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Mohammed bin Zayed bestows Abu Dhabi Award 2011 on 10 remarkable individuals

posted on 25/01/2012: 2357 views



His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has reaffirmed that the Abu Dhabi Awards reflected the continued commitment of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to preserving the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed that every person is inherently selfless and capable to care for others and their community.

"In honouring these truly remarkable individuals, we honour the original values and noble principles of the UAE society. Such values and principles are still deeply rooted in the minds of many of our citizens and those deserve our thanks and appreciation for the benefit they brought to our society", he added.

This statement came during the sixth Abu Dhabi Awards ceremony held on Tuesday evening at Emirates Palace, where ten remarkable individuals were honoured for their contributions to Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mohammed thanked the recipients and commended their dedication and contributions to Abu Dhabi, expressing his delight at witnessing each season of the Abu Dhabi Awards unfold with truly remarkable individuals being honoured for their distinguished social and philanthropic service in various fields.

At the Abu Dhabi Awards Ceremony, recipients and their families were joined by a number of VIPs and Government officials as well as previous recipients of the Awards.

This year's recipients reflect contributions made across a range of initiatives, and recognise the diverse endeavours that are making an immeasurable and positive impact on the community: From promoting health awareness, conserving the environment and supporting education; to a life of dedicated service, preserving culture and heritage, documenting history and laying the foundations for Sharia law.

This year's beneficiaries capture the diversity of the community, and include the youngest ever and oldest ever recipients of the Awards.

Present were Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council, Sheikh Surur bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, H. H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, H. H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works, other Sheikhs, ministers, dignitaries, ambassadors and relatives of the honoured.



This year's Abu Dhabi Awards was conferred on:

Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi – UAE. Born around 1920 in Al Ain, Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was independent from a young age due to the passing of his parents. As a young man, he tried his hand at a number of jobs such as pearl diving and agriculture, before deciding on the profession of traditional medicine, at the age of 20.

In the past, without the option of hospitals and general healthcare, even the simplest diseases were capable of destroying people's lives. At that time, the need for traditional folk medicine was of paramount importance.

Learning the art of traditional medicine from his grandmother, he has since dedicated the last 70 years to healing people from across the community. Significantly, he always offered his services for free, only accepting donations from those who could afford to do so.

Over the years, Aqeeda formed an intimate knowledge of treatments for more than 50 different diseases, and he has cared for thousands patients in that time.

Aqeeda is also considered to have a wide knowledge of the sciences, culture and society. In particular, he is well recognised for his foremost knowledge of the familial and tribal roots of the Emirates and the geography of the land of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.

Entrusted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Aqeeda also did a great deal to support the discovery and maintenance of the local Falajs, providing a reliable source of water for communities and for irrigation in Al Ain.

Today, at the age of 91, he continues to treat people, sharing his experience with researchers and doctors of mainstream modern medicine, including his own grandson, Essa, who has been able to bring this grandfather's experience to bear in the treatment of his own patients.

Dr. Jamal Ali Sanad Al Suwaidi – UAE. Born in 1959, Dr. Al Suwaidi lived a normal childhood alongside his peers, failing to recognise what fate had in store for him. Little did he know that he would come to be highly regarded in the UAE's cultural and academic communities.

Dr. Al Suwaidi studied for his PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin in the USA, returning to Abu Dhabi in 1991. As a professor of political science at UAE University, his work led him to develop an interest in the early studies of the political and economic development of the UAE.

He has since made significant contributions to the enrichment of cultural and academic life at both local and regional levels. Additionally, through his articles and writings he has sought to address many of the issues challenging the local and Arab world.

With his contribution to the establishment of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in 1994, Dr. Al Suwaidi supported Abu Dhabi's presence at regional and global levels, developing the UAE's international relationships.

Under his guidance and management, the ECSSR has contributed to the development of Abu Dhabi as a centre for political and economic research. As well, Dr. Al Suwaidi has contributed to the promotion of a culture of research and academic study in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Throughout his life, Dr. Al Suwaidi has made an invaluable contribution to building partnerships. He holds a number of notable board-level positions with institutions including the Emirates Institute of Diplomacy and Zayed University. He is a member of the advisory board of the Faculty of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine, USA, as well as a member of the UAE Platform of Friendship, and the Swiss-Arab House, amongst others. In particular, he has played an instrumental role in the strengthening of bilateral relations between the UAE and France, receiving the French Order of Merit of The First Degree in recognition of his efforts and excellence.

Alain Saint-Hilaire – Canada. Born in Paris, Alain's long-standing relationship with Abu Dhabi began in 1969 on his first visit to the United Arab Emirates. Throughout the decades, Alain has played an important role in capturing and documenting the visual history of the Emirate through his collection of photography and film.

And generously, Alain bequeathed the gift of more than 2,000 still images; half of which were of Abu Dhabi, to a number of entities in the UAE. Alain also donated his video footage, which captured many significant moments and exchanges of an Emirate in a nascent stage of development.

