One prize only2005 Al-Saeed Foundation Prize announced [Archives:2006/938/Culture]

April 17 2006

Many pundits believe this year's Al-Saeed Foundation prize awarding revealed a gloomy picture of the reality of Yemen's scientific and scholastic research, as well as literary creativity, as only one of six prizes was awarded and this one was in a non-scientific field.

Al-Saeed Foundation prizes for 2005 were announced at a press conference Thursday, April 13. Prizes were intended in six fields: economic science, human and social sciences, Islamic science, environmental and agricultural sciences, medical science and literary creation.

At the beginning of the conference, board of trustees member Dr. Yousef Abdullah said the foundation is trying to boost science interest and shed light on researchers' achievements. Its objective is to propel society forward to reach a satisfactory scientific level through competition, he added.

For his part, Faisal Saeed Fare', secretary-general of the prize, stated that the prize aims to lead cultural activities into an atmosphere not, as it stands now, marked by spontaneity and randomness. He stressed that the “act of knowing is an investment in the future and must be among national priorities.” Since launching nine years ago, the prize has aimed to stabilize the idea of innovative competition in creative scientific and literary processes by morally and financially rewarding quality research.

The prize has witnessed continual improvements. Beginning this year, each prize has been set at YR 1.5 million instead of YR 1 million. Next year's round will cover eight fields instead of six, adding two new fields: engineering and technology, and archeology and architecture. Moreover, the human and social sciences prize will accommodate education science.

This year's prize candidates involved 22 researchers: 32 percent applied in economic science, 27 percent in human and social sciences, 18 percent in Islamic science, nine percent in environmental and agricultural sciences, nine percent in literary creation and five percent in medical science. Forty-one percent were Ph.D. holders, 27 percent held a bachelor's and 18 percent a master's. The rest fell into the category of other.

Fare' also mentioned that last week, visitors to Al-Saeed Library in Taiz city, 260 km. south of Sana'a, hit the quarter of a million mark over five years. Also, subscribers to the foundation's web site reached 100,000, averaging 1,000 daily.

This year, a number of public personalities contributing to Yemen's literary and scientific process will be recognized with honorary plaques based on largely objective criteria.

Fare' pointed out that a “primary problem” facing local researchers is inadequate research resources, which leads to feeble participation in research activities. He said that libraries found in Yemeni universities are not enough and called for establishing a modern national library to revitalize research activity.

The 2005 prize covered six fields but was withheld in five because all or part of the stipulated criteria were “unsatisfied.” The sole 2005 winner was Ali Mohammed Al-Faran who submitted research entitled, “Impact of Endowments and Charities on Social Solidarity.”

Among the attendees were Deputy Minister of Higher Education Dr. Mohamed Motahar, University of Science and Technology Rector Dr. Tariq Sinan and

Mohammed Abdul-Bari Al-Qadasi, secretary-general of the National UNESCO Committee.

The prize is named after the late charitable businessman Hayel Saeed An'am. Ali Ahmed Saeed is board of trustees chairman, while his deputy is Ahmed Hayel Saeed.