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09 January 2024

Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre opens nominations for 2nd edition of Sard Al Thahab Award


The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has opened nominations for the second edition of its Sard Al Thahab Award, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and launched last year as part of the Centre’s efforts to promote and strengthen Arab cultural heritage and enhance cross-generational cultural communication.

The announcement was made following the ceremony at Al Dhafra Castle honouring the winners of the Award’s inaugural edition.

The Sard Al Thahab Award honours Emirati and Arab storytellers and narrators of literature and folktales, shedding light on Emirati folk and narrative arts as well as inspiring works in this field. It also recognises talented individuals – locally, regionally, and globally – who have documented the UAE’s history, lifestyle, heritage, and journey through the decades.

The Award’s first edition gained notable attention, drawing inspiration from the poems of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, as a basis for establishing a new creative artistic movement. It aims to preserve this narrative heritage and help maintain its role in strengthening cultural communication and highlighting the UAE’s historic milestones for present and future generations.

The award has six categories: Unpublished Short Stories, Published Short Stories, Popular Narratives, Narrators, Illustrated Story, and Emirati Narration. It celebrates inspiring works in the fields of literature and storytelling, honouring their authors and publishing their creative works. Moreover, Sard Al Thahab seeks to revive the art of the folktale and storytelling, as well as folk epics, which are a key component of Arab culture, expressing them in a modern, artistic way that highlights their distinction and beauty as well as the wisdom of our forefathers.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said, “With the launch of the Sard Al Thahab Award’s second edition, we seek to build on the notable success achieved last year, supporting the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s goals to promote authentic Emirati values and protect our invaluable cultural heritage for future generations. It reflects the UAE’s unique cultural identity and openness to the world, especially as storytelling and narrative art contribute to shaping the fundamental values of societies.”

“Inspired by the vision, thought, and poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Aaward represents the revival of Sheikh Zayed’s approach and the legacy he left for future generations to come,” bin Tamim added. “Folktales and popular narratives play a prominent role in forming a society’s authentic values, communicating their history, hopes, and aspirations.”

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre invites narrators and storytellers interested in participating in the second edition of the Sard Al Thahab Award to submit their applications and fill in the official nomination form on the ALC website "Home (alc.ae)", or via email at sardalthahab@dctabudhabi.ae. Applicants should provide five copies of the work they are submitting for consideration, along with their resume and creative achievements, a passport copy, and a personal photo. The registration period is open until 25th March 2024.

Eligibility criteria include applying for only one category of the award, and the submitted work should not have been nominated for another major award in the same year. The nominated works must be written in Arabic, except for the Emirati narration category, which accepts entries in Arabic or other languages, and the candidate must have contributed to shaping the Emirati narrative through creative or research work covering various aspects of the country’s history and present.

Published or unpublished narrative or research works are accepted, as long as they are submitted within five years of their publication for published works. The award is not granted to entries that have previously won a major Arab or international award, and candidates must adhere to the conditions outlined in the nomination form for each category. It is possible to reapply for the award with the same work, provided that the time period requirement is met and that an application is submitted.

The objectives of the Sard Al Thahab Award include protecting folk narration to strengthen national identity among younger generations through creative writings and studies, focusing on visual storytelling that documents life in the UAE and the Arab world through collecting, editing, and studying of narrative heritage and presenting it through mediums such as photography, visual arts and cinema. The Sard Al Thahab Award has a total prize pool of AED 2 million.