MBRKA: Celebrating Leaders in Knowledge Development

  • 22 May 2024

Playing an instrumental role in fostering knowledge development, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award (MBRKA) of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) continues to strengthen its position as a world-leading platform for illuminating the many valuable contributions of various individuals worldwide in the fields of science, innovation, knowledge, and research.

This MBRKA was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to recognize individuals and organizations for their remarkable regional and global contributions toward the dissemination of knowledge. Its significance among the knowledge, intellectual, and creativity community has increased over the years, inspiring a new generation of trailblazers to continue addressing today’s challenges and reshaping the future.

This report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key details of the MBRKA, including its objectives, relevance, and other features. It will also highlight the numerous eminent personalities who have been honored with this prestigious award in recognition of their exceptional contributions in the field of knowledge.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award is an esteemed global award honoring pioneers in knowledge and creative intellects. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, launched the MBRKA to commemorate the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations in scientific research, education, and knowledge. Through their remarkable scientific endeavors and intellectual achievements, they have yielded tangible benefits to communities and societies at large. In addition to fostering innovation and excellence, the MBRKA seeks to honor scientific and intellectual personalities, as well as international organizations that have contributed to the advancement of science, technology, education, and knowledge.

Goals and Value of MBRKA

There are three principal objectives for launching this award. Primarily, it aims to encourage individuals in the knowledge field to develop a modern and knowledge-based society. Second, it aims to inspire knowledge and scientific communities to continue their research and formulate innovative solutions for emerging global challenges, as well as advance the transfer, dissemination, and development of knowledge worldwide. Thirdly, it seeks to foster a stimulating and conducive environment for knowledge creation and exchange among various parties involved in learning its theoretical and practical applications.

The MBRKA is valued at USD 1 million as an incentive to encourage people and organizations to discover more innovative methods for enhancing and enriching knowledge by supporting efforts to disseminate and develop human knowledge.

MBRKA Categories and Eligibility

The MBRKA honors innovation and excellence in fields, including education, scientific research, and advancement of educational institutions. In light of the development of science and technology as well as the needs of the community, other additional fields of knowledge will be identified and added by the Board of Trustees.

Nominations for the MBRKA are open to all applicants worldwide, welcoming creative individuals and organizations with intellectual accomplishments. The MBRKA’s scope is inclusive, enabling participation from local, regional, and worldwide organizations as well as government entities, businesses, associations, institutions, and individuals in the nomination process.

Winners of the MBRKA

Launched ten years ago, numerous individuals, including inventors, creators, scientists, and intellectual figures, as well as a range of educational and research institutions, have been nominated to date. The MBRKA has been granted to a group of knowledge leaders whose innovations, ideas, and concepts have significantly improved humanity as a whole.

Winners of MBRKA in 2014

In 2014, two luminaries in the digital world – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia – were honored with this prestigious award.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was recognized for inventing the World Wide Web in 1989 while working as a software engineer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The majority of people across the globe now benefit from his revolutionary invention, earning him the first-ever Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award. Jimmy Wales, an American internet entrepreneur, was honored with the MBRKA for being the man behind Wikipedia, a collaborative global online encyclopedia that is one of the most significant and widely popular, free knowledge sources on the internet.

Winners of MBRKA in 2015

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, a scientist and developer of sensing devices and interactive robots, Ahmed Al Shugairi, a prominent media personality and motivator for Arab youth, as well as the National Geographic Society, the renowned research and exploration organization, were given the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award in 2015.

Professor Ishiguro earned the MBRKA for his outstanding contributions as a seasoned scientific researcher, having published more than 300 research articles. His research focuses on distributed sensing systems, verification tools, interactive robotics, and android science. His discoveries have significantly contributed to the field of humanoid robots.

The insightful and motivational content presented by Ahmed AlShugairi throughout the episodes of his famous television program ‘Khawater’ that aired for over 11 years earned him the MBRKA in 2015, owing to its significant positive impact on the Arab youth audience. In addition, he has authored several books, including the book ‘Khawater from Japan’. According to a study published by Arabian Business, he was listed among the top 500 most prominent and influential personalities in the Arab world.

