Abu Dhabi March 9, 2009- Secretary General of the Award, Rashed Al Oraimi, announced today the cultural personality of the year Prize is granted to Professor Pedro Martinez Montavez as a “tribute to his leading role in building bridges between Arab and Spanish cultures and his continuing efforts in opening dialogue amid both cultures.”
Professor Montavez is known as scholar, translator and author. His portfolio includes more than 20 books in the field of Arabic literature, the History of Andalusia, Arabic Language and translation. He translated the works of many legendary Arabic poets including Nizar Qabbani, Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis and Kahlil Gibran and worked on many research papers discussing the status of modern Arabia.
Professor Pedro Martinez Montavez is one of the most prestigious modern Spanish Arabists of our time. He was born in Spain in 1933. He started in academia as a university professor in Seville and Autonomous Madrid Universities, supervising lot of works and research exercises in his field, and is currently a professor in Semitic philology at the University of Madrid. Throughout his career, Professor Montavez headed several societies and centers including the Spanish Society for Arabic Studies, the Cultural Hispanic Center and the Spanish section in the Faculty of Languages in Ayn Shams/ Cairo. He holds three Honorary PhDs and has been awarded and honored for his achievements and works from numerous prestigious entities.
The Cultural Personality of the Year winner receives a prize of one million Dirhams, a gold medal bearing the Sheikh Zayed Book Award logo, and a certificate of merit.
The award is supervised by a Higher Committee and an Advisory Council that manage a rigorous award selection process. Every year, the Advisory Council appoints a group of distinguished regional and international cultural figures who serve on nine separate selection committees, one for each award category. There are 3 – 5 selection committee members per category, each of whom remain anonymous –until the award ceremony- to maintain the independence and integrity of the selection process . Each committee reviews all nominated works and submits its selections to the Advisory Council.
The Advisory Council reviews and approves the panel’s suggestions, which are then officially announced by the Supreme Advisory Committee, presided over by Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, president of the Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage.
The winners are announced ahead of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, culminating in a prestigious tribute ceremony on Wednesday 18 of March 2009 at Emirates Palace.