Artwork of upcoming Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT-AD) and the Zayed National Museum have selected 10 researchers for the Dh1 million Zayed National Museum Research Fund. The recipients were chosen from 77 applicants from 19 countries.

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Launched in 2023, the Fund supports research into the culture and history of the UAE, and preserves the legacy of the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The 10 recipients include researchers from the UAE, Oman, Egypt, India, China, the US, the UK, Australia and Poland.

Grants from the Fund were awarded by a panel of experts that included representatives from DCT-AD and Zayed National Museum. Projects were chosen based on criteria including research methodology, experience, outcomes, and relevance to the museum’s mandate.

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What are the projects about?

Research areas that will be covered by the Fund’s recipients span Sheikh Zayed’s impact on the UAE society and culture; links between India and the Arabian Peninsula across the 19th and 20th centuries; the untold stories of women and their role in trade in Arabia, oral histories of the UAE, and the deep archaeological history of the UAE, among others.

DCT-AD Chairman Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak said: “Honouring the timeless values of our nation’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose enduring example continues to guide us today, the selected projects will support the creation of an extensive body of scholarly works on the traditions of the UAE through an international lens with diverse perspectives. Contributing to our intangible culture and unlocking possibilities for upcoming generations, the Research Fund underscores Zayed National Museum’s objectives of advancing knowledge, inclusive public engagement and harnessing the power of research and science to deepen our understanding of the UAE’s layered history.”

The recipients

1. Dr Mohamed Almarri (UAE), Assistant Professor of Population Genomics College of Medicine at the Mohamed Bin Rashed University of Medicine and Health Sciences, for the project ‘Reconstructing the population history and illuminating prehistorical contacts of the United Arab Emirates using ancient DNA’.

2. Maryam Al Shehhi, UAE Permanent Mission to the UN, USA Security Council Research Intern for the Book, Music/Sound of the Shihuh.

3. Dr Reynold James, Associate Professor at Zayed University, for ‘Sheikh Zayed’s legacy, and its role and impact on the UAE’s society and culture’.

4. Dr Suhaib Alam, Assistant Professor at the Department of Arabic Language at Jamia Millia Islamia, for ‘The journey across India in search of links between India and the Arabian Peninsula - 1820-1971’.

5. Dr Ran Zhang, Assistant Professor at the Department of Archaeology at Durham University, for ‘Chinese ceramic finds from the Hussein Collection’.

6. Dr Seth M.N. Priestman, Honorary Research Fellow at Durham University and Ceramics and Archaeological Finds Specialist, for ‘Exploring the interpretive value of 19th-20th century European factory-made ceramics in the UAE through collections-based research’.

7. Professor Lesley Gregoricka, Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Alabama, for ‘Mobility and shifting cultural landscape among the early Bronze Age inhabitants of the Al Ain Oasis’.

8. Professor Ali El Keblawy, Professor at the Department of Applied Biology at the University of Sharjah, for ‘Using native plants to revitalise UAE cultural heritage at Zayed National Museum’.

9. Sumaya Al-Weheibi, International Relations Specialist at the Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, for ‘Threads of empowerment - untold stories of women in Arabian Peninsula during the Silk Road trade’.

10. Dr Agnieszka Lic, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures at the Polish Academy of Sciences, for Jumeirah Research Project.