In its Fourth Consecutive Year, The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism Announces the 2020 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners

The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism announced the winners of its fourth annual journalism awards today. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees presented the award to two outstanding young journalists this year for their journalistic achievements during a small-scale ceremony held on September 24th in honor of the late Mohamed Hassanein Heikal’s birthday. 

The two 2020 awards went to Asaad Al-Zilzali, an independent Iraqi journalist who has conducted remarkable investigative journalism on Iraqi children orphaned during the war, and courageously covered women’s issues including sexual harassment. The other award went to Egyptian journalist, Ahmed Saeed Sayed Hassanein from Al-Ahram for excellence in investigative journalism on issues relevant issues concerning Syrian refugees, migration and reunification.

To date, a total of nine journalists have won the prestigious award. This year’s event was live streamed via Zoom in recognition of crowd limitation and social distancing guidelines and also to allow the Iraqi award recipient to take part in the official award announcement from his home.

In attendance at this year’s ceremony along with the Foundation’s esteemed Board of Trustees, was former Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Nabil Elaraby, and the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Dr. Mostafa El Fekki among other distinguished guests.

“It is a tremendous honor to be standing among you today despite these challenging times to present this award to yet another pair of exceptional young journalists,” said Mrs. Hedayat Heikal, Chairman of the Board of the Heikal Foundation. “I cannot imagine a more pertinent time to be a member of the press corps; a time where we’re witnessing unprecedented changes and a completely new world order unfold before us and where these courageous young men and women are tasked with the responsibility to gather the facts and tell an accurate story. Ostaz Heikal could not have been prouder to have his legacy once again celebrated in this manner.”

The Foundation announced that the inauguration of the relocation of the Heikal library, office and manuscripts to the Library of Alexandria had been postponed due to the unforeseen circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak. The trustees noted, however, that the main book collection from Heikal’s office, most manuscripts and rare documents, have been safely delivered to the library. Original office furnishings, carpets, personal stationery and maps will also be delivered soon. A few handwritten notes are still being archived and will be sent to the library along with additional books from Berkash and Alexandria, maps, videos and all his photographs before February 2021 to coincide with the furniture delivery date. The official inauguration of the Heikal Library is expected to take place in 2021.

An additional collection of books from Heikal’s private library have also been archived by the Library of Alexandria but they will remain in the home of Mrs. Hedayat Heikal for the duration of her lifetime and will be sent to the Alexandria Library at a later time.

The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism recognizes the achievements of young journalists in the Arab world and continued to be held this year despite the unprecedented circumstances imposed by the covid-19 outbreak, which necessitated a delay in this year’s competition deadline as well as a significant reduction in the number of attendees at the 2020 award ceremony in order to ensure the health and safety of all those involved.

Applications for the competition were opened on 1st February 2020 and ran until 30th May 2020. Applicants are required to be Arab journalists under the age of 40, working at an Arabic language news outlet. The two awards, worth EGP 250,000 each, aim to enable young Arab journalists to further develop their skills, and drive excellence in the field of journalism.

Established in 2007 by renowned journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism strives to nurture excellence and development in the field of journalism across the Arab world.

This year’s ceremony included a special moment of silence in commemoration of the late Ghada Mohamed Al-Sharif, the former Al Masry Al Youm writer who won the award in 2017.

About The Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism:
Since its inception in March 2007, the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism has been working to promote excellence and develop expertise within the field of journalism in Egypt. The Foundation’s goal has been to provide opportunities for aspiring journalists and ensure that they have access to the latest trends on the international media scene. Special emphasis is placed on initiating a mutually beneficial dialogue between young Egyptian journalists and their global peers. The Foundation also provides technical support and training for journalists and media outlets in Egypt. For the past 10 years, the Foundation has also provided grants to talented young journalists to train at major international newspapers around the world. For more details on when and how to apply for the Mohamed Hassanein Heikal Prize for Arab Journalism please visit:

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