London: Dr Diana Owen, Director of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, has been awarded the Yamani Medallion by the Iqbal Academy in recognition of her work to build bridges between communities by celebrating the links between Shakespeare and Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the Poet-Philosopher of the East.
The award was presented to Dr Owen by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anita Ward, at a ceremony in the city’s Council House, attended by members of the Iqbal Academy and guests including the actress Azra Mohyeddin.
The medal, which is named after Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the former oil minister of Saudi Arabia, is awarded to outstanding scholars of culture, literature and philosophy, with special reference to their contributions to promoting intercultural awareness between the East and the West. Former recipients have included HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Dr Justice Javid Iqbal ( Allamah Iqbal’s illustrious son), and Lord Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali.
Professor Saeed A Durrani, Chairman of the Iqbal Academy (UK), who led the presentation, said Dr Owen’s efforts to build bridges of humanity and share the values of both organisations had improved understanding between communities in the West Midlands, and internationally.
Last year the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Iqbal Academy hosted a joint celebration of Iqbal during the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon, featuring top performing artists from Pakistan. A commemorative plaque to Iqbal, inscribed with calligraphy of Urdu, Persian and English versions of Iqbal’s poem on Shakespeare was unveiled by Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan. The plaque is a permanent feature in the Shakespeare Centre.
Dr Owen said, “I am deeply honoured to accept this award on behalf of the whole team at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. We are grateful to the Iqbal Academy for all the work we have done, and continue to do, together. Our joint Iqbal celebrations helped us recognize the importance of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as a global cultural meeting place, and look at more ways to reflect connections with other cultures in our presentation of Shakespeare. We value the links with the Muslim community in the region and look forward to developing more joint initiatives.”
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Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
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