Values and Principles Inherent in the Arab Reading Challenge

  • 27 September 2015

The Arab Reading Challenge initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recently is important for various reasons. It shows the attention the UAE gives to enhance learning as a gateway to comprehensive development. It also shows the leading position occupied by the UAE at regional and global levels and its vital role in supporting the process of development in the Arab world.

The initiative – aimed at promoting Arabic reading among Arab students – is expected to play an important role in enabling the pursuit of science and knowledge in these societies. It will target more than one million students from grades 1 to 12, to read 50 million books in Arabic per school year. The challenge will start in September each year and continue till March the following year. The idea is to entrench book reading habit and promote cultural awareness from a young age. It seeks to spread the spirit of fair competition, which is critical to a culture of hard work.

This initiative will also build Arab generations capable of leading Arab societies towards a better future, which has become critical considering the rise of extremism and growing threat from terrorist groups. The initiative has been launched with the objective of disseminating culture of reading and encouraging children and youth to read moderate books and imbibe ideas of writers, thinkers and philosophers with their diverse background and extensive experiences. This multi-cultural approach would entice future Arab generations to develop critical thinking and promote values of tolerance and open-mindedness.

The expansion of the scope of competition among Arab countries is extremely important as it builds Arab generations that are more familiar with the values of learning and knowledge. It also strengthens cohesion among Arab communities and promotes sense of nationalism among the people. It develops their sense of belonging to one nation, which is the need of the hour.

By launching this initiative, the UAE has added a new element in its development agenda and has taken a new step towards supporting development as it sets an example of what modern societies fortified with science and knowledge should be in order to confront cultural, social, security, political or other challenges. These challenges can only be met through constructive enhancement of human resource and making them the first line of defense against any threats facing the community.

The initiative has been launched with an eye on the fact that reading helps develop analytical thinking skills and critique. It also lends impetus to the UAE’s role in preserving the Arabic language by encouraging future generations to master it, which is essential for the protection of Arab identity, principles and values.