Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz attended in Riyadh yesterday the awards ceremony for the winners of the 28th annual King Faisal International Prize. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, the foundation's Director-General and head of the awarding panel, commented in his address that the prize was established to honor those who have dedicated themselves to science and mankind. Secretary-General of the King Faisal International Prize Dr. Abdullah Al-Othaimeen then presented the winners. Each winner receives SR750,000 ($200,000) in cash, a certificate outlining the laureate's work and a commemorative 22-carat gold medallion. This year the prize for Arabic Language and Literature was withheld, none of the entries qualifying.
The prize for Service to Islam was jointly awarded to Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali, President of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the Al-Hariri Foundation of Lebanon. Dr. Ali was awarded the prize in recognition of his achievements in the field of Islamic banking. As president of the IDB, he consolidated the conformity of banking transactions with Islamic laws, set an example of successful modern Islamic banking, and established a comprehensive infrastructure within the bank, including an Islamic research and training institute and a prize for Islamic economics. In his acceptance speech, Dr. Ali commented on the challenges facing the Islamic community, including the misrepresentation of Islam as the root of terrorism. He went on to announce his decision to donate his prize money to the IDB fund for an annual prize for the best achievement in promoting trade cooperation between Islamic countries.
The Al-Hariri Foundation of Lebanon was recognized for its promotion of education and culture. So far, it has supported college education for nearly 35,000 students; built schools and colleges throughout Lebanon; and, in its efforts to preserve Islamic architecture, refurbished ancient mosques in that country. Accepting the award on behalf of his late father, Bahauddin Rafiq Hariri commented that the award reflects underscored his father's belief that Islam combines benevolence and mercy with the moral and economic development of mankind.
The prize for Islamic Studies was awarded to Professor Carole Hillenbrand of the University of Edinburgh. She was cited for her pioneering research, specifically her revolutionary approach to the largely one-sided subject of the Crusades. She has sought to clarify misconceptions about Crusades, thereby making it possible for history to be viewed from a more balanced and impartial perspective. In her acceptance speech, she spoke of promoting better understanding of the Islamic world in the West, and observed that recent enrolments in Arabic and in Islamic studies at Edinburgh had seen a dramatic and unprecedented increase.
The prize for Medicine went to Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto of the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at Oxford University. They were honored for their pioneering epidemiologic research that has unequivocally established the link between tobacco and various diseases, including cancers.
The prize for Science was jointly shared by Professors Federico Capasso and Frank Wilczek of the United States, and Anton Zeilinger of Austria, for their distinguished contributions in their respective specializations in the field of physics.