Have you seen who won at our first ever awards?

Drum roll please! The time has finally come for us to reveal the winners of our first ever community awards initiative.

Having been the capital’s favourite weekly magazine for 11 years, we at Abu Dhabi World are fiercely proud of this city and its people.

Every week, we strive to bring you the best of what’s going on here from community news and restaurant reviews to tips about how to make the most of living here and learning more about local heritage and culture. But it was finally time for us to give back to the community and let you have your say.

That’s where the inaugural Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards came in. Launched in September, the concept was for an awards ‘for the people, by the people’.

We created 15 categories that covered various segments of our community including sport, culture, food, education and lifestyle.

Nominations came pouring in for companies and individuals who were contributing to the community, including entrepreneurs, philanthropists, students and schools. After closing submissions for nominations, we opened up the polls for public voting, with nearly 10,000 people casting their votes online to choose their winners.

Following a month of voting, we announced our shortlist of the top three nominees in each of the 15 categories, before announcing the winners at a gala presentation on 5th December at Fairmont Bab al Bahr.

Throughout the process, we’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support from the community, nominees’ support of each other and everyone’s enthusiasm for our first awards. The whole initiative would not have been possible without our headline sponsor, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), the Mubadala healthcare company that offers visa medical test services and check-ups, as well as our other sponsors, Apparel Group, Europcar, Daiso and Spinneys.

Opening up the awards gala with his Year of Zayed speech, CHSC CEO Haitham AlSubaihi beautifully summed up the initiative, drawing on the values of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his vision to bring people of various backgrounds together to create a welcoming and vibrant community. It’s exactly this spirit that we hope to capture with our awards in the years to come as we celebrate this amazing city that we call home and help give deserving people and businesses the recognition they deserve.

And so without further ado, we present to you the shortlisted nominees and winners of the Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2018!

Favourite cultural experience

WINNER: The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

New York University’s arts centre hosts a series of performing arts events and activations to inspire the community and create a platform for dialogue around the arts.

Abu Dhabi Festival

Favourite restaurant – casual

WINNER: Mynt Indian Cuisine Restaurant

This Indian restaurant serves authentic and traditional cuisine from the many culturally diverse regions of the country with a dose of 21st century India.

Jazz@Pizza Express
Pizza di Rocco

Favourite restaurant – fine dining

WINNER: Zuma Abu Dhabi

Following the Japanese izakaya style of dining, Zuma serve a range of dishes in an informal but sophisticated style of contemporary dining.

The Vista at The Club
Ray’s Grill at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Favourite day out

WINNER: Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is the latest indoor theme park to open on Yas Island featuring rides and attractions as well as characters from the franchise including Batman and Bugs Bunny.

Louvre Abu Dhabi
Yas Waterworld

School sustainability award


A variety of eco-friendly initiatives are being implemented on the New York University Abu Dhabi campus or sponsored by the university, including eliminating plastic from its events.

Aspen Heights British School
Water in the Desert: A Zayed Legacy

Favourite event

WINNER: Formula 1 at Yas Marina

Yas Marina hosts a series of community activations during the Formula 1 weekend for families and friends to enjoy a fun atmosphere with live entertainment and great food.

Yasalam 2017
ADCB Zayed Sports City 5k & 10k Pink Run Presented by Daman: Gulf Multi Sport

Entrepreneurial award

WINNER: Bernard Lee

Bernard has been a leading advocate and stakeholder for local entrepreneurship. His business, GlassQube Coworking, has been a central hub for entrepreneurial idea exchange, networking and support since 2016. He has continually advocated for local private sector and institutional support for Abu Dhabi entrepreneurs and has led the discussion around improving the local infrastructure to allow Abu Dhabi entrepreneurs to succeed.

Seth Amoafo, founder of ProActive Soccer School
Laura-Helene Kopinski, founder of Inner Seed Abu Dhabi

Favourite app

WINNER: The Entertainer

This lifestyle app offers residents discounts across various sectors including dining out, leisure and travel.

Vox Cinemas
Order by Zomato

Favourite sports initiative

WINNER: ProActive Soccer School

ProActive Soccer School (PASS) was founded by Seth Amoafo as a way of doing what he enjoyed on the weekend: coaching football and working with young people. Eight years on, PASS is a thriving business catering to children aged two to 14 years old, providing quality coaching in a friendly environment while still maintaining Seth’s core values of child-centred sessions run by passionate, qualified coaches.

ActiveLife by Daman
Special Olympics IX Mena Games 2018

Best contribution to the arts

WINNER: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat is a place and space for Abu Dhabi art, cultural activities and community events, where people can come together to create, consider and share all types of creative artistic expression.

Blank Canvas Community
Mohammed Aadil Kallivalappil

Leadership award

WINNER: Arabella Willing

As the resident marine biologist at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, and the chairwoman of Emirates Natural History Group, Arabella is a leader in the field of sustainability and marine life preservation, actively setting a good example for adults and children on how to protect our fragile ecosystem.

Kate Midttun, owner, Acorn Strategy
Nemesio Abuso, director of nursing, Gulf Diagnostic Center Hospital

Best inclusion initiative

WINNER: Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Special Education (MRC/NECC)

One of the primary goals of special education is to prepare people of determination for life beyond the classroom. Over the past year, seven students with autism from MRC/NECC interned in the library and have successfully interviewed for new posts in the copy center at ECAE to learn a new skill set that may enable them to transition to meaningful employment.

Goals UAE
Special Olympics IX Mena Games 2018

Young achiever

WINNER: Rohin Bajaj

Rohin is a grade 10 student of Abu Dhabi Indian School. He is an environmentalist and passionate philanthropist. Rohin is a recipient of two prestigious UAE awards, the Hamdan Award and Sharjah Award, as well as international awards including the renowned Diana Award and three Guinness World Records. He has given motivational talks in various schools in India and urges everyone, especially the youth, to take action against current issues such as global warming. He enjoys spending time with underprivileged children and strives to help people in any way possible.

Reshma Giji
Mohammed Aadil Kallivalappil

Special recognition award

WINNER: Romeo “Oreo” Puncia

Romeo does triathlons with a purpose. He saves money every month and attends triathlon races in different parts of the world so he can help the indigenous tribal communities in Palawan, Philippines by providing them with health and medical programmes, clothing, food, sports training, school supplies and more. Romeo also wants to create awareness among the sports and other communities that we can use our talent and skills to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Sainath Manikandan
Operation Smile UAE

Spirit of community

WINNER: Darkness into Light Abu Dhabi

At Darkness into Light Abu Dhabi, a team of volunteers dedicate their time to raise awareness for mental health and provide accessible support for our community in the UAE. Every evening and after long days at their respective jobs, they work hard to find ways in which they can support those who are most vulnerable and significantly add to the sense of community spirit in the process.

Khalid Al Ameri
Walk Unified by Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By joining our mailing list you agree to our Terms & Use and Privacy Policy

Get the best of Abu Dhadi straight to your inbox

Find out more about our privacy policy here.