The 1st of February of 2024 marked the 70th anniversary of Scouts Movement in Libya. A movement that has been a true model for dedication, leadership, and community cohesion. The founder of the scout movement in Libya in 1954 was Ali Khalifa Al-Zaidi. Indeed, he has been a source of inspiration for all members of the Movement in Libya ever since. Al-Zaidi was born in Al-Khoms, Libya in 1909. At the age of two and with the start of the Italian colonization in Libya, his family moved to Lebanon. There, he joined the Islamic Scout Movement in Lebanon in 1927. Also, he held several camps and scouting missions in the Lebanese Scouts.
Later, Al-Zaidi became a general inspector of the Muslim Scouts Association in 1940. The association appointed him its permanent representative in the Lebanese Scouts Union in 1952. His dedication to the Movement was evident in his work as he published many scouting books.
Shortly, Al-Zaidi returned to Libya in 1953, a few years after Libya’s independence, and founded the first Scout Group in 1954. The group had 37 scouts first in Tripoli. In the summer of the same year, he managed to prepare and lead the first Libyan scout mission to the first Arab Scout Camp in Syria. Participation continued in many Scout events and Conferences, such as in Egypt in 1956.
Key Dates for the Scouts Movement in Libya
In 1958 marked the formation of the first band of Girl Guides. At the same year marked launch of the Scout Movement in Benghazi. In addition, the first commanding body for the Libyan Scouts was established. After that, Al-Zaidi was chosen as the commander-in-chief, and Mansour Mohamed Al-Kikhia was appointed deputy. In 1959, Mansour Al-Kikhia and Hamid Al-Hudairi received a recognition document from the World Scout Conference held in India.
In 1966, the International Mentoring Conference in Japan recognized Libya’s Girl Guides as a member of the Global Guiding Office. During the same year, Al-Zaidi was awarded the Bronze Wolf Medal, the highest international scout medal. Sadly, Al-Zaidi passed away on December 30, 1966, in Lebanon. Nevertheless, he left behind a significant legacy that many leaders in the scouts cherish and act upon to this day. His funeral was held in Tripoli, Libya, and he was buried in the Sidi Mineider cemetery.
Sources of Information: The valuable work of Mr. Badurddin Al-Mukhtar and official Social Media pages of the Scouts Movement in Libya