The International Conference on Oman’s Maritime Heritage organized by the Omani Studies Centre at Sultan Qaboos University commenced today at the University under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Hilal Al Maamari, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for Cultural Affairs. The three-day conference features 42 working papers covering seven themes.
Dr. Ahmed Hamed Al-Rabaani, Director of Omani Studies Centre and Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee, in his speech, mentioned that the Sultanate of Oman occupies distinguished geographic location, which made the country a pioneer in maritime sciences. “This has enabled the Sultanate to establish a deep-rooted maritime heritage which reflected the extent of advancement and prosperity that the Omanis had achieved in ship-building industry and maritime sciences,” he said.
Dr. Al-Rabaani added that Omanis were able to expand their maritime sovereignty where they crossed with their ships and naval fleets the word’s continents. “This maritime tradition has helped Oman to contribute greatly to the spread of Islam in the lands with which they had contacts. This contributed to enhancing the commercial ties and civilizational connections with ancient and modern civilizations such as Mesopotamia, North and West Africa, China, India and Southeast Asian countries and USA. Despite the peace culture, which had been adopted by Omanis on their travels, they were not deedless to boost their maritime sovereignty and to become a formidable power to defeat their enemies, expel them from the Sultanate and even chase them overseas and extend the Omani influence in the Indian Ocean. The conference seeks to shed light on various aspects of the Omani maritime heritage and its scientific, political, economic, social and cultural significance”, he said.
Dr. Mohammed Humaid Al-Salman, the keynote speaker of the conference, presented a paper entitled “Omani Maritime Activity in the Hormuz Period.” He observed that there is lack of studies on the Omani marine activity between the Hormuz and the main cities in Oman during the period of the Kingdom of Hormuz. The maritime activities in the fifteenth and sixteenth century AD, before and after the Portuguese invasion of the region had led to economic and political development in the region. It was during the Hormuz period that the Gulf region and the coastal towns and ports in the Arabian Peninsula gained importance through maritime commercial activities”, he said.
The exhibition accompanying the conference includes a wide range of manuscripts, documents, navigational instruments and tools used in the past by Omani seafarers. The exhibition is organized in association with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, the National Museum, the Oman Shipping Company, the Royal Navy of Oman, the Oman Center for Traditional Music and the Omani Society of Fine Arts.