x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Nominations begin for Abu Dhabi Awards

Nominations are being invited for the seventh Abu Dhabi Awards, honouring those who go the extra mile to make the emirate a better place to live and work.

Dr Taisser Atrak is held up as an example of award-winning material. The head of paediatrics at Mafraq Hospital dedicates his spare time campaigning for child safety. Pawan Singh / The National
Dr Taisser Atrak is held up as an example of award-winning material. The head of paediatrics at Mafraq Hospital dedicates his spare time campaigning for child safety. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // Since 2005 nearly 200,000 people have been nominated, of whom 56 have been honoured - and on Sunday it begins again.

Nominations are being invited for the seventh Abu Dhabi Awards, honouring those who go the extra mile to make the emirate a better place to live and work.

Dr Taisser Atrak, for example, head of paediatrics at Mafraq Hospital, dedicates his spare time to campaigning for child safety - donating and promoting child seats in cars, and personally funding workshops to teach parents and nannies about emergency first aid.

He won an award in 2011. "It was a pleasant shock," he says, "a very, very nice experience. I am honoured to have it."

The scheme is under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who personally presents the awards.

Sheikh Khalifa, the President, established the awards to preserve the legacy of his father, the late Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the UAE.

Individuals have six weeks from Sunday to nominate a person or organisation of their choice. There is no limit on how many nominations any person can make.

Everyone from the young and the old, Emiratis and expatriates, women and men are all eligible.

"The awards celebrate compassionate individuals or organisations who have selflessly volunteered their time, whether at home or abroad, to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi," said a spokeswoman from the Abu Dhabi Organising Committee.

"Anyone who has made a positive impact on the emirate of Abu Dhabi can be considered.

"A nominee does not even have to be a resident of the emirate - he or she just has to have done, or is doing, a good deed for Abu Dhabi."

Nominees can vary from those working in health and education to charity organisers, sport coaches or simply individuals who are an inspiration to others, she said.

This year, the Abu Dhabi Awards committee want to push for more online nominations and for more nominations from Al Ain and the Western Region.

In 2011, 90 per cent of the nominations were for people living in the capital; 8 per cent in Al Ain; and 2 per cent from the Western Region.

The awards want to reach out to those selfless people from all across Abu Dhabi, the spokeswoman said.

Once the nomination period ends, a screening process will take place from between June and December, in which shortlisted candidates will be chosen by a Higher Review Committee.

The awards will be announced at a ceremony in December attended by senior government figures and past recipients.

Since the scheme's launch, there have been more than 193,500 nominations. In the last awards, in 2011, a record-breaking 22,000 individuals from 62 countries were nominated, a leap from 16,000 in the previous year.

Previous recipients made outstanding contributions in areas such as environmental conservation, caring for the sick and elderly, promoting arts and culture and supporting charity causes.

For more information visit www.abudhabiawards.ae.

jbell@thenational.ae