King Faisal awards: A beacon for noble work

King Faisal awards: A beacon for noble work

April 15, 2017
Samar Fatany
Samar Fatany

Samar Fatany

By Samar Fatany


The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the King Faisal International Prize awards ceremony in Riyadh earlier this month. The ceremony gathered together senior government officials, academics and scientists. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Chairman of the King Faisal Foundation, delivered an inspiring speech highlighting the significance of the prize in the global arena and presented King Salman with the award for his service to Islam.

The awards represent King Faisal’s great legacy of preserving the true Islamic values and eliminating human suffering through the advancement of knowledge and research.

King Faisal’s legacy of progress and respect for knowledge continues through his devoted sons and daughters who promote and encourage scientists, researchers and academics to pursue scientific and intellectual studies that serve humanity and advancement in the Arab and Muslim world.
The 39th edition of the King Faisal International Prize 2017 was awarded this year to scholars whose contributions have made a positive difference to humanity.

The awards are divided into five categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language and Literature, Science and Medicine.
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz was awarded the prize for Service to Islam. King Salman has been instrumental in serving Muslims and Islam through his national and global commitment to support major Islamic and international philanthropic associations and foundations and humanitarian societies. King Salman is a recognized world leader for his noble efforts to maintain peace, interfaith dialogue and global coexistence. The Service to Islam award every year recognizes personalities and institutions whose contributions have impacted the Muslim world.

The winner of the Islamic Studies award this year was Professor Ridwan Al-Sayyid. His study “Muslim Political Thought up to the 9th Century H/15th Century G” has earned him global recognition for addressing three challenges: saving the national state, undertaking religious corrections and mending relations with the rest of the world. The prize for Islamic Studies is awarded to scholars who have made significant strides to advance Muslim culture and for 40 years the late King’s sons and daughters have maintained the integrity and the global mission of the awards.

The Arabic Language Academy of Jordan was the winner of the Arabic Language and Literature prize. The academy is recognized for its distinguished efforts to transfer science and technology knowledge through translation into Arabic for research and educational purposes. The president of the Arabic Language Academy of Jordan Professor Khalid Al-Karaki outlined the academy’s role in encouraging writing, translations and publications in the Arabic language. In addition, the academy publishes books of terminology, holds conferences and collaborates with international universities and other scientific and educational institutions to promote the Arabic language and protect Arabic language legislation.

The prize for Medicine was awarded to Professor Tadamitsu Kishimoto of Japan for his work on developing a novel biological treatment for autoimmune diseases. The professor has discovered a cure for arteritis, progressive sclerosis and extreme inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The antibody he discovered is used in more than 100 countries and has helped nearly a million patients all over the world. This antibody can prevent bone absorption and joint destruction in rheumatoid patients, and it is thought that in 10 years such patients will no longer need to use wheelchairs.

The King Faisal International Prize every year honors scientists whose discoveries have benefitted humanity in the fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology.

Professor Daniel Loss of Switzerland was co-winner of this year’s Science (physics) prize. His work has given birth to a new field that pursues the goal of building a quantum computer with spin qubits, which could revolutionize information science.

Professor Laurens Molenkamp of the Netherlands was the other co-winner of the Science (physics) prize. His work has spurred the development of a topological insulator that has opened up a completely new field of research, that of topological materials.

The King Faisal International Prize continues to make significant progress in advancing the legacy of the late King Faisal at a time when Saudi Arabia is sometimes unfairly and maliciously associated with terrorism. The founders of the awards continue their mission to maintain it as a beacon of all noble things that this country stands for.

The spirit of King Faisal was felt by everyone who came to the ceremony to honor his legacy and to commemorate the 40-year mission of his sons and daughters to maintain the integrity of the awards in order to serve humanity and address the challenges of the Arab and Muslim world.
— Samar Fatany is a radio broadcaster and writer. She can be reached at

April 15, 2017