Saudi awards honour scholarship

Six scholars from the Middle East, Asia and Europe have been honoured at a sumptuous ceremony for winning the King Faisal International prizes.

    The King Faisal awards are seen as the Arab Nobel Prize

    The $200,000 prizes are awarded each year for outstanding work in the fields of science, medicine, Islamic studies, Arabic literature and service to Islam.

    The winners were announced on 27 January, but celebrated their success at a banquet held at the al-Khuzama hotel in Riyadh this week.
    Defence Minister Prince Sultan, representing King Fahd, presided over the ceremony which took place amid tight security. 
    Roll of honour

    This year's science prize went to Samir Zaki, a British professor of neurobiology at University College London, for his seminal work on the organisation of the visual brain.

    A statement by the King Faisal Foundation said Zaki was: "The first to show that the visual brain consists of many different areas that are functionally specialised to process and perceive different attributes of the visual scene.
    "Professor Zaki's contributions have had a tremendous impact on the science of vision." 
    Heart specialist

    Swiss Professor Ulrich Sigwart, an authority on cardiology and chief of the cardiology centre at Geneva University, won the prize for medicine. 
    The prize for Arabic language and literature went to Muhammad Nasir of Egypt, a professor of Arabic language at Cairo University.

    In addition to writing books and articles on the Arabic language, Nasir has edited several anthologies of pre-Islamic and Islamic era literature.
    Indian Ali al-Nadvi and Saudi Yaqub al-Bahussain shared the prize for Islamic Studies.

    Islam awards

    In a book on Islamic jurisprudence in financial matters, al-Nadvi has attempted to adapt some of the concepts of earlier Islamic scholars to modern circumstances. Al-Bahussain has made original studies of the fundamental rules of Islamic jurisprudence.
    Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Hasan Siwar al-Dhahab of Sudan won the prize for services to Islam.
    The awards were established in 1979 by the King Faisal Foundation, an organisation created by the sons of Saudi Arabia's third king in memory of their father, who was assassinated in 1975.
    The prizes are considered as the Arab Nobel Prize and several winners of the King Faisal prize have won Nobel prizes.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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