Abu Dhabi, April 16, 2014 – The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced today that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named the Cultural Personality of the year 2014 in the Award’s eighth session.
The announcement was made in a press conference held at the Emirates Palace, in the presence of Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Advisor for Cultural & Heritage Affairs at the Court of HH Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and member of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Board of Trustees; in addition to all other members of the Board.
H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan was quoted: “The winning of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz is a supreme honor for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. His Majesty’s impressive achievements have been witnessed over decades and he still continues to contribute as generously as he has always been to the Arab and Islamic Worlds”. In addition to elaborating on the king’s pioneering role in promoting peaceful co-existence, religious tolerance and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as his passionate support for an advanced education and scientific research culture in the region through the establishment of various educational institutes and knowledge centers that have become the North Star for scholars and researchers throughout the Arab and Islamic realms.
From his side, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award, added: “As much as the Award takes pride in bearing the name of H.E. the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the United Arab Emirates and the leader of its development, we are exceptionally honored to have the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’s personality on the list of our winners”.
Bin Tamim explained that the Award’s Scientific Committee and its Board of Trustees has decided that the Prize for 2014 be awarded to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in view of his numerous achievements over decades. He mentioned excerpts from the official verdict as defined by the Board of Trustees that showcases some of the reasoning of decision, including:
- The co-establishment of King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue that aims to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world, and act as a hub to enhance cooperation, respect for diversity, justice and peace, and promote harmony and cooperation among those working in the field of dialogue.
- The establishment of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology which integrates research and education, leverages the interconnectedness of science and engineering, and works to catalyze the diversification of the Saudi economy through economic and technology development
- The courageous stand of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques facing the ill efforts aiming to blemish the image of Islam, Arabism and authentic Islamic and cultural values, especially the extremist ideologies which bring enormous risks onto the Arab and Islamic nations, leaving it susceptible to the evils of violence and terrorism
- Fostering the Arabic literature and Culture, and pioneering initiatives to promote cultural exchange among peoples of the world and to advance intellectual interaction among civilizations, specially through the establishment of “ King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Award for Translation” which recognizes excellence in works of translation and advocates ideological, intellectual, and cultural dialogue among civilizations, promotes mutual sharing of knowledge, as it traverses all linguistic and geographical boundaries to deliver a message of human understanding, in keeping with the noble goals embraced by the initiatives and appeals of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for more understanding and co-existence among nations.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s Cultural Personality of the Year honors a prominent Arab or international figure (or organization) who has contributed to the advancement of the Arabic culture, embodies through his/her work tolerance and promotes peaceful coexistence.
The Award’s eighth session collected a ground breaking record of nominations amounting to more than 1385 across the Award’s nine categories – that is a growth rate of 12% over last session’s record. The winners’ declaration comes after the announcement of a short-list of the top contending works made earlier this month.
The Award’s Grand Ceremony, celebrating the winning achievements, is scheduled on 4th of May, coinciding with Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s first installment was in 2007, intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totaling Dhs7 million – with Dh750,000 per winner (equivalent to USD 204,217,50) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in non- Arabic languages category). The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal.