Nation honours 46 UAE pioneers
Abu Dhabi - The ceremony marked the 46th National Day, as well as the Year of Giving 2017
By Jasmine Al Kuttab
Published: Tue 28 Nov 2017, 8:27 PM
Last updated: Tue 28 Nov 2017, 10:29 PM
Forty-six Emirati philanthropists and 'UAE Heroes' were awarded and recognised for their achievements, at the UAE Pioneers Award on Tuesday.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, honoured the awardees, led by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at a lively ceremony held in the Capital.
The ceremony marked the 46th National Day, as well as the Year of Giving 2017, announced by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said that the UAE is a country of good and giving across all humanitarian fields, adding that the UAE's philanthropic role is not a new development, but is a cornerstone built by the nation's founding fathers. He also acknowledged the sacrifices of the nation's martyrs, saying, "Our martyrs will only increase our strength of conviction, cohesion, and perseverance to continue helping our brotherly and friendly neighbouring nations, extending our humanitarian arm to those in need."
"The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan laid the foundations for the nation's values of generosity, carried forward by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a leader and a role model for giving, and the nation's martyrs represent a stimulus for the continuing the march of giving and sacrifice," he continued.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid honoured Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his generous contributions and initiatives launched in the humanitarian and charitable works sectors.
Upon accepting the award, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said: "I am very grateful to my brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for this generous gesture, which is a tribute to the nation's values of humanitarians and philanthropy in which we all hold dear."
He added: "There is no better feeling than planting the seeds of hope, to help those in need. It increases our will and determination to continue our nation's march towards progress and prosperity."
His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman, was also honoured for his initiatives and charitable works that included the establishment of Emirates Field Hospitals at the Emirati-Jordanian Refugee Camp and the launch of the Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Foundation.
The UAE Pioneers Award also honoured the families of the six Emiratis killed in a terrorist bomb attack in Afghanistan while carrying out humanitarian work in January this year.
The award is a yearly initiative, which was first launched with a tweet from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid back in November 2014. The prestigious award allows all Emiratis to nominate themselves or others, in various areas, including, health, economy, education, sport, military and innovation. In fact, the hashtag campaign '#UAE_Pioneers,' lead to more than a whopping 137,000 entries in just two weeks back in 2014.
One month after the launch of the initiative, Sheikh Mohammed honoured 43 Emiratis for their service to the nation and their pioneering spirit.
This year, more than 800 nominations for pioneering Emiratis were received by the committee.
The 46 men and women awarded will be documented in the Cabinet. Meanwhile, a book, which is yet to be published, will also feature all the winners' achievements.
A number of Emirati women were also awarded at the ceremony, including Bardiya Al Jabir, the UAE's first deaf teacher and an activist for those suffering from hearing disabilities; Bedour Al Raqbani, the owner and founder of a speech and communication centre in Dubai, 'Kalimati;' Fatima Al Jassim for her work in introducing free workshops that raise awareness on how to help and work with people of determination; Sonia Al Hashemi for her immense work for people with down syndrome; and Fatima Ali Ibrahim, who was honoured for being the UAE's most senior volunteer, aged 82.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasemi, the wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, was also given an award for her humanitarian efforts, as well as the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation, whose award was accepted by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman; Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council; Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council; Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; and Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving, attended the event along with several ministers and dignitaries.