The winner of the second prize, Bara Wahbeh, took home $100,000 in recognition of work his company, Akyas Sanitation, has done to provide efficient sanitation that could help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
His design uses special technology to produce an integrated system that requires no energy or infrastructure.
“I was inspired when I saw the conditions of refugees in Turkey and, later, in Yemen with the cholera outbreak,” he said.
Wahbeh told Arab News: “It’s difficult not to feel affected while you’re in the field and see the damage cholera has brought in Yemen.”
Saar Safra received the $50,000 third prize for work his company, Beeswise, carried out in developing robots to help secure bee colonies.
Bees play an essential in the production of fruit, vegetables and even clothing supplies, he said.
“Beeswise has proven the ability, for the first time in history, to save bees and prevent their colonies from collapsing.”
Ziv Aviram said the landmark event honored technological innovation that contributes to the betterment of humanity.
“We are happy to hold the event in Dubai as it represents what vision and technology can do,” he told Arab News. “The key element in this project is promoting the idea of contributing business with humanity.”
In his speech, Aviram quoted Gandhi, saying: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and adding: “We are the change, just by being here today. Let’s raise the flag of awareness, combine business with humanity and contribute to society. This is a benefit for all humanity and we ought to spread it widely to all the people.”
Former US President Bill Clinton addressed the awards ceremony, held at the Jumeirah Mina A’Salam Hotel, telling attendees that technology offers a global bridge between peace and prosperity.
Speaking about AI, which was at the center of many of the entries, he said: “Is it to replace or empower the workforce? We should make the latter the choice. We all need the dignity of work, for purpose, for our life and family.”
Clinton said that the Middle East had proved its worth as a haven of technological innovation, led by talented entrepreneurs and committed humanitarians.
Judges at the awards included Fatima Al-Jaber, chief operating officer of Al-Jaber Group; Randall Lane, chief content officer of Forbes; and Diana Wilde, co-founder of Aurora50.