Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Top performers in Arab Reading Challenge to get full scholarships

The scholarship will cover their tuition and accommodation fees for a full university course

Sudanese Hadeel Anwar, right, 13-year-old, won the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge outperforming 13.5 million participants from 49 countries in Dubai, UAE, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Photos by Shruti Jain - The National)
Sudanese Hadeel Anwar, right, 13-year-old, won the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge outperforming 13.5 million participants from 49 countries in Dubai, UAE, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Photos by Shruti Jain - The National)

The top performing students in future Arab Reading Challenge competitions will receive a full university scholarship, it has been announced.

The 16 participants to reach the semi-finals will have their tuition fees and accommodation covered at Abu Dhabi University campuses, for the next 10 editions of the competition.

The agreement, between Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, which runs the competition, and Abu Dhabi University, will see successful participants offered the chance to pick from a range of courses to study.

The reading challenge, launched in 2015, is designed to encourage a love of books among young people. It is open to anyone in the Mena region, as well as Arabs living abroad, who are aged between eight and 18.

Pupils are tested on their understanding of the texts during the contest.

Hadeel Anwar, a seventh-grader from Sudan was named this year’s Arab Reading Challenge champion on Wednesday after she beat competition from more than 13 million learners across the globe. She secured a Dh500,000 top prize.

“The future of our nation will be led by youth,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Secretary-General of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.

“We, as officials, should contribute to mobilizing all efforts, resources and capabilities to empower our Arab youth and prepare them scientifically and cognitively so that they are ready to lead the country towards the future.”

A record number of 13.5 million readers from 49 countries signed up for the challenge this year.

The new deal was signed at the final of this year’s challenge, which saw Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, congratulate a tearful Hadeel after she was announced the winner.

The teenager hopes to carve out a career as a doctor and use her love of literature to write books that have a positive impact on society.

Two thirds of the prize money is set aside to cover future university fees with the remainder going to the winner’s family.

On her plans for the prize money, Hadeel said: “I will start a children’s library in Khartoum to encourage reading among youngsters because I believe reading will help build up our country again.”

Updated: November 16, 2019 06:37 PM

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