A number of Abu Dhabi residents have been honoured for their contribution to the community in the UAE capital.
They received their accolades from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the 10th Abu Dhabi Awards on Friday evening.
The awards were set up to celebrate those who had selflessly dedicated themselves to helping others, aiding the development of Abu Dhabi in the process.
Nominations for the awards were open from May to December in 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant the ceremony was put on hold.
There were 12 winners of the award on Friday night, representing a wide spectrum of life in the UAE capital. Recipients ranged from military figures to environmentalists.
“The UAE’s values continue to reflect the deeply held faith of our Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed in the kindness, humanity, and generosity of people," said Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
"Today, we celebrate 12 extraordinary individuals who chose to practise these values every day through their noble and charitable work, making our country and communities stronger.”
Meet the winners
Lt Gen (Retired) Obaid Mohammed Al Kaabi
Lt Gen Al Kaabi received his award for playing a pivotal role in the early years of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
He started his military career in 1963 and was promoted to the position of officer candidate with the Abu Dhabi Defence Force in 1968.
He advanced to the role of Deputy Chief of Staff before reaching the position of Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence.
“Al Kaabi was also a leading figure in the development of the Al Ain community, where he would host lectures on various topics relevant to families and youth,” said the judging panel.
“His dedication to civic duty made him a high-profile and valued community role model.”
Dr Fatima Alsayedyousef Al Refaei
Widely regarded as a pioneer in her field, Dr Al Refaei was instrumental in developing the nursing profession in the UAE.
Her achievements included establishing the Emirates Nursing Association in 2003, which continues to provide holistic support to the profession, as well as offering encouragement to those considering becoming nurses in the UAE.
She has been a key fixture at international events and conferences over the past three decades. In 2017, she was elected as a member of the internationally renowned Board of Directors for the International Council of Nurses (ICN) for the Middle East region.
Today she serves as an adviser for nursing affairs at the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr
The chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation and former Speaker of the Federal National Council is widely seen as one of the UAE’s most influential political and cultural figures, regarded by many as a custodian of the nation’s culture and heritage.
Mr Al Murr has played key roles in pioneering projects including the Etihad Museum, Dubai Opera, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, the Culture and Scientific Association and Huroof Arabiya, a magazine about Arabic calligraphy.
“His work has been instrumental in shaping and showcasing UAE talent and heritage, and developing global platforms that unite worldwide communities and perspectives,” the judging panel said.
Dr Essam Eldin Mohamed El Shammaa
Widely regarded as one of the UAE’s leading experts in the field of medical imaging, Dr El Shammaa has dedicated his resources and expertise to serve the healthcare sector of both Abu Dhabi and the entire nation, becoming a stalwart of the Corniche Hospital in the process.
His career at the hospital began in 1977 and over the years he helped to develop the radiology department, and to introduce a variety of cutting-edge healthcare services.
“Dr El Shammaa is admired for sharing his vast medical experience with his healthcare colleagues and serving as a valued source of knowledge in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology,” the judging panel said.
The radiology department at the Corniche Hospital was renamed as the Dr El Shammaa Imaging Department in his honour.
Zaafarana Ahmed Khamis
Known to many as “the Mother of People of Determination”, Ms Khamis started her volunteer work in 2007 at the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, where she continues to make a difference to the lives of so many.
She is a mother of 11, including two Special Olympic champions, Hamda and Maryam.
Ms Khamis has devoted a countless amount of time to the support and care of disabled people, particularly during national and international sporting events, such as the Special Olympics World Games, which took place in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
“Zaafarana Ahmed Khamis’s notable devotion and commitment to volunteering has earned her the trust of those around her and distinguishes her as an inspiring role model in the Abu Dhabi community,” said the judges.
Hussain Abdulrahman Khansaheb
Mr Khansaheb and his family have been considered pioneers in the UAE construction and infrastructure sectors since the 1930s.
The Khansaheb company is responsible for many of the country’s most iconic landmarks.
