Marking the conclusion of the 10th International Government Communication Forum
Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi honours winners of 8thedition of Sharjah Government Communication Awards
Winners in 16 categoriesreceived awards during a special ceremony on the sidelines of IGCF 2021
Tariq Saeed Allay: “The award isa celebration of Sharjah’s unique journey built on a distinguished relationship between the government and the community, and between institutions and the public.”
Sharjah, September 27, 2021
His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, honoured winners of the 8th edition of the Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA), during a special ceremony held onthe concluding day of the 10th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF)at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The jury of the award, organised by the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC), a subsidiary of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), previously shortlisted 46 finalists to be recognised across SGCA’s 16 categories.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, HE Tariq Saeed Allay, Director General of SGMBsaid: “Over the course of the two-day forum, whenever we took note of a unique idea, we asked ourselves how this would impact the performance of institutions and government bodies in their discourse with the public. Through this, we can see the complementary relationship between IGCF and SGCA.”
He added:“This complementarity is similar to that between Sharjah projects and events that cover most fields like culture, knowledge, science, and development that are the key pillars of the emirate’s cultural project.”
He stressed that the award is much more than a celebration of winners and is“a celebration of Sharjah’s unique and comprehensive journey built on a distinguished relationship between the government and the community, and between institutions and the public.”Hepointed out that the award has become an annual occasion to highlight the exceptional work of institutions and individuals in the government communicationsfield.
The Director Generaladded: “The award is also a celebration of partnerships between government communication departments and concerned entities, which help foster effective and successful communication.I extend my sincere congratulations to the winners for their experiences and values that undoubtedly will expand our knowledge and help us on our journey of building a government communication system with a unified culture and goals.”
Allay thanked all nominees for their contributionand creativity and lauded the efforts of the jury committee members in supporting SGCA’s goals and ambitions. He also paid tribute to the late Ibrahim Al Abed, Chairman of the SGCA award jury committee, whohadhelped develop the award and outline its goals and strategies.
Advancing government communications
HE Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, Head of the SGCA jury committee, thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his continued support and vision to expand the knowledge and talents of individuals.
He said: “Over these eight editions, SGCA has set new standards that have helped government communications. This was evident even in the high-calibre submissions received by the award.”
Al Raisiadded: “The Award received 403 submissions for the eighth edition. The jurors shortlisted 212 nominees, including 183 from the UAE and 29 from various countries.46 finalists eventually competed in the award’s 16 categories, 12 of which are nominated, three selected by SGCA jurors, and one through online public voting.”
He pointed out that the high volume of submissions, especially for the ‘Best Crisis Response’ category is a clear indicator of how institutions are responding to change and keeping pace with the current circumstances that require prompt communication with communities and services to those in need.
“The announcement of the winners coincides with the 10th anniversary of IGCF,which has launched initiatives and developed tools and methodologies that reflect Sharjah’s vision for the future of government communication on both the regional and international levels. We want to remember the late Ibrahim Al Abed, Chairman of the SGCA award jury committee, who had contributed immensely to the development and advancement of the media and cultural sectors locally, regionally, and internationally,” he added.
Special honour for pandemic response
At the awards ceremony, the jury committee honoured the UAE Government media briefing team and Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Official Spokesperson of the UAE health sector, for their tremendous efforts in responding to public needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SGCA 2021 winners
Best Public Communication Initiative
Sharjah Police’s Remote e-Visit Service won the Best Public Communication Initiative category in recognition of its role in enhancing family cohesion between prison inmates and their families andthus contributing to their emotional stability. The smart platform was launched in collaboration with Sharjah Social Service Department to provide safe and secure communication channels between the inmates and their families.
Best Crisis Response
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) was honoured as the winner in this category for their timely and outstanding ‘Salam Beirut’ initiative, an emergency aid and relief campaign that was announced shortly after the tragic explosion that shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Working with a network of regional and international partners, TBHF demonstrated its capability to identify the challenges and lifesaving needs in a crisisand deploy effective emergency relief measures to offer support for those impacted by the tragedy.
