Dubai: The fourth Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on Dr Mana Saeed Al Otaiba ceremony during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017.

Presented during the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading, the award recognises noted UAE figures “who have influenced the long-term enrichment of literature in the country,” said organisers in a statement on Sunday.

Al Otaiba is the former president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) for a record six times between 1971 and 1983 and also served as Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the UAE under president Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan before becoming Advisor to both president Shaikh Zayed and later to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

At the ceremony, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor said: “It is with great pleasure that I bestow this award on Dr Al Otaiba. His exemplary career in the world of business, economics and politics warrants recognition in itself, but today we commend and recognise him for his literary efforts. His body of published work has become an indelible part of Arabic, and especially Emirati literature and it is a legacy from which the UAE will always benefit.”

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said, “We are honoured to be awarding Dr Al Otaiba for his great achievements. He has effortlessly increased the profile of the literary scene here in the UAE through his poetry and books. There couldn’t be a more perfect recipient for this award in the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading.”

Dr Al Otaiba is a prolific poet, writing 42 books of poetry in colloquial Arabic, formal Arabic, and English.

He has also penned novels and non-fiction books about the petroleum industry. His novel ‘Karima’ was later adapted for television as well.

Dr Al Otaiba has received many accolades, including honorary doctorates from universities around the globe.

Established in 2014, the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to recognise individual contributions to UAE literature.

The inaugural awardee was Dr Rafia Gobash, Professor of Psychology, Founder of the Women’s Museum and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. In 2015, noted Emirati businessman, philanthropist and one of the first published writers of Dubai, Abdul Gaffar Hussain, received the award and in 2016 renowned Emirati poet, diplomat and UAE businessman Mohammad Bin Hadher was posthumously awarded.

The festival continues until March 11 with more sessions, panels and workshops for all age groups.