Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards: Winners revealed

And the winner is… The glittering Abu Dhabi community gathered last night, 15th January, at the Emirates Palace where this year’s winners headed to the stage to take their awards

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019, Laura Naylor, Radio 2 UAE

Presenters Hugsy and Radio 2’s Laura Naylor announce the winners at the Awards, held at Emirates Palace on 15th January

Award-goers held their breath as the nominees from a total of 15 categories waited to see if they would walk away with the coveted The Pride of Abu Dhabi Award 2019.

Emirates Palace was filled with excitement on 15th January as nominees and guests gathered for the second edition of The Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards.

The Awards celebrate the community and the people that give life to it, with the community itself voting for the winners.

Competition was tough, with 250 nominees, under 15 categories, each vying for the award.

So here we have it and the winners are…


Best Contributions to the arts

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

The Arts Center NYU Abu Dhabi

The Arts Center acts as a vibrant laboratory for performance that fosters a dynamic relationship between the arts, scholarship, and community. It serves NYU Abu Dhabi with compelling programming that connects to the curriculum, using the arts to illuminate and enliven the scholarly pursuits of students and faculty. Public events draw residents of Abu Dhabi to the campus, animating and enriching the cultural life of both the city and the University.


Best Environmental Initiative/ Best CSR

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr has adopted a forward-thinking doggy bag initiative to reduce food waste and feed stray animals. The hotel’s kitchens donate their leftover food to be minced and distributed to stray animals through animal welfare organisations. The hotel has committed to donating leftovers every week – bone appetit, pooches!


Best Inclusion Initiative

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

Special Olympics’ Walk Unified

Special Olympics’ Walk Unified is an initiative that aims to break down barriers between people with and without intellectual disabilities and encourages a healthy lifestyle and inclusiveness. The weekly walk seeks to nurture inclusivity, humanitarianism, and respect for all people, regardless of age or ability.


Entrepreneurial Award

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

Mario Samaha wins the Entreprenurial Award

Meet Mario Samaha, the founder & CEO of Capital Motion, an award-winning food and beverage investment group. Home to some of Abu Dhabi’s tastiest home grown brands, Mario has managed the portfolio with diligence, constantly looking to make a statement with his work. He has also headed the sales initiatives for Reem Investment, launching substantial real estate developments on Reem Island and in the capital.


Favourite Attraction

Pride of Abu Dhabi 2019

Qasr Al Want

Defined by a high level of artistry and craftsmanship in its features and intricate detailing, Qasr Al Watan offers the world an insight into Arab heritage and the governing principles that shaped the history of the UAE and its vision to the future.  Now more than just a palace, Qasr Al Watan is an enriching interactive journey in a contemporary setting that reveals and reflects on governance, knowledge and craftsmanship.


Favourite Event – Sport

Pride of Abu Dhabi 2019

Special Olympics

Special Olympics is one the world’s most reputed humanitarian sporting events, as well as being a global movement. The event focuses on the empowerment of People of Determination with intellectual disabilities through the power of sport and celebrates all athletes with intellectual disabilities, regardless of their level of ability.


Favourite Event – Entertainment

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards

Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of Batman, Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi invited guests to head to the theme park and set a new record for ‘largest gathering of people wearing capes’.  2,266 fans of the Dark Knight wearing black and yellow capes with the Batman logo celebrated the Caped Crusader and took home commemorative items and delightful memories from the record-breaking event.


Favourite Festival

Pride of Abu Dhabi World 2019

Mother of Nation Festival by Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s The Mother of the Nation Festival celebrates, commemorates and honours the inspirational values of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation. The festival’s entertaining and highly interactive atmosphere welcomes everyone from all walks of life to enjoy fun features and diverse activity zones.


Favourite Newcomer: Food and Beverage

Derek Issacs, editor Abu Dhabi World, Rana Luqman and Mohamed Al Shaibani

Started by Mohamed Al Shaibani and Rana Luqman, Marl’s Organic Café in Masdar City is a family establishment that serves dishes made from the freshest organic ingredients, aiming to nourish and satisfy. Whether you choose cold press juices, almond Mylk smoothies, superfood salads and wraps or hot dishes including grass fed steak and pan fried seabass fillets, their food promises you the ‘gift of happiness’ through delicious nutrient-rich organic goodness.


Heritage Award

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

Pride of Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation

Based in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, opened its doors in 1981 as the UAE and the region’s first dedicated cultural centre. It continues to offer excellent cultural and artistic programmes celebrating local and regional culture, showcasing a variety of art forms and encouraging cross-cultural exchanges on many new fronts. Constantly aiming to spur intellectual growth by highlighting the nation’s artistic gifts, the Cultural Foundation promotes the nation’s valued traditional culture and heritage for future generations.


Leadership Award

Pride of Abu Awards 2019

Derek Issacs, editor of Abu Dhabi World and Maria Kelly

Deeply affected by a family tragedy, Maria Kelly established Darkness Into Light in Abu Dhabi in 2015 to raise awareness for mental health issues. The voluntary initiative has built a robust network that helps people working through mental health difficulties by providing acceptance, encouragement and understanding.

As chairperson, she supports the group’s activities in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Ras al Khaimah. Darkness into Light seeks to improve the quality of life for those suffering through spreading mental health awareness, cultivating community support and identifying accessible and effective services that can help channel energy positively.


Special Recognition – Year of Tolerance Award

Pride of Abu Dhabi 2019

Sharifa Yateem

Emirati Sharifa Yateem, a board-certified behaviour analyst, has extensive experience in working with people of different ages who are diagnosed with autism. One part of her extensive work is to help empower and support parents of children with special needs through education. Sharifa has been an advocate and spokesperson internationally and locally as well as making a real difference in the community here.



Spirit of Community Award

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards

Freya Jaffar

Founder of Facebook page Abu Dhabi Q&A,  one of the the most active social media platforms in the capital, Freya Jaffar‘s name has become a trusted brand for the residents of Abu Dhabi. Over the last four years, Freya’s platforms have delivered a consistent experience and her Facebook groups have become the quickest way to get information on almost any topic in the region.


Young Achiever

Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019

Sean Sanoop George

Sean Sanoop George, a 12-year old environmentalist, scooped the Award for his ‘Read Swap Repeat and Educate For Tomorrow’ to conserve the environment and encourage people to read and share books. It’s seen 10 community bookshelves set up around the UAE, which cater to around 2,000 families and children and have given over 1,000 books a new life.


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