2009 Award


Zaytoun CIC wins 2009 Arab-British Culture & Society Award

The Arab-British Centre is pleased to announce Zaytoun CIC (Community Interest Company) as winner of the 2009 Arab-British Culture and Society Award. The annual award of £5000 is made to an individual or organisation which in the opinion of the judges has made an outstanding contribution to the British public’s knowledge and understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people.

The judges unanimously chose Zaytoun CIC for the inspirational way it has marketed Palestinian olive oil and olives in the UK. Through the background briefings, informative promotions and exchange visits it has organised, it has very effectively raised awareness in the UK of the life, problems and potential of Palestinian farmers. Its success in gaining Fairtrade certification – a first for a Palestinian product and a world first for olive oil – has created new opportunities for extending the British public’s knowledge of an important aspect of the life of Arab people. They will be presented with their award at a ceremony to be held in late May.

Zaytoun CIC was one of eleven candidates shortlisted for the award. The judges were impressed with the high quality and range of the nominations received and specially commended the following candidates for their notable contributions:

IB Tauris: Publisher of a large and varied list of academic books on the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Professor Tim Niblock: Writer on the Arab world, and teacher of generations of UK and foreign students specialising in the region.

Raja Shehadeh: Palestinian author of engaging and accessible books on life in the West Bank.

The judging panel for the 2009 Arab-British Culture and Society Award comprised: Sir Marrack Goulding (Chair), Dr Shelagh Weir (Acting Chair), HE Khalid Al Duwaisan, André Gaspard, Robert Irwin, Dr Ghada Karmi, Margaret Obank.


PRESS RELEASE – April 2009

Shortlist for Arab-British Culture & Society Award 2009

The Arab-British Centre is pleased to announce the shortlist for the Arab-British Culture and Society Award 2009. The prize recognises and celebrates those who have made an outstanding contribution to the British public’s understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people.

The eleven shortlisted candidates were chosen from a long list of 27 and are as follows:

Ahdaf Soueif: Egyptian short story writer, novelist and political and cultural commentator, and author of The Map of Love, shortlisted for the 1999 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Al Zaytouna Dabke Group: UK-based Palestinian Dabke dance group.

The Arab: English-language online magazine on Middle Eastern political, social, cultural and business-related affairs.

Arab Media Watch: Media watchdog working towards objective coverage of Arab issues in the British media.

ArtRole: Contemporary arts organisation working to build mutual understanding through international cultural exchanges.

I.B. Tauris: One of the foremost UK publishers on the Islamic world.

Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival: Annual Arab arts and culture festival which works to raise awareness and promote an understanding and appreciation for Arab heritage.

Peter Mortimer: Poet and playwright, commissioned to write Riot! based on the little-known Yemeni seamen’s riot in South Shields in 1930, and author of Cool For Qat – A Yemeni Journey.

Raja Shehadeh: Palestinian lawyer and author of the widely-reviewed Palestinian Walks, winner of the 2008 Orwell Prize for political writing.

Professor Tim Niblock: Professor of Arab Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter and author of numerous books.

Zaytoun: Community Interest Company supporting Palestinian farmers by selling their Fairtrade-certified olive oil in the UK and organising working exchanges between those involved.

The panel will meet in late April under the Chairmanship of Sir Marrack Goulding who will announce the winner and present the award thereafter.

Panel: Sir Marrack Goulding (Chair), HE Khalid Al Duwaisan, André Gaspard, Robert Irwin, Dr Ghada Karmi, Margaret Obank and Dr Shelagh Weir


PRESS RELEASE – December 2008

Arab-British Culture and Society Award 2009

The Arab-British Centre (ABC) invites nominations for the 2009 award of its annual prize of £5,000. The prize, which is open to candidates of any nationality and working in any field, recognises and celebrates those who have made an outstanding contribution to the British public’s understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people. In addition to the £5,000 prize, the ABC will provide the winner with opportunities to promote his or her work more widely.

The inaugural winner of the award in 2008 was Al-Saqi Books for its outstanding work in promoting the knowledge and understanding of Arab life through its London bookshop and publishing company. The musician and broadcaster Reem Kelani, co-founder of Banipal magazine and Banipal Books Margaret Obank, documentary film maker Maysoon Pachachi and British Museum curator Dr Venetia Porter were also very highly commended.

The winner of the 2009 prize will be chosen by a panel of distinguished Arab and British experts with a wide knowledge of the cultures of both the Arab World and the United Kingdom. The group will be chaired by Sir Marrack Goulding, a former British diplomat, Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations and Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

The six judges are:

Mr Robert Irwin, Middle East Editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

Dr Ghada Karmi, Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University.

Dr Shelagh Weir, Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and authority on Palestinian and Yemeni culture.

His Excellency Khalid Al Duwaisan, Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UK since 1993 and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps since 2003.

André Gaspard, co-founder of Al-Saqi Bookshop and Saqi Publishers.

Margaret Obank, co-founder and publisher of Banipal magazine, Banipal Books and Banipal Trust for Arab Literature.

To be eligible for consideration, nominations should be accompanied by at least one supporting paragraph describing the candidate’s or nominee’s achievements and their impact on the British public. All nominations are welcome, either from individuals or organisations that wish to be considered for the award or from those who wish to nominate a particular individual or organisation. The ABC particularly welcomes nominations for authors and works of literature. Please note that previous winners and the specially-commended cannot be considered for nomination for five years and two years, respectively. All other former nominations can, of course, be re-submitted.

The shortlist of applicants will be published in April 2009, followed by the announcement of the winner and presentation of the award by Sir Marrack Goulding at a ceremony shortly thereafter.

The closing date for entries is 27th February 2009. Please e-mail nominations to nominations@arabbritishcentre.org.uk