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‘Al-Sumait Prize’ board to meet Dec 7 to examine 2015 nominees – Projects for health award to be submitted before Dec 31

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 5, (KUNA): Members of the Board of Trustees of Abdulrahman Al- Sumait Prize for African Development are set to meet in Kuwait next Monday to examine nominees for the 2015 prize, the first since its launch two years ago. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah, during the November 2013 Africa-Arab Summit in Kuwait, announced the prize after late Dr Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti medical doctor who dedicated his life to raising funds to support humanitarian and charitable projects in fields of health, education and food for the less fortunate in Africa.

The board of trustees, chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al- Sabah, will discuss in their meeting in Bayan Palace how the $1 million prize be awarded whether to an individual, an institution or more than one person.

Among the board of trustees members are Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Abdullateef Al- Hamad, Director General and Chairman of Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). The subject for the 2015 prize is health, and people applying for the prize should submit their research about communicable diseases prevalent in Africa such as Ebola, Malaria and HIV. It also includes provision of medical staff, medicine, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, as well as provision of medical centers.

The prize — a cash sum, a gold medal, shield and certificate of recognition — is to be awarded to individuals or institutions those research projects or initiatives made significant advancement within field of health. The nominations are to be accepted from institutions and scientific centers (universities, institutes and centers of scientific research) as well as from competent regional or international and UN organizations and awards and former winners in the field of the prize or former evaluation members. Nominations will only be accepted through institutions or other possible nominators mentioned above. The projects for the health award should be submitted before December 31, 2015.

The prize will be awarded in 2016. The prize has two other fields: food security and education, the former aims at development of agriculture and provides solutions to environment problems hindering agricultural production development. The second field aims at providing basic and applied education, and proliferation of schools and provision of teachers and trainers.

Al-Sumait (1947-2013) is an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to helping poor and orphans in remote and destitute areas across the African continent. He spent over three decades of his life in his philanthropic work in the African continent; participating in providing care for thousands of orphans, the drilling of around 9,500 artesian wells and the establishment of 860 schools, four universities and 204 Islamic centers. Though his charitable work covered the majority of African countries, Al-Sumait gave special attention to countries which suffer from famine, hunger and spread of diseases such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.

He remained undeterred by obstacles and undertook a number of trips deep into the African jungles and subjected himself to the dangers and terrors of travel through its remote forests in order to carry out charitable mission. These were selfless actions which can be considered to be from the acts of a living martyrdom frequently subjecting himself to danger in his relentless efforts to bring peace, aid and relief to Africa; be it with a loaf of bread in his hand (food), or a lamp (essential supplies) or a book (education). Al-Sumait was leading the Direct Aid organization which was active in Africa. Bill Gates, who is due in Kuwait next Monday, paid tribute to Al-Sumait in an article published last month in which he appreciated the “remarkable man he was” although he did not have a chance to meet him.

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