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Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture Laureates

2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2001

Laureates 2009
The prize is awarded to Ghani Alani and Anna Parzymies by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in the presence of Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the United Arab Emirates to UNESCO, H.E.M. Abdullah Alneaimi, during this 8th ceremony organized at Headquarters on 9th February 2010 following the recommendations of the Sharjah Prize international jury.

  • Ghani Alani is a poet and calligrapher. Heir of the Baghdad calligraphy school, he is one of the greatest contemporary calligraphers and an internationally acclaimed artist whose works were exhibited in every major capital city around the world. Through his work, Ghani Alani perpetuates the tradition of Arab-Muslim art of calligraphy which represents the highest expression of knowledge in the Arab culture, the art that brings together its various facets. This prize is awarded to Ghani Alani for making the Western world aware of calligraphy, one of the richest forms of art in the Arab culture.
  • Anna Parzymies is a Polish publisher and academic specialized in Arab culture. As the head of a publishing company dedicated to the Arab culture, Anna Parzymies took part in the publication of more than 80 works. In 1998 she created the Department of Islam in Europe at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw. It is one of the first scientific institutions in Europe dedicated to the Arab-Muslim culture and population in the region. This prize is awarded to Anna Parzymies for her invaluable contribution in promoting the Arab culture in Poland.

Laureates 2008
The 7th International Jury meeting of the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture took place at UNESCO Headquarters from 3 to 5 September 2008 and carefully examined 33 candidature files received from 20 countries and territories. In strict application of the established criteria and after careful deliberation, the Jury has recommended two excellent candidates that the Director-General had warmly approved. The Government of Sharjah has generously offered $60,000 (instead of $50,000) to be divided equally between the two laureates: one from an Arab Member State, Egypt, and the other from a non-Arab member State, Portugal.

  • The Prize-winner from Egypt is Dr Gaber Asfour. Academician and professor at several Arab, European and American universities. Also literary critic and former Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture, he is currently Director of the National Centre for Translation in Cairo. Dr Asfour has played an immense role in expanding the influence of Arab culture. Through his various professional contacts, he has succeeded in creating links and building bridges among specialists in Arab culture, both in the Arab world and beyond. The achievements of this open-minded intellectual have significantly increased the knowledge and visibility of Arab culture.
    Dr. Asfour’s highly original literary criticism, has gained worldwide recognition. As a prominent advocate of cultural dialogue, he has promoted values such as the advancement of women, respect for others, creative diversity and tolerance. A prolific writer and researcher, Dr Asfour has published numerous works, notably on the Enlightenment, women, and Arab literature and traditions. He has been actively involved in the translation of books into Arabic, and routinely writes columns for leading Arab newspapers.
  • The prize-winner from Portugal is Dr José Adalberto Coelho Alves. Writer, poet, legal specialist and Portuguese Orientalist, he is currently President of the Centre for Arab and Portuguese Studies at Silves. He chaired the committee responsible for the creation of the Foundation for Arab Memory, served as Vice-President of the Luso-Arab Institute for Cooperation, and was a member of the Administrative Council of the Portuguese Foundation of Arab and Islamic Heritage. Throughout his career, he has built bridges of friendship between the Arab world, the West and particularly Portugal.
    In his capacity as a specialist of Arab culture and writer, Mr Coelho Alves has inspired many Portuguese and Spanish authors in diverse fields including film, television, all performing arts, novel-writing and poetry. He has also made major contributions to the understanding of Arab culture in the Iberian Peninsula.
    Dr Coelho Alves is the author of many publications on Arab culture in Portuguese, as well as in other languages. He is actively dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about Arab history and culture during the Muslim occupation of Portugal (Al-Gharb el Andalus). His work in the area of translation has been recognized by the Portuguese Language Society, which awarded him the Arab translation prize.

Laureates 2007
The prize has been awarded to university professors Aladine Lolah and Shah Abdus Salam by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, during a ceremony organized at Headquarters on 6 December 2007 following the recommendations of the Sharjah Prize international jury, which considered 28 candidates presented by 23 Member States.

  • Aladine Lolah is a professor at Aleppo University (Syria) and an architect. Through his work at the university, he has helped to spread knowledge about the history of science in Arab countries. Director of the Institute for the History of Arabic Science at Aleppo University, he is also a member of the Conseil de Perfectionnement of the Institut français du Proche Orient (IFPO), thus contributing to dialogue between civilizations and mutual understanding.
  • Shah Abdus Salam (India) is a professor at the University of New Delhi where he directs research on literature and Arab culture. His numerous publications are centered on the topics of Islamic culture and inter-faith dialogue. His work is already well-known in India, the United States, Canada, England, France and Saudi Arabia.

