The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies received the Gold Shield for the third annual Arab e-Government Web Awards. The award is granted by the Arab Organization for Administrative Development, an organ of the Arab League, in coordination with the Pan-Arab Web Awards Academy, and was given to recognize the Center as the "best interactive social media forum" for the category of educational, governmental, and official bodies. By winning in its category, the ACRPS went on to compete with the awards granted in other categories, including private sector companies. By the end of the awards ceremony, the ACRPS had taken the all-out Prize for the Best Interactive Web Forum in an Arab country.
The two prizes were given by Pierre Moukarzel, Head of the Pan-Arab Web Awards Academy, and Elizabeth Linder, Politics and Government Specialist for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Facebook. Mona Hedaya, the ACRPS Website and New Media Coordinator, received the award on behalf of the Center.
The selection of the winners was based on the recommendation of a jury composed of social media specialists, who voted according to a set of previously agreed upon international standards for judging governments' interaction through Facebook. This is an especially remarkable reward to receive given the tough, two-staged refereeing process designed to ensure transparency of selection. The overall aim of granting the Pan-Arab Web Awards is to improve the performance of e-Government and social media outreach, as well as to encourage creativity and a continued improvement to the quality of governmental service in Arab countries. The Award also incentivizes an increase in the number of Arab states' governmental websites and social media, thus making the most of the world's technological revolution while serving the aims of both sustainable and administrative development in Arab countries.
In their letter to the ACRPS administration, the Academy cited the ACRPS's "special and broad interaction" with the public through the Center's Facebook page as the reason the ACRPS was initially nominated for the prize. Indeed, since the Center was established less than two years ago it has strived to progress in its use of social media channels, and has worked to make much of its most important research work available to a global audience. The Center also uses its Arabic- and English-language social media channels to publicize the conferences, symposia, and other academic meetings that it holds, all of which are well-attended by leading Arab researchers and academics. This approach makes it possible for those interested in the ACRPS to follow its work in real-time and in the most up-to-date ways, appealing to all audiences. In fact, data collected by the ACRPS suggests that the Center's 25,000 followers on Facebook range from 13 to over 70 years of age, a remarkable achievement for a specialist research institution.