(L-r) Ahmed Heikal, Al-Ahram winner Ahmed Saeed Sayed Hassanein, Hedayat Taymour, Ali Heikal, Hassan Heikal and Hedayat Ali Heikal
The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism announced on Thursday the winners of its fourth annual journalism awards at a small-scale ceremony in honour of the late Mohamed Hassanein Heikal’s birthday, according to a press release by the foundation.
The foundation’s board of trustees presented awards to two young journalists: Egyptian journalist Ahmed Saeed Sayed Hassanein, who works at Al-Ahram, and Iraqi independent journalist Asaad Al-Zilzali.
Hassanein was recognised for his excellence in investigative journalism on issues concerning Syrian refugees, migration and reunification, the foundation said in a press release, while Al-Zilzali was recognised for conducting “remarkable investigative journalism” on Iraqi children orphaned during the war, and his courageous coverage of women’s issues, including sexual harassment.
This year’s ceremony was live streamed via Zoom in recognition of social distancing guidelines, and also to allow Al-Zilzali to take part in the official award announcement from his home, the foundation said.
The press release said that the foundation recognises the achievements of young journalists in the Arab world and was held this year despite the unprecedented circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, which necessitated a delay in this year’s competition deadline as well as a significant reduction in the number of attendees at the awards ceremony.
In attendance at this year’s ceremony was former secretary general of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Mostafa El-Fekki, among other distinguished guests.
Established in 2007 by renowned Al-Ahram journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism aims to nurture excellence and development in the field of journalism across the Arab world.
“It is a tremendous honour to be standing among you today despite these challenging times to present this award to yet another pair of exceptional young journalists,” said Hedayat Heikal, chair of the board of trustees.
“I cannot imagine a more pertinent time to be a member of the press corps; a time where we’re witnessing unprecedented changes and a completely new world order unfold before us and where these courageous young men and women are tasked with the responsibility to gather the facts and tell an accurate story. Heikal could not have been prouder to have his legacy once again celebrated in this manner,” she said.
The foundation announced that the inauguration of the relocation of the Heikal library, office and manuscripts to the Bibliotheca had been postponed due to the unforeseen circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak. The trustees noted, however, that the main book collection from Heikal’s office, most manuscripts and rare documents, have been safely delivered to the library. Original office furnishings, carpets, personal stationery and maps will also be delivered soon.
A few handwritten notes are still being archived and will be sent to the library by February next year, along with additional books from Berkash and Alexandria, maps, videos and all Heikal’s photographs.
The official inauguration of the Heikal library is expected to take place in 2021.
An additional collection of books from Heikal’s private library have also been archived by the Bibliotheca, but they will remain in the home of Hedayat Heikal for the duration of her lifetime, and will afterwards be sent to the library.