The Haitham Zamzam Al Hammadi Medal of International Friendship


Launched in 2018, the Haitham Zamzam Al Hammadi Medal of International Friendship is an annual award given to one Junior ACS student for their contribution related to productive and positive global citizenry, reinforcing the American Community School’s core values of Curiosity, Courage, Compassion and Integrity. 

About Haitham

Zamzam Al Hammadi '02



Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Haitham graduated from ACS in June 2002 and remained an involved and active ACS friend until his untimely passing in April 2017.

His ongoing collaboration with ACS stemmed from his belief that his education not only positively influenced his character, and later his perspectives in adult life, but formed the backdrop for some of the most cherished memories of his youth.

After ACS, Haitham earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from Richmond University in London (May 2007), and a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Management from the University of Bradford in the UK (December 2009).

Upon returning to the United Arab Emirates, Haitham went on to serve the Abu Dhabi Government and his country with great skill, modesty and commitment. His strengths lay in his interest and ability to form productive and long-term friendships – locally, regionally and internationally – with people, entities and other governments.

Although still young, his diplomatic expertise was born out of a natural empathy and clarity of thought that earned him the respect of partners globally.

As a son, brother, husband and father, Haitham always embraced family, including his wife Dana and their three children – Aliyah, Abdulla and Taliyah.

To all of us, Haitham was a trusted collaborator and genuine friend.

2019 Recipient Hannah Watkins

On May 16, 2019 during an award ceremony at ACS, Grade 11 student Hannah Watkins became the 2nd recipient of the Medal. Hannah has been a student at ACS since KG1 and was chosen from amongst 14 outstanding applications.

She describes herself as “eco-friendly-obsessed” and in her winning essay wrote that she has “been sculpted by the values ACS holds. I owe the framework of my identity to this school.” 

She goes on to state, “For all the years I spent in the care of the school’s community, I was shown that I could make change. I believe that a difference can only be made if you do something different... if you go beyond what is simply provided to you."

2018 Recipient Elif Narbay

A School Like No Other

An Unforgettable Year at ACS

In 2018 we were honored to present the inaugural Haitham Zamzam Al Hammadi Medal of International Friendship to Elif Narbay. Elif submitted a 1,000 word essay and was shortlisted for the rigorous interview process.

She worked diligently and passionately in the role of ACS Ambassador of International Friendship. Throughout her senior year, she fulfilled the role of ACS Ambassador of International Friendship, with specific responsibilities, including volunteering at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, attending behind-the-
scenes briefings at key Abu Dhabi events, participating in conferences, leading ACS school assemblies, and being involved with an international delegation.

Read her Editorial about the experience in The National Newspaper.

Highlights from the 2018 Ceremony

Award Recipient Responsibilities

When the Award recipient enters their Senior Year at ACS, they will fulfill the role of ACS Ambassador of International Friendship, with specific responsibilities and duties related to being the award recipient, which may include:

  • Speaking at an ACS school assembly to articulate the school’s core values in relation to global citizenry
  • Writing an editorial that is published in a UAE newspaper that discusses the role of youth in global citizenry
  • Delivering a speech or presentation to an appropriate UAE entity or gathering
  • Taking part in a US delegation visit to the UAE
  • Having a one-week internship at a UAE government entity

Award Submission Requirements

The Haitham Zamzam Al Hammadi Medal of International Friendship is open to all students in Grade 11 (Junior). The submittal usually happens in April of each academic year, led by the High School Principals.

To be considered for the Award, the student must complete two steps:

  1. Submit an essay
  2. Take part in an interview conducted by the Medal Review Committee

Essay Submission Requirements:

  • The essay should be no longer than 1,000 words
  • The student’s name, email, and number of years as a student at ACS should appear at the top of the essay
  • The essay can address one or two of the following themes:
    • Students as leaders of positive social change globally
    • ACS core values and how they contribute to being a productive global citizen
    • Your responsibility in creating a more tolerant and inclusive world
    • Building bridges of opportunity that nurture international friendship
    • How has ACS prepared you to be a pro-active contributor to international dialogue

Submission Evaluation:

The essay will be evaluated according to this rubric.

The annual student recipient is determined by the Medal Review Committee, following an evaluation of the essay submissions and student interviews.

The annual Award includes a Medal, a Certificate, and a minimum of AED 5,000 to be given to the student.

For More Information

Please contact the Superintendent: Ms. Monique Flickinger:

Highlights from the 2019 Ceremony