Abu Dhabi: Government institutions and employees who have excelled in producing positive results were awarded at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The recognitions were given under the Mohammad Bin Rashid Government Excellence Awards, which aims to encourage government institutions and employees to raise their efficiency and performance. In total, 22 prizes are given away, 10 for government institutions, and 12 medal of honours for individual employees.
The awarding ceremony was attended by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and several high-ranking ministers including Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
A moment of silence and prayer was also observed before the awarding ceremony to commemorate the five UAE diplomats who were killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
“In its race to be number one, the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, believes that excellence is a permanent journey that always develops,” said Shaikh Mohammad.
“This journey can develop and be built on with experiences, expertise and innovating solutions to challenges,” he added.
Shaikh Mohammad also said the fourth generation (4G) of the government excellence system was a global model and future standard for government performance, with the 4G system encouraging innovation and a comprehensive vision.
Shaikh Mohammad stressed that people’s happiness and satisfaction should be the priority of all government work.
“People are the priority of government work, ensuring that they are happy is our desire and goal and the most important criterion used to assess every employee’s and government body’s excellence,” he said.
Medal of pride winners
Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, was among those who were awarded with a medal of pride for his work in serving the country.
“I am very proud to get this award, but I would like to say that this is not about me, this is about what the government and the UAE means to me,” Al Otaiba told Gulf News after receiving the award.
“As honoured as I am, my team also deserves much of the recognition for today; we all [as Emiratis] represent the UAE when we go outside. It’s not just me as an ambassador, it is everyone — the students, patients, tourists — once an Emirati is abroad, they represent their country.
“Many Americans don’t know us very well so it’s a role that we all collectively play in representing our country, so it is very heartening to get recognised for the role I play but I think we all play that role,” he added.
Al Otaiba said he would continue to spread the values of the UAE while serving as the ambassador, and noted that much of the values of the UAE are similar to those held by Americans.
“I will keep spreading the values of the UAE which shows that we as Emiratis are just like your average Americans, that I as an Emirati father want the same things for my children as they do, and that we are not that different,” he said.
“There is this notion — and a lot of it came after 9/11, that we are different, and I disagree with that. We have a lot more in common than people understand. My job is to try and bridge those differences.
“The UAE is progressive, tolerant, and open minded. It allows everyone to live and operate within their culture with respect. It’s not an anomaly that 200 different nationalities live in the UAE; it’s not an anomaly that every religion lives here; it’s about the society we have managed to create and so it’s very important to convey this message,” he added.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations (UN), was also awarded with a medal of pride. She told Gulf News that she was proud to show the world a true moderate Muslim country in her capacity at the UN.
“The UAE wants to see every other country in our region thrive and prosper in the same way as our country has — where women’s empowerment is a top priority, where education is unparalleled, and where access to technology and the internet is developing at rapid rates,” she said.
“This is an unparalleled model in many ways in the region, and we prefer this model to succeed as opposed to the model of Daesh and Al Qaida and the extremists who wish to take us back centuries to a different time and era through violence … We are a Muslim country, we are a modern country, a tolerant country, and we embrace all different nationalities that live here, and that is something to be celebrated,” she added.
Nusseibeh also said she would continue to uphold the UAE’s principles of helping others.
“Our goals are to ensure that international institutions like the UN function well, our peace and security are dependent on development, on the vision of the UAE’s humanitarian assistance for all and that nobody is left behind.
“[Other work we plan] is for a surge of peace diplomacy, rather than a reactionary diplomacy to deal with a crisis after it has happened; the UN should be geared towards preventive diplomacy,” she added.
Mohammad Al Qayed, a UAE paralympic athlete, was also awarded for his sporting accomplishments for the country.
“I am very happy and thankful for receiving this award from Shaikh Mohammad. It is really a very big honour for myself and makes me very motivated to have more accomplishments for my country,” he said.
“I want to keep representing the UAE internationally, it takes hard work but we hope to keep succeeding for our country,” he added.
Mariam Al Muhairi, assistant undersecretary for Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, was another recipient of the medal of pride for her innovative work in the areas of aquaculture and waste management.
“Receiving this award gives me a lot of positivity and happiness, and more importantly it makes me determined to continue my efforts and to work harder for my country,” she said.
