German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas has been named Cultural Personality of the Year for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2021.
The 15th edition of the award acknowledges Habermas as “one of the most influential philosophers of the world”, a pioneer of critical theory and a mentor for many theorists in political sociology and social philosophy.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, congratulated 91-year-old Habermas on Friday.
“We congratulate German philosopher Jürgen Habermas for winning the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’. Culture and creativity are a common language that transcends borders,” Sheikh Mohamed tweeted.
Cultural Personality of the Year is one of the most important categories at the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. It honours a prominent Arab or international figure, or organisation, for their contribution to the advancement of Arabic culture. The award has so far been presented to 14 personalities and organisations from 11 countries around the world.
This year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners will be honoured in a virtual ceremony to be held alongside the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair from May 23 to 29. Habermas will be presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit, as well as a prize of Dh1 million. Winners of other categories will each receive a gold medal, a certificate, and a prize of Dh750,000.
Born in 1929, Habermas is a pioneer of critical theory, both political and philosophical, and was described by the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy as “one of the most influential philosophers in the world”. He also emerged as a general thinker discussing important and fundamental issues in German newspapers.
“Rarely do we find prominent figures in the philosophical, cultural and intellectual field like Jürgen Habermas. His career has been full of accomplishments and distinguished works, which have made him the most present and influential voice in German cultural life for more than 50 years,” said Dr Ali bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.
Habermas has written many books and studies, some of which were translated into Arabic, like Al Qawl Al Falsafy Lel Hadatah (Philosophical Discourse of Modernity and Al Maarefah wa Al Maslaha (Knowledge and Human Interests).