The Arab Thought Foundation has awarded Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the “Lifetime Achievement Award 2015” in recognition of his exceptional leadership and creative ideas to promote security and achieve cultural and social development in the United Arab Emirates, and in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.

The Foundation also honored an elite group of prominent Arab figures who have left their creative footprints in thought, literature and social development. They include Chancellor Adly Mansour; Chedli Klibi, Amr Moussa, Dr. Nabil Elaraby and Dr. Mohammad Noureddine Afaya.

His Highness Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior received the award on Monday evening from Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Makkah Province and Chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation during a major ceremony that was held on the sidelines of the 14th annual conference of the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF) in Cairo “FIKR 14 Cairo 2015”. The conference is organized by Arab Thought Foundation in coordination with the Arab League, was commenced on Sunday, and was inaugurated by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League in Cairo. The conference, titled “Arab Integration…Experiments, Challenges and Horizons”, witnessed participation of more than 500 intellectuals and scholars from various Arab countries, and dozens of institutions and organizations.

In his acceptance speech, His Highness Sheikh Saif said: “I am very pleased and honored to join this esteemed group of Arab intellectuals, who are being honored, not only for being intellectuals, but because they are positive intellectuals who have left their marks on their communities.  Both ancient and modern experiences have proven developed communities and governments rely on the efforts of their sons and daughters, who embrace positive thinking.”

His Highness added: “Through their deep wisdom and instinct, the late founding fathers early realized the importance of building humans before building edifices; therefore, they endeavored to nurture positive citizens and invest in their education. They braced challenges and overcame them; not with money or steel, but using rational thought.”

His Highness Sheikh Saif expressed optimism and hope with the diligent efforts exerted by the Arab Thought Foundation’s officials and its noble objectives. He continued: “I see you walking in the footsteps of the founding fathers, and mere words cannot express enough the happiness I feel to be part of this esteemed gathering. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the leadership and people of the UAE, because the positive thinking they instilled in me has earned me the privilege of being with you today.”

Expressing his pride, HH Sheikh Saif said: “His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has recently declared 2016 as the ‘Year of Reading’ in the UAE. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai is also supporting this initiative to promote reading among Emirati youth; while General HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces is dedicated to maintain the safety, security and happiness of our young generations.”

He added: “This positive thinking in your second home, the UAE, was inspired by the person to whom I would like to dedicate this award and extend my heartfelt thanks; HH Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May Allah have mercy on his soul, whose memory will remain etched in the hearts and minds of the country’s citizens.”

HH Sheikh Saif continued: “Allow me to conclude with a story that reflects the wise attitude of HH the Late Sheikh Zayed about the importance of positive thinking. In the 60s, when oil revenues were barely enough to meet the internal needs of the country; the director of a major foreign company visited HH Late Sheikh Zayed in his palace in the city of Al Ain, and found him drawing figures in the sand with a wooden stick. The man asked HH what he was doing; to which HH replied; to the man’ surprise: “I am distributing schools for each of our residential communities.”  The man asked: “How do you intend to build schools if you have the necessary funds?” His Highness late Sheikh Zayed replied: “I can hear school bells ringing as you speak.”

In conclusion, His Highness Sheikh Zayed said: “10 years later, this vision became a vibrant reality. HH Late Sheikh Zayed realized the important role of schools in building empowered generations that are equipped with awareness, knowledge and science. Generations that embrace positive thinking, being the main pillar to build the nation and to ensure prosperity and expansion of society.”

As His Highness Sheikh Saif approached the stage to receive the award, attendees watched a documentary film highlighting the humanitarian and cultural achievements of HH; his dedicated attention to children and people with special needs; and his keenness to take part in community members’ activities. The documentary also shed light on HH’s diligent follow-up of police work; the services provided by the MoI to the community; and the notable achievements made by the MoI in the field of security and public safety.

In his address at the ceremony, His Royal Highness Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation said that the “Lifetime Achievement Award” is usually given to distinguished Arab leading dignitaries whose life is productive and full of achievements in their respective countries. His Royal Highness noted that winners are chosen by a jury that consists of neutral experts in innovation as per the applicable criteria.

For his part, Dr. Henri Awit, Director General of Arab Thought Foundation in Cairo, said: “Choosing Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan to receive the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ is testament to this distinguished leading Arab dignitary’s tireless efforts, and in appreciation of his creativity, accomplishments and humanitarian work in several fields. It is a well done, well deserved tribute.”

Adding further, Dr. Awit said: “Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan is known for his creative ideas in relation to social development, and his wise vision about reinforcing security, in his capacity as Minister of Interior.”

He continued: “Sheikh Saif enjoys a comprehensive development vision in support of the fight against terrorism and chaos. He asserted on numerous occasions that terrorism can’t be fought with security measures only, and stressed the need for societal and developmental dimensions to overcome it.”

