Building peace in the minds of men and women

Award ceremony of 2014 UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture resounds with calls for cultural diversity and mutual respect

The Arab Image Foundation (Lebanon) and French writer and publisher Farouk Mardam-Bey are the laureates of the 2014 UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. They were chosen by an international jury of experts for their contribution to the development, the dissemination and promotion of Arab culture. They will be given the Prize by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on 2 May at the Organization’s Headquarters (Room IV, 11 a.m.).

The Arab Image Foundation is a non-profit organization which collects, preserves and studies photographs from the Arab world and its diaspora. Created in 1997, the Foundation organizes exhibitions, international collaboration projects and exchanges. It also supports artists’ projects and is part of an extensive regional network. In view of the upheavals taking place in the Arab world, the work of the Foundation is essential to the preservation and promotion of the social, political, economic, cultural and artistic history of the region.

The Foundation is the second institution to be awarded the Prize, in the wake of the Arab British Centre last year.

Over the past 20 years, Farouk Mardam-Bey has been the leading publisher of translated Arab literature in France. During this time, he introduced the French and European publics to Arab literature classics, as well as leading contemporary writers who bear witness to the effervescence of Arab culture, such as H. al-Shaykh, H. Barakat, M. Darwich, Abdul-Rahman Mounif, S. Ibrahim, E. Khoury, and H. Selmi. Mardam-Bey has supported intercultural understanding and cooperation in all his endeavours, whether as a translator, cultural consultant, head of prestigious libraries—notably that of the Arab World Institute in Paris—and editor. These concerns also inform his own work as an author and thinker.

Created at the initiative of the Government of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates), the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture rewards the efforts of two personalities or organizations, a national of an Arab country and a national of any other country, who have made a significant contribution to the dissemination and promotion of Arab culture in the world. As of this year, it recognizes two new fields of activity: photography and publishing. The Prize carries a monetary value of $60,000, equally divided between the two laureates.

The Prize-giving ceremony will be followed by a press briefing (12.30, Room VI). Journalists wishing to attend require accreditation


Djibril Kebé : Tel.  +33 (0) 1 4568 1740, d.kebe(at),

Isabelle Le Fournis :  +33 (0)1 4568 1748,  i.le-fournis(at)