Voting on Egyptian state awards to turn electronic as of next year

Ahram Online, Monday 14 Jul 2014

In a statement released Sunday evening, Culture Minister Gaber Asfour announced plans to move voting on the coveted State Awards to an electronic platform, in time for next year's prizes

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

A statement released by the Ministry of Culture on Sunday revealed that newly appointed Culture Minister Gaber Asfour has approved a project to move voting on State Awards to an electronic platform, starting next year. The project is set for completion within the next three months.

The statement indicated that the project is intended to heighten the secrecy of the voting process.

A database of past winners of the state's various awards will also be set up online.

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

These include seven Excellency Awards, 10 Appreciation Awards, and three Nile Awards in the fields of arts, literature, and social sciences. Thirty-two Encouragement Awards are also given in the fields of arts, literature, social sciences, law and economic research.

Nominees for the prestigious State Awards are voted on by the Supreme Council for Culture's 64 members. Previously, voting was done through paper ballots cast during a one-day session.

The voting was done behind closed doors during former president Hosni Mubarak's rule, but in a move towards transparency, former culture minister Emad Abu Ghazi had facilitated broadcasting the awards from 2011 to 2013. This year, the voting was again held behind closed doors.

This year's awards were announced on 23 June. Take a look at the list of winners here.

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