The General Secretary of the Prize, Dr. Abdulmalek A. Al Alshaikh, attended the Executive Board meeting of the Arab Water Academy, which was held from 5-6 April 2009 in Abu Dhabi.
The purpose of the meeting was to select the Academy's director from a total of five finalists. The members of the executive board interviewed the candidates and came to its decision, which has yet to be officially announced.
Dr. Al Alshaikh also represented the Prize as a member of the Academy's executive board during its 14-15 February meeting in Cairo. During that meeting, the five finalists for the position of Academy Director were selected from more than 100 initial candidates.
The Arab Water Academy (AWA), based in the UAE, was established in July 2008, with the purpose of acting as "a major step towards preparing qualified and skilful human capital in planning and managing water resources in the Arab world." The Academy was established in the wake of a report by the Economic and Social Committee for West Asia (ESCWA) which warned that the Arab region's water per capita decreased sharply to reach 990 cubic meter/year.
The academy was set up by the Arab Water Council and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency in co-operation with the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, with support from the Islamic Development Bank and World Bank. The estimated cost of establishing the academy – the first of its kind in the Arab world – was US$670 million.
The Academy's objectives are:
To develop and deliver executive education for leaders, senior professionals and policy-makers from the public and private sectors
To provide technical coaching and mentoring services to executive leaders in managing change, reform or transformation at organizational, sector and national level
To provide a continuous learning environment for alumni and other ‘ professionals in areas of strategic importance in the Arab Region