Sharjah International Award

Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support

About the award

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. The award aims to highlight and support outstanding efforts and initiatives which work to improve the lives of millions of individuals and families who have been displaced away from their homes due to natural disasters or war. The award focuses on bringing increased awareness to refugee issues within the Middle East, Africa, and Asia regions while recognizing distinguished service by an organization in support of the forcibly displaced.

The Award Patron

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah

On January 25, 1972, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi became the Ruler of Sharjah and a member of the Federal Supreme Council. His Highness is the 18th ruler from the Al Qawasim tribe that has ruled Sharjah since 1600 AD.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah believes that achieving cultural, economic, and social development and building civilizations stems from two basic pillars – the knowledge pillar that lays the foundation of culture and science; and the human factor, which plays a vital role in national development and positively impacts communities around the world.

The Ruler of Sharjah’s cultural project has achieved qualitative milestones in the past 50 years and bolstered the emirate’s status as a key city that invests in its people and believes in the power of knowledge and books to achieve comprehensive, sustainable, and integrated socio-economic development.

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 his exemplary dedication to the 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 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), is a philanthropic foundation officially established in May 2015, preceded by various humanitarian 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.