A politician, a poet, an inventor, a composer and an actress were all honoured by the Beirut Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi on Sunday with awards for excellence in their fields.
The recipients were Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, Lebanese Oscar-nominated director and actress Nadine Labaki, Lebanese composer and producer Khaled Mouzannar, Sudanese-American spoken word poet Emi Mahmoud and Emirati inventor Fatima Al Kaabi.
Mr Nusseibeh was honoured in recognition of his outstanding political and governmental track record. Since the 1960s, he has worked in different political, cultural, and media positions starting out as a journalist, editing the first English newspaper published by the Abu Dhabi government and taking part in establishing the country's first Arabic-language newspaper Al Ittihad. Mr Nusseibeh worked very closely with the country's late founding father Sheikh Zayed and was the person behind the translation of the UAE's first civil codes while working for the Abu Dhabi Civil Service Department. Throughout his career, he has received many distinctions and awards including the Gold Medal in the Arts from the Kennedy Centre in 2014.
Mouzannar and Labaki, the husband and wife team who made Capernaum, a film that tells a heartwrenching story of children in the slums of Beirut, were also honoured. The film launched the couple on to the international stage, after an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film, a Bafta nomination and the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year. However, the two have been very vocal about the cause that is at the heart of the film.
Last week, Labaki gave a speech on the plight of stateless people at the 2019 Nansen Refugee Award ceremony at the Batiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, Switzereland.
After the film's release, Mouzannar and Labaki started the Capernaum Foundation, which supports the cast of children on the film – who are non-actors.
"We are trying to put some kids in school, trying to help their parents, remove them from the streets because that's the hardest part. We had to try to convince some parents, we had to pay the parents to take them out of the streets sometimes," Mouzannar told The National.
Mahmoud was recognised for her spoken word poetry, also known as slam, as a way of raising awareness about humanitarian issues. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador with the UNHCR.
Emirati inventor Al Kaabi, the youngest recipient, was recognised for her technical innovations. She addressed the audience with a video message from Virginia Tech in the United States, where is studying artificial intelligence.
The event was part of the third year of the Beirut Institute Summit Abu Dhabi, which concludes today.