Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Awards were presented to nine Emiratis and expatriates late on Thursday for their commitment to the betterment of society.

They were chosen from a record 34,294 nominations.

The awardees were honoured at a ceremony at the Emirates Palace by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Members of the Royal family, VIP guests and family members of the award recipients were among the attendees. The awards celebrate the response received from citizens across the UAE who took the time to recognise certain figures who have contributed in humanitarian acts across the country.

The nominations were assessed individually by a panel of senior government officials, which were then reviewed by a judging committee selected by the Crown Prince.

Profiles of winners

A short film about Abu Dhabi and profiles of the award winners was screened for the audience.

The motto for the Abu Dhabi Awards is: 'Goodness knows no limits.'

The late Omeir Bin Yousuf was a Emirati businessman but also contributed to charity works by building homes, sponsoring and supporting residents and citizens, covering medical expenses and pilgrimages to Makkah.

Bin Yousuf passed away at the age of 85. He travelled to various countries, including India, Iran and Egypt, to help the needy.

His son Yousuf Bin Omeir received the award on behalf of his father.

A British/German local historian Dr Frauke Heard-Bey has written numerous journals and books in various languages.

Her most famous being From Trucial States to the United Arab Emirates. She arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1967 and helped establish the Centre for Documentation and Research. She's been involved in research work across the UAE since the late 1960s.

Emad Mohammad Sa'ad is a Syrian environmentalist who is presently working as an engineer at Abu Dhabi Municipality. He has been responsible for spearheading environmental awareness programmes in schools and other educational institutions.

As an active member of several NGOs in the country and the region he has taken part in several beach clean-up initiatives. Moza Habroosh Al Suwaidi is an Emirati pioneer in female education.

She began as a school teacher in 1973 and was the first female Emirati principal of Zubeidah School in the 1970s. She was an inspirational role-model during a period that lacked female leaders in education, and was heavily involved in establishing the Women's Union.

Brigadier Dr Asma Sultan Al Mughairi is the first female UAE national to join the military in the 1970s.

She began her military career as a dentist in the Al Nahyan Camp. She was ranked first lieutenant in 1976 and retired in 2005 as Brigadier. She retired in the same year as vice-president of the Medical Services Directorate but is currently an advisor at the Zayed Military Hospital.

Dr Asma believes there are no jobs just for men, and that "a woman is capable of fitting in anywhere".

Ateeq Belal Al Qemzi is an Emirati who has worked in the oil and gas sector for 45 years. He is presently the executive advisor to the General Manager of ADCO. Al Qemzi started as a support team member at the early age of 13.

He is considered one of the leading technical experts on the operations of on-shore oil fields in Abu Dhabi and is looked upon as the 'father of the oil sector'.

Helping labourers

Farida Seddiqi is a Canadian social volunteer and a social activist; she's a volunteer for a range of organisations including the Red Crescent Society and the Women's Union. Her activities include helping labourers, teaching the values of Islam to children, and giving succour to the sick and ailing.

Zaki Nusseibeh, Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, has devoted his services to the government of Abu Dhabi as a personal interpreter and advisor for the late Shaikh Zayed. He began his career as a journalist, editor and broadcaster in 1969, before becoming the Director of Information for Abu Dhabi.

Mohammad Ahmad Al Bowardi is presently the Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi and Managing Director of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

He has made a significant contribution to the conservation of a range of endangered species in the UAE and region.

Mariam Al Amiri, Executive Affairs Executive and one of the organisers for the Abu Dhabi Awards 2007, was given a certificate of appreciation.