Abu Dhabi: Habib Yousuf Abdallah Al Sayegh, editor-in-chief of Al Khaleej Newspaper, chairman of the Emirates Writers Union and Secretary General of the Arab Writers Union, died on Tuesday.
Al Sayegh,a prominent Emirati poet, was born in Abu Dhabi in 1955. He got his Bachelor of Philosophy in 1977 and did his Master of Comparative Linguistics from the University of London in 1998. He served as director of Internal Media at the Ministry of Information and Culture in 1977, and Deputy Editor of Al Etihad newspaper 1978.
Condolences poured in, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted: “Today, the UAE has lost one of its icons of media, journalism and literature. May God bestow his mercy upon Habib Al Sayegh and place him in paradise. His work, poetry and writings will remain as a testimony of his great love of the nation, as well as the greatest legacy he left behind. The nations will always remain as a testament to persons of letter. May Allah grant his family patience and solace”.
Al Sayegh founded and became the editor of Awraq Cultural magazine from 1982 to 1995, and had profound impact on the cultural movement, locally and regionally. He was the Chairman of the Union of the Emirates Writers, Secretary General of the General Conference of the Emirates writers and Authors; Assistant Secretary-General of the General Union of Arab Writers, and deputy editor of the Arab Writer magazine published by the General Union of Arab writers. He was also the chairman of the National Committee of ethical journalism in the UAE.
He worked as Vice Chairman of the Emiratization and Human Resources Development in the State media sector. He also served as Director General of the Sultan Bin Zayed Centre for Culture and Media. Head of the UAE delegation to the Civil Society Forum for the Future.
He was an Associate Press writer in the UAE and ran a daily column that had not been interrupted since February 1978. He edited the first page for promising pens in journalism of the UAE (Al Etihad newspaper - Pen Club -1978) and established the first cultural supplement in the Emirates (Al Fajr Newspaper-1980).
UAE Journalists Association honored him in 2008 as the first journalist to spend 35 years in the national press service.
In 2004, he obtained the Taryam Omran Award – Pioneers of Journalism Category, handed to him by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
In 2007 he was offered the State Merit Award, branch of Arts, and was the first time that given to a poet, offered to him by the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Dr Shaikh Sultan also honoured him as the Personality of the Year for Cultural Exhibition of Sharjah International Book Fair 2012.
He is considered one of the pioneers of the new poetry movement in the UAE and the Gulf region. His poems have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.
He has a prominent role in the cultural movement in the UAE, and has a strong presence in the cultural activities supervised by him.
He is one of the most famous UAE writers in the Arab world. His work has been debated in many Arab conferences and international symposia.
The Department of Culture and Information of Sharjah issued a book about him with the participation of thirty researchers from various Arab countries, has been nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The Arab Writers Unions elected him a president of the Executive Committee of the Arab Creativity translation project in 2013.