Abu Dhabi Awards for 10 remarkable individuals

  • 25 January 2012

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has reaffirmed that the Abu Dhabi Awards reflected the continued commitment of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to preserve the legacy of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed that every person is inherently selfless and capable to care for others and community.

“In honouring these truly remarkable individuals, we honour the original values and noble principles of the UAE society. Such values and principles are still deeply rooted in the minds of many of our citizens and they deserve our thanks and appreciation for the benefit they brought to our society,” he added.

He was speaking at the sixth Abu Dhabi Awards ceremony held at Emirates Palace on Tuesday evening, when ten remarkable individuals were honoured for their contributions to Abu Dhabi.

The recipients of this year’s Abu Dhabi Awards are:

Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi (UAE)

Born around 1920 in Al Ain

Field: Traditional medicine

Learning the art of traditional medicine from his grandmother, he has since dedicated the last 70 years to healing people from across the community. Significantly, he always offered his services for free, only accepting donations from those who could afford to do so. Over the years, Aqeeda formed an intimate knowledge of treatments for more than 50 different diseases, and he has cared for thousands of patients when there were no hospitals.

Dr Jamal Ali Sanad Al Suwaidi (UAE). Born in 1959

Field: Academic and culture

Dr Al Suwaidi completed PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin in the USA, returning to Abu Dhabi in 1991. Joined UAE University as professor of political science. Through his articles and writings, he has sought to address many of the issues challenging the local and Arab world. With his contribution to the establishment of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in 1994, Dr Al Suwaidi supported Abu Dhabi’s presence at regional and global levels, developing the UAE’s international relationships. He has contributed to the promotion of a culture of research and academic study in the emirate.

Alain Saint-Hilaire (Canada)

Born in Paris

Field: Visual history

Alain’s long-standing relationship with Abu Dhabi began in 1969 on his first visit to the UAE. Throughout the decades, Alain has played an important role in capturing and documenting the visual history of the emirate through his collection of photography and films. He gifted more than 2,000 still images, half of which were of Abu Dhabi, to a number of entities in the UAE. Returning to Abu Dhabi on an almost annual basis throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he captured the development of the emirate on film before sharing his work, through lectures and film screenings, across the world. He produced two films about the UAE titled ‘United Emirates Gulf’ and ‘Masterpieces of Arab Kingdoms’. He is currently working on a film depicting the UAE’s development over the last 50 years.

Dr Maha Taysir Barakat (UAE)

Field: Medicine

Dr Maha Barakat grew up in Abu Dhabi, completed her education in the UK, receiving a PhD from Cambridge University in 1994 specialising in endocrinology and diabetes. She is a doctor known to care not only for the health of her patients, but for the well-being of the community. Dr Maha treats countless people outside of her regular practice, and continues to tackle the broader public health challenges that affect Abu Dhabi and the UAE. She continues to dedicate her time to initiating educational campaigns to raise awareness of diabetes.  Amongst the notable campaigns Dr Maha has been involved with are the 2007 ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’ initiative, the 2010 ‘I Eat Healthy’ campaign in cooperation with the Shaikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and the ‘Walk Together’ marathon. He quest for a systemic treatment centre for diabetes led to the setting up of the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi in 2006.

Abdul Muqeet Abdul Mannan (India); Born in 2001

Field: Environment

At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student at the Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100 per cent recycled carry bags using discarded newspapers. What began as a daily hobby has become a much larger community campaign. During the first year, Abdul Muqeet created and donated more than 4,000 paper bags in Abu Dhabi. Since then, he has also led workshops at schools, companies and government entities, demonstrating how to create paper bags using old newspapers. He has also partnered with grocery stores in his local area to distribute the bags. His school along with a number of companies in Abu Dhabi adopted his idea by exchanging their plastic bags for paper bags. In 2011, Abdul Muqeet was selected to attend the UN’s Tunza conference in Indonesia where he was able to demonstrate his commitment for a cleaner environment through his paper bag initiative. He has also represented the UAE at a number of conferences in, and outside, the UAE. Abdulmuqeet participated in a number of campaigns, for example the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ campaign organized by the Center for Waste Management – Abu Dhabi across Abu Dhabi and the Western Region.

