Sharjah International Award ‎For Refugee Advocacy & Support


Launched under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support is organized by The Big Heart Foundation in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and aims to support outstanding efforts and initiatives that improve the lives of millions of individuals and families who have been displaced from their homes due to a natural disaster or war. The inaugural edition of the annual Award aims to bring increased awareness to refugee issues within the Middle East, while recognizing outstanding service by an individual or organization on behalf of the forcibly displaced. The Award also highlights Sharjah’s growing international humanitarian role, as a center for education, in line with its designation as Cultural Capital of the UAE.

The Award Patron

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, is one of the founding members of the UAE Supreme Council and a revered leader with a vision for a better tomorrow for his people and the people of this region.His Highness is the 18th Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah in a chain of Al Qasimi Rulers since 1600 AD. He possesses unmatched knowledge of history, culture & politics of the Middle East & the world at large and has been at the forefront of the emirate’s cultural, economic and social development and has played a significant role in promoting cultural interaction and dialogue among nations at local, regional and international levels. His Highness’ commitment to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable is well known and his support has positively impacted the lives of people in the UAE and in other parts of the world. His Highness’ philanthropic initiatives range from providing for children deprived of access to education, families in need of shelter and food security and patients battling serious illnesses and in need of health care. In addition, His Highness’ keen interest in world history & heritage and scientific & academic research has translated into extensive endowments and support to libraries, museums, historical sites needing restoration and universities and research institutes globally.His Highness is an established and recognised historian and author of several renowned theatrical and literary works.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi

A big heart by birth, humanitarian by nature and social activist by choice, HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, has had unwavering support for her philanthropic and social work from His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, who created a shining path for all to follow due to his exemplary dedication to betterment of humanity and his outstanding work to uplift weaker segments of society. Her Highness is one of the most respected and inspirational women leaders in the Arab world. She has helped to empower women, girls, youth, families, refugees, patients, entrepreneurs and entire communities in the UAE, the Middle East, and beyond.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher is Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; and a prominent humanitarian and philanthropist with many roles including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children. She is also a leading advocate of numerous social causes such as cancer awareness, education, entrepreneurship, children’s and women’s empowerment and cultural heritage among others.


The Big Heart Foundation

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a philanthropic foundation officially established in May 2015,preceded by various initiatives and campaigns launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. The Foundation’s mandate is to protect and empower vulnerable children and their families, focusing primarily on the Arab world, but extending support to other geographical areas in need.
TBHF envisions a world where the vulnerable are protected and empowered to live with dignity. To achieve its goals, the Foundation administers grants through a competitive application process to qualified implementing partners, advocates for vulnerable persons to push policy changes and convenes global humanitarian actors to inspire sustainable solutions – always placing women and children at the center of its activities.


The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes.
Today, over 66 years later, UNHCR is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees around the world. With staff in 128 countries around the world, the primary purpose at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who have been forced to flee. Together with partners and communities, UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country.
For over half a century, UNHCR has helped millions of people to restart their lives. They include refugees, returnees, stateless people, the internally displaced and asylum-seekers. The protection, shelter, health and education offered by UNHCR has been crucial, healing broken pasts and building brighter futures.

Key note Speaker

Kelly T. Clements

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees

Kelly T. Clements joined UNHCR as Deputy High Commissioner on July 6, 2015. Clements has been closely involved with refugee and displacement issues throughout her 25-year career.
Before joining UNHCR, she served in the U.S. Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration since 2010, where she was responsible for humanitarian issues in Asia and the Middle East.
She previously led the Bureau’s strategic planning, policy development and financial management to protect and assist refugees, conflict victims and vulnerable migrants worldwide. In 2014, she was Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

Clements holds a B.A. in International Studies and an M.A. in Urban Affairs from Virginia Tech, USA. She is a national of the United States of America

Refugee Situation

By the end of last year 65.3 million people – equal to the population of France – were forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution. It means that, every minute, 24 people run away from their home, their jobs and often their families, taking incredibly dangerous journeys in search of better lives. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said half of these people were children, many separated from their parents.

Main displacement Emergencies:

  • CAR Situation
  • Europe Situation
  • Iraq Emergency
  • South Sudan Emergency
  • Syria Emergency
  • Yemen Emergency

Global Statistics

  • 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home.
  • 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
  • Approximately 37.5 million internally displaced people.
  • There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
  • Nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution

Award Ceremony Agenda

Award Recipient

Sustainable Development Foundation, Yemen

Since 2003, the Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) started working as a team in the voluntary and development operations in Yemen. As a result of the vast experiences acquired over time, SDF established an independent foundation, The Sustainable Development Foundation, which is completely focused on Sustainable Development Goals and Humanitarian Response. SDF has eight offices in different governorates in Yemen and is officially registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour.

Projects of the winner

  • Livelihoods Promotion
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Education
  • Protection
  • WASH
  • Solar Energy
  • Peace Building


Strategic Sponsor

Venue Sponsor

Media Sponsors