam conveyed the positive impact of sport in his life, which taught him good discipline, hard work, team work, perseverance, courage, management, multi-cultural lifestyle understanding, communication skills and patience. These learnings helped him throughout his life and also at one notable critical time while he was serving as a co-pilot for Kuwait Airways in a Boeing 707 in 1981 operating a flight from Tripoli to Kuwait.
The flight was hijacked and was forcefully landed in Beirut, Lebanon for a period of 2 days. Since the Captain of the flight was British and spoke English, a language not spoken by the hijackers, Musallam stepped in by mediating communication and speaking with the hijackers in Arabic. He mentioned sports provided him with the ability to communicate with people especially of various cultures with different interests. It also taught him to be patient, positive, and optimistic.
Strategically using these lessons, he was able to successfully negotiate with the hijackers, easing the threatening situation and was able to bring back the plane and passengers to Kuwait safely. For effectively executing this challenging situation, The State of Kuwait appreciated him for his efforts and actions.
Husain Al Musallam, also expressed his sincere thanks to all the members of the Korean Olympic and Sports Movement and also appreciated Ji-Soo Yu, President and Ji Yong Kim, Chairman of the Kookmin University for felicitating him with the honorary degree.