Dubai: The first episode of the Arab Reading Challenge TV show revealed its judging panel which will evaluate the semi-finalists as they compete for the grand title of the Arab Reading Champion.

Bahraini poet and TV presenter Dr Barween Habib, Tunisian author, Dr Layla Al Obaidi and Syrian actor and director Jamal Suleiman will test the 16 semi-finalists from 14 Arab countries, with questions and activities to evaluate their comprehension of texts, critical thinking and analytical skills, teamwork spirit, creative expression and Arabic articulation of ideas through a different set of tests and activities.

The three judges were selected based on their literary expertise and a strong command of the Arabic language, in line with the goals of the challenge.

Through different elimination stages, the panel will select five finalists through seven episodes, leading up to the final episode that will broadcast the winner announcement live from Dubai Opera.

The weekly show started airing on September 27 at 9pm on MBC1, documenting the journey of contestants as they partake edutainment challenges.

Dr Al Obaidi’s academic and linguistic expertise and immense knowledge got her on board in this year’s Arab Reading Challenge, while Dr Habib’s academic and technical language expertise, besides her media expertise, have added value to the show.

Suleiman harnessed his artistic and vast literary expertise to guide and evaluate the use of body language, voice and movement by contestants to deliver a message.

The judging panel follows rigorous evaluation tools and mechanisms to assess contestants on the academic and technical fronts, besides adopting careful personality evaluation measures.

The Arab Reading Challenge TV show aims to inspire Arab youth to follow young readers and turn reading into a lifestyle. The show seeks to raise the importance of reading in developing young personalities who will be tomorrow’s leaders while highlighting the persistence of the contestants across the Arab world that got them to the semi-finals.