The first Award for Excellence in Research was given extensive press coverage as an innovative activity: "We cannot overstate our pride in Prof. Ihsanoglu. Not anyone can successfully direct such a big and significant institution as IRCICA for years and organise new activities day by day. ... " Kenan Akin, Turkiye newspaper, 6 November 1997
"Scholars of world renown ... A ceremony organised in a professional way and attended by many Ministers attending the COMCEC meeting in Turkey... And an award which may be considered as the Nobel prize of the Muslim world despite that it is being given for the second time only. ..." Besir Ayvazoglu, Zaman newspaper, 8 November 1997
"IRCICA instituted an award which can be considered as the Nobel Prize of the Muslim world ...This important centre is directed by Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a distinguished scholar whom our country can be proud of and who is acknowledged internationally. ..." Nevzat Yalcintas, Turkiye newspaper, 21 November 1997
Accordingly, the Second IRCICA Awards for Excellence in Research were presented to five other scholars for their contribution to the fields of social and cultural history of the Arab world, the history of the Turkic world, history of the Malay world, Islamic art and archaeology and philosophy, respectively. The awardees were: Prof. Leila Sabbagh, for her achievements in the field of the social and cultural history of the Arab world; Prof. Dr. Kemal Karpat, for his contributions to Islamic history in the field of the history of the Turkic world; Prof. Dr. Mohamed Taib bin Osman for his studies and publications on the Malay world; Prof. Dr. Géza Fehérvari for his contributions to Islamic art and archaeology; and, Prof. Dr. Abdurrahman Badawi, for his scholarship on Islamic philosophy and publications. The awards were distributed at a ceremony which was held in Istanbul, on 3 November 1997, in the framework of the Thirteenth Session of the OIC Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs (COMCEC). The ceremony was held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Turkey and H.E. Dr. Isin Celebi, Minister of State, chaired the meeting on behalf of the President. Ambassador Nabika Diallo, Assistant Secretary General of the OIC representing the Secretary General Dr. Azeddine Laraki, Prof. Dr. Orhan Guvenen, Undersecretary of the State Planning Organisation and Mr. Celal Armangil, Director General of Foreign Economic Relations of the State Planning Organisation, and the ministerial delegations attending the COMCEC session, were present at the meeting. A letter of thanks and appreciation was received from Prof. Badawi, whose health did not allow him to attend the ceremony.