LONDON - A most welcome initiative was repeated in its seventh edition just a few days before the world offered condolences to the royal house of Saud. The seventh International Award for Translation founded by HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, took place on January 15 to a full Auditorium at the United Nations in Geneva. Books on science, philosophy and literature translated from, and into Arabic were recognized and acclaimed, allowing a greater readership on both sides of the languages to gain a deeper insight into the intellectual output of the other. It is precisely this understanding of the 'other' that lies at the heart of fostering relationships and dialogues.

The assembled group of award winners and organizers at the U.N.

Prince Abulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is well-known for his cultural patronage, and the incentives created by these Awards for increasing this output and dialogue, are clear. As was stated in the keynote speech, translation is not just about the transfer of words; it is the transmission of the voice of one culture into another. Forty-five percent of the Saudi budget is being devoted to education, and women are increasingly contributing to fields of knowledge - in fact, a co-recipient of an Award on this occasion was a woman.

Spanning North Africa and the Middle East, recipients included an institution from Egypt and another from Tunisia. It remains a heartfelt wish that endeavours of this nature, attracting international audiences, will foster greater cultural understanding.