Anwar Gargash presents the award to Ameen Maalouf for Cultural and Scientific Achievements during the Al Owais Cultural Award ceremony on Wednesday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai: Winners of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Awards’ Twelfth Session were honoured in a ceremony held on Wednesday at the Al Owais Foundation headquarters.

The winners of the 2010-11 session are Dr Mohammad Ali Shams Al Deen for Poetry, Radwa Ashour for Stories, Novels and Drama, Dr Faisal Darraj for Criticism and Literature Studies, Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri for Human and Future Studies, and Ameen Maalouf for Cultural and Scientific Achievements.

The award received 1,237 entries out of which 218 were for poetry, 271 for Stories, Novels and Drama, 220 for Criticism and Literature Studies, 366 for Future Studies and 162 for the Cultural and Scientific Achievements Award.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said the award became a bridge of communication between the UAE and the Arab world.

“By celebrating and honouring the Arab culture through this award, the UAE celebrated itself and its culture through this award because its part of this culture,” Gargash said.

Egyptian novelist and academic Dr Radwa Ashour, said that by winning the award she has become a part of an elite group of Arab intellectuals as honoured with Al Owais Award throughout the years.

Dr Ashour said she was honoured to be part of this rare group, which included prominent names who left a significant mark in Arab culture, such as Mahmoud Darwish, Nizar Qabbani, Mohammad Mahdi Al Jawahiri, Edward Saeed, Fadwa Touqan and Salma Al Khadra Al Jayousi.

The decision of the jury was read by Dr Afaf Al Bataynah, member of the award’s jury, while Dr Fatima Al Sayegh read the Board of Trustees’ decision.

The winners received their awards from Dr Anwar Gargash and Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Secretary General of the Award and Gulf News Editor-in-Chief, as well as other members of the board of trustees.

A special edition of memorial stamps issued on March 14 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Al Owais Award was presented to Dr Gargash by Ebrahim Bin Karam, Director-General of Emirates Post.


Lebanese poet Shams Al Deen was born in Beirut in 1942 and holds a PhD in History. His poetry collections, many of which have been translated to English, Spanish and French, include Smuggled Poems to My Beloved Asia, Clouds for the Dreams of the Dethroned King, I am a Rooster My King... My Beloved, The Purple Fork, Birds Flying to the Bitter Sun, Admiral of the Birds, Hasn’t the dancing stopped yet?, Tilling the Wells, Houses of Dice, Stony Winds, The Book of Wandering and Circles of Solitude.

Egyptian writer and academic Radwa Ashour was born in Cairo in 1946. She has published seven novels, two collections of short stories, a memoir and four criticism books. Part I of her Granada Trilogy won the Cairo International Book Fair 1994 Book of the Year Award; the Trilogy won the First Prize of the First Arab Woman Book Fair (Cairo, Nov. 1995). Part I of the Trilogy was translated into English (Syracuse University Press) and Spanish.

Born in Palestine in 1943, Dr Faisal Darraj is the winner of the prize for Best Arab Book in 2002 for his The Theory of the Novel and the Arabic Novel and The Palestine Cultural Creativity Award in 2004.

Unique approach

Darraj has succeeded in creating a unique critical approach especially in the field of the Arab novel. His publications include Al Waaqe’ Wal Amthal (Reality and Utopia: A Contribution in Literary Politics), Dalalat Al Alaqa Al Riwa’iya (Novel Connection Semantics), Thakirat Al Maghloobeen (Memory of the Defeated: Defeat and Zionism in the Palestinian Literary Discourse), Al Riwaya Wa Ta’weel Al Tareekh (The Novel and the Hermeneutics of History), Nathariyat Al Riwaya Wal Riwaya Al Arabiya (The Theory of the Novel and the Arabic Novel) and Al Hadatha Al Mutaqahqira (Retreating Modernity: Taha Hussain and Adonis).

Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri was born in Baghdad in 1919 and died in November 2011. He was a professor of Islamic economic history. His earlier awards include The King Faisal Award for Islamic Studies (1984), the Iraqi Academy of Sciences Translation Award for his book The Economic History of Iraq in the Fourth Hijri Century, the Jordanian Education Medal of the Highest Order, Appreciation Award from the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, Istanbul (1988) and Arab Culture Award (2000).

Winner of the Cultural and Scientific Achievements award Ameen Maalouf was born in Beirut in 1949 and is a resident of France since 1976.

He is a novelist and historian whose works are known to delve deep into history by highlighting the most significant cultural transformations that have helped create the current images of both the West and the East.

His works include The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Historical Essay), Leo Africanus (Novel), Samarkand (Novel), The Gardens of Light (Novel), The First Century after Beatrice (Novel), The Rock of Tanios (Novel), Ports of Call or Les échelles du Levant (Novel), Balthasar’s Odyssey (Novel), Love from Afar (Libretto), Killer Identities (Political Essays), Origins: A Memoir (A Biography of Ameen Maalouf’s family), Adriana Mater (Libretto), and Le Dérèglement du monde  “Derangement of the World” (Political Essays).

The prestigious Cultural and Scientific Achievements Award is a life-time achievement award given to Arab intellectuals who provided outstanding services to their community and left a mark on Arab culture.