Prizegiving ceremony 2012 in Kuwait

© Ab-Divan Ab Amiri

Dr Douglas Biklen was awarded the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to promote quality education for persons with intellectual disabilities, at a ceremony hosted by the State of Kuwait on 29 February 2012.

The event, which took place in the Kuwait University theatre, Kuwait City, was held under the patronage and with the presence of His Highness the Emir of the State of Kuwait. The Emir was received by Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Minister of Education and Higher Education of the State of Kuwait and Dr Ali Al-Tarrah, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the State of Kuwait to UNESCO.

A keynote speech by the Minister of Education and Higher Education, signaled Kuwait’s continuous support in encouraging the work of individuals and organizations in promoting quality education for persons with intellectual disabilities. Representing Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Hamed Al-Hammami, Director of the  UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, expressed UNESCO’s gratitude to the State of Kuwait for this important initiative and underlined UNESCO’s commitment in upholding the right to education for people with disabilities.

In his acceptance speech, Professor Douglas Biklen conveyed his deep appreciation to the State of Kuwait and to UNESCO for honouring him with the Prize. He also thanked people with disabilities, their families, as well as the many educators he has worked with around the world and stated that his work has been inspired by imagining a world where people with disabilities exist.

The memory of the late Emir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Jaber III Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who instigated the Prize in 2002, was commemorated during the ceremony. The late Emir considered people with intellectual disabilities to be  a national asset and upheld the State’s obligation to protect their rights.   

The ceremony was attended by the Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait, the acting Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Honorable Sheikhs and members of the Royal family, the Head of the National Assembly, most of Cabinet Ministers, the Deputy Chief of the Kuwaiti National Guards, as well as senior state officials. Other dignitaries present at the ceremony were H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq,  H.E. Ms Katalin Bogyay, President of the General Conference of UNESCO, Ambassadors and members of UNESCO’s Permanent Delegations, the Secretary-General of the National Commission of the State of Kuwait to UNESCO, the International Jury members as well as educators and students.   

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