“This award is a milestone. If we want to keep being number one, we need to push and do more ... the work never stops,” she added.
Medal of Pride Winners
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh
Nusseibeh became the first female Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations in September 2013, in a major milestone achievement for the UAE and female empowerment. At the UN, Nusseibeh has played a role in advocating for women’s rights, humanitarian assistance, sustainable development, and human rights. Nusseibeh holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from the University of Cambridge, and a master’s degree with distinction from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Yousuf Al Otaiba
Al Otaiba currently serves as the UAE Ambassador to the US, a role he has been in since 2008. Prior his role as ambassador, he served for seven years as the Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Al Otaiba has a degree in international relations from Georgetown University, and has also attended the Industrial College of the US Armed Forces at the National Defence University
Mohammad Al Qayed
Al Qayed is a Paralympic athlete for the UAE and has won more than 40 medals from 2013 to 2016 competing in Paralympic sports competitions around the world. Al Qayed won the gold medal for the 800 meters race for wheelchairs at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Noura Al Ketbi
Al Ketbi is a Paralympic athlete and has won 7 medals for the UAE from 2011 to 2016. She won the silver medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Manal Al Shehi
Al Shehi has devoted her life to teaching and education, her experience includes spending 10 years teaching Arabic at the Nora Bint Sultan School. She was also the first teacher to lead a school of boys.
Najla Al Shamsi
Al Shamsi has 27 years of experience in the education sector. She has worked with 14 schools in the Emirate of Sharjah and Ajman, overseeing and improving their performance and work.
Zayed Al Tamimi
Al Tamimi suffers from deafness and co-founded the Emirates Association for the Deaf, an organisation that assists deaf people. Al Tamimi has been involved in creating many campaigns to raise awareness on deaf people and their rights.
Dr. Sumaya Al Beloushi
Al Beloushi began her career as a nurse in Kuwait in 1999, and has since then dedicated her to the medical field. She currently serves as the Director of the Nursing Administration at the Ministry of Health. She has already been the recipient of several awards prior to receiving the medal or pride for her work.
Younis Haji Al Khouri
Haji Al Khouri currently serves as the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, and has held the position since 2007. As undersecretary he has launched a number of programmes for better financing, including a financial performance indicator system.
Dr Wadha Al Nuaimi
Al Nuaimi has 18 years of experience in the field of demographics, and has helped created the largest demographic database.
Saif Al Suwaidi
Al Suwaidi is currently the Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, and has held the position since 2008. Al Suwaidi has previously held many other positions in the field of aviation.
Colonel Ahmad Al Hammoudi
Colonel Al Hammoudi’s career began as an officer until he reached the position of director for the Centre for Traffice Services and Licensing in the Emirate of Fujairah. The centre has received a 5 star rating in excellence service under Al Hammoudi.
Hayat Al Shehi
Al Shehi was awarded for her services in the education sector. She has been teaching English at the Nora Bint Sultan School for 10 years now.
Dr. Elham Al Amiri
Dr. Al Amiri has been working as a doctor for 21 years at the Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah. She has done extensive medical work in the field of diabetes, and has created several awareness programmes on preventing and tackling diabetes.
Mariam Al Muhairi
Al Muhairi currentlt serves as the Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. She has launched a number of initiatives for the protection of the environment, notably in the field of aquaculture.
Wafa Al Awadi
Al Awadi has 16 years experience in the field of electricity, and has used her knowledge and passion for projects using smart electricity systems.
Fatima Al Jasmi
Al Jasmi has over 15 years of experience in the field of genetic chemistry, and has used her expertise to specialise in medical genetics.
Al Matroushi has 22 years of experience and work in the Traffic and Licensing Department in Fujairah. Her medal of pride was awarded for her distinguished work over the two decades and her dedication to her field.
Mouza Al Yamahi
Al Yamahi has 10 years of experience in the area of customer service, and has used her knowledge and work to improve the sector, and as a result has been honoured with the medal of pride.
Khalifa Al Daheri
An Islamic preacher from a young age for the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Al Daheri was nominated to perform martyrs prayers in 2015, and chosen to perform the Eid prayers at the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.