Mohammed bin Rashid Government awards honour outstanding ministries and staff

ABU DHABI // This year’s Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Awards began on a sombre note as ministers and government employees paid their respects to the victims of Tuesday’s terror attack in Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry was named top federal ministry with more than 500 employees, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was honoured for implementing Schengen-free travel for Emiratis. The award was presented to minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.

Sheikh Abdullah dedicated the award to the victims of the attack, who were officials from the UAE Embassy in Kabul.

“This award signifies the UAE’s historic and firm commitment to charitable and humanitarian work,” he said. “The heroic sacrifices made by the Emiratis are yet another example of this commitment.”

Other award winners included the General Authority of Islamic Affairs Endowments (Awqaf) for providing a seven-star service and the Federal Demographic Council for establishing a happy work environment.

The smart government award was given to the Human Resources and Emiratisation ministry. The Ministry of Economy was named the top federal ministry in the less than 500 employees category.

Younis Khoori, who won the best undersecretary award for his role in the Ministry of Finance, said his biggest achievement was completing the bankruptcy law “which is being issued for the first time in the region”, and the law for establishing the Federal Tax Authority by the end of last year. Sheikh Mohammed presented Emirates Pride medals to individuals who have contributed constructively to the country. Winners ranged from diplomats, special needs sports champions, government employees and school officials.

Mohammed Al Qayed, the UAE paralympian, was honoured for winning about 40 medals. His most recent gold was in the Rio Olympics. “And the next will be in Japan,” said the 30-year-old Emirati.

Lana Nusseibeh, who received a medal for her role as the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, dedicated the honour to her team.