Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz patronised the closing ceremony of the 41st King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) in Riyadh Sunday, during which the prizes were handed to the winners.
The KFIP recognises individuals and institutions for significant contributions to their fields. The prestigious prize honours exceptional achievements in five categories: service to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic language and literature, medicine, and science.
The secretary-general of KFIP, Abdul Aziz Al-Sabil, presented the winners of the awards. He noted that this year’s award in the Islamic studies category, themed “Studies on the objectives of Islamic law”, had been withheld due to the lack of sufficiently meritorious nominations.
King Salman began handing out the awards with the “Service to Islam” prize, which was won by the International University of Africa in Sudan and received by director Kaman Obaid Babaker. The university was chosen for its efforts in teaching Islam's provisions and the dissemination of the Arabic language in Africa, as well as housing and teaching tens of thousands of students, and contributing to deepening Islamic and Arab authentic heritage.
King Salman granted the prize for Arabic language and literature to Egypt's Mahmoud Fahmy Hegazi, professor in the Faculty of Arts of Cairo University, and Moroccan Abdelali Mohamed Wadghiri, professor in the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at Mohamed V University in Rabat.
Wadghiri was chosen for his original and outstanding scientific work in modern Arabic linguistic studies, his educational efforts in university institutions, and his defence of the Arabic language in the face of foreign languages and calls to replace dialects.
Hegazi was granted the award in recognition of his distinguished scientific efforts in Arabic language teaching and his diagnosis of the challenges facing the Arabic language at the present time.
King Salman handed the prize medicine to Steven Teitelbaum, a professor from Washington University, Saint Louis for his pioneering research in bone biology, identifying the workings and organisation of the cells of the osteoclast, which has contributed to deepening knowledge of osteoporosis.
Professor Bjorn Olsen from Harvard University also received medicine award for his pioneering research in bone biology, contributing to understanding the causes of many genetic skeletal disorders.
The science prize was awarded to Texas University professor Allen Joseph Bard for his pioneering contributions to the development of chemo-generated flare methods currently used in biochemical analyses, and improving electro-chemical vacuums.
Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Jean Frechet also received the science prize for his pioneering work and fundamental contributions to the development of Dendrimers' applications and the development of photoresist methods and organic photovoltaic.
Some 20 winners of the King Faisal International Prize in science and medicine were later awarded the Nobel Prize.
The prize amount in each branch is 750,000 riyals (about $200,000), and is distributed equally among the winners if there are more than one.
The ceremony was attended by a number of princes and senior officials.