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Casa Árabe, awarded as "Cultural Personality of the Year" in the United Arab Emirates

From April 25, 2024 until May 05, 2024

Our institution has been acknowledged with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the most notable within the Arab cultural world. According to the award’s Scientific Committee, Casa Árabe represents “a bridge between Arab and Spanish cultures,” thus making it worthy of the award. 

The Board of Trustees and the Scientific Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award reached the unanimous decision to award Casa Árabe the highest distinction in the category of “Cultural Personality of the Year” at this eighteenth edition (2023-2024). The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, was created in 2006 and is one of the most important cultural awards in the United Arab Emirates and the region.

The official award ceremony will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), and will be attended by Casa Árabe’s director general, Irene Lozano, and the institution’s deputy director, Cristina Juarranz.

“It is an endorsement of our country’s cultural contribution and the public diplomacy promoted from Spanish institutions, especially in the Arab world,” said Casa Árabe’s director general, Irene Lozano, upon hearing the news. “For Casa Árabe, this award is a great stimulus to continue working on mutual knowledge and strengthening ties between Spanish society and the Arab world, all of which is achieved through culture, co-existence and peace.”

The decision by the Board of Trustees to give the award to the Spanish institution was based on the recommendations by the Scientific Committee, which believes that Casa Árabe “plays the fundamental role of forming a bridge between Arab and Spanish cultures.” In this regard, those responsible for the award wished to highlight “Casa Árabe’s unwavering dedication to fostering intercultural dialogue [...] by hosting numerous Arab writers, artists and thinkers along with Spanish Arabists, all of whom share the goal of cultivating an environment based on principles of tolerance and respect for cultural diversity.”

Casa Árabe was created by Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in 2006, under then Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, with the mandate of becoming a bridge between Spain and the Arab world, in order to promote and strengthen relations with the region in all fields: cultural, economic, academic, etc., which has been its mission throughout its 18 years of existence.

In addition to the institution’s activities, which include conferences, seminars, book presentations, exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and workshops, as well as others, Casa Árabe runs a Language Center where it has been teaching courses in the Arabic language and its dialects since 2008, with more than 400 students each term, of all ages and professional profiles. That center is one of the pillars used by the institution to achieve its objectives and has become a role model for the study of the Arabic language thanks to its methodology and its teachers’ professionalism.

This acknowledgment through the Sheikh Zayed Book Award includes a cash prize of one million Emirati dinars (AED) -just over 250,000 euros-, a gold medal and a certificate attesting to the award.

The title of “Cultural Personality of the Year” awarded by the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards 2023-24 can bee added to the acknowledgments earned by Casa Árabe in recent years, including Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding (2016), the honorary Sísifo Award for its research, defense and dissemination of archeological heritage, the Intercultural Spanish-Arab Circle (CIHAR) Gold Medal of 2017, and the Cordoba’s “Plaza de la Constitución” Award for 2014.

All of them recognize the international outreach work performed by the entity as part of its 2022-2025 strategy, which has led it to a strengthening of its presence outside our borders, where it collaborates with public and private entities in the countries of North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf, as well as institutions of from the surrounding environment.
Casa Árabe, awarded as "Cultural Personality of the Year" in the United Arab Emirates