Civil society seeks to find leaders


Khalid Al Haribi, Mireia Zamora and Lysianna Kattier at the media briefing on GCC Civil Society Leaders Dialogue and Awards. Jun Estrada/Times of Oman

Muscat: Twenty nominations have been received so far for 'Riyada 4', the 4th annual GCC Civil Society Leaders Dialogue and Awards to be held here on December 11.  The last day to receive nomination for the awards is November 23. The applications are being received through the website www.riyadagcc.org.

The awards aim to honour social work by public and private sectors and individuals and civil society organisations in Oman and other GCC countries. The awards, a national initiative to empower civil society in the GCC, was conceptualized by Tawasul Global Connections Center (Tawasul) in 2009. Tawasul, driven by its mission to empower civil society groups through this award, hopes to accelerate the development of GCC wide standards to serve societies. The award also aims at recognising corporate social responsibility efforts gearing to a sustainable society.

Speaking to the media, Khalid Al Haribi, managing director of Tawasul, the global think tank, explained that the award contributes towards supporting the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who believes that development is not merely a quest for wealth but is also about active civic participation.

"We hope to empower civil society leaders who contribute with their personal and professional efforts to cause a positive impact in Omani society by honouring them with this award," he said. He said of the 20 nominations received so far, half are from the Sultanate of Oman and the others are from GCC countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Qatar. "The most exciting part of the awards starts from November 24 when the shortlisted names will go online. Online open public voting will open from November 24 to choose this year's civil society leaders in the GCC," said Khalid. Online voting, which accounts for 40 per cent of assessment, is open to the public from November 24 to December 6.

Riyada 2012 jury panel will meet between December 7 and 8 to assess the final winners (60  per cent of assessment). This year's jury panel will be chaired by Afra Al Basti, executive director of Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

The final winners will be announced during the dialogue and awards ceremony on December 11, at Crowne Plaza Garden.  The criteria that will decide the winners include the content of the initiative, the outreach and the initiative's impact.

Individuals and organisations can compete in three main categories including best social investment of the year (public, private, individual), best civil society institution of the year (professional, charitable, women) and civil society leader of the year (male, female). To ensure comprehensiveness, the award committee also awards individuals with recognition awards, which are not a part of the competition, in two categories distinguished achievements awards and social entrepreneur of the year award.  Mireia Zamora and Lysianna Kattier, awards organising committee members, were also present at the media briefing.

Mireia said that awards such as this emphasise the impact of civil society initiatives in advancing the  development goals of countries. Lysianna said the award gives an overview of what you have been achieving in the past few years.

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