Al-Awda Award Festival marks launch of Nakba 63 Commemoration

6/5/2011, BADIL is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Al-Awda Award. The Award, now in its fifth year, aims to encourage cultural reproduction of the Palestinian Nakba, the forced expulsion of over three-quarters of a million Palestinians, and to highlight the ongoing struggle of refugees to exercise their right to return. The festival ceremony marks the beginning of a series of activities to commemorate the Nakba and to confront the continued forcible displacement of Palestinians taking place today.

This year's festival took place simultaneously in Ramallah  (see photo album) and in the Red Cross Headquarters in Khan Yunis, Gaza (see photo album) and presented awards to winners in the categories of: Nakba Commemoration Poster, Caricature, Photography, Written Journalism and Children's Story. The winners were chosen from a record number of submissions, double the number received in 2010, by juries consisting of accomplished Palestinian photographers, writers and artists. For the first time the award was open to submissions from Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike with many winning entries received from internationals and other Arab nationals.

Festival attendees in Ramallah were welcomed to the event with an exhibition of the winning photographs, posters and caricatures. The festival then got under way with the playing of the Palestinian national and welcoming speeches from BADIL delivered by the Head of BADIL’s Board of Directors, Dr. Nayef Jarad and from Dr Leila Ghanam, the Mayor of Ramallah, on behalf of the PLO. The audience were then treated to a performance by renowned Palestinian singer Reem Banna before proceeding to the award ceremony itself.

The prizes were presented by a representative for the jury from each category. Photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk presented the awards for Best Photograph, Muhammad Elayan presented the award for Nakba Commemoration Poster, Al Awda Award coordinator Basim Sbeih presented the award for Best Caricature, journalist Khaleel Shaheen presented the award for Written Journalism and writer Majdi Al Shomali presented the award for Children's Story. The ceremony concluded with a performance by Al-Funoun Dabka troupe, the leading dance company in Palestine, who finished the festival with a performance of characteristic flair and gracefulness.

In Gaza, the festival also began with the playing of the national anthem and the welcoming speech delivered by BADIL’s Gaza coordinator, Naim Mattar, who emphasized the right of return as an individual and collective right for all Palestinian refugees and IDPs as well as congratulating Egyptians on their revolution and welcoming reconciliation between the Palestinian factions. After Dr Diab Al Louh, a representative of the PLO, and Walid Al Awad both spoke of the distinguished role played by BADIL in Palestine and in exile in defending Palestinian rights, the event then turned to a Dabka performance and three performances from well-known Palestinian artists.

The continued success of the Al-Awda Award and the ever-increasing number of submissions is testament to the lasting centrality of the Nakba to the Palestinian national consciousness and the continuing importance placed on the right of return for as an uncompromisable 'constant' of the Palestinian struggle. The award and the festival ceremony are considered a crucial part of the annual activities promoting the right to return and it has been formally endorsed as such by the PLO.

The 2011 Winners are

Category: Poster

First place winner: siblings Basma and Ayman Saadah, Nablus (see poster)

The other top nine entries were all awarded an honorable mention are:
Hafez Omar – Ramallah, Muhammad Al Agha – Gaza, Anan Zorba – Nablus, Suheil Salem – Gaza, Mustapha Bader – Bethlehem, Ziyad Haj Ali – Ramallah, Ali Oweina – Bethlehem, Muhammad Zahran – Bethlehem, Hind Fidda – Nalbus.

Category: Photo

First Place Winner: Alaa Al Saidi – Santiago, Chile (see photo)

Second Place Winner: Muhammad Al Azzah – Aida RC, Bethlehem (see photo)

Third Place Winner: Andrea and Magda – Italy (see photo)

The other top seven entries awarded an honorable mention are:
Muhammad Al Agha – Gaza, Abdelrahman Al Humran – Gaza, Hisham Sarsour – Hebron, Muhammad Al Hawajre – Gaza, Margarita Demechels – Italy, Ayman Nubani – Nablus, Reem Al Azraq – Aida RC, Bethlehem.

Category: Photo (under 18’s)

The top three entries were awarded a digital camera, the winners were:

Sabreen Assad – Aida RC, Bethlehem
Anwar Rumi – Aida RC, Bethlehem
Walaa Al Hamouz – Al Fawwar RC, Hebron
The other top seven entries awarded an honorable mention are:
Majdi Al Thiba - Hebron, Miras Al Azzah – Aida RC, Bethlehem, Yasmin Al Azraq – Aida RC, Bethlehem, Arij Ishaq – Bethlehem, Balqis Al Rifaa’e – Bethlehem, Shourouk Assad – Bethlehem, Baha Abu Kishik – Nablus.


Category: Caricature
First place winner: Ahmad Shamiyeh – Gaza (see caricature)
Second place winner: Rashad Al Samaee – Ta’az, Yemen (see caricature)
Third place winner: Haneen Al Amsee – Gaza (see caricature)
The other top seven entries awarded an honorable mention are:
Abdel Mahdi Hanani – Nablus, Musab Abu Sil – Gaza, Alaa Jbara – Nablus, Murad Daraghmeh – Ramallah, Jameel Al Keek – Gaza, Jihad Askool – Gaza, Nabeel Abu Gnameh – Gaza.

Category: Children’s Story
First place winner: Sareea Hadeed – Syria
Second place winner: Mustapha Abdelfatteh – Syria
Third place winner: Sari Abdelhaq – Salfit
The other top seven entries awarded an honorable mention are:
Abdelfatteh Shihadah – Gaza, Rajaa Rantisi – Ramallah, Fuad Imran – Syria, Nardeen Abu Nabaa – Jordan, Heyam Kadiree – Beit Sahour, Hanadee Hijazi – Hebron.

Category: Best Written Journalism
First place winner: Muhammad Othman – Gaza.
Second place winner: Khader Manasra – Hebron
Third place winner – Muna Abu Shehadah – Nazareth
The other top seven entries awarded an honorable mention are:
Nizar Dakrout – Salfit, Khouloud Al Ajarmeh, Aida RC, Bethlehem, Tarik Abu Ataywe – Lebanon, Adnan Jaber – Syria, Ahmad Ezeldin Al Qassam – Jenin, Alaa Al Khalili – Syria, Bayan Amro – Hebron, Sayed Ishamael – Gaza.