Hassan Jameel professional background is as varied as the fonts he uses in his name. Among his many endeavors, he is a scholar of American and Saudi Arabian history, academician in Islamic studies, Saudi billionaire philanthropist, and has published four books with Oxford University Press. Hassan’s story has been compared to that of other great Saudi business leaders from the 1930s through 1970s such as Adnan Khashoggi.
Hassan Jameel is also known for financing scholarships for deserving students worldwide and funding public education systems through his Jameel Education Initiative. This blog post will introduce you to one of the members of this prestigious family who shares their personal story about growing up poor and how they achieved financial success at such a young age.
Hassan Jameel came from a very poor background in the Bou’ila region, near the Saudi-Iraqi border. His mother died when he was seven years old and his father got divorced by ages 12. After his mother died, there was no money to pay for his primary school education so he dropped out at age seven. Once his father moved to Riyadh, a city in Saudi Arabia where many expats lived and worked, he could not afford for Jameel to go school again. At this point in time, all Jameel had was a book of prayers that he went through daily to pray with and as an escape from reality.
Growing up Jameel attended night school in the village. Even at this time Jameel worked hard and after only a few weeks in school he was able to memorize all of his prayers, all 206 of them.
In 1961, when Jameel was twelve years old, his father’s wealth increased and he moved back to the village and enrolled Jameel in Al-Ansar school. By 1962, Jameel had moved on to a public high school where he showed immense talent for math and science.