“The Awards continue to grow year after year, and we are hoping to hear and see more inspiring stories to tell in 2015.” Abu Dhabi Awards
Last week I attended the press conference for the launch of the prestigious biennial Abu Dhabi Awards held at the beautiful Mushrif Central Park’s new exhibition space. The Abu Dhabi Awards 2015, which are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, will once again ask the local community to nominate unsung heroes from today (Sunday 10th May) over a seven-week period until Saturday 27th June.
During his memorable lifetime, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the United Arab Emirates strongly believed in the generosity and kindness of the people of the UAE. The affection he bestowed upon his people emanated from his faith in humanity and trust in the belief that every person is inherently selfless and capable to care for others and their community. Through the commitment of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, to preserve the legacy of his late father, the Government of Abu Dhabi has chosen to celebrate compassionate individuals who have selflessly volunteered their time to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Government of Abu Dhabi launched the Abu Dhabi Awards initiative ten years ago to celebrate individuals who have selflessly volunteered their time to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi.
Since the 2005 launch, sixty-three recipients have received awards and more than 220,000 people have been nominated. The Awards, which are the highest civilian honour, strive to recognise those members of the community who have made a difference to the lives of people in the emirate through good deeds. Anyone considered to have made a positive contribution to Abu Dhabi is eligible for nomination regardless of their age, gender or nationality. The reach of the Awards is far and wide-ranging from the health, education, environment and charity sectors or just simply individuals who have inspired others and nominees can even be someone who live overseas, as long as they have added to the goodness of the community in Abu Dhabi. Likewise Abu Dhabi citizens performing good deeds internationally are also eligible for nomination.
Some of the previous recipients were at the press conference including fourteen-year-old Dominik Vugrinec from Croatia who attends Al Raha International School. Vugrinec won his award in 2013 in recognition of his development of a student screening scheme for scoliosis, a spinal curvature that typically arises during adolescence and can cause severe deformities if left unchecked. A subject close to his heart after his own diagnosis in 2012, Vugrinec’s initial efforts revealed fourteen students from his school showed the early signs of this spinal curvature and now the screening campaign has been adopted by other schools in the emirate and hundreds of other children have been screened.
Previous Abu Dhabi Awards recipients Dominik Vugrinec (2013), Dr. Margit Muller (2008), Dr Faleh Handal (2013) are encouraging everyone to nominate during the 2015 Abu Dhabi Awards campaign.
Also present was Historian and author Dr. Falih Handhal from Iraq, who has co-writer of more than thirty-five books on the history and culture of the UAE, including one of the UAE’s most important historical works, ‘A Dictionary for the Arabic Dialect and Spoken Words of the UAE,’ which has preserved the linguistic riches of Bedouin oral culture. One of the 2008 winners, veterinarian and the Director of Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Hospital, Dr Margit Muller has dedicated her life to the care of Falcons, the National bird of the UAE. She performs emergency surgeries any time day or night and has saved countless birds in the process. Her research in the emirate has led her to find a cure for a disease found in falcons called Brotzul, which is now registered by the World Health Organization. She was also instrumental in preventing the spread of Avian Flu within the UAE, specialises in over twenty medical procedures and has published dozens of books and articles creating greater understanding of the Falcon’s important role in Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage. The youngest recipient to date is ten-year-old Abdul Muqeet who won his award in 2011 after he devised the ‘UAE Free of Plastic Bag campaign’, creating 100% recycled carry bags using discarded newspapers.
A spokesperson from the Abu Dhabi Awards Organizing Committee said: “We are proud that over the last decade, so many people have engaged with the Abu Dhabi Awards initiative by nominating people they feel have made a positive contribution to Abu Dhabi, and through this, unsung heroes are getting the recognition they deserve for their selfless deeds.”
Do you know someone who is worthy of a nomination? If yes, you can nominate online via the official Awards website www.abudhabiawards.ae, at stands in shopping malls across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region or at one of the ninety nomination drop-boxes across the Emirate. An Abu Dhabi Awards activation team will also be travelling throughout the Emirate to generate interest and accept nominations. After nominations close, all entries will be evaluated by the Abu Dhabi Awards Committee that will consist of leading dignitaries, officials and senior industry figures, who will produce a shortlist of the most qualified candidates. The awards will be presented at the official ceremony in December by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Each award recipient will receive a medal and a trophy and the ceremony will be broadcast live on Abu Dhabi TV channels.
Don’t forget ‘Goodness Knows No Limits’ with award recipients selected based on their deeds and actions, not by how many nominations they receive – one nomination is all it takes, so vote today without delay by clicking here. For more information visit the Abu Dhabi Awards www.abudhabiawards.ae
Information sourced from Abu Dhabi Awards press conference, press release and website. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Recipient photo and last photo used courtesy of Abu Dhabi Awards.