By Arab News
Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Festival, has become the first Arab to receive the Reina Sofía School of Music’s prestigious medal of honor.
The Emirati national, who was born to a Saudi father and a Syrian mother, received the award from Queen Sofia of Spain at the school’s academic closing ceremony in Madrid.
Alkhamis-Kanoo was awarded for supporting the development of music culture and education, as well as for her outstanding support to the school.
When receiving the award, she dedicated her accomplishments to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak — the wife of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, founder of the UAE — whose unwavering support she said “empowers women throughout the UAE.”
Alkhamis-Kanoo, who was born in Beirut, founded the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2004.
She has received numerous awards, including the Abu Dhabi Award and Abu Dhabi Medal (conferred by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), the UN-affiliated Women Together Award, the Aspen Institute Emerging Voice Award for Cultural Stewardship, and the Puccini Festival Foundation Award.