He has been at the helm of the firm since 1954 and has helped create many of the UAE’s roads, hospitals, airports, schools, sporting venues and hotels.
He is equally known for his dedication to charity and humanitarian work, impacting on people in the UAE and beyond.
This includes the construction of orphanages and homes for families in need, and providing medical equipment, medicines and school supplies.
Faraj Ali Binhamoodah Al Dhaheri
Mr Al Dhaheri dedicated his time to social responsibility and philanthropic work throughout the decades.
He served the UAE in a number of influential roles on the Federal National Council, the Board of Directors of Zakat Fund and as a trustee of UAE University.
In 2010 he established the Bin Hamoodah Endowed Chair in Public Health, which was a cornerstone of Zayed University's Endowment Fund, encouraging advanced research and academic studies of benefit to the UAE.
He was also officially recognised by the Emirates Red Crescent in 2015 for his generosity in support of the organisation’s humanitarian work.
Ghubaisha Rubaya Al Ketbi
Renowned for her humanitarian work and passion for volunteering, Ms Al Ketbi received a Community Service Medal from the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters in 2020.
She provided daily meals for police personnel at the Al Shuwaib checkpoint, during and after Ramadan last year, as they worked to ensure the safety of the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Ghubaisha Al Ketbi’s generosity exemplifies the values of empathy and compassion, which the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan held in high regard,” said the judges.
“Her avid volunteerism and dedication stem from an inherent belief in giving back, embodying the model of a selfless Emirati.”
Yusufali Musaliyamveettil Abdul Kader
Mr Kader came to the UAE in its formative years in the early 1970s, joining his uncle’s then-modest distribution company in the nutrition sector.
It was in those formative years that the Indian national gained the expertise to develop and expand his Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group, which is now one of the biggest names in UAE retail.
“His support of many initiatives and campaigns, both nationally and internationally, have positively impacted many local communities,” said the judges.
“Driven by his belief in the importance of education and its role in developing sustainable and prosperous communities, Yusufali has funded the education of countless students.”
Mohammed Bakhit Al Ketbi
The late Mr Al Ketbi was widely recognised as one of the UAE’s most loyal military servants and considered by many to be a pioneer in his field.
He joined the armed forces at the age of 16, serving for 35 years, and received numerous medals of recognition for his long-standing service.
A founding member of the Special Operations Command, Mr Al Ketbi participated in several international peacekeeping missions in countries including Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
He often held lectures on preserving the UAE’s national identity and was instrumental in encouraging young people to cherish and embrace their culture.
He died in 2020 at the age of 64.
Dr Abdulmajeed Brek Al Zubaidi
The cardiology consultant at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company is widely viewed as having played a crucial role in raising the standards of care across the UAE.
“Throughout his career, Dr Al Zubaidi’s work and expertise have improved the quality and effectiveness of medical services in the field of cardiovascular disease, contributing to the UAE’s ambition of providing a robust and high quality healthcare offering,” said the judges.
“He has gone above and beyond for the welfare of his patients and serves as a mentor to his medical colleagues, sharing his invaluable expertise and experience.”
He developed a methodology for rapid intervention in the treatment of the most critical type of heart attack – the ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI).
This database is actively used in medical research and studies to help raise awareness and treatment of heart diseases among the UAE community.
Jacques Rene Renaud
Using the expertise of the Frenchman, the UAE was able to develop a captive breeding programme for the Houbara bustard bird, which helped to boost the population of the endangered species.
Mr Renaud also helped to create a mechanism to track the Houbara bustard using satellite-tracking devices, supporting the research efforts of avian experts in the UAE.
His other achievements include playing a pivotal part in the establishment of the Emirates Centre for Wildlife Propagation in the Kingdom of Morocco in 1995, as well as the development of the National Avian Research Centre in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi.
Over recent years, these efforts mean that almost 70,000 Houbara bustards annually are bred and released in the UAE, Morocco and Kazakhstan.