08/20/2009 08:41 PM
Abu Dhabi: The nominations for the Abu Dhabi Awards, which recognise the unsung heroes of the community, are scheduled to open on August 30, officials have announced.
Initiated in 2005 by the Abu Dhabi government, the awards are conferred on citizens and residents who better the community through their selfless contributions and good deeds.
The public are invited to nominate those who fit the bill and the winners are decided in an elaborate judging process.
"The nomination period for this year's award starts on August 30 and closes on September 27. Following this, the process of judging the nominations goes on for two months and the award is handed out in a grand ceremony in December," said Mariam Amiri from the Abu Dhabi Awards organising committee.
"The award is not a popularity contest. Every single nomination counts. On several occasions the winner was chosen based on just one single nomination. So it is the quality of the nomination or in other words the merits of their actions are what counts," she explained. The popularity of the awards has grown over the years, during which the number of nominations rose from the 8,000 submitted in the first year, to 47,000 submitted last year.
However, last year was characterised by low levels of participation from female members of society a dwindling number of online nominations. Only 18 per cent of votes were cast by women last year.
The organisers have drawn up a plan to overcome these hurdles.
The two common elements between all the recipients are their contribution to the community and how their selfless acts have inspired others.
"No bias is shown while judging the nominations. Anyone could nominate or be chosen for the award regardless of age, gender or nationality," Mariam said.
Over the last five years, 37 people from diverse backgrounds and age groups were honoured. Mariam added that any act of goodness would be recognised.
The building of mosques, donation of blood and sponsorship of orphans are part of the acts of selfless charity that have led to several nominations.