Paulo Coelho praises Arab Reading Challenge in letter to Dubai Ruler
DUBAI // Novelist Paulo Coelho has written a letter to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to praise him for his Arab Reading Challenge.
Coelho said Sheikh Mohammed’s “noble actions convey your attitude toward the injustices and inequalities”.
“Reading is indeed the fundamental approach to uplifting any society out of its miseries, whatever they are. It is the first step on the path toward a positive change and is a fundamental building block of a bright future,” wrote the Brazilian author, whose works include The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes.
“I thus really admire the Arab Reading Challenge you have established, for it sends a powerful message to the Arab world and the entire world about the importance of reading and learning.”
Sheikh Mohammed replied, saying: “I am optimistic, Paulo, about this generation. I am optimistic about the spirit of determination that I saw, in the face of challenges. I am optimistic about the future, as it flourishes under the mantle of books.”
He mentioned a Moroccan girl called Kothar, who was diagnosed with cancer just before the challenge began, but who managed to read 166 books.
The challenge was a year-round effort and included a reading competition held across the Middle East and farther afield, resulting in more than 150 million books being read by about 3.5 million children. It was launched by Sheikh Mohammed last year and brought together pupils in 21 countries and 30,000 schools.
Updated: October 27, 2016 04:00 AM