Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is one of the world’s wealthiest investor and businessman. He has been able to gain connection in politics through entrepreneurship and international investments as an entrepreneur. He is a citizen of Lebanon and a member of the royal family, House of Saudi, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Though not a member of the executive charged with ruling, he usually gets involved in politics of Lebanon for instance in the case of President Emile Lahoud against claims assassinating Lebanese billionaire Rafik Hariri and usually criticizes both local and international political issues in the media.
He has so far been unsuccessful in his efforts to lead the Lebanese Sunni community.
During Alwaleed’s early ages, his Father Prince Talal Abd al-Aziz, a known activist and modernizer, actively engaged in matters concerning the political issues that existed in the traditional governing system in Saudi Arabia in the early 1960s.
He opposed Modern pan-Arabism that was led by the then leader of the United Arab Repulic, Jamal Gamal Abdel Nasser, which resulted to the suspension of his passport.
He was forced to seek exile in Egypt. During this period, Alwaleed lived with his mother, Princess Muna al-Sulh who was the daughter of Riyadh al- Sulh, the first Prime Minister of the Independent Lebanon.
In his early education, he attended elementary and middle schools in Beirut and returned to Lebanon in 1973 to attend King Abdul Aziz Military Academy to gain more discipline skills. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business administration from Menlo College California in 1979 and later enrolled for a masters Degree in Political Science from Syracuse University (Khan 2005).
He rose to international fame in the early 1990s by purchasing a substantial amount of Citicorp shares when then firm was undergoing financial difficulties. He is an established investor and owns a chain of investments worldwide in the major industries such as banking, building and construction companies, telecommunications, broadcasting and media, entertainment, hospitality and involvement in charitable activities across many regions of the world. He also owns a lot of luxurious assets (Khan 2005).
According to Machiavelli (2005) leadership qualities must be practical and not ideological in their application. In chapter 15 of The Prince, that leadership quality should be determined through consideration of personality traits, character and how a person conducts himself. A successful ruler must know when, where and in what way an upright person will act when confronted with different situations.
Alwaleed has been able to demonstrate all these leadership qualities which are evident in the different criteria’s he employed in his investment activities throughout his life. He invested in shares of America’s Citicorp at the time when every investor was pulling out their capital from the firm and at a time when it neared its collapse due to bankruptcy, a decision that elicited mixed reactions across the world.
Machiavelli talks of qualities that a leader must posses on those things which politicians or Princes must do that might either be praised or blamed in the end. He clearly differentiates the two categories in which a leader must apply specific ideologies. Machiavelli identifies the world that we live in as a kind of world of forms and which contains imperfect alternatives that are required in the world of ideas.
Alwaleed seemed to recognize the world of ideas and did things that other people in the world of forms thought that they were impossible to happen. Upon his return after completion of his Master’s degree, he invested in the banking sector by purchasing shares in the United Saudi Commercial Bank. This move enabled the bank to gain enormous returns in terms of market value and also enabled the Bank to merge with Saudi Cairo Bank. His fortunes increased immensely through these risky but strategic business ventures.
These elicited admirations from financial strategists across Asia and other parts of the world. Economic observers in the Saudi Kingdom and from other parts of the globe recognized his efforts and Alwaleed was thus chosen by the King as an advisor on economic matters. This enabled him improve on his unique strategic approaches to expansion of his business empire (Khan 2005).
Alwaleed’s character has been influenced through his grand father King Abd al-Aziz and the first prime minister of independent Lebanon who were all honest, upright and generous in their actions. They got a lot of respect and loyalty from the entire kingdom. All these characters can be displayed through his successful ventures and the ways in which he related to the people. His sudden amassment of wealth in a short period of time has led certain institutions to question the source of his wealth.
According to the Economist online, Alwaleed is suspected to be a front man of other investors in the Saudi Arabian kingdom. All his sources of income are questioned and an account of his possible worth is calculated and the conclusion is that the source of his wealth is unquestionable because his business could not be in a position to accumulate such volume of wealth in a short period of time.
Machiavelli’s leadership principle requires that a leader must engage in activities that may seem inappropriate, eliciting malicious interests and those that will require him to commit unethical ethics so long as it leads him to obtain success and power. What matters is the end result, the means doesn’t apply. Alwaleed was able to achieve success and power irrespective of the means he employed to achieve his success. His experience from the risky venture has enabled him to acquire riches and build business empires in addition to gaining international respect and recognition through investing in long-term projects (Machiavelli 17).
Machiavelli on chapter 13 and 14 in the Online Literature Library the character of a Prince on matters concerning mercenaries and armies is discussed. They should be loyal to the ruler in fighting for the battle. In chapter 14, Machiavelli advises the prince to focus on the war and avoid other issues that pertains military matters.
He should gain knowledge to enable him to maintain power stronghold throughout the battle. Prince Alwaleed was prepared in military matters after having attended King Abdul Aziz Military Academy and was prepared to lead incase he found his chance to the throne. He was therefore armed to be safe lest he is threatened by opposing forces to his power. This enabled him to gain trust from the King and thus he found a position in the cabinet and became the Kings Economic advisor.
Bridging the East and Western Worlds
Alwaleed fame is recognized internationally through his involvement in bridging the Arab world and the Western worlds. He has been involved in Islamic studies programs across Universities in the United States and other parts of the Globe. According to Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, prince Alwaleed is committed to the fostering the importance of peace and tolerance.
They assert that the best way to achieve this is through the bridging of the understanding between the East and the West. He is also committed in making the world a better place. He is the champion representative of UNESCO and also supports charities for children. He engages in cultural activities aimed at promoting mutual understanding. The prince also has funded an educational centre at Georgetown University that aims at improving understanding between Islamic and Christian religions. Other initiatives include cross cultural educational institutions in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East.
This shows a connection with the qualities of a leader cited by Machiavelli. On generosity and miserliness, a leader is supposed to spend excess amounts of his fortune on things that will improve or heighten his publicity but by doing so keep in mind the consequences that might befall him in the event that his fortune dwindles (Machiavelli 14). Chapter 18 tells the things that a politician must do which concerns his faith.
Alwaleed has been able to extend his religion to the western world through funding foundations that touch on his Islamic religion. In this chapter Machiavelli asserts that private morality should prevail over public life and in order to be successful, praise must come from other human beings even if it means doing things are wrong in different perspectives. Rulers must therefore be generous in utilizing their wealth and appear tough on running their businesses even if it means using cruelty. He has stood strong on his word of Bridging the east and west and has stood strong in his faith.
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