UN: 7 October 2008 – An Egyptian professor and a Portuguese author will each receive this year’s Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.
Professor Gaber Asfour and the writer Adalberto Alves were chosen on the recommendation of an international jury that considered 33 candidates presented by 20 countries, according to a press release issued by UNESCO.
Dr. Asfour, who teaches at several Arab, European and United States universities and is the current head of the National Translation Foundation in Cairo, plays a key role in disseminating Arab culture around the world, UNESCO noted.
“His highly original literary criticism has gained international recognition,” the agency said. “A champion of intercultural dialogue, he has promoted values such as women’s rights, respect for others, creative diversity and tolerance.”
Mr. Alves, who heads the Centre for Luso-Arab Studies of Silves, Portugal, is now working on a dictionary of Portuguese words of Arab origin. He also heads a committee that helped create the Foundation of Arab Memory, served as vice-president of the Portuguese-Arab Cooperation Institute and was a member of the board of directors of the Portuguese Foundation of Arab-Islamic Heritage.
“His work has inspired many Portuguese and Spanish writers and has contributed to the dissemination of the history of Arab culture of Portugal’s Muslim era [the Gharb al-Andalus],” UNESCO said.
A monetary prize of $30,000 each and the awards will be presented to the two laureates in a ceremony at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on 17 November.
The Sharjah Prize was created by the Executive Board of UNESCO with funds provided by the Sharjah Government in the United Arab Emirates in 1998 to honour individuals or groups that have contributed in a significant way to the development, dissemination and promotion of Arab culture in the world, as well as to the preservation of Arab cultural heritage.
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