2004 Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture to be awarded on October 1UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, will present the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture to the two 2004 laureates; Tunisian researcher Abdelwahab Bouhdiba and Spanish historian Juan Vernet Ginés, at a ceremony to be held at Headquarters on October 1 (7 p.m., Room II).
Born in 1923 in Barcelona, Juan Vernet Ginés is a renowned specialist in Arab science and the evolution of science – especially astronomy and map-making – during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Among his nearly 40 books and more than 300 articles are: Literatura árabe (1966) ; Astrología y astronomía en el Renacimiento : la revolución copernicana (1974) ; Historia de la ciencia española (1976) ; La Cultura hispano árabe en Oriente y Occidente (1978) ; Mahoma (1987) and his versions of the Koran and 1001 Arabian Nights.
Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, a sociology professor at the University of Tunis who holds degrees in philosophy and literature, was born in 1932 in the Tunisian city of Kairouan. Since 1995, he has presided over the "Beït AI Hikma" Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts in Carthage. His best-known work is La Sexualité en Islam (Sexuality in Islam), which has been translated in English, Arabic, Bosnian, Spanish and Japanese, and will soon be available in Portuguese.
The Sharjah Prize - which includes a monetary award of 25,000 dollars for each laureate - was created by the Executive Board of UNESCO in 1998 thanks to funds donated by the government of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). Initially awarded every two years, the prize is now given out annually and aims to honor individuals, groups or institutions that have contributed in a significant way to the development, diffusion and promotion of Arab culture in the world, as well as to the preservation and revitalization of intangible Arab cultural heritage.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura selected the winners on September 3 following the recommendationof an international jury, which met September 1 and 2. They were chosen from 45 candidates proposed by 37 countries.
Journalists wishing to attend the award ceremony must be accredited by UNESCO’s Press Relations Section. Tel: 01 45 68 17 48 – Fax: 01 45 68 56 52
Photo © Michel Ravassard/UNESCO: Abdelwahab Bouhdiba (left) and Juan Vernet Ginés (right).