SHARJAH // Ali Khalifa has been rewarded for his love of an online mathematics game by being named an ambassador of the Unicef World Education Games.
Ali, a 12-year-old Emirati, says his first job will be to design posters to drum up support for the 2012 games, in March.
The aim of the World Education Games is to engage young people in core academic subjects in an entertaining way.
"I play mathletics [an online game] all the time," said Ali, who is in Grade 5 at the Australian International School in Sharjah.
"The games are all about learning in a fun way and nobody should have an excuse for not liking maths."
Pupils aged between four and 18 can play games related to mathematics, science and spelling from home or school, and compete online against others.
Blair Ramsay, Ali's teacher and games coordinator at the school, said his pupil was selected by the Middle East mathletics team after writing an essay on why he would be best suited to promote the games.
"He said he wanted to help the other children and try to be a role model for them," Mr Ramsay said. "He will now be responsible for making children aware of the games that take place and get as many pupils as possible excited to sign up for them."
Ali said he became hooked on mathletics four years ago.
"I was introduced to them at school and since then I have not been able to stop playing. I am always trying to beat my own score and have being eyeing the ambassador title for a long time," he said.
Mr Ramsay said Ali would also be expected to give presentations about the games at other schools to increase participation.
His profile will be on the World Education Games' website and he will also contribute news and stories on the ambassador blog.
Another part of the ambassador job will be to help other children practise for the final event next year.
"I think as an ambassador I need to remove the fear of mathematics from their minds and encourage them to take part in the games," Ali said.