Interview with Adnan Shihab-Eldin


Interview with Adnan Shihab-Eldin


In this interview, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin talks about his personal history starting with his family’s background and their travels around the region. Born in 1943 in Palestine in Yafa, Shihab-Eldin remembers very little about his birthplace which he left at an early age. He recalls growing up in Bagdad and receiving his primary education there. He speaks about his passion for reading and going to middle school in Damascus, Syria. He stresses on his connection with nature and the surrounding environment which sparked his critical thinking and his love of science. After Syria, he talks about moving back to Kuwait in the 1950s with his family and joining Al Shwaikh’s High School.
Moving into his early adulthood, Shihab-Eldin spends some time talking about studying abroad in England and then in Egypt. Before acquiring his degree in Cairo, he tells the story of moving to the United States to finish his university education in the 1960s and later his higher education in the 1970s. During the 1970s he moves between Kuwait and the United States exploring different possibilities.
Settling in Kuwait, Shihab-Eldin talks about working in Kuwait University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. In the 1980s, he briefly tells us about his experience in both Geneva and Zurich. Advancing into the late 1980s and early 1990s, he focuses on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and his pivotal role within the free Kuwait movement abroad. After liberation, he remembers coming back to Kuwait and the massive destruction it had gone through. The last part of the interview pays attention to Shihab-Eldin’s career from the late 1990s onwards; he talks about working at the UNISCO, the International Atomic Energy Agency, OPEC, and finally at the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science.










Reem Al-Ali


Adnan Shihab-Eldin


American University of Kuwait

Original Format



Dr. Adnan A. Shihab-Eldin.jpg


“Interview with Adnan Shihab-Eldin,” AUK Oral History, accessed October 28, 2021,