Abdelsalam Atalla al-Majali: Jordanian Physician and Statesman

Abdelsalam Atalla al-Majali, pronounced AHB-dəl sə-LAM al mə-JAH-lee, was a prominent figure in Jordanian politics and a distinguished physician. Born on February 18, 1925, in Al-Karak, Emirate of Transjordan, he made significant contributions to his country throughout his life, serving as Prime Minister of Jordan on two occasions. His passing on January 3, 2023, marked the end of a remarkable journey.

Early Life and Education

Abdelsalam Atalla al-Majali’s journey began in Al-Karak, where he was born in 1925. His educational path led him to obtain a medical degree from Syrian University in Damascus in 1949. He pursued further specialization, earning a diploma in Laryngology and Otology from the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1953. His dedication to medicine was further acknowledged when he received a fellowship from the American College of Surgeons in 1960. In 1974, he was honored with a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from Hacettepe University.

Career in Medicine and Politics

Dr. Majali’s contributions extended beyond medicine. He served as the director of medical services for the Jordanian Armed Forces from 1960 to 1969, where his expertise and leadership were evident. His commitment to public health led him to become the Minister of Health from 1969 to 1971.

Throughout his career, he held several key positions, including Minister of State for Prime Ministerial Affairs from 1970 to 1971 and again from 1976 to 1979. He also served as the Minister of Education from 1976 to 1979.

Dr. Majali’s influence extended to education as well. He served as the President of the University of Jordan in two separate terms, from 1971 to 1976 and 1980 to 1989. In recognition of his expertise, he was appointed as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Jordan in 1973.

His dedication to Jordan and its leadership continued as he became an advisor to King Hussein in the late 1980s.

Prime Minister and Diplomat

Dr. Abdelsalam Atalla al-Majali’s political career reached its zenith when he assumed the role of Prime Minister of Jordan. He held this position from May 1993 to January 1995. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in the signing of the historic 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty. His responsibilities extended to foreign affairs as he concurrently served as the Foreign Minister.

After his initial term as Prime Minister, he returned to lead Jordan as Prime Minister once again, serving from 1997 to 1998. Following this period of service, he was appointed to the Jordanian Senate.

Later Contributions and Legacy

In January 2003, Dr. Majali was honored with membership in the committee of patrons of the Anglo-Arab Organisation, showcasing his continued dedication to international cooperation and diplomacy.

He furthered his contributions by serving as the chairman of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, a testament to his enduring commitment to education and knowledge sharing.

Personal Life and Passing

Dr. Abdelsalam Atalla al-Majali’s remarkable journey came to an end on January 3, 2023, when he passed away at the age of 97. His legacy lives on as a prominent statesman, diplomat, and physician who dedicated his life to the betterment of Jordan and international relations.