For more than 130 years, the National Geographic Society has funded the best and brightest individuals dedicated to scientific discovery and understanding of our world.

The Society’s historic commitment to dauntless exploration dates back to its founding in 1888, when 33 prominent scholars and scientists established an organization dedicated to the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.” This led to being chosen as one of the winners of the Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Award in 2015.

Winners of MBRKA in 2016

In 2016, Melinda Gates won the MBRKA for her noble humanitarian efforts and charitable contributions. She is one of the co-founders of the nonprofit organization – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which combats global poverty and diseases. She has been able to significantly improve the health and well-being of families and communities, provide more educational opportunities and access to information technology globally, and empower countless women and girls through her unwavering pursuit and committed efforts.

Masdar, a leader in renewable energy and clean technologies, and a fully owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development, received the MBRKA in 2016. The company aims to achieve the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 by creating new revenue streams and advancing knowledge-based economic sectors in the Emirate. With its emphasis on the essentials of clean energy project development and sustainable urban development, it is among the global leaders in the clean energy sector.

The Arab Thought Foundation, an independent international non-governmental knowledge organization established in 2000 by His Royal Highness Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the President of this Foundation and the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, shared the MBRKA in 2016. The organization was founded with the single objective of fostering pride in the Arab nation's deeply ingrained values and principles through a responsible freedom approach. The Foundation covers a wide range of topics, including media, literature, economics, science, medicine, and administration.

Winners of MBRKA in 2017

In 2017, Dr. Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach for America, Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama Yama, Founder of the Platinum Community Network, and the MiSK Foundation, a charitable organization, won the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award.

In 1989, Dr. Kopp established the Teach for America Foundation to offer equal educational opportunities for children in America, and the Education for All Foundation to support aspiring social entrepreneurs who sought to implement educational initiatives in their countries. Dr. Komiyama, President of the Mitsubishi Research Institute, founded the Platinum Society Network in 2010 to create a global sustainability plan, attracting more than 90 enterprises and 160 local governments. He also organized a wide array of initiatives and projects to develop a ‘platinum society,’ which empowers people to lead a better quality of life.

MiSK Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization, founded by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs. It aims to nurture and encourage learning as well as foster leadership skills amongst young people to craft a bright future for the Kingdom. Furthermore, it places an emphasis on strengthening the capacities of young people and offering the requisite resources to empower and nurture talent, unlock their creative abilities, and create a healthy environment for their growth and development.

Winners of MBRKA in 2018

The MBRKA, in 2018, was distributed among four cognitive, research, educational, and charitable institutions – the Saudi Digital Library, the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, the Institute of International Education, and the Amersi Foundation.

The Saudi Digital Library is one of the Arab world’s most prominent and largest sources of digital knowledge. It was established to offer advanced information services and diverse sources of educational materials for teaching staff, researchers, and students. Currently, the library boasts hundreds and thousands of digital books, millions of academic articles, university letters, and multimedia in various disciplines.

Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation was founded by Magdi Yacoub, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, and Ambassador Mohamed Shaker in 2008 to manage the Aswan Heart Project, one of the vital projects for the health and well-being of the Egyptian people, as well as the Aswan Heart Research Centre.

One of the world’s first nonprofit educational organizations, the Institute of International Education, has 18 offices and over 700 employees worldwide. The Institute has relentlessly worked to build economies, enhance scholarships, and foster cross-cultural and cognitive understanding since its foundation in 1919. In addition, it collaborates with governments, international businesses, universities, and foundations to create and oversee over 200 leadership and educational programs, such as the Language Flagship program and the Fulbright Scholarship.

Established in 2012, the Amersi Foundation offers every form of assistance and support to many causes and charities in the fields of education, promoting social justice, empowering young people, developing coherent and sustainable societies, and health care. It offers numerous grants, donations, and contributions to these charities and non-profit institutions of all kinds.