Best Practices in Government Communication
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship was awarded in this category for its Population Register and Identity Card programme, a pioneering national project that forms part of the key development projects in the UAE.
Best System Supporting Government Communication – UAE
The Human Resources Department of Ras Al Khaimah Government won in this category for its role in developing an inclusive government communication ecosystem based upon human resources and modern technology.
Ideal Employee for Government Communication
Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Al Jabri, Director of Government Communications Department at Dubai Police, won in this category in appreciation of his pioneering initiatives including the Government Communication Directory which facilitates communication between Dubai Police employees and other entities in the emirate.
Best Government Communication through New Media – Arab World
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention was honoured for its agility and ability to communicate with the public through a range of communication channels and platforms that helped raise awareness among the target audience on the ministry’s activities, campaigns, services, and programmes.
Best Social Media Influencer – Arab World
Emirati influencer Mohammed Al Kaabiwas named winner of this category for his positive role in creating impactful content that aligns with the fundamentals of modern digital publishing. Raghda Al Saeed from Egypt and Bader Al Issa from Kuwait won the second and third places respectively.
Best Idea for Engaging Future Generations in the Arab World
The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination won this category for its influential campaign themed, ‘Be the Change’ – an awareness campaign seekingto change perceptions about people of determination and theirpotential and highlight their role in development thuspaving the way for the creation of a global change movement.
Best Youth Initiative in Government Communication
The award inthis category went to the ‘Khair Jalees’ book initiative,which has created a team to help promote a reading culture among non-Arabs by summarising and enabling the viewing of prominent best-sellers. The idea was developed by four Emirati young men who have a passion for reading and education.
Best Photo/Video in Government Communication – Global
Mohammed Ali Al Mannaiwas named the winner in this category for his photograph titled, ‘The Lost Girl’,which portrays a young Emirati girl who was reported missing in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The award highlights the impact and power of social media to mobilise public opinion and achieve the target objective in a short time.
Best Practices for Dealing with the Coronavirus Crisis
All five shortlisted nominees shared the award inthis category– the Dubai Police, Sharjah Police, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority, and the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The award honoured their vital role in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, and their effective communication with the public.
Best Practices for Dealing with Fake News
The Abu Dhabi Police won in this category for the Community Safety and Counteracting Rumours and Fake News file, through which Abu Dhabi Police developed a media policy for official spokespersons, a social media policy, and a comprehensive mechanism highlighting all communication procedures with social media followers.
Special categories’ awards
This year’s committee decided to honour winners in three special categories, locally and regionally – Best Media Briefing Team, Best Official Spokesperson in the UAE and Best Media Programme in the Arab region.
Best Media Briefing Team – UAE
All nominees – namely the Emirates News Agency (WAM), National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), Abu Dhabi Media, and the UAE Government Media Office –shared the award in this category in acknowledgment of their communication efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.
Best Official Spokesperson – UAE
Dr. Farida Al Hosaniwas named the winner inthis category in recognition of her role in communicating key COVID-19 related messages during the periodic media briefings.
Best Media Programme – Arab region
The ‘Ma’kom Mona El Shazly’ programme, presented by Egyptian talk show host Mona El Shazly, was awarded in this categoryfor its role in highlighting creative experiences in all fields.
Best Community Impact Initiative – UAE
The ’Don’t Worry’ campaign launched by UAE’s National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing (NPHW) was named the winner in this category. The campaign was a global model in crisis management and supporting community members.
Recommendations of the jury
The jury committee recommended that the scope of participation in the Fake News category be broadened to include the private sector and has called for the introduction of a new category named‘Best Technology Utilisation to Combat Fake News’to target media entities that play a key role in training and fact-checking.
The jury also recommended honouring entities that develop academic programmes, and organisations that keep pace with digital transformation, as well as new categories for media briefing teams and official spokespersons.
As the first-of-its-kind award in the Arab region, the SGCA sheds light on the achievements of individuals and entities in the government communication sector. It fosters best professional government communication practices in the UAE, the region and around the world.