- Mohammed bin Rashid crowns Sham Al Bakour as Arab Reading Champion in Dubai
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today crowned the Arab Reading Champion at the final ceremony of the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge in Dubai.
The ceremony was held at Dubai Opera in front of an audience of more than 2,000, which included 360 national and community champions.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai; and Lieutenant-General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, also participated in honouring the winners, in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; and His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Secretary General of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured Sham Al Bakour from Syria as the winner of the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge, after being selected from among 22.27 million students, the highest number of participants ever registered in a single edition of the Challenge since its inception.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum highlighted that civilization begins with enlightenment, and reading enlightens the mind and the path towards a better future for Arab generations.
His Highness said: “Our precious Arabic language is in the safe hands of the millions of Arab students and the thousands of volunteers that spare no effort to make this Arab literacy initiative a success.”
His Highness expressed his confidence in the ability of future generations to preserve the Arabic language. He said: “The Arab Reading Challenge succeeded in creating the largest knowledge movement in our Arab world. The Arabic book has been taken off the shelf, and put in the hands of our youth, to inspire hearts and minds and light up the path.”
His Highness noted: “The Arab Reading Challenge is the greatest gift the UAE could present to the millions of Arab youth, because reading is the key to the future.”
Acknowledging the efforts of all the participants and supporters, His Highness said: “I am grateful to the Ministries of Education throughout the Arab countries, and the thousands of supervisors, and millions of Arab students, for their unique contribution to this unprecedented literacy movement.”
Arab Reading Champions
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured the national winners from across the Arab world for the exceptional achievement. Sham Al Bakour from Syria, who was crowned the Arab Reading Champion, was awarded a prize of AED1,000,000 following the final qualification stage.
Adam Al Qassimi from Tunisia came in second place, and Rashid Al Khatib from Jordan ranked third, receiving a prize of AED100,000, and AED70,000 respectively.
Lieutenant-General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured the community champions from 26 non-Arab countries. The Community Champion Award went to Nada Al Satri from Belgium, with a prize of AED100,000.
Marwa Al Bakri from Spain won second place, taking home a prize of AED70,000, while Nadia Al Bahnasi from Austria won third place, taking home a prize of AED30,000.
The Al Mokhtar Gazoulit School from Morocco won the Best School Award and a prize of AED1 million, out of more than 92,000 schools that participated in the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge. More than 28,000 schools from Egypt; 24,000 schools from Saudi Arabia; 15,000 schools from Algeria; 10,000 schools from Morocco; 5,000 schools from Tunisia; and 4,000 schools from Jordan participated in the sixth edition of the Challenge.
The Al Tarbiyah Al Ahliyah Intermediate and Secondary Private Schools from Saudi Arabia won the second place, receiving a prize of AED500,000, while the Al Ahed Al Zaher Secondary School from Bahrain came in third winning a prize of AED300,000.
Members of the public from around the world voted for the Best School from among the shortlisted finalists.
Noor Mohammad Al Jboor from Jordan won the Outstanding Supervisor Award and a prize of AED300,000. Abdulrahman Al Harthi from Saudi Arabia came in second, winning a prize of AED100,000. The third place was awarded to Hanin Al Abdallah from Syria with a prize of AED70,000.
The judging panel of the sixth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge included His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, Dr. Laila Al Obaidi, a novelist and lecturer in Arabic literature at several Arab universities, and Dr. Parween Habib, poet, critic, academic and media expert.
The audience at the final ceremony watched the ‘National Anthem of Arab Countries’ operetta, which featured a selection of artists from different Arab countries. The operetta, which included selected clips from the national anthems of Arab countries, celebrated the Arab Reading Champions.
The ceremony also included a video of milestones from previous editions of the Arab Reading Challenge, as well as songs titled ‘Al Qeraya Nour’ by Abu, and ‘Iqra’ by Mohammed Assaf.
A video clip shared by Mariam Amjoun, the Moroccan champion of the third edition of Arab Reading Challenge, was played during the final ceremony. The video featured an inspirational message urging students to participate in future editions of the Arab Reading Challenge.
A video of the youngest champions in the latest edition was also played at the ceremony. Sham Al Bakour, the seven-year-old Syrian national champion, won the title after participating in the Challenge’s sixth edition for the first time.
The biggest edition of the Challenge
The sixth Arab Reading Challenge registered 22.27 million participants from 44 countries, making it the biggest since the Challenge was launched.
The number of participants in each Arab Reading Challenge continues to increase year-on-year. Approximately 3.6 million students from 19 countries participated in the first edition, with the number doubling in the second edition to more than 7.4 million students from 26 countries. As the third edition allowed entries from outside the Arab world, the number of participants reached 10.5 million from 44 countries. The number of participants in the fourth edition of the Challenge exceeded 13.5 million students from 49 countries, while the number of participants in the fifth edition reached 21 million students from 52 countries.
A cultural message
Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Arab Reading Challenge aims to instill a comprehensive philosophy and culture of reading and knowledge-seeking among the youth, with the aim of boosting communication, dialogue, and openness among different cultures. The Challenge encourages the youth to aspire for daily reading and academic achievements, advancing the Arabic language and enhancing its role in enriching human civilization and spreading knowledge.
Since its launch in 2015, the Arab Reading Challenge continues to advance the reading and knowledge environment and highlight the value of lifelong self-learning.