14.09.2016 - UNESCO Office in Amman

UNESCO and Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation presented the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture in Jordan

For the first time in Jordan, UNESCO and the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF) organized a promotional event on the UNESCO- Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.

This event aimed to raise awareness on the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize and its values. It is hoped that more and more organizations and personalities will embrace the objectives of the Prize and join its advocacy of the important role of arts and Arab culture in our societies.

The Prize was established in 1998 and rewards each year two laureates who have strived through their work and outstanding accomplishments to disseminate a greater knowledge of Arab art and culture. The recipients of the prize feature a broad range of personalities such as linguists, artists, writers, scholars, and mathematicians. Passionate advocates of Arab culture, their precious knowledge and achievements in the field have leaded to a stronger appreciation and recognition of Arab culture worldwide. This initiative is also the result of the dedicated generosity of His Highness Sheikh Al-Qassimi, the Ruler of Sharjah and a tribute to his personal commitment to the values of cultural diversity.

Now more than ever is the Sharjah Prize relevant and needed. Over and above its celebration of Arab culture, this Prize is first and foremost a tribute to dialogue among cultures. This task is all the more pertinent while culture and heritage have become targets of extremism in the front lines of conflict. H.E. Dr. Adel Tweisi, Minister of Culture, said the prize highlights the “ability to make a positive change while shedding light on Arab culture, which has suffered a lot in recent decades”.

Against those who exploit ignorance to spread hatred, the Prize strives to put forward a different message: support artists and share cultures as engines of dialogue and reconciliation. “The arts challenge our certainties, stretch our imagination, increase our compassion for others by providing creative ways for us to comprehend and deal with realities. Their contribution is even more precious when societies are undergoing transformations as we are witnessing today – transformations that question the very nature of our notions of identity, belonging, citizenship, community”, emphases Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences.

In this context, a panel discussion on “Social Transformations and Artistic Creation in the Arab World” discussed the role of artists as agents of social change and creativity as a force for renewal and social transformation in the development of equitable, prosperous and creative societies. Renown panelists such as Ms. Valentina Qussisiya (CEO- Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation), Mr Ali Mahdi Nouri (Director - street theatre), Mr Naif Al Muttawa (Author/Creator of The 99), and eL Seed (Street artist) will join the discussion moderated by Dr. Sami Hourani.

The promotional event took place in Amman at the Shoman Foundation, a leading organization in the promotion of the arts and culture in the country, in recognition of the important role that Jordan plays in fostering cross-cultural dialogue. A presentation of the Prize was followed by a panel discussion on “Social Transformations and Artistic Creation in the Arab World” and a music concert by a group of Jordanian musicians, the “Wattar Soul”.


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