Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are you an Emirati artist, writer or scientist?..

...then you are eligible to win Dh 100,000 for your work as part of a National Day competition called 'Emirates Appreciation', organized by the UAE's Ministry of Culture.

Check out this story, in The National, for more information: Call for Cultural Awards Nominations.

By Haneen Dajani

Last Updated: May 20. 2009 4:39PM UAE / May 20. 2009 12:39PM GMT

The Ministry of Culture has started receiving nominations for Emirati writers, artists and researchers to win the Emirates Appreciation award for arts, sciences and literature.

A winner from each of the award’s categories – plastic arts, science, literature, field studies and research – will receive Dh100,000 from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, on National Day.

In its fourth session this year, the areas chosen in each category are spatial configurations, electronic engineering, “faseeh” (classical Arabic) poetry and management studies.

“The objective of the award is to stimulate the intellectual, cultural and creative people in the UAE, to highlight and honour them and motivate the younger generations to improve knowledge of science, and to promote culture and creativity, intellectuals and creators, scientists and science from the UAE,” said Bilal al Budoor, the executive director for culture and arts at the ministry.

Winners will be chosen based on the accumulation of their creative productions and interaction with society, and not on the value of a single piece.

“So for example, if there are two poets nominated, one has been a poet for 20 years but his work is not (rich) poetry and suddenly came up with one great poem, and another poet has been writing (rich) poetry for the past 10 years, the priority to win goes to the person with the cumulative experience and who contributed to society with valuable work.”

Mr al Budoor recalled an incident from previous years when two doctors received an equal grade from judges, but one of them had more publications and interacted with the society more than the other, thus, the one with the greater influence on society won.

Applicants can either nominate themselves or they can be nominated by their organisations. The ministry also sends letters to other ministries and organisations asking them to nominate employees who fit the categories.

“In the first year, a very few number responded to our letters, but after they saw the honour and moral value of the award during the first ceremony, there was a major increase in numbers of nominations the following years,” he said.

Winners could apply again to the awards in following years, providing they apply to a different category to the one they won. So, if a person is both an artist and a writer, and won for his art the first year, he could apply as writer the following year.

The panel of judges consists of the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development Abdul Rahman Mohammed al Owais, Mr Budoor and the remaining five other judges change every year.

“The judges are themselves writers and artists who have a thorough background and valuable work in art and culture, so we change them every year to give them a chance to apply to the awards in following years,” he explained.

This year's judges are Ibrahim al Thaheri, Jumaa al Kubaissi, Dr Najat Makki, Ismail Ismail and Ali al Hamli.

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