The Sadiq Jalal al-Azm Memorial Award for Culture Research

Ettijahat- Independent Culture has announced its selection of researcher Elaf Badr al-Din as the winner of the Sadiq Jalal al-Azm Memorial Award for Culture Research, which was launched on December 1, 2016. The award is dedicated to Syrian and Palestinian-Syrian researchers specializing in culture and arts, where one researcher is chosen to complete a research on pressing issues.

A Selection Committee was formed of a group of researchers, including Dr. Ebtehal Younes from Egypt, Mr. Yassin Haj Saleh, and Mr. Salam Kawakibi from Syria. The Committee evaluated 19 valid forms received from ten countries, and covering varied topics on literature, the arts, political science and society.

he research, Translating the Language of the Syrian Revolution, aims to highlight the impact of translating the language used in expressing the Syrian revolution on the image formed in the West about what had happened and is still happening in Syria. The research hypothesis relies on examining the different approaches used in translating the language of the Syrian revolution, and considering the translation in its cultural turn as a means of conveying ideas between the East and the West. Since the beginning of the Arab uprisings, the world has been divided over labeling what is happening in Syria. The various media and books describing the events started using different labels, such as unrest, rebellion, conflict, war, civil war and other labels that may not match what has been happening since the beginning. The research will shed light on the revolutionary language and its concepts, which have changed the old concepts under the dictatorship. It will examine translation as a tool though analyzing the original and translated texts and comparing them.


Eylaf Bader Eddin is a PhD student in Arabic and Comparative Literature in Aix-Marseille Université in France and Marburg University in Germany. He earned a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Damascus University in 2009, and a Master's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Paris VIII in France. He worked as an interpreter for Time Magazine in Beirut in 2011 and witnessed the Syrian protests in Beirut and Damascus during the first two years of the Syrian revolution. In addition to his work on his PhD Thesis, Elaf Badr al-Din is a member of a scientific research team named Transition Points, which is concerned with the study of Arabic literature in Syria.


The award course consists of three key phases

1) The application submission and the selection of one researcher: 2 months

2) Completion of actual research: 5 months.

3) Publishing the research: 2 months

Applications are open to researchers of all ages. We look forward to receive applications from established researchers with a proven record in scientific research.


Award criteria

Essays submitted must be on current, pressing issues in cultural research, with a special focus on the Syrian crisis and the role which cultural researchers and practitioners should play today. Topics range from examining cultural structures currently active in Syrian society in order to arrive at the core reasons behind cultural marginalisation, to analysing transformations in Syrian culture, whether inherited by tradition or acquired during the different phases of the uprising. These topics may look at defining the features of the new culture, born from changes the country is undergoing and mapping the outlook of Syrian culture after the crisis. Researchers may also submit essays on issues of artistic, literary, intellectual, and musical creative movement during the change process, as well as issues of cultural management, cultural policies, and organisations working in the cultural field.

Additionally, topics may include main issues al-Azm studied during his long, impressive career, all of which are still relevant. This includes topics such as the secular state and religious rhetoric, the role of intellectuals in social and political change within the context of the current political change, the rhetoric of totalitarian regimes, the concept of defeat, and the transformations of the rhetoric of Islamic movements.


Evaluation criteria

The Scientific Committee base their selection on the following criteria.

1-   Proposal of submitted research project:

-     Quality of submitted research proposal and the value of the problematic suggested for the research.

-     The extent to which the proposal is connected with the general research frame of the award.  

2-   Resume of the applicant:

-     Education background

-     Professional experience

-     Participants must have at least three years of experience in research.

-     Participants must have at least two essays previously published in books or specialist magazines.

-     Good knowledge of a language other than Arabic, such as English, French, or any other language

3-   The motives behind participation:

-    The applicant’s ability to express the importance of his participation in the award, linking it to their career and professional objectives, as well as their ability to associate the submitted research project with the needs of the independent sector


Key dates

  • Applications open for submission:  1st of December  2016
  • Deadline for submitting applications: 15th February 2017
  • Announcement of results: Mid-February 2017
  • Period to complete the research: Until 31st of July 2017
  • Publishing the research: November 2017 (Sharjah International Book Fair)
  • Please be sure to attach all the required files before sending
  • Complete the application to participate by filling in the form completely, strictly in Arabic
  • Resumé
  • Motivation letter explaining why you wish to participate in the award
  • An eletronic copy of the apllicant’s identity card

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