DUBAI, 28th October, 2023 (WAM) — Winners of the 7th edition of the Arab Reading Challenge will be announced on 31st October at Dubai Opera.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will honour the Arab Reading Champion, alongside the winner of the newly introduced “People of Determination” category.
The “Best School”, “Outstanding Supervisor” and “Community Champion” will also be declared.
The participating delegations from 46 countries arrived in Dubai today. Organisers of the Arab Reading Challenge welcomed 500 people at Dubai International Airport including the semifinalists running up for the Arab Reading Champion and Community Champion, as well as the top 10 students selected from every Arab country, along with their supervisors and parents.
The participants were welcomed at Dubai International Airport with a special entry stamp that features the Arab Reading Challenge logo to celebrate the occasion.
Enriching the Arab cultural sphere
Mohammad Al Gergawi, Secretary-General of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), said, “the Arab Reading Challenge, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2015, has succeeded in creating an uninterrupted reading momentum in the Arab world as part of the vision to build an enlightened generation capable of driving humanity forward.”
He added that “Structured reading, reinforced by guidance and evaluation, helps ensure the Arab youth gain a rich learning experience. This approach seeks to build a generation that will innovate across all fields and lead their societies to the top global rankings.”
“Over its journey of the past seven years, the Arab Reading Challenge has grown to be the biggest initiative of its kind in the Arab world. The challenge has revived the passion for reading books in Arabic and highlighted the richness of the language.”
Al Gergawi said the fervor that the challenge has created can be seen in the millions of students who have become avid readers. “Thousands of academic, educational, social and cultural institutions provide the ideal incubators for students, ensuring that the challenge’s goals are met,” he added.
The Arab Reading Champion, to be selected from 24.8 million participants in this year’s challenge, will win AED 500,000. The cash prize aims to support the winner’s pursuit of greater academic achievements and broader knowledge.
For the first time since the challenge’s inception, a winner will be declared in the ‘People of Determination’ category. The winner, to be selected from 22,506 participants, will take home AED 200,000. This category was introduced to enhance the inclusion of the people of determination into the Arab cultural scene and cement their positive role in society.
Semifinalists undergo oral and written tests to compete for the grand prize before the jury shortlist the finalists based on their comprehension of text and ability to communicate accurately in Arabic; critical and creative thinking; and general knowledge. Students are expected to showcase exceptional analytical and public speaking skills and demonstrate confidence.
Out of 188,338 participants, three schools have qualified for the finals of the 7th edition of the Arab Reading Challenge. The “Best School” will be declared on 31st October.
The winning school will receive a AED 1 million prize to boost its ability to encourage reading among students and expand their knowledge.
The “Outstanding Supervisor”, to be announced from 149,826 participants in this year’s challenge, will receive AED 300,000 in recognition of efforts to encourage children to make reading a daily habit. The prize aims to create a healthy competition among supervisors and encourage them to strengthen their efforts in empowering students with reading skills and knowledge that serve as a gateway to creating a better society.
The Community Champion will be announced out of Arab students living in 26 foreign countries this year. The champion will walk away with a AED 100,000 prize.
The semifinalists were narrowed down after the jury made the shortlist based on participants’ articulation of ideas, communication and presentation skills, breadth of knowledge, and critical thinking.
The 7th edition of the Arab Reading Challenge for 2023 witnessed an 11 percent increase in participations compared to last year. Around 24.8 million students, including over 22,506 people of determination, from 46 countries took part in this year’s challenge, representing more than 188,000 schools under the guidance of around 150,000 supervisors.
The 7th edition has built on the success that the challenge has recorded since its inception. The first edition attracted 3.6 million students from 19 countries, with Algerian Mohammed Farah Jalloud crowned as the first-ever Arab Reading Champion at the age of seven in 2016.
Palestinian Afaf Al Sharif was declared the Arab Reading Champion 2017, in an edition that drew a double participation of 7.4 million students from 26 countries. Moroccan Mariam Amjoun was announced the Arab Reading Champion at the age of nine in the 3rd edition of the challenge that recorded 10.5 million students from 44 countries after the participation was extended to Arabs living in foreign countries for the first time.
The 4th edition attracted 13.5 million students from 49 countries, with the Sudanese Hadeel Anwar declared the Arab Reading Champion 2019.
The 5th edition welcomed a whopping 21 million participants from 52 countries, with Jordanian Abdullah Mohammed Abu Khalaf crowned as the champion. Last year’s edition saw Syrian Sham Al Bakour crowned champion at the age of seven after outperforming 22.27 million students from 44 countries.
Launched in September 2015, The Arab Reading Challenge became the largest pan-Arab project that aims for one million students in the Arab region to collectively read at least 50 million books a year.
Arab Reading Challenge
Organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the Arab Reading Challenge aims to create a knowledge movement that brings together millions of Arab readers from across the world. The challenge has expanded its scope over the years to target Arab students living in foreign countries and non-native speakers learning Arabic. By introducing students to different cultures and customs through books, the challenge seeks to highlight the importance of reading in building self-learning skills, promoting open dialogue and fostering the values of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance of differences. Reading builds enlightened and healthy minds capable of engaging with the world and driving positive change in their societies.