Rabat ~ Morocco
This year the Principal Award of 100,000 euros goes to Mohammed Chafik in recognition of a lifetime’s achievement. Mohammed Chafik has performed a unique service to the future of cultural and linguistic diversity and equality in his country. This academic is a beacon of the ‘Berber’ movement and a strong advocate of Amazigh-Arabic dialogue. His talent for intercultural diplomacy lends weight to his explicit demands. Together these qualities have led to the official recognition of Berber culture and language in Morocco. Mohamed Chafik’s theoretical and literary works are avidly read in Morocco and by Moroccans living abroad – not least by the many Berbers living in the Netherlands. Chafik has published a Berber-Arabic dictionary and wrote the Amazigh Manifesto, the spring board and the pivot of the movement for the emancipation of the Berber language and Berber culture. Earlier this year he was made rector of the new Institut Royal de la Culture Amazigh in Rabat. In an entirely unique way, Mohammed Chafik has turned the Berber issue into a vehicle, a language for an intercultural rapprochement.