Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the 2016 Abu Dhabi Festival Awards, in association with Chopard, have been bestowed upon the celebrated French writer, Amin Maalouf, acclaimed French ballet dancer, Sylvie Guillem, and the world renowned composer, Gabriel Yared. Following in the footsteps of Placido Domingo, Gustavo Dudamel and Quincy Jones, the awards are presented in recognition of outstanding lifetime achievement and contribution to arts and culture. This year's presentations took place ahead of the 13th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival, which celebrates France as the Country of Honour.
Commenting on the Abu Dhabi Festival Awards, which are presented annually by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, ADMAF, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and Patron of ADMAF, said, "The Abu Dhabi Festival is committed to honouring pioneers in the field of arts and culture. It reflects Abu Dhabi's vision – to embed a culture of creativity and excellence, and in doing so, creating a nation of innovators. When the Abu Dhabi Festival bestows the Award upon Amin Maalouf, it celebrates the rich history of the Arab people and their pioneering role in the dialogue of civilisations. Maalouf's writings are characterised by meticulous research that highlights the relationship between identity, East and West. The Abu Dhabi Festival Award to Sylvie Guillem reflects the UAE's modernity and its dedication to creative innovation and in contributing to a cultural renaissance. The Abu Dhabi Festival Award to Gabriel Yared is a symbol of the importance of a unified creativity, one that brings Arabic and Western approaches together. The recipient of multiple awards, Yared's music is a blend of essences and originality traversing East and West."
Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and the Abu Dhabi Festival, bestowed the awards during a visit to Europe. Commenting on the awards, she said, "Each year, we honour some of the world's most outstanding contributors to the arts. As this year's Abu Dhabi Festival celebrates France as Country of Honour, I am delighted to travel to Europe to present the 2016 Abu Dhabi Festival Award to three of France's most esteemed and cherished artists. From Amin Maalouf and the rich literary heritage he has created, to Sylvie Guillem and her lifelong commitment to both dance and conservationism, to Gabriel Yared and his prolific compositions for some of most memorable films in recent history, we are honoured to recognise their remarkable achievements."