Sultan Rashed Al Dhaheri (UAE); Born in Al Ain in 1932

Field: Education for poor

Sultan has dedicated his life to doing good deeds and helping those less fortunate. Each year, he provides financial support to numerous students, funding their tuition for school and university. Amongst his many achievements, including supporting orphans and the construction of mosques, Sultan oversaw the establishment of a professorship for Islamic Finance at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. He also donated $1 million towards the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) programme, which is an outreach programme organised by Masdar Institute, to support young leaders to acquire special workplace skills, leadership qualities and professional training. His contribution to supporting education opportunities also extend beyond the UAE. In particular, he has supported the construction of the Azhari Institute in Mokattam and Wadi Natrun in Egypt. He also provides support for the education of hundreds of students in India, and is involved in education initiatives in Africa, Jordan and Syria.

Salem Rashed Al Mohanadi (UAE); Field: Charity

Salem is an example of humanitarian goodwill and serves as a role model to many. Privately, and without recognition, Salem continually looks for ways to help the needy across the community. Most importantly, the recipient of Salem’s benevolence is treated with respect and dignity.

Opening the doors of his ,ajlis, he assists those struggling to meet their financial obligations, often eliminating their debts completely. In a busy life, Salem makes regular hospital visits to the sick and needy and supports charities across the UAE and internationally. Completing his education in the USA in late 1970s, Salem returned to Abu Dhabi where he works in Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. His work focuses on developing and preparing Emirati leaders of the future through work and scholarships.

Dr Taisser Atrak (USA)

Field: Medicine

Dr Taisser completed his education and trained as a doctor in the USA. Moving to Abu Dhabi three years ago, he is currently the director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Al Mafraq Hospital. He developed an awareness campaign on the safety of children in traffic, at home and at school, which has operated since 2008. This programme provides participants with training for basic first aid (PedFACTS), CPR for families and the fundamentals of child car safety. He has provided first aid and safety training for more than 100 nannies and maids in Abu Dhabi, giving the necessary books and study materials free of charge to all participants. He also worked on the introduction of a range of programmes and health initiatives on child safety in 2008, which includes the head cooling system for newborns and the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.

Al Sayed Abdulla Al Sayed Al Hashimi (UAE)

Field: Public service

Al Hashemi, also known as Al Sayed Al Oud (or the Senior Sayed), is a remarkable example of a man who committed his life to working with dedication, honesty and modesty. In his role as an advisor to the Rulers of the Emirate, Al Sayed Abdulla has witnessed the various stages of Abu Dhabi’s development since the discovery of oil, firstly for the late Shaikh Shakhboot bin Sultan Al Nahyan and later for the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Upon the late Shaikh Zayed’s succession, Al Sayed Abdulla worked as a personal advisor to the Ruler. Appointed Director of Shaikh Zayed’s Private Department, he oversaw the financial and administrative operations of the late Shaikh Zayed’s palaces, farms, personnel, procurement and employee salaries, as well as supervising a number of construction and development projects funded by Shaikh Zayed including Haj and Umrah.

Al Shaikh Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz bin Hamad Al Mubarak (UAE)

Field: Shariah judicial system

The late Shaikh Ahmed was born in a family of religious and judicial scholars. He went on to play an important role in the formation of Abu Dhabi’s judicial system. Taught by his father, a well-known judicial scholar and confidant of Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, known as Zayed The First, Shaikh Ahmed was well known as a judge in the region.

Combining teaching with a career in the judiciary, in 1969 he was appointed by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Chairman of the Shariah Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi. As Chairman, he played a crucial role in the establishment of the Shariah court system in the emirate, in addition to overseeing the construction of the court complex. Following the establishment of the UAE Union, Shaikh Ahmed was appointed Shariah advisor to the state, contributing to the development of Islamic and Shariah sciences in the country.