Throughout the decades, Alain's loyalty to and love for the UAE is seen through the people and scenes that his lenses have captured throughout his lifelong career - essentially Alain's work has documented this country's history.

Returning to Abu Dhabi on an almost annual basis throughout the 1970's and 1980's, he spent much of each year capturing the development of the Emirate on film before sharing his work - through lectures and film screenings - across the world.

Over the years, Alain produced two films about the UAE entitled United Emirates Gulf and Masterpieces of Arab Kingdoms respectively. He is currently working on a film depicting the UAE's development over the last 50 years, highlighting the difference between past and present.

Alain's time in the Emirates has also inspired him to write a number of books about his experiences that have been translated into numerous languages and are available in libraries across the world. Alain also chose to follow a mission of spreading his love for the country, touring the world giving lectures and screening his films and photography. He aims to inform and educate people about the countries he has visited, including the UAE.

This historically important collection of photography and film captures the progress of the Emirate over more than 40 years.

Dr. Maha Taysir Barakat - UAE. Dr. Maha Barakat grew up in Abu Dhabi. She completed her education in the UK, receiving a PhD from Cambridge University in 1994 specialising in endocrinology and diabetes.

Dr. Maha is a doctor known to care not only for the health of her patients, but for the well-being of the community. Dr. Maha treats countless people outside of her regular practice, and continues to tackle the broader public health challenges that affect Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

She continues to dedicate her time to initiating educational campaigns to raise awareness of diabetes and the need for a healthy lifestyle, sharing the message of improved dietary habits and regular exercise.

Amongst the notable campaigns Dr. Maha has been involved with are the 2007 Diabetes-Knowledge-Action' initiative, the 2010, Eat Healthy' campaign in cooperation with the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and the Walk Together marathon.

Recognising that the UAE has the world's second largest incidence of diabetes, Dr. Maha soon realised the need for a systemic treatment centre for those suffering from this disease. She led the quest to establish the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi in 2006 - a state-of-the-art facility specialising in diabetes treatment, research, training and public health - the first of its kind in the UAE.

Dr. Maha also continues to lead the implementation of new treatment management programs to improve the lives of patients, including those most in need.

Supporting the development and expertise of the Centre, Dr. Maha shares her advice and guidance. She has also written a number of articles about diabetes in the UAE. She was awarded the British OBE for her services to medical research shared between the UK and the UAE. In addition to her work at the Centre, Dr. Maha represents the Advisory Council for the Middle East and North Africa in the International Federation of Diabetes, and is a representative member on the board of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi.

Abdul Muqeet Abdul Mannan - India. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

Inspired by the 2010 campaign "UAE Free of Plastic Bags", Abdul Muqeet, a student at the Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100 per cent recycled carry bags using discarded newspapers. He then set out to distribute these bags throughout the Abu Dhabi community, replacing plastic bags that take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

What began as a daily hobby has become a much larger community campaign. During the first year, Abdul Muqeet created and donated more than 4,000 paper bags in Abu Dhabi. Since then, he has also led workshops at schools, companies and government entities, demonstrating how to create paper bags using old newspapers. He has also partnered with grocery stores in his local area to distribute the bags. His school along with a number of companies in Abu Dhabi adopted his idea by exchanging their plastic bags for paper bags.

In 2011, Abdul Muqeet was selected to attend the United Nation's Tunza conference in Indonesia where he was able to demonstrate his commitment for a cleaner environment through his paper bag initiative. He has also represented the UAE at a number of conferences in, and outside, the UAE.

Abdulmuqeet participated in a number of campaigns, for example the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign organised by the Centre for Waste Management - Abu Dhabi across Abu Dhabi and the Western Region.

Supported throughout by his mother and father, older brother and sister, this young boy is an inspiring example to all. Through his early awareness and love for the land in which he lives, he has turned a simple idea into an opportunity for the entire community.

Sultan Rashed Al Dhaheri- UAE. Born in Al Ain in 1932, Sultan has dedicated his life to doing good deeds and helping those less fortunate.

Through his continuous commitment and drive to support youngsters through education, Sultan believes that his charitable work is an important part of giving back to the country where he was born, raised and educated.

Sultan has devoted his life to giving to, and supporting education in the Emirate and beyond. Many people remain unaware of his various initiatives to support the education of young people. Each year, he provides financial support to numerous students, funding their tuition for school and university.

Amongst his many achievements, including supporting orphans and the construction of Mosques, Sultan oversaw the establishment of a professorship for Islamic Finance at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. He also donated one million US dollars towards the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program, which is an outreach program organised by Masdar Institute, to support young leaders to acquire special workplace skills, leadership qualities and professional training.