Laureates 2006
The fifth meeting of the International Jury for the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 28 and 29 September 2006. 40 applications were received from 23 Member States and were registered for the Jury’s evaluation and approval of the Laureates. This Prize is in line with UNESCO’s action to promote mutual appreciation through intercultural dialogue. The Director-General awarded the Prize to the following two laureates on the recommendation of the Jury:

  • Dr Jamal Al- Shalabi (Jordan)
    Born in Dair Alla, Jordan, in 1965 and holds a PhD in Political Science from the Faculty of Law at the Panthéon-Assas University (Paris II), France 1995, as well as Professor in comparative political analysis from the University of Bordeaux. Professor at the Hashemite University in Jordan he is recognized for his longstanding commitment to intercultural dialogue. In his numerous books and articles, he has explored and compared the evolution of the politics of Arab and European countries. In this respect, his book entitled Mohamed H. Haikal between the socialist politics of Nasser and the Infitah politics of Sadat, 1952-1981, along with his book on the shared vision of Europeans and Arabs, constitute the major points of reference in the evolution of his political philosophy. In addition Professor Al-Shalabi stressed the importance of women’s rights by highlighting the example of his native country, Jordan. In the framework of his academic and intellectual activities, he organized several meetings on issues concerning the relationship between Arabs and Europeans, as well as between Muslims and Christians. Through his body of work, Professor Al-Shalabi has reinforced hopes for peaceful relations between the Arab world and Europe.
  • Dr Yordan Peev (Bulgaria)
    Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1938. Professor at University of Sofia, he is emeritus Bulgarian scientific and is recognized for his important contribution to promoting and dissemination of Arab-Muslim civilisation in Bulgaria and worldwide. He is known for his publications on Arab Culture. Professor Peev has devoted his life to achieving a better understanding of the contemporary Muslim world, through his teachings and lectures, not only in Bulgaria, and other European countries but in many Arab countries. He has contributed to increasing our understanding of Arab thought and culture in today’s world. He undertook a comparative analysis of different religion systems and the relationships between Muslims and Christians. By studying Bulgarian Muslim and the teachings in particular of Ibn Khaldoun he judiciously examined the major problems of our century regarding intercultural communications.

Laureates 2005
The International Jury Meeting of the Sharjah Prize was held at UNESCO Headquarters on 5 and 6 September 2005. For this fourth session, a total of 40 candidature nominations were received from 28 Member States and were registered for the Jury’s evaluation and approval of the Laureates. The Director-General gave the prize to the two laureates on the recommendation the jury as follows:

  • Writer Tahar Ouettar (Algeria)
    Prizewinner from an Arab country
    Born in 1923 in a rural part of eastern Algeria, the journalist and writer Tahar Ouettar is one of the leading figures of Arabic-language letters in Algeria. He has published novels such as The Ace, The Donkey’s Wedding, The Candle and Dark Tunnels. As a journalist, Mr Ouettar took part in the creation of two magazines Al-Jamahir and Al Ahar. He edits the cultural supplement of the daily Al-Chaab and, since 1989, has been the president of the cultural association Aljahidhiya.Professor Michel Lagarde (France)
    Prizewinner from a non-Arab country. Born in 1939, belongs to the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), and teaches in Rome at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI). He has been a life-long student of the Arabic language and Islam. He has translated into French the Kitab al-Mawaqif (Livre des Haltes) by Abd Al Qadir al-Djazairi, one of the leading figures of Sufism in the 19th century. Mr Lagarde also translated the Great Commentary of Fahr al-Dîn al-Râzî.

Laureates 2004
The International Jury Members for Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture held their meeting for the third time at UNESCO Headquarters on 1 and 2 September 2004. After careful and thorough examination of 45 candidature files received from 37 different Member States, they decided unanimously to recommend to the Director-General the names of the prize-winners for approval for the third Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. The Director-General approved the following recommended names:

  • Professor Abdelwahab Bouhdiba (Tunisia)
    Prizewinner from an Arab country
    A sociology professor at the University of Tunis who holds degrees in philosophy and literature, was born in 1932 in the Tunisian city of Kairouan. Since 1995, he has presided over the "Beït AI Hikma" Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts in Carthage. His best-known work is La Sexualité en Islam (Sexuality in Islam), which has been translated in English, Arabic, Bosnian, Spanish and Japanese, and will soon be available in Portuguese. Professor Juan Vernet Ginés (Spain)
    Prizewinner from a non-Arab country
    Born in 1923 in Barcelona, Juan Vernet Ginés is a renowned specialist in Arab science and the evolution of science – especially astronomy and map-making – during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Among his nearly 40 books and more than 300 articles are: Literatura árabe (1966) ; Astrología y astronomía en el Renacimiento : la revolución copernicana (1974) ; Historia de la ciencia española (1976) ; La Cultura hispano árabe en Oriente y Occidente (1978) ; Mahoma (1987) and his versions of the Koran and 1001 Arabian Nights.

Laureates 2003
The International Jury Members for Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture held their meeting for the second time at UNESCO Headquarters on 8-9 September 2003. After careful and thorough examination of 54 candidature files received from 32 different Member States, they decided unanimously to recommend to the Director-General the names of the prize-winners for approval for the second Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. The Director-General approved the recommended names which are as follows:

  • Professor Bensalem Hemmich (Morocco)
  • Professor Esad Duraković (Bosnia Herzegovina)

Laureates 2001
An international jury selected the winners from a list of 33 candidates proposed by 21 countries. In a ceremony on 25 October 2001, Professors Abdulaziz El Makaleh and Na Zhong were awarded US$25,000 each as winners of the first Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.

  • Abdulaziz el Makalah (Yemen)
    Professor of Arab literature, is one of the Arab world’s leading poets and is deeply committed to promoting and developing Yemen’s culture.
  • Professor Na Zhong (China)
    He was born in 1910 into a Muslim family of the Hui nationality in Yunnan Province. He has worked for over 60 years to promote a better understanding of Arab culture in China and was the first to teach Arabic in a Chinese University (Central University, now known as Nanjing University). Professor Na is the author of more than 20 works on Islamic history and religion.

  • Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture
      • Publication Date: 07-11-2007