A total of 182 top achievers were honoured with the Hamdan Bin Rashid Awards on Tuesday, with Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the UAE General Women's Union and Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, winning the most prestigious of them all.
Shaikha Fatima was named the Distinguished Personality of the Year for her rich contributions to education and the development of human resources, particularly women.
Students, teachers, distinguished social workers, as well as institutions working for the development of the education sector, were honoured across several categories in the national, regional and international competions.
The 14th edition of the Hamdan Awards also saw the bestowing of the 2nd ‘Unesco-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.'
The special prize, set up in 2009 and funded by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, aims to support, encourage and benefit those working to enhance the performance and effectiveness of teachers.
It attaches particular importance to outstanding practices in developing marginalised and disadvantaged communities.
It also aims to facilitate the global sharing and dissemination of outstanding practices regarding teachers. Every two years the $270,000 (Dh991,710) prize is awarded to three candidates, with each getting $90,000.
This year 33 applicants from around the world vied for the coveted prize, which was won by the Rato Bangala Foundation from Nepal, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Schools Enrichment Centre from South Africa and the Banco Del Libro from Venezuela. All three organisations are known for their contribution in educating marginalised segments of the society in their respective countries.
Shaikh Hamdan gave a special tribute to Shaikha Fatima, lauding her selection as the personality of the year.
"The tireless efforts of the Mother of Nation Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak are very obvious. Her Highness led women's work in the UAE with energy and perseverance," Shaikh Hamdan said, as he addressed the ceremony.
"Her Highness' initiatives in the field of women's education [have a] profound impact in enabling them to rise to meet their national duties, and to be integrated with the man, prompting the mobility of development towards the comprehensive renaissance."
Dr Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, received the honour on behalf of Shaikha Fatima, while she also delivered Shaikha Fatima's message.
Among private schools, Delhi Private School, Sharjah, won 14 awards, while GEMS-managed schools took home 11 awards — 10 for students and one for a teacher. The Indian High School Dubai nominated three students, all of whom won awards.
The award categories include distinguished students, teachers, social workers, projects, scientific innovation, educational research and school administration.