Dr. Henri Awit expressed his happiness for the tribute received by HH Sheikh Saif. “We are extremely delighted to have His Highness honor us with his presence to receive the award, which recognizes the UAE’s humanitarian stances in support of brothers and friends everywhere; an approach that is inspired by the vision of HH the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan,” He said.

The conference, which was officially inaugurated by Egypt’s President HE Abdel Fattah al-Sisi; was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Makkah Province and Chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation and Nabil Al Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League. The conference discussed the means to promote Arab collective work, activate its mechanisms, expand its fields, and contribute to establishing future work plans in order to overcome potential dangers that undermine the Arab identity, the Arab future and present, and the Arab countries and peoples.

It is worth mentioning that the “Lifetime Achievement Award” is an annual award given by the Arab Thought Foundation to an Arab leading personality whose life is productive and full of achievements and who had a positive and distinguished impact in development and leadership. In 2011, the Foundation presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award” to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in appreciation of his creativity and accomplishments.

The Arab thought Foundation is an international, cultural, independent, private, non-profit and non-governmental organization established in 2000. It is dedicated to promote the Nation’s pride with all its principles, values and ethics, in an atmosphere of a responsible freedom. . The Foundation’s guiding mission is to advance the different knowledge fields in order to unify the cultural and intellectual efforts that seek to enhance Arab nations’ solidarity renaissance and to maintain their identity.

The Foundation was established by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Makkah Province and current chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation. It brings together a diverse community of prestigious Arab businessmen and women and a number of Arab thinkers, intellectuals and experts in all cultural and scientific fields.
The Arab Thought Foundation follows specific criteria to select the honored dignitaries. It honors entrepreneurship, and grants an award to people who are pioneers in their work, who have left their footprints or have become a school of thought in their own specialization. The award is also given to innovators, who produce creative work in science, knowledge and culture. It also recognizes talent, and is granted to those with extraordinary capabilities in academic, intellectual, technological, arts fields, who show leadership from a young age, and to the youth enrolled in general or higher education, who can play an instrumental role in the development of the nation, through their distinguished work, thoughts or performance in all fields.

The foundation aims to promote pride in the Arab nation’s core values and identity through appropriate cultural programs and activities, embrace values and support events that serve to discard separation within Arab societies, in order to achieve solidarity, and consecrate all efforts to their best interest. It also aims to attend to different knowledge and science fields, focusing on future studies and the best use of modern technologies, and to honor pioneers, support innovators and sponsor the talented ones among Arabs.

The foundation also works on actively with immigrant highly educated Arabs and prominent institutions to benefit from their expertise, and coordinate and communicate with individuals, regional and international civil society organizations that are concerned with Arab intellectual and cultural solidarity. In addition, it communicates with the regional and international authorities and organizations which are working disseminate the Arab civilization characteristic worldwide, and correct erroneous perceptions held towards Arab societies.

The foundation is tasked to advance Arab cultural solidarity, and promote Arab world progress, with openness to world cultures. The Foundation seeks to bring about initiatives, programs and development forums, and build partnerships within the Arab culture to advance diligence and creativity values in it.

Arab and local Praise of the Achievements of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Arab and local delegations congratulated Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, on receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. They hailed the award as an appreciation for the UAE, and its prominent stature in regional and international forums, as well as its leadership in achieving security and promoting economic development.

Dr. Amira El Shanawany, member of the Egyptian-European Council, former Secretary General of Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, said: “Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan has made numerous achievements for his country, as well as for the Arab League. As a Minister of Interior, he was able to achieve security for the UAE, which is enjoying an unprecedented state of security and safety under his rule. Not to mention His Highness’s valuable contributions to the Arab League, through purposeful ideas that enrich the Arab Interior Ministers’ Meetings.”

She added that His Highness deserves this prestigious accolade, and has proven to be a worthy successor to the best predecessor, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May he rest in peace, who was a path-breaking  Arab leader, highly respected and cherished by the Egyptian people. The late Sheikh Zayed has made many contributions to Egypt, and the people of Egypt will always remember his collaboration and solidarity with Egypt.

Dr. Husam Abdulwahab Zaman, Director General of the UNESCO Regional Center, hailed the prestigious honoring of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed by the Arab Thought Foundation. He said that granting the “Lifetime Achievement Award 2015” to His Highness Sheikh Saif comes in recognition of his leading personality. “This accolade comes at a time when we strive to maintain the Arab solidarity; and we congratulate the Arab Thought Foundation for making this choice,” He said.

Dr. Zaman extended his heartfelt congratulations to HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed for this prestigious tribute, and expressed his hope to always see excellence being recognized everywhere.   

For his part, Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim and Permanent Representative in the Arab League commended the deep-rooted relations between Sudan and the UAE. He also praised the developmental achievements that have continued in the UAE, inspired by the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May he rest in peace.

Abdel Halim hailed His Highness on winning this prestigious award, which recognized the achievements of the most prominent Arab dignitaries, who has followed in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Zayed, inspired by his heritage. He said that HH Sheikh Saif deserves this accolade, for his valuable role in maintaining security and safety in the UAE, as a man who brings security and peace of mind.

