Egypt announces highest state awards

Mohammed Saad , Monday 23 Jun 2014

After a day of secret voting, the Supreme Council of Culture presents 2014's State Awards, 52 prizes worth some LE7 million

Egypt's State Awards 2014 (Photo: Mohamed Saad)

Members of Egypt's Supreme Council for Culture (SCC) met on Monday, 23 June at 11am to vote on the State Awards in the fields of literature, arts and human sciences.

Newly appointed Culture Minister Gaber Asfour headed the vote instead of the SCC's Secretary-General Said Tawfik, who resigned from his post minutes before the meeting on Monday morning.

The voting session was held behind closed doors, a throwback to the era of Hosni Mubarak. In a move towards transparency, former culture minister Emad Abu-Ghazi had facilitated broadcasting the awards from 2011-2013.

The State Excellency Awards – seven prizes of LE100,000 each, plus a silver medal – were the first  to be announced.

Director Magdi Ahmed Ali clenched the only Excellency Award in the Arts, as the second award in the same field was withheld.

The Excellency Awards in Literature went to colloquial poet Samir Abdel-Baki and renowned poet Mohammed Farid Abu Se'da.

Meanwhile, the three Excellency Awards in Human Sciences were awarded to Moataz Abdallah, political science professor at Cairo University, Mohammed El-Kahlawy, a monuments expert, and Hassan Saadawi.

Political analyst Ammar Ali Hassan and economy expert Ahmed El-Naggar were among the winners of the prize last year.

Ten Appreciation Awards of LE200,000 and a gold medal each were announced next.

The three Appreciation Awards in the Arts were presented to TV director Magdi Abu Emira, actor Sanaa Shafi and arts critic Ezzeddine Naguib.

Appreciation Awards in Literature were granted to novelist Magdi Toubia, late professor of Greek and Latin studies at Cairo University Ahmed Etman and translator and writer Mohammed Abu Douma.

Three out of four of the Appreciation Awards in human science fields went to women: Awatef Abdel-Rahman, mass communications professor at Cairo University, Nabila Ibrahim, folklore professor, and Nagwa El-Fawal, also a professor. The fourth award went to Mahmoud Ismail, professor of economics and Islamic history at Cairo University.

This award was granted for the first time in 1999. Novelists Khairy Shalaby, Gamal El-Ghitani, poet Mohammed Afifi Mattar and critic Gaber Asfour are among past winners.

The coveted Nile Award, worth LE400,000 and a gold medal, was the last to be announced.

The Nile Prize in the Arts went to the famous caricaturist Ahmed Toughan.

Novelist and critic Edwar El-Kharrat clenched the Nile Prize in Literature.

Finally, Egyptian philosopher and thinker Hassan Hanafi lost the Nile Award in the Human Sciences to Ahmed Omar Hashim, preacher and professor of Islamic studies.

The Nile Award was originally named the Mubarak Award but was changed in the aftermath of 25 January 2011 revolution that ousted the long-time autocrat.

Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, writers Bahaa Taher, Ibrahim Aslan and Waheed Hamed and cinema director Youssef Chahine are the most prominent figures to date who have won the Nile Award.

The State Awards were launched in 1958 and have only been cancelled once, in 1967, during the Six Days War between Egypt and Israel. The state typically awards 52 prizes worth LE7 million (around $1 million).


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