Studies of the past will help our future, says Nahyan

ABU DHABI: The studies being undertaken by archaeologists and others of the U.A.E.’s past are of great value for the younger generation as they prepare for the country’s future, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, said yesterday.

He was speaking at a ceremony for recipients of the U.A.E.’s longest-established environmental and heritage prizes, the Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Annual Award for Natural History and Heritage and the Bish Brown Annual Award for natural history, named after the founder of the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Natural History Group, ENHG, which was founded in 1977. Both awards were established over 20 years ago.

Echoing the statement of the U.A.E.’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, that “a people that knows not its past can have neither a present nor a future,” Sheikh Nahyan praised the winners of the two awards for their contributions both to scientific knowledge of the country and to the raising of awareness about the U.A.E.’s cultural and natural heritage.

Sheikh Nahyan, who has been Patron of the ENHG for nearly 30 years, noted the support of the Government, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for the protection of environment and heritage.

“Your efforts,” he told the award winners, “are of value not just for us, but for our young people in the years ahead. We are grateful for your dedicated efforts and for your achievements.” The winner of the Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Annual Award, presented for original research and publication on the country’s cultural and natural heritage, was Dr. Sabah Jasim, Director of the Department of Antiquities in Sharjah’s Department of Culture and Information. A resident of U.A.E. for over 20 years, he has led dozens of archaeological excavations and has published numerous books and papers in both Arabic and English about his discoveries.

The winner of the Bish Brown Annual Award, David Edwards, a lecturer at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Fujairah, is founder and acting chairman of the Fujairah branch of the ENHG, the first voluntary group on the U.A.E.’s East Coast to promote studies of the area’s natural history and heritage. The Fujairah ENHG operates under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

The presentation ceremony was attended by the Honorary Chairman of the Fujairah ENHG, Sheikh Abdullah bin Suhail Al Sharqi, and by former recipients of the Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Award, as well as by ENHG officials. PH.