Sharjah Award for Arabian culture presented
Late in September 2003, Koïchiro Matsuura, Unesco director-general,
presented the Sharjah award for Arabian culture in Paris to the
Moroccan author Ben Salem Himmich and Bosnian professor Esad Durakovic.
The jury selected Himmich and Durakovic to receive the award from
54 candidates nominated by 32 different countries.
One of the objectives of Unesco is to establish peace through
culture. Reciprocal understanding based on broad and in-depth development
has central focus.
The Unesco Council established the Sharjah award for Arabian culture
in 1998. The funds were made available by Sheik Sultan bin Mohammed
Al Qassimi, the ruler of Sharjah (United Arabian Emirates). The
award, $ 25,000, is intended for individuals whose artistic, intellectual
or promotional activities have contributed to the development and
dissipation of the Arabian culture throughout the world. It is
The writer, poet and philosopher Ben Salem Himmich (1947) teaches
at the University of Rabat in Morocco. He has published 26 books
in Arabian and French, both literary and scientific works. As a
liberal philosopher, Himmich is concerned with matters including
ideological education in the Islam. He advocates the division of
church and state.
Esad Durakovic (1948) is professor at the Institute for Eastern
Studies in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina). He is an Orientalist
and translator of literary works from various periods in the Arabian
culture. His has focused in particular on Taha Hussein, Khalil
Gibran and Naguib Mahfouz. In 1999 he translated One thousand
and one nights and the famous Mu'allaqat poems from the pre-Islamic
Michael van der Valk