Sheikh Mohammed praises power of words as 13 million take part in Arab Reading Challenge

The winner of the competition, launched by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai in 2015, will be announced at Dubai Opera House next week

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has paid homage to 13 million young literature lovers who took part in this year's Arab Reading Challenge
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has hailed the record-breaking achievements of more than 13 million young pupils who took part in this year's Arab Reading Challenge - as it was announced that the event's latest champion will be crowned next week.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai vowed that the Arab world was strengthened by members of its youth who 'believe in the power of words'.

Sheikh Mohammed launched the Arab Reading Challenge in 2015 with a mission to encourage one million young people to read 50 books in a year.

The literary initiative is open to anyone in the Mena region, as well as Arabs living abroad, who are aged between 8 and 18. Pupils are tested on their understanding of the texts during the contest.

The annual competition has proven a major success story, with a rapidly growing number of literature lovers taking part each year.

More than 10 million pupils drawn from 52,000 schools in 44 countries participated in the 2018 event - won by nine-year-old Moroccan Maryam Amjoun - but this year's installment has proven an even bigger hit.

A best-ever total of 13.5 million readers from 49 countries  signed up for the challenge.

“We celebrate more than 13 million students in the Arab Reading Challenge, the largest Arab knowledge initiative," said Sheikh Mohammed.

"We are stronger with Arab youth who believe in the power of words.”

The winner of the Arab Reading Challenge 2019 will be named on Wednesday, November 13, at Dubai Opera House.

More than 3,000 family members, friends, school officials and delegates will converge on the lavish culture spot as five contestants in line for the Dh500,000 prize.

The five finalists, Hadeel Anwar from Sudan, Jumana Al Malki of Saudi Arabia, Moroccan Fatima Al Zahra Akhyar, Aya Boutreea from Tunisia and Abdulaziz Al Khaldi from Kuwait, were selected out of 16-strong semi-final field, which included UAE Reading Challenge winner, Mezna Najeeb.

A total jackpot of Dh11 million will be up for grabs at the glittering awards night, with the winners of the Outstanding Supervisor and Best School also to be decided.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said the challenge was central to Sheikh Mohammed's efforts to harness the potential of the next generation.

“In its fourth year, the Arab Reading Challenge has established its status as a pioneering initiative that developed youth’s capabilities, creating the largest knowledge movement across educational institutions in the Arab world,” said Mr Al Gergawi, who is also secretary general of the the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.

“The Arab Reading Challenge reflects the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to build future enlightened generations capable of improving their lives through knowledge and contributing to achieving sustainable development of their societies.”