Korean Professor wins Saudi Award for teaching Arabic and Islamic Sciences

Professor Choi Young Kil-Hamed was named as a joint winner of the 2023 King Faisal Prize for outstanding services to Islam.

Professor Choi Young Kil-Hamed teaches Arabic language and Islamic sciences at the Universities of Myeongji and Hankook for Foreign Studies

Monitoring Desk


A Korean who taught Arabic language and Islamic sciences at the Universities of Myeongji and Hankook for Foreign Studies was awarded one of the world’s most prestigious prizes – The King Faisal Prize.

He is the first Korean to receive a King Faisal Prize award,

Professor Choi Young Kil-Hamed was named as a joint winner of the 2023 King Faisal Prize for outstanding services to Islam.

Choi Young Kil-Hamed was recognized for his translation of a large number of Islamic books, noted for their quality, accuracy, clarity, and soundness of language and sobriety of style, which contributed to the dissemination of knowledge about the critical aspects of Islamic culture amid Far Eastern societies, specifically among Korean-speaking peoples, the prize committee said.

Notable among these books is the translation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’an into the Korean language, which was commissioned by the King Fahd Glorious Quran Printing Complex, it added.

Some of his other books include Arabic language tutorial books for Koreans that are used in a number of Korean universities.

He exerted advocacy efforts that included giving lessons and lectures, and organizing courses to introduce and advocate for Islam.

He is regarded as one of the prominent non-Arabic-speaking advocacy figures in the Asian continent. He enjoys a clear-minded scholarly personality, intellectual openness, moderation and moderateness, which qualified him to be selected to serve as a member of a number of Islamic associations.

He is known for his endeavors in chairing a number of institutions, organizations, and federations, and for his membership in a number of councils concerned with Muslim affairs.

He is the Chairman of the Korean Islamic Hiba Fund. He also served as Secretary of the Korean Muslim Union and Chairman of its Board of Directors, just as he is a member of the Regional Council for Islamic Da’wa (advocacy) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and a member of the World Supreme Council for Mosques, an affiliate of the Muslim World League.

He received a number of awards, including “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Award for Translation” for his book “Prophet Mohammad”, and the Korean government’s Medal for Education and Teaching Services in 2014.

Nasser bin Abdullah Al Zaabi

The co-winner in the category is Nasser bin Abdullah Al Zaabi (UAE) who was awarded for his efforts in philanthropic and relief work through his membership in a number of charitable associations and institutions and his organization and attendance of conferences, forums and seminars on charitable work.

Robert Hillenbrand

The prize for Islamic Studies (Islamic Architecture) was awarded to Professor Robert Hillenbrand (UK) for his work that is distinguished by its geographic and temporal expansiveness that covered North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Central Asia. It spanned from the early Islamic period until the 19th Century.

His use of a distinct methodology for the study of Islamic Architecture, classified by form, function, and meaning.

Abdelfattah Kilito

Professor Abdelfattah Kilito (Morocco) was awarded the prize in Arabic Language and Literature (Classical Arabic Narrative and Modern Theories) ) for embodying modern critical approaches within his vision, in a novel and creative method, exploring areas in the Classical Arab Narrative that evaded many before him.

The Medicine (Pandemics and Vaccine Development) award went to Professor Dan Hung Barouch (U.S.) and Professor Sarah Catherine Gilbert (UK).

Barouch was honored for his major contribution to our understanding of the immunology and pathogenesis of viral infections.

Dan Hung Barouch

He has developed novel vaccine and treatment strategies against multiple pathogens of global significance, including HIV-1, Zika virus, tuberculosis, and most recently SARS-CoV-2.

Gilbert was recognized for developing innovative vaccine technologies and applying them to malaria, Ebola, influenza, MERS and lately SARS-CoV2.

Sarah Catherine Gilbert

Professor Jackie Yi-Ru Ying (U.S.) and Professor Chad Alexander Mirkin (U.S.) won the Sciences – (Chemistry) award.

Yi-Ru Ying was honored for the synthesis of various advanced nanomaterials and systems, and their applications in catalysis, energy conversion, and biomedicine.

Jackie Yi-Ru Ying

Mirkin was recognized for his outstanding contribution in introducing the concept of nanoparticles as atoms and DNA as bonds to design functional crystalline macroscopic materials, and enriching the repertoire of chemistry and material tools, and defining the modern age of nanotechnology.

Chad Alexander Mirkin

The King Faisal Prize, initiated by the King Faisal Foundation (KFF), was established in 1979. The 2023 KFF laureates are recognized for their work in five categories: Service to Islam; Islamic studies; Arabic language and literature; medicine and science.


Courtesy: The AsiaN, Seoul, South Korea (Posted on Jan 5, 2023)



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