Emirati national short-listed for Rolex Awards
Cairo, May 14, 2008
Six projects in environmental awareness and conservation, cultural heritage and science from the Middle East and North Africa have been short-listed for the 2008 Rolex Awards for Enterprise.
The renowned philanthropic programme, which is to be held in the Middle East for the first time this year, rewards individuals around the world working to advance human knowledge and well-being.
The regional shortlist, which includes one project each from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the UAE and two from Turkey, accounts for more than 10 per cent of the international shortlist of 44.
The Rolex Awards Secretariat in Egypt received a record 138 applications from the region for this 13th series, the highest in the programme’s 32-year history.
The short-listed candidates include: Prof Talal Akasheh, a chemistry professor at the Hashemite University in Jordan, who is working to conserve the ancient city of Petra via a Geoarchaeological Information System; Habiba Al-Marashi, an Emirati national and head of the UAE’s Emirates Environmental Group, working to educate and mobilise youth to protect the environment in one of the fastest-developing nations in the Gulf; Franziska Arici, a German agricultural engineer and resident of Turkey, who has been successful in helping humans and white storks coexist in the Lake Uluabat area of northwestern Turke; Najib Saab, editor-in-chief of the Lebanon-based Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine, who seeks to promote environmental awareness in the MENA region via a free online archival database of information; Prof Mustafa Sari, a fisheries management expert working to save the pearl mullet fish species in eastern Turkey’s Lake Van and Gianluca Serra, an Italian conservationist based in Syria, who is working to preserve the world’s last population of wild migratory bald ibis.
“We at the Rolex Awards for Enterprise are very pleased to draw attention to these six unique projects,” said head of the Rolex Awards Secretariat in Geneva, Rebecca Irvin speaking in Cairo.
“The quality and diversity of these dedicated individuals and their projects are a testament to the enterprising work being done every day in the MENA region, work that very often goes unnoticed by the rest of the world.”
Irvin, who announced the shortlist alongside eminent Egyptian geologist Prof. Farkhonda Hassan and distinguished heart surgeon Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub said the Laureates and Associate Laureates of the 13th Rolex Awards series will be revealed at the international prize-giving ceremony on 18 November at the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai.
Sir Magdi, a member of the 2006 Selection Committee, said the Rolex Awards were a valuable showcase of and for the region, and highlighted the importance of the spirit of enterprise championed by Rolex.
“I am proud to see the significant response from the Middle East and North Africa region in this 13th series of the Rolex Awards, and hope to see an even greater response in future,” said Sir. Magdi.
Prof. Hassan, a member of the 2008 Rolex Awards Selection Committee, said the six shortlisted candidates are examples of the outstanding work being done every day across the region and globe.
“The Rolex Awards are appreciated worldwide for the opportunity they provide to people of all ages and geographies and from all walks of life,” Prof. Hassan said. “I was particularly impressed by the volume of quality entries from the developing world, which goes to show that there are no limits and no barriers to creativity and enterprise.”
The 138 applications from the MENA region represent nine per cent of the 1,477 entries received globally. – TradeArabia News Service