Published On: 2-11-2017

Dubai, UAE: The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) have named Kuwaiti national Ali Al Zaidi as the winner of the “Next Generation Photography” Award.

The announcement was made during a prestigious ceremony held on Wednesday during the “Africa Live” event, which concluded the first day of the 4th Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai. The high-profile contest was organised in collaboration with HIPA.

Al Zaidi’s photo was selected for its artistry and reflection of cultural similarities between the UAE and the African continent. The young Kuwaiti photographer was honoured by H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, and H.E. Matar bin Lahej, Member of HIPA’s Board of Trustees.

“With this award, Dubai Chamber aimed to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue between the UAE and Africa, and encourage artistic expression among youth as they are driving force behind economic and social progress,” said H.E. Buamim. He congratulated Al Zaidi and thanked all those who participated in the contest.

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO noted that the contest provided a unique opportunity to build positive relations between different countries, which strengthened mutual understanding and solidified Dubai’s status as a leading business hub that promotes cultural and economic exchange.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of HIPA, H.E. Ali bin Thalith, encouraged young innovators to take the lead in creative fields, applauding Dubai Chamber’s support for innovation and fine arts.

Bin Thalith added, “A photograph is the best ambassador of thought and culture, bridging different minds and backgrounds in a way no other medium can. Activating the power of photography through initiatives similar to the ‘Next Generation Photography’ contest is an ideal way to promote the many common traits different nations share. We also hope that the competition can have a positive impact in bringing the people of Africa and the United Arab Emirates even closer together.”

Commenting on his win, Ali Al Zaidi said: “After reading the conditions and criteria of the award and seeing the human, artistic and cultural meanings it carries, I was very excited to take part. I tried to the best of my abilities to provide a moving, quality image that blends individual human characteristics with the surrounding environment we live in. My goal was to reflect the sense of belonging to nature, which we all share, and to embark from our similarities rather than our differences.”

“The photo was taken in Ethiopia and conveys universal human emotion and deep subtle meanings,” he added, thanking the UAE leadership for prioritising and empowering Arab youth. “Dubai is always there for innovators and artists, providing support and constantly striving for excellence.”

The “Next Generation Photography” award contest ran on social media from September 18 to October 6, 2017, offering an ideal platform for young people from around the world to shed light on the cultural and natural similarities shared by the UAE and the countries of the African continent. The competition drew more than 1,000 submissions that were shortlisted by a committee of prominent art and culture experts.

The 4th Global Business Forum (GBF) on Africa, held November 1st-2nd at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, brought together heads of state, top-level government and business leaders and decision makers, as well as African and UAE entrepreneurs. The event is part of Dubai Chamber’s GBF series, which also focuses on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America. To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world.