On a local level, His Excellency Mohammed Omran Al Shamsi, Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), lauded the humanitarian achievements made by Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, notably His Highness’s support to the program implemented by the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters in coordination with the Higher Colleges of Technology to prepare and rehabilitate the Punitive and Correctional Establishments’ inmates to join the work force.  He hailed the project as one of the leading humanitarian projects to rehabilitate former inmates, qualify them to join the work force and obtain job opportunities and integrate them into society.

He pointed that the program comes in response to His Highness’s directives, and was designed to take into consideration the special conditions of inmates, and aims to rehabilitate inmates academically. “This allows inmates to pursue their studies at the Higher Colleges of Technology once released. Inmates can seek to obtain a certificate of completion, a diploma, or a higher diploma. They will also be granted a certificate of good conduct, which enables them to obtain a job in the public sector.

“The Labor Market program provides the necessary means to rehabilitate inmates and integrate them into social and family environments, to be a positive force in supporting the development and modernization of the UAE,” he added. “It also reflects the collaboration between the private and public sectors to provide the necessary training for inmates and allow them a chance to find a job after their release from the punitive establishments.”

HE Mohammed Fadhil Al Hamili, Secretary General of the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, hailed Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed for winning the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Arab Thought Foundation. “Voting for HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed for winning the Award is testament to his unrelenting generosity and his humanitarian and social initiatives that aim to reinforce social cohesion and solidarity,” he noted.

He added: “HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed has played an active and key role in supporting Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, as well as supporting people with special needs. HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed has launched multiple humanitarian initiatives that aim to serve people with special needs, including the ‘Plants of Hope’ that aims to integrate children with special needs with their healthy peers, and inculcate the values of loyalty and belonging to the country. It also aims to build the spirit of collective teamwork amongst all segments of society. In Addition to that, HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed launched the ‘Will’ program, which is consistent with ZHO’s mission and strategy, to facilitate the employment and integration of people with special needs into the mainstream society.”

HE Al Hamili also noted that the support and care of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed are a leading model of patriotism, which reflect the strategy of ZHO, inspired by the Abu Dhabi Government’s strategy. He also praised the directives of HH the Minister of Interior to  integrate people with special needs into society, through  the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, which strives to provide them with  job opportunities; another approach that falls in line  with the Zayed Higher Organization's vision and mission, and its sublime humanitarian goals. "These measures highly serve our efforts to sponsor and rehabilitate people with special needs, to provide them with humanitarian care, and integrate them into the UAE society as efficient citizens that contribute to building and promoting national development,” he concluded.

Dr. Khaled Khalfan Al Ameri, Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Centers for Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Special Needs, extended his warmest congratulations to Lt. General H.H Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for winning the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Arab Thought Foundation.

He said that this accolade was well deserved, because it recognizes His Highness leadership and innovative ideas to reinforce security, as well as his humanitarian stances to ensure humanitarian and social development in the UAE. “HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed has always dedicated special attention to people with special needs, based on his firm belief in the inherent capabilities of this category. This was also based on HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed’s commitment to instill the values of social responsibility and solidarity,” he added.

Adding further, Dr. Al Ameri said: “Such attention is reflected in the unrelenting efforts of the Ministry of Interior’s Centers for Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Special Needs, which enjoys full support and follow-up from HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed since its establishment in 2002. The Centers have made significant achievements in terms of training, rehabilitating, and employing people with special needs, as well as integrating them in society; an approach that has earned the centers international praise from specialized organizations around the world, as a unique model regionally and globally. The graduates of the Centers have been highly competitive in the labor market and proven their efficiency and capability in work, based on the skills they acquired during the courses and training programs they attended,” he noted.

As a part of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed’s commitment to raise awareness about people with special needs, and the need to support them, and integrate them in society, H.H Sheikh Saif bin Zayed has called upon all society institutions to provide job opportunities for people with special needs and to assume their social responsibility towards people with special needs by providing opportunities that match their capabilities and qualifications.

For her part, Amina Al Baloushi, Chairperson of the Emirates Women Police Association (EWPA), said: “The women police sector has always received unyielding support from HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed. The female staff members at the Ministry of Interior are encouraged to show their innovation and capabilities, as well as their competence in discharging their work duties according to the applicable standards. This support has empowered female staff members to excel in police work with high efficiency and professionalism, ultimately contributing to developing the services of the Ministry of Interior.”

She also noted that the EWPA is the result of the vision of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed that aims to enhance the role of women in various policing fields. It also aims to enhance social awareness regarding the role of Emirati women in this vital sector, which is tasked with maintaining security and stability gains. She also asserted that this support has enabled the UAE to gain the membership of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) that has its regional office in Abu Dhabi. This is the result of the good reputation and international awards earned by the EWPA.
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