Winners of MBRKA in 2019

In 2019, Henrik von Scheel, who coined the term the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and is a pioneer in European digital transformation, along with Saudi Aramco’s Knowledge Management Department and the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore, won the MBRKA.

With his theories and concepts having gained influence in the world economy, von Scheel was recognized by the Financial Times as one of the leading global pioneers in strategy and competitiveness. He plays a vital role in shaping global trends and has a significant impact on national income growth and policy evaluation.

Saudi Aramco’s Knowledge Management department received the MBRKA for its accomplishments within one of the world’s most successful energy and chemicals corporations. The company, which is a major player in the global oil sector, is dedicated to developing innovative energy technologies and placing a high value on the sustainability and reliability of its resources. This supports long-term stability and expansion on a global scale.

The National Institute of Education (NIE) is a prominent and influential academic organization known for its leadership and excellence in education and educational research. NIE, established in Singapore in 1950, has been instrumental in forming and advancing the country’s modern teaching methods and educational system. It offers an integrated suite of programs designed to promote educational progress and innovation, with an emphasis on forward-thinking and innovative approaches.

Winners of MBRKA in 2022

Following an almost three-year break owing to the worldwide impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MBRKA was presented again to honor three outstanding medical professionals in 2022, in addition to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Emirates Mars Mission ‘Hope Probe’.

Through their diligent efforts and extensive research experiences, Dr. Zhang Yongzhen, Dr. Drew Weissman, and Dr. Katalin Kariko, were recognized for their significant role in developing COVID-19 vaccines as well as their outstanding contributions to disseminating knowledge globally. Their groundbreaking research has produced extremely effective vaccinations that have been instrumental in saving countless lives during COVID-19.

Dr. Zhang Yongzhen has worked at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, China, and the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre. He has carried out research in the field of rabies and haemorrhagic fever prevention throughout his career. Dr. Yongzhen’s current research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and transmission of several viruses. His research on the genetic structure of the COVID-SARS-19 virus has accelerated research efforts considerably and resulted in the creation of many vaccinations to fight this pandemic.

Dr. Drew Weissman runs a research laboratory that specializes in the study of RNA and innate immune system biology, and the application of these findings to vaccine research and gene therapy. He contributed to the development of the modified mRNA technology used in vaccines for preventing COVID-19 infection.

Dr. Katalin Kariko, a renowned biochemist and researcher, has substantially contributed to mRNA technology and the COVID-19 vaccines. She created the modified mRNA technology utilized in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection. Additionally, she also discovered a way to improve mRNA technology to combat disease and trigger an immune response.

Following the MBRKA, Dr. Weissman and Dr. Kariko received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2023, underscoring the MBRF’s keen eye for recognizing groundbreaking contributions in the field of science, including biomedical research.

Among the MBRKA winners were the Emirates Mars Mission ‘Hope Probe’ and the “Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. The Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings” is a global forum for knowledge sharing across borders, cultures, and disciplines. Every year, 500 young scientists and about 50 Nobel laureates gather at the Lindau meetings for a week in an effort to promote knowledge exchange across generations.

The Emirates Mars Mission ‘Hope Probe,’ is the first Arab mission that reached the orbit of Mars in 2021. It provides a comprehensive picture of the planet’s atmosphere. This mission continues on its current trajectory, providing the international space community with data regularly. Additionally, the mission seeks to advance knowledge, scientific research, and various space applications while developing skilled Emirati human resources in the field of space technology.

The MBRKA has significantly advanced the ‘Knowledge Summit,’ a leading event organized by the MBRF. Presented during the ‘Knowledge Summit,’ the MBRKA has succeeded in drawing international attention to this significant event that focuses on exchanging experiences and transferring knowledge.

This year, the winners of the prestigious Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award will be announced during the ‘Knowledge Summit’ 2024, allowing the MBRF to continue its mission of celebrating knowledge, honoring trailblazers, and inspiring more creators to design more innovative ideas that shape a brighter future for humanity.