When established in 1998, the Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance only offered eight award categories (Distinguished School, Distinguished Student, Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Social Worker, Distinguished Supervisor, Distinguished Parent, Best Scientific Innovation and Best Applied Project) in the emirate of Dubai.
In the following years, HADAP expanded its geographical scope and action across the seven emirates and became the national performance assessment & effectiveness measurement tool of the country’s educational efforts.
In March 2001, the first center for gifted student was established. Shortly after its creation, the center joined The World Council for the Gifted and Talented Children.
2003 was a turning point as HADAP included in its reward pool for the Distinguished School, Distinguished Student & Distinguished Teacher the other members’ countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The progress and evolution of HADAP reached another level in 2006 when it created an award category to honor researchers in all Arab world countries from the Arabian Gulf to North, East & West Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Egypt, Libya & Sudan).
In 2007, the center for gifted students evolved into the Department of Gifted Welfare. The Department of Gifted Welfare is responsible for executing Hamdan Award's overall vision & mission by drafting educational programs, monitoring the evolution, nurturing the educational and social progresses and ensuring the global competitiveness of the gifted and talented students' community in the UAE.
By continuously increasing the number of awards and rewarding excellence – from 9 to 16, HADAP offers a pedagogic approach that aims at improving the national educational outcome.
In 2008, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Award Sponsor created & funded a global prize - in cooperation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)- dedicated to reward educators & teachers' contribution, skills and performances. The "Unesco-Hamdan Bin Rashed Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers" was created in Paris, France on March 15th 2009.