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Some of the 16 contestants after receiving signed copies of the book My Story, which traces Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid’s journey of 50 years in public service. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Arab Reading Challenge (ARC) semi-finalists competing for the grand prize were in for a surprise when they received from His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, dedicated signed copies of his latest book My Story.

“In my stories, I hope you find what contributes to the future of your beautiful countries,” wrote Shaikh Mohammad on a personal note, addressing each of the 16 contestants who received their surprise in the second episode of the Arab Reading Challenge TV show.

The book records Shaikh Mohammad’s journey of 50 years in public service through a collection of 50 personal anecdotes and stories and presents historical milestones that helped shape the growth of the UAE and Dubai.

Besides receiving the book, contestants officially began competing in the second episode through a number of competitive challenges.

The two groups of eight joined an edutainment challenge through which they had to choose one person to whom they can dedicate a book they have read, and present their answer in one minute to the judging panel.

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Mohammed bin Rashid surprises 16 Arab Reading Challengesemi-finalists with signed copies of “My Story”

The second challenge involved summarising a book of their choice in 280 characters to engage social media users. Through both challenges, the judging panel evaluated the knowledge of the first group of contestants and their ability to communicate their ideas in Arabic.

Four of the first group’s eight contestants have entered the danger zone, which threatens their continuation in the semi-finals if they do not score high performance in the coming episodes. Mauritanian Umm Al Nasr Mamin, Saudi Fahad Shuja Al Habout, Egyptian Shaima Ali Basyouni and Omani Sumaya bint Sami Al Mafrajieh were the first four to enter the danger zone.

Besides the suspense and excitement that the challenges have created, the second episode filmed the contestants’ visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The semi-finalists were introduced to some of the world’s prominent artists and painters through different eras in history

What is Arab Reading Challenge?

The first-of-its-kind edutainment reality show is aired every Friday at 9pm UAE time on MBC1, leading up to the final episode that broadcasts the winner announcement live from the Dubai Opera. The show is the outcome of a partnership between Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and MBC to transform the Arab Reading Challenge semi-finals to a TV show that engages the Arab audiences and celebrates young readers. Through different elimination stages, contestants will be narrowed down to five finalists, among which the Arab Reading Champion 2019 will be crowned. The winner will take home Dh500,000 in prize money, as part of Dh11 million worth of cash prizes.