Rolex Awards event planned in Dubai
Dubai, September 5, 2007
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, one of the world’s most respected philanthropic programmes, will host its 2008 awards event in Dubai.
The biennial awards, which support individuals working to improve human knowledge and well-being, will be held next year under the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The international prize-giving ceremony for the 13th Awards series will take place on November 18, 2008, at the Madinat Jumeirah resort.
Rebecca Irvin, head of the Rolex Awards Secretariat in Geneva, said holding the awards ceremony in Dubai would focus special attention on the Mena region and inspire social entrepreneurs across the area to apply to the 2008 Awards.
“The Arab world has a long-standing tradition of innovation and scientific discovery as well as a rich cultural heritage, so we are confident that there are many potential candidates for the Awards in the Middle East and North Africa,” Irvin said.
“We would like to encourage institutions and individuals to help us highlight the diverse activity in the Awards categories in this remarkable region.” The five key areas of recognition are science and medicine, technology and innovation, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural heritage.”
To encourage local participation, the submission deadline for regional applicants has been extended to October 25, 2007, Irvin added.
Application deadlines for much of the rest of the world – including North, Central and South America, Asia and the Pacific – have passed, and the deadline for Europe and sub-Saharan Africa is at the end of September.
Open to anyone of any age, nationality or background, the Rolex Awards support individuals working on original, feasible and socially beneficial projects in the five categories. All projects must improve the human condition, and, above all, demonstrate the candidates’ unfailing spirit of enterprise. The awards assist those working on new ventures or completing ongoing projects.
“Throughout history the spirit of enterprise has been a driving force. This same quality has underpinned Rolex since its beginnings. I am delighted that the Awards, initially created as a one-off celebration to mark a milestone in watchmaking, have become an ongoing programme to advance the exceptional work of scores of individuals who are quietly changing the world and making it a better place to live,” said Patrick Heiniger, Rolex CEO and chairman of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise Selection Committee.
“We hope to welcome more of these outstanding people from the Middle East into the ranks of Laureates and Associate Laureates in the years to come,” Heiniger added.
The awards usually receive between 1,500 and 2,000 entries from more than 100 countries per series, with the highest number typically emerging from the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. The MENA region, Irvin said, has historically yielded the fewest applicants.
“We feel that the region is under-represented in the Rolex Awards,” Irvin added. “We are confident that the rest of the world wants to hear the stories of the progress being made here, the stories of these individuals in the region.”
Syrian architect Adli Qudsi, who won a Rolex Award in 1998 for his work to restore the Old City of Aleppo, said the Award gave the rehabilitation project international exposure and helped drive it forward.
“The Rolex Award helped spread the word about what we were doing in Aleppo, and enabled us to enlist even more financial and moral support for the project,” Qudsi said at the press conference. “I urge everyone across the Middle East who is working to make our societies better to apply for the Award and create more awareness about the work being done in this region.”
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