Saad Hani Al-Qaddumi reflects on the life of his mother, Dr Ghada Hijjawi Qaddumi, President of the World Crafts Council
(A message to the reader.)
Thank you all for being here today for an In Memorium to my mother Ghada Hijjawi Qaddumi. As you know, the world has changed so much in the past year as well as our lives from day to day, and where global health issues still keep us all physically separated, I appreciate your being here virtually to preserve my mother’s connection to the WCC family and to join in honouring her. I am also thankful to Dr Adkham Ikramov, the President of WCC-Asia Pacific Region, for not only his letter of kindness and empathy but also the invitation to this Memorial Tribute from around the world.
I am proud to represent my mother today in expressing not only her achieved goals but also her wishes for the continuity of her work, some of which I recall, she always spoke of her wish to fulfil her intentions to complete a Reference Collection of Handicrafts Encyclopedias; she believed that it would be not only a compiled body of knowledge but also a resource to be shared with those with deeper interests in crafts. As you know, the work is completed for Asia Pacific Handicrafts, but there is more to do for other parts of the world, as well as publications. I hope that with the help of her network of contributors, I can complete her legacy to the crafts world. There are also developing the network of WCC-World Craft Cities, as well as the WCC-Award of Excellence for Handicrafts Program every two years, and the annual project of Inter-Regional Handicrafts events, which started in Kuwait in 2013.
And now, I’d like to share some personal recollections of my mother as a member of the WCC family. Since she first joined as a member in 2004, she had been adventurous in many of her trips causing me concern and some arguments with her about her safety, which she completely ignored, and gave me one of her beautiful smiles to shut me up in an adoring way. But I was always happy and thankful to God when she returned home safely and full of life and many gifts to all.
She enjoyed after every trip since 2004 to express her joy when meeting the artisans in every village, town or city. Always looking forward to planning for her next accomplishment to save the interests of the artisans worldwide and to bring them together to share and benefit from each other’s cultures. She contrived to unite societies through WCC with the objective to respect and accept the other’s culture and folklore even if it may be so different to others.
With an academic background in art and history and a growing interest to pursue her passion for artisanal crafts, she felt she wanted to do more, to be more supportive and contributive within the organisation. In the short span of a few years, in different ascending roles, we saw how she delighted in working towards many successes, how she drove member-recruitment, planned regular conferences, organised exhibitions and arbitered the selection of craft cities, to name a few, in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
In Dr Ikramov’s kind words, ‘Her legacy is a much stronger World Crafts Council in our region… who will move forward with courage and confidence to continue her great work.’ For the Council, my mother worked tirelessly and wholeheartedly but was also assisted by a dedicated team whom she had groomed, and who have become as committed as they are efficient. I’m sure you all know each of them and I would like to thank them today. Through the years in and through WCC, my mother had also forged life-long friendships with many of you, which I know she nurtured and cherished. These friendships were important to her. To mention a few, Mrs Usha, Raja Fuziah, Mrs Faika, Mrs Surapee, and Mrs Ruby. I am afraid I cannot call to mind all the names, but I know she was deeply fond of you all and treasured the close bonds she had had with each.
Thank you all profoundly for the outpouring of love and affection you have shown her, both in life and now. Your being here today affirms the importance and strengths of these ties. On a personal note and from my family, my mother’s legacy is the joy and happiness she has always brought me and her family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was the very essence of maternal beauty, of wisdom and grace. For us, losing her is the deepest sorrow we have known, and though our loss is heartbreaking, we take comfort she is loved and missed by so many and cherished by all, near and far.
Finally, to you all here today, we are deeply touched by your heartfelt expressions of regret and grief in the past week, and such is the strength of those messages…that they have offered a more remarkable tribute than I can hope to offer my mother today. Together in sadness and grief, I also feel a proud thankfulness, that in remembrance and contemplation, she has given me the inspiration to write the words to celebrate her life.
To my mother, I know no truer words were ever spoken than these, ‘God has you in His keeping, we have you in our hearts.’ Thank you all for being here today…
Saad Hani Al-Qaddumi is currently the interim President of the World Crafts Council. This eulogy was delivered as part of the World Crafts Council – Asia Pacific Memorial Tribute in Honor of Dr Ghada via Zoom Webinar on 7 April 2021. You can view the memorial here.
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