Dubai: Five poets are expected to be honoured at the end of the year as part of the UAE International Award for Poets of Peace, which is launched in Dubai on Thursday.
The “global award” was launched at a press conference at Dubai International Humanitarian City on Thursday. It is organised in cooperation with the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) in the UAE.
The award aims to send a message to the world to stop wars, fight hunger and encourage humanitarian work. Officials stressed the award is not political in any way.
Abdullah Al Wardat, the director of UNWFP in the UAE, said “no food (means] no peace and no peace [means] no food,” referring to the link between food insecurity and social instability.
“A hungry man is an angry man … We would like to invite all poets from around the world to carry the message of peace and contribute to our efforts in fighting hunger, to guarantee security and stability to all people on the planet,” he added.
In its first season, the award comprises three events: an Arab Poets evening, an evening for international poets, and an event to honour Poets of Peace.
The winners of this year will be honoured as Poets of Peace at a ceremony in Dubai by the year end.
They can be of any nationality or background and will be selected by judges for their work on promoting peace, officials said.
Organisers have started forming the criteria and a jury to select the poets. In choosing the candidates, judges will weigh up on their various contributions towards promoting peace, rather than any single poem or piece of work.
Poets will be selected through registrations on the award’s website (uaepoetsaward.com). Shortlisted candidates, the website says, will be invited to compete by reciting their poems in the UAE in front of “an internationally renowned panel of expert judges.”
Poets will be honoured in three categories: Culture of Peace, Religious Tolerance, and Humanitarian Values.
“The award also highlights the talents of poets and spreads cultural awareness,” Dr Habib Ghalloum, cultural activities director at the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and the award’s cultural consultant, said.
The award has launched the social media hashtag #PoetsOfPeace to raise awareness of the award and encourage public involvement.
Dr Aisha Al Busmait, the award’s media adviser and consultant, said: “Alongside its efforts to raise the message of peace, the award also strengthens the UAE’s position as a beacon for poetic creations from all over the world.”
Sultan Al Jasimi, the award’s general manager UAE and UNWFP Advisor, added: “Poetry is a powerful tool to spread global peace and has become one of the most significant ways to connect people.”
The award will allocate part of its proceeds to the UNWFP.