A grant is a sum of money given by an institution to a person or organization for a specific purpose that does not have to be repaid, while a prize is something of value given to someone who wins a contest or game, or given to someone as a reward for an exceptionally good performance. 

While an award is always a prize and comes with either a financial or non-financial award, there are different types of grants:

  • Research grants are aimed at research and academia. Individuals at universities, professional schools, or research institutes may apply for grants specifically for research purposes.
  • Grants on research training and career development are typically individual fellowships, institutional awards, or other avenues for career advancement.
  • Small business grants support new and existing businesses. 
  • Competitive grants involve a selection process under peer review. Funds are awarded based on the innovation or practicality of the applications submitted, not randomly. 

 What all types have in common is that they do not have to be repaid in full or at all. 

Grants and prizes in the Arab region

Below you find some institutions and organizations that award grants and prizes in the Arab region and beyond.

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

AFAC currently runs nine open grant programs and one training program on a nomination basis for individual artists and art institutions. There is one open call per year for each grant program. 

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Deloitte Accelerator for Social Innovation in the Middle East (DASI)

DASI is a program designed to help address the social challenges of the Arab region by empowering and supporting small and medium-sized social enterprises to grow and increase their impact. Innovative social enterprises receive customized Deloitte support packages including consulting services, mentorship, networking opportunities and skills development worth over $100,000.  

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Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND)

AGFUND promotes and supports projects in the areas of early child development, women's empow-erment, civil society development, education and financial inclu-sion. AGFUND's Prince Talal International Human Develop-ment Prize is valued at $1,000,000 and is awarded annually to stimulate and promote innova-tion and creativity in human development. 

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Arab Investor Award

The Arab Investor Award is given for outstanding achievements in the field of innovation and sustainability. There are three different categories: companies award, individuals award and youth award.

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The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development

The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, in short the Arab Fund promotes economic and social development in the Arab region by financing and subsidizing public and private investment projects.

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UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

The UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture is awarded annually to two laureates - individuals, groups or institutions - whose work and outstanding achieve-ments have contributed to intercultural dialogue and/or the revival of Arab art and culture. Awardees are selected by the Director-General of UNESCO on the recommendation of an inter-national jury of experts in the field of Arab culture.

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MENAA Awards Organization


The MENAA Best Brand Award is a regional award for Arab compa-nies and business leaders with outstanding initiatives and achie-vements. This award honors con-tinuous commitment to excel-lence, development of best practices and innovative strate-gies. 

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Arab Student Aid International

ASAI is based in Ohio, USA. It aims to develop specialized graduates at BA, MA and PhD levels in areas that are in high demand for sustainable deve-lopment and not readily available at academic institutions in the Arab world.

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Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation's BUILD grants aim at advancing social inclusion and reducing inequality in all its forms. The multiyear BUILD grants support Arab organizations so that they can invest in core organizational strengthening.

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Abdul Hameed Shoman Cultural Forum

The Abdul Hameed Shoman Cultural Forum acts as a cultural and creative beacon in Jordan and the Arab world. They award prizes in four categories: creative ideas of children and youth in Jordan, Arabic children's literature, science and research, and innovation under Covid-19. Additio-nally, they organize reading compe-titions.

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Friends of Birzeit University (Fobzu)

Fobzu supports the right to education and its role in creating a free and prosperous Palestine. Currently there are four scholar-ship programs for mainly female Palestinian university students.

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Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy


Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting artistic creation and cultural exchange in the Arab region and beyond. It supports artists, cultural organizations and the cultural sector in the Arab region through services and programs, including grants and funding opportunities.

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UNICEF Innovation Fund

The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests exclusively in open source solutions to improve the lives of children. The fund promotes building open source IP and scalable digital public goods, strengthening communities of problem solvers, and developing solutions that deliver results for children and the world.

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Roberto Cimetta Fund

The Roberto Cimetta Fund responds to the growing need of artists and cultural workers to have access to mobility by awarding mobility grants and offering support and training programs related to mobility. It focuses especially on the Arab region.

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