Sirr Al-Khatim Al-Khalifa

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Sirr Al-Khatim Al-Khalifa Sirr Al-Khatim Al-Khalifa.jpg
Sirr Al-Khatim Al-Khalifa

Sirr Al-Khatim Al-Khalifa Al-Hassan (Arabic : سرالختم الخليفة الحسن, 1 January 1919, [1] – 18 February 2006) was a Sudanese politician, ambassador and an elite educator, who served as the 5th Prime Minister of Sudan. Famous for his great legacy in education and founding prints for Ministry of Education in Sudan, and as the executive Prime Minister in the October Regime.

Sudan country in Northeast Africa

Sudan or the Sudan, officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea to the east, Ethiopia to the southeast, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It houses 37 million people (2017) and occupies a total area of 1,861,484 square kilometres, making it the third-largest country in Africa. Sudan's predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. In democratic countries, politicians seek elective positions within a government through elections or, at times, temporary appointment to replace politicians who have died, resigned or have been otherwise removed from office. In non-democratic countries, they employ other means of reaching power through appointment, bribery, revolutions and war. Some politicians are experienced in the art or science of government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Ambassador diplomatic envoy

An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. The word is also often used more liberally for persons who are known, without national appointment, to represent certain professions, activities and fields of endeavor such as sales.


Early life and education

Al-Khalifa was born in Ed Dueim to Al-Khalifa Hassan Ahmed and Nafisa Al-Fakki Alabead. Descending from the Al Jalain tribe, his father migrated from Shendi to Ed Dueim and was appointed as khalifa of Al-Khatmiya.

Ed Dueim City in White Nile, Sudan

Ed Dueim is one of the largest cities along the White Nile in Sudan.

Shendi Place in River Nile State, Sudan

Shendi or Shandi is a town in northern Sudan, situated on the east bank of the Nile River 150 km northeast of Khartoum. Shandi is also about 45 km southwest of the ancient city of Meroe. Located in the River Nile wilayah, Shandi is the center of the Ja'aliin tribe and an important historic trading center. Its principal suburb on the west bank is Al-Matamma. A major traditional trade route across the Bayuda Desert connects Al-Matamma to Marawi and Napata, 250 km to the northwest.

In the early 1920s he attained his primary education at Ed Dueim Rural School and Berber Intermediate School. In 1937 he graduated from Gordon Memorial College studying Teachers Education. Al-Khalifa became a teacher at Bakht Arrida from 1938 till 1944, until he moved to Great Britain to continue his education.

Gordon Memorial College educational institution in Sudan

Gordon Memorial College was an educational institution in Sudan. It was built between 1899 and 1902 as part of Lord Kitchener's wide-ranging educational reforms. Named for General 'Chinese' Charles George Gordon of the British army, who was killed during the Mahdi uprising in 1885, it was officially opened on 8 November 1902 by Kitchener himself.

In 1944 Al-Khalifa furthered his education by attending Exeter College, University of Oxford. In 1946 he returned to Sudan to resume his teaching job at Bakht Arrida.

Exeter College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University.

Trip to South Sudan

In 1950, after the abandonment of the Southern Policy, a colonial policy that isolated Southern Sudan from education and economic development, Al-Khalifa was appointed as a Provincial Education Officer at Equatoria Province in Juba. After seven years of success at the job, he was promoted to become Assistant Director of Education for Southern Provinces, the highest educational position in the region. During this time, he increased the number of schools and introduced the Arabic language in the region. Spending 10 years in South Sudan, spreading education and relating to the once-totally-closed South, he became a very favorable and respected character in the whole of Sudan, South and North.

Return to North Sudan

In 1962, Al-Khalifa was appointed as a dean of Khartoum Technical Institute (now Sudan University of Science and Technology). He spent two years at the job, and was nicknamed "Father of Technical Education" in Sudan, since he devoted great effort and time for this newly established technical school.

Sudan University of Science and Technology

Sudan University of Science and Technology is the largest public university in Sudan, with ten (10) campuses in the state of Khartoum. The main campus is located in Mogren area. SUST founded in 1902 as Khartoum Technical School and School of Commerce.

1964 Revolution and political career debut

In 1964, the Abbud regime was facing numerous instabilities that led to a major strike from the different working sectors of the society. The strike, known as the October Revolution, led to rioting and numerous deaths and forced President Abbud to dissolve the government and prepare for civilian rule.

Al-Khalifa was nominated by the Umma Party as prime minister for a transitional government to prepare for civilian rule. Many agreed upon the nominee, others including the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) strongly disagreed due to his political inexperience and their nominees including Abdin Ismail and Jaafar Karrar. [2] After several meetings between the different parties, Al-Khalifa was appointed as prime minister for the transitional government.

The Al-Khalifa regime was very eager to address, tackle and find peaceful solutions for the southern problem. With party members holding few positions, Southern politicians were allowed positions that were deemed as Northern. Clement Mboro became the first Southern to hold the position of Minister of Interior.

1965 Round Table Conference

Al-Khalifa called upon establishing the Round Table Conference with the presence of 24 Southern politicians and 18 Northern party representatives to address the problem of the South. The conference was originally scheduled in Juba between 16–29 March 1965; however, several burnings and rampages in Juba signaled the migration of the conference to Khartoum.

"Gentlemen, Arabism, which is a basic attribute of the majority of the population of this country and of many African countries besides, is not a racial concept which unites members of a certain racial group. It is a religious, cultural and nonracial link that binds together numerous races, black, white and brown. Had Arabism been anything else but this, most modern Arabs, whether African or Asian, including the entire population of the Northern Sudan, would cease to be Arab at all."
Muhammad Omar Bashir, The Southern Sudan: Background to Conflict (Khartoum University Press), p.168.

However, the conference reached a deadlock and was concluded with the establishment of Twelve-Men Committee, consisting of the participating political parties. Al-Khalifa was forced to resign and the government promised to schedule elections by June 1965. With a rushed elections conducted in the North excluding the South for security reasons, this ended the transitional government of Al-Khalifa and started the second democratic phase of Sudan under Mohamed Ahmed Mahjub.

Diplomatic break from politics

Al-Khalifa was appointed as ambassador to Italy in 1966. [3] In March 1968, he was transferred to become ambassador to Britain. On 25 May 1969, when Gaafar Nimeiry seized power, Al-Khalifa was bluntly informed about his end of service and stripped of his diplomatic passport. He had to report immediately to Khartoum. Some believe that this blunt telex was a reply from Babiker Awadallah, former chief justice and the new prime minister, and Nimeiry’s regime to Al-Khalifa’s betrayal of the October Revolution by rushing the 1965 elections thus handing power to Umma-PDP parties. After performing the diplomatic farewell to the Queen, Al-Khalifa returned to Khartoum in the beginning of June 1969.

Later life

In 1973 Nimeiry appointed Al-Khalifa as Minister of Education. He assumed this position for two years, when he was appointed in 1982 as President Advisor on Educational Affairs until the end of Nimeiry’s era in 1985.

The day after his death, Al-Khalifa's burial at Al-Bakri Cemetery on 19 February 2006, was attended by thousands of his colleagues, politicians, educators and students.


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  1. The Middle East and North Africa. Europa Publications. 1981. ISBN   978-0-905118-65-9.
  2. Mohamed Ahmed Suliman Diary. Al Sahafa Daily
  3. Seralkhatim Alkhalifa. Sudan Embassy in Canada