Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid marks start of UAE's Month of Reading

Writing on Twitter, he said the region was stronger with enlightened young readers

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 30 OCTOBER 2018 - HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai with the grand winner Mariam Amjoun of Morocco at the Arab Reading closing at Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.  Leslie Pableo for The National
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has marked the start of the UAE’s Month of Reading.

Writing on Twitter, he said the region was stronger with enlightened young readers.

“With the start of the UAE’s Month of Reading, I received the number of participants of the Arab Reading Challenge’s fourth edition, which has so far reached 13 million students from 49 countries,” he wrote.

March was declared to be the annual month of reading in 2017, following on from the Year of Reading in 2016.

In October of that year, President Sheikh Khalifa announced a Reading Law which obliged schools to encourage reading among pupils, in addition to promoting a respect for books. Books that were no longer wanted should not be destroyed, but preserved, reused or donated, Sheikh Mohammed said at the time.

He launched the Arab Reading Challenge, the largest Arab knowledge initiative in the world, a year previously in 2015.

The competition challenges participants between the ages of eight and 18 to read a minimum of 50 Arabic books over the course of one academic year. They are then tested on their understanding of the texts during the final in October.

More than 10.5 million pupils from more than 52,000 schools in 44 countries took part in last year’s competition, which was won by Maryam Amjoun, age nine, from Morocco.

"I was expecting to be the winner of the Arab reading challenge. The questions were easy and I was fully prepared. I was told that in every challenge there are hardships but I never gave up despite all the difficulties," said Maryam at the time.

"I like to read books that treat problems, such as social books, in addition to reading history and scientific books, and books about morals and ethics,” she said.