Arab world’s youth receive Sheikha Fatima awards

Young people from across the region are recognised for their achievements in the arts, volunteering, science and literature at the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth.

Young people from the region perform at the Skeikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Awards for Arab Youth last night in Abu Dhabi. Winners came from the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq. Christopher Pike / The National
Powered by automated translation

ABU DHABI // Young people from across the region were rewarded for their achievements on Sunday night at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi attended by hundreds.
The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth presented the young men and women with cheques and scholarships in several categories, including arts, volunteering, science and literature.
Winners between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen for their achievements in those fields after submitting applications that are evaluated by a committee and approved by Sheikha Fatima.
Winners this year came from the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq.
Faris Al Jamal, 16, said he was proud after winning his award, adding that he hopes it helps fulfil his dream of peace for Palestinians.
"I feel very good, especially because I am from Palestine," he said. "I feel better because of this award."
The top award winner, for Globally Influential Arab Youth, takes home US$20,000. Ten other awards for Excellent Arab Youth are given in 10 different categories, including sport.
Organisations supporting Arab youth issues also are recognised, receiving $15,000, trophies and a certificate signed by Sheikha Fatima, chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.
The winners will talk about their their achievements and awards on Monday on the seconday night if the conference on Monday.
Salman Mohammed Al Sanadi, an 18-year-old medical student from Bahrain, won the Globally Influential Arab Youth. He said he was honoured because of his interests in both science and media – his projects range from robotics to broadcast radio.
"I am so proud because I am the first winner from Bahrain," he said. "It's an honour to win such an award."
Mr Al Sanadi, who studies at Arabian Gulf University, added that he is grateful for the prize and hopes to use it to work with Arab youth. He is also the contest's first winner from the Arabian Gulf countries, with last year's winner, Mostafa Al Harishawi, from Iraq.
Sheikha Fatima received Queen Noor Hussein of Jordan earlier on Sunday, before the conference, state news agency Wam reported. Queen Noor, founder and chairwoman of the King Hussein Foundation Board of Trustees, attended last year's ceremony and was recognised this year for her efforts to support youth.
The two women discussed women's issues and ways for their two foundations to further cooperate, and Queen Noor praised Sheikha Fatima's role towards UAE women and her support for women's organisations in the country.
Sultan Shawabkeh, 16, won the award for the arts last year and attended this year's event, along with other past winners.
Sultan is involved in acting and directing theatre, as well as short films. He was the only winner from Jordan last year, and he said the award was "like a frame" for his achievements.
He said he felt invigorated after winning the award.
"I got passionate with more things in the arts," he said.
Other winners included Ayesha Al Zaabi and her colleagues from the UAE, who won the teamwork prize, and Mais Marwan Al Akrouk from Jordan, awarded in literature.
The ceremony included a cultural production that showcased the region's cultural and intellectual history, with a narrator outlining historic Arab achievements such as those of medieval thinker Ibn Sina, as well as traditional songs and dancing, set against a screen showing images of the region's flags.
The Sheikha Fatima award was announced in November 2011 at the Arab Children Congress, held under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima and Queen Noor. The conference was renamed the International Arab Youth Congress and the awards were expected to be an annual event as part of the congress.
Last year, of 248 applicants, only 113 qualified for the award. Most candidates hailed from Jordan, followed by the UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia and Bahrain, and 13 other countries in the region.
UAE University, Abu Dhabi University, the Institute of Applied Technology, Emirates Foundation, Adnoc and the Abu Dhabi Police sponsored this year's awards.