Ali Mualla, a Syrian sand sculptor, works on his creation during the Emirates International Sand Sculpture Festival at the Abu Dhabi Corniche on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs were among those presented with certificates and awards at an honouring ceremony for the first annual Emirates International Sand Sculpture Festival on Tuesday. 

"It's wonderful that we were presented with these awards…12 of our pupils participated in the festival and they had a wonderful time. They participated in a small workshop with one of the sculptors, who taught them basic sand sculpting techniques. Afterwards, they created three sculptures, including one of a camel, that took several days to complete," said Salem Ali Abdulla Al Hosani, Social Specialist, Vocational Training Department, Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs. 

The festival, which ran from April 17 to- May 1 on the Corniche, was held under the patronage of Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Presidet's Representative and organised by the Emirates Heritage Club in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Municipality.


At least 12,000 visitors had flocked to the event, which saw sculptors from Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, Latvia, South Africa, Syria and the UAE created multiple works under the theme of "UAE's heritage and achievements".


"The success of the inaugural edition of the Emirates International Sand Sculpture Festival has shown that there are always ways to highlight our past while at the same time being proud of our achievements. Such events not only spread awareness but also allow our youth to be proud of what we have accomplished and inspire them to continue exploring the UAE's potential," said Habib Al Sayegh, Director, Media and Public Relations department, Emirates Heritage Club.


Additional organisations from the public and private sector that were also honoured included Etihad Airways, Emirates Palace Hotel, the Abu Dhabi Municipality. Various media outlets and publications, including Gulf News, also received certificates of appreciation for their efforts to raise awareness about the festival.



"As an Emirati, I am always very proud when such events are organised successfully because they not only help to bring a unique touch to the city whenever they are organised, but they also provide an opportunity for members of the public and Emiratis to learn about the multiple sides to our culture and heritage," said Dr Badriya Al Datheri, Director of Community Services, Abu Dhabi Municipality.