King Faisal International Prize winners for 2008 announced

January 10, 2008

The winners of the King Faisal International Prize for this year were announced this week. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz won the prize for Service to Islam recognition of his service to Muslims both in Saudi Arabia and abroad.

Other winners include: Professor Rüdiger Wehner of Germany (Science), Professors Donald D. Trunkey and Basil A. Pruitt, Jr. of the United States (Medicine), and Professor Ahmad Matloob Al-Nasiri of Iraq and Professor Muhammed Rashad Al-Hamzawi of Tunisia (Arabic Language and Literature). The prize for Islamic Studies was not awarded this year due to a lack of merit among nominees.

King Abdullah was awarded the prize in recognition of his service to Muslims both in Saudi Arabia and abroad. In the Kingdom, his achievements include the establishment of the King Abdullah Economic City, the creation of 10 universities, the expansion of the holy sites and the establishment of the Human Rights Commission as well as the Center for Dialogue. The King has also demonstrated a commitment to Arab and Islamic issues, particularly the situation in Palestine and Arab unity.

Professor Wehner from the University of Zurich, Switzerland won the Science prize for his work in the field of biology. An outstanding neuroethologist, Prof. Wehner’s research has revolved around the general question of how a 0.1-milligram brain of a 10-milligram animal solves complex computational tasks. He has focused on the extraordinary navigational skills of visually guided desert ants. His work has inspired many international research groups to use this elegant animal model for various conceptual and methodological approaches aiming at the questions of how nervous systems evolved, how they work and how they control behavior.

The prize for medicine in the field of Trauma Management was shared by Professor Trunkey of Oregon Health & Science University and Professor Pruitt of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Prof. Trunkey, one of the most influential leaders in the field of trauma management, conceived and validated an organized trauma system that significantly improved the survival of injured patients. For his part, Prof. Pruitt is an internationally renowned clinical leader in burn surgery and a distinguished researcher in the science of improving the outcome of serious burn injury. Over the past 50 years, his work has significantly improved trauma care.

Regarding the winners for Arabic Language and Literature, Professor Al-Nasiri of Iraq is recognized for his fundamental role in studying the evolution, organization and context of terminology in Arabic rhetoric and literary criticism. Al-Hamzawi is awarded the prize for his pioneering contributions to the field of terminology in classical and modern Arabic language, and his efforts to develop this field as an integral part of Arabic language scholarship.

For more information about the King Faisal Foundation and the International Prize, please see the King Faisal Foundation website.