His contribution to supporting education opportunities also extend beyond the UAE. In particular, he has supported the construction of the Azhari Institute in Mokattam and Wadi Natrun in Egypt. Each location has a capacity for up to 1,200 students. Sultan also provides support for the education of hundreds of students in India, and is involved in education initiatives in Africa, Jordan and Syria.

Salem Rashed Al Mohanadi - UAE. Salem is an example of humanitarian goodwill and serves as a role model to many. Privately, and without recognition, Salem continually looks for ways to help the needy across the community - whether this assistance is delivered in the form of financial support, his time or other resources. Most importantly, the recipient of Salem's benevolence is treated with respect and dignity.

Opening the doors of his Majlis, he assists those struggling to meet their financial obligations, often eliminating their debts completely.

In a busy life, Salem makes regular hospital visits to the sick and needy and supports charities across the UAE and internationally.

Completing his education in the USA in late 1970's, Salem returned to Abu Dhabi where he works in Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. His work focuses on developing and preparing Emirati leaders of the future through work and scholarships. His own happiness lies in the ability to put smiles on the faces of those who come to him.

Dr. Taisser Atrak - USA. Dr. Taisser completed his education and trained as a doctor in the USA. Moving to Abu Dhabi three years ago, he is currently the director of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Al Mafraq Hospital.

As a paediatrician, Dr. Atrak is well-known across Abu Dhabi for his concern for the continued safety and wellbeing of all children, not just those who he sees in his medical practice.

He developed an awareness campaign on the safety of children in traffic, at home and at school, which has operated since 2008. This program provides participants with training for basic first aid (PedFACTS), CPR for families and the fundamentals of child car safety.

Dr. Taisser continues to volunteer his time and personally fund the training of caregivers of children such as parents, teachers, nannies and bus drivers on child safety - including first aid. A number of families have benefitted from Dr. Taisser's campaigns and workshops, which helped them in saving their children's lives at unexpected incidents which needed quick aid response.

His workshops and lectures are free to attend, and many parents, school teachers, nannies and school bus drivers have benefited from his advice and training. In particular, he has provided first aid and safety training for more than 100 nannies and maids in Abu Dhabi, giving the necessary books and study materials free of charge to all participants.

Dr. Atrak also worked on the introduction of a range of programs and health initiatives on child safety in 2008, which includes the head cooling system for newborns and the Early Hearing Detection '&' Intervention.

Dr. Taisser works tirelessly to spread awareness of systems for the safety and protection of thousands of children across the Emirate.

Al Sayed Abdulla Al Sayed Mohamed Al Sayed Al Hashimi - UAE. Al Sayed Abdulla Al Sayed Al Hashemi, also known as Al Sayed Al Oud, (or the Senior Sayed), is a remarkable example of a man who committed his life to working with dedication, honesty and modesty.

In his role as an advisor to the Rulers of the Emirate, Al Sayed Abdulla has witnessed the various stages of Abu Dhabi's development since the discovery of oil, firstly for the late Sheikh Shakhboot bin Sultan Al Nahyan and later for the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Upon the late Sheikh Zayed's succession, Al Sayed Abdulla worked as a personal advisor to the Ruler. Appointed Director of Sheikh Zayed's Private Department, he oversaw the financial and administrative operations of the late Sheikh Zayed's palaces, farms, personnel, procurement and employee salaries, as well as supervising a number of construction and development projects funded by Sheikh Zayed including Hajj and Umrah.

Throughout his lifetime of loyal and dedicated service, Alsayed Abdulla worked silently with honesty, sincerity, determination, commitment and initiative.

Al Sayed Abdulla was educated and raised in a family of religious scholars, with his father Al Sayed Mohamed Al Sayed Al Hashimi being a judge and religious scholar.

The late Al Sheikh Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz bin Hamad Al Mubarak - UAE. The late Sheikh Ahmed was born into a family of religious and judicial scholars. He went on to play an important role in the formation of Abu Dhabi's judicial system. Taught by his father, a well-known judicial scholar and confident of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, known as Zayed The First, Sheikh Ahmed was well known as a judge in the region.

Combining teaching with a career in the judiciary, in 1969 he was appointed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Chairman of the Shari'a Judicial Department in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

As Chairman, he played a crucial role in the establishment of the Shari'a court system in the Emirate, in addition to overseeing the construction of the court complex. Following the establishment of the UAE Union, Sheikh Ahmed was appointed Shari'a advisor to the State, contributing to the development of Islamic and Shari'a sciences in the country.

Through his sermons and television broadcasts, his education, and his writings in many books on Islamic and the judicial sciences, Sheikh Ahmed played a critical role in raising awareness and culture.

Representing the UAE internationally on many occasions, notably at conferences on the dialogue between religions, he was a member of a number of global organisations and significant research linked to Islamic civilisation. His work continued up until his death in 1988. He has left behind a positive legacy that presents a balanced picture of the true spirit of Islam: Peace and Tolerance.- Emirates News Agency, WAM

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