Four new committee members join the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book Award for its
15th edition (2020-2021)
Submissions for the Award remain open until 1 October 2020
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award has announced the restructuring of its Scientific Committee and has welcomed four new members: French Professor and Researcher Floréal Sanagustin, Egyptian Academic Dr. Mohammed Abufadel Badran, Jordanian-German Translator Dr. Mustafa Al-Slaiman and Jordanian-American Academic Dr. Khaled Al-Masri.
Each year the Scientific Committee appoints a group of distinguished regional and international literary figures as judges, who serve on nine separate judging committees. The Scientific Committee then reviews and approves the judges’ selections before submitting them to the Board of Trustees to be officially endorsed, in order to choose the winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
“The restructuring of the Scientific Committee comes from our commitment to ensuring that all aspects of the prize are adequately fulfilled and overseen, and that we are up to date with the latest developments in the fields of writing, research and creativity,” said HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center. “The way that we can best support the Award and ensure its continued progression and development is by continually recruiting fresh voices; top Arab and international experts who will innovate and build on the formidable legacy of their predecessors who served on the Committee. The success that the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has achieved to date is testament to the exceptional efforts of the members of the Scientific Committee in past years, with the support of the Board of Trustees.”
Professor Floréal Sanagustin is an emeritus professor of Arabic language and literature at Université Lumière-Lyon, as well as an expert in the history of Arabic sciences, medieval philosophy and thought and epistemology. Commenting on his appointment to the committee, Sanagustin said it was a huge honour to be involved. “It is with immense pride that I am now involved with such an important part of the UAE’s literary scene. The acquisition and application of knowledge has never been more important than it is now, so it is wonderful to see this award programme go from strength to strength and have a central role in its success.”
Dr. Mohammed Abufadel Badran is the Vice President of South Valley University in Qena, Egypt, and he is the country’s former Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Culture and former Chief of the General Authority for Cultural Palaces. He received his PhD in 1990 from Asset University, then worked as a Professor at the Faculty of Arts in Qena, and a teacher of Arabic literature at Bochum University in Germany. He was the recipient of the Humboldt Foundation scholarship between 1994 and 1996. Dr. Badran has worked for several universities, including the United Arab Emirates University.
“This really is the noblest of causes, and it will be a pleasure to devote my time and energy to furthering the positive impact of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which is one of the world’s most prestigious,” Badran commented. “Extremely well funded, it is an inspiration to authors and helps set them on the path to success by providing a perfect launch pad for the careers of those who demonstrate world-class talent.”
Dr. Mustafa Al-Slaiman, who lives and works in the German capital of Berlin, echoed similar sentiments. A prolific literary translator, conference interpreter and cultural mediator, Dr. Al-Slaiman has worked for Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as an Arabic language and culture tutor in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Passau. Al-Slaiman commented, “For the past 11 years, I have been overseeing literary translations from German into Arabic for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s Kalima Translation Project, and I act as an advisor for the Abu Dhabi Book Fair. So for me, personally, this is a truly wonderful development and I am extremely happy to be joining such distinguished company.”
Dr. Khaled Al-Masri is an Associate Professor teaching Arabic Language and Literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA. Previously he obtained his doctorate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has taught at several other institutions across North America and served as a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Al-Masri has translated two books about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the oral history of the United Arab Emirates from Arabic into English, and says that being a member of the Scientific Committee is an incomparable honour.
“To be able to contribute in the nurturing of true creative talent in the Arab World is a privilege I will never take for granted,” Al-Masri said following news of his appointment. “I hope that the experiences I have had in the United States will be of great benefit going forward, and I eagerly look forward to joining my colleagues on the committee.”
The Scientific Committee is chaired by HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center and Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and consists of a number of scholars alongside Arabic and foreign writers. The four new additions to the Committee join the existing members, who are: Professor Dr. Khalil Al Sheikh (Jordan), Dr. Mohammad Bennis (Morocco), Juergen Boos (Germany), and Sultan Al Umaimi (UAE).
Further information about current members is available here:
Submissions for the 15th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award are still open until 1 October 2020, and may be made through the website: https://www.zayedaward.ae/en/