Erdogan, 7 Others Win Faisal Prize

RIYADH: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose achievements have set an example of judicious leadership in the Islamic world, on Monday won the 2010 King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) for Service to Islam.

Two internationally acclaimed mathematicians — professor Enrico Bombieri from the US and professor Terence Chi-Shen Tao from Australia — were declared co-winners of the prize in science (mathematics).

Professor Reinhold Ganz from Germany and two professors from Canada’s Montreal University — Jean-Pierre Pelletier and Johanne Martel Pelletier — were declared co-winners of the prize in medicine. “The award for Islamic studies was withheld, as none of the nominees met the criteria laid down by the selection committee this year,” said Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, governor of the Makkah region and chief of the King Khaled Foundation (KKF).

KFIP Secretary-General Abdullah Al-Othaimeen announced the names of the winners at the function, which was held at Al-Khozama Center.

The King Faisal Prize for Arabic Language and Literature was shared by professor Abderrahman El-Houari Hadj-Saleh of Algeria and professor Ramzi Mounir Baalbaki of Lebanon.

In the past King Faisal International Prize laureates went on to win numerous prestigious national and international prizes for their efforts. Fifteen KFIP winners have become Nobel Prize laureates so far.

Speaking to reporters, Prince Khaled said the prizes would be distributed to the winners on March 7 under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. “The prizes have become effective tools to promote cultural and educational exchange on the global level,” he said. “The prizes have become internationally known and hence we have been receiving a large number of nominations from across the world.”

Asked if the foundation would consider instituting a prize for promoting harmony among the followers of different faiths, he said it was a good suggestion, which would be submitted to the KKF secretariat. Each of the five prize categories (including the one withheld this year) consists of a handwritten Arabic certificate summarizing the laureate’s work; a commemorative 24-carat, 200-gram gold medal, uniquely cast for each prize; and a cash award of SR750,000. The co-winners in any category share the monetary grant.

According to the citation read out by Othaimeen, Erdogan has pioneered a major campaign that placed Turkey among the world’s leading countries, economically and industrially. “His unyielding position on various Islamic and global issues, particularly the rights of the Palestinian people, has gained him the respect and admiration of the entire Islamic world and the international community at large,” it added.

Hadj-Saleh was named the co-winner of the prize in Arabic language and literature in recognition of his insightful analysis of Al-Khalil’s linguistic theory and its relation to contemporary grammatical thought. Co-winner Baalbaki shared the prize in recognition of his tireless efforts and research on Arabic grammatical thought.

Ganz, chairman emeritus, Orthopedics Department at the University of Bern, the co-winner of the award for medicine, has dedicated his career to the study and treatment of hip joint diseases. The other co-winners in this category, Jean-Pierre Pelletier and Johanne Martel Pelletier of Montreal University (Canada), have contributed substantially to translational research in the field of osteoarthritis.

In mathematics category, Enrico Bombieri of the US, IBM von Neumann professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Australian Terence Chi-Shen Tao, James and Carol Collins Chair of Mathematics at the University of California, shared the prize for their outstanding contributions to various branches of mathematics. Bombieri’s work addresses fundamental and difficult problems of mathematics, while Tao’s is known for his technical brilliance in the use of the necessary mathematical machinery.

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