Dubai: The semi-finals of the third edition of the Arab Reading Challenge, the largest knowledge project in the Arab world organised by the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives foundation, commenced in Dubai on Saturday.
The two-day round, running on October 27 and 28, has drawn the participation of national winners of the competition, picked from among 10.5 million contestants spanning 44 countries across the Arab region and worldwide.
The Champion of the Arab Reading Challenge will be crowned on October 30 at an awards ceremony at Dubai Opera.
A total of 250 delegates, including 170 competing students, their parents and supervisors, as well as the challenge coordinators and representatives of the five school finalists for the title of Outstanding School, arrived in Dubai on Friday.
The semi-finals are taking place at the School of Research Science in Al Warqa across two categories – the Arab world and Arab communities residing in non-Arab countries.
In the first-day qualifiers, each of the two categories competed in two groups. The morning group from the Arab world included Mohammad Khalid Hussain from Jordan, Shamsa Jasem Al Naqbi from the UAE, Heila Abdullah Al Enazi and Omar Moayd Al Qarni from Saudi Arabia, and Qassam Mohammad Subaih from Palestine.
The afternoon group comprised Nada Ankal from Algeria, Omar Nour Adam Mohammad from Sudan, Amani Abdul Baqi Bin Ali from Tunisia, Mohammad Al Shaikh Weld Said Al Amine from Mauritania, and Mariam Al Hassan Amgnoun from Morocco.
In the category of students residing outside the Arab world, the morning group included Raghad Hani Shaashaa from Pakistan, Majid Hesham Tafesh from China, Gaida Al Asmari from India, Munira Hassan from Djibouti, Haroon Bandar Fadel from Malaysia, Maamer Mayouf Al Hantous from Spain, and Aya Humaid from the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the afternoon group comprised Mohammad Adel Mohammad from Indonesia, Rola Al Zahrani from Italy, Luiza Saleh from Denmark, Mohammad Ahmad Abdo from Sweden, Aya Abdul Aziz Al Khudary from Germany, Fatima Kamal Amara from Norway, Tesnim Idi from France, and Rahma Yasser Abu Al Fath from New Zealand.
Najla Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the Arab Reading Challenge, said: “We were delighted to welcome the students, who are competing on two consecutive days to qualify for the finals on October 30 that will reveal the Champion of the 2018 Arab Reading Challenge. The tournament has drawn a record participation of 10.5 million students from 44 countries.”
According to Al Shamsi, the contenders who have come to Dubai from around the world have made this year’s challenge a global project following the decision announced at the end of the 2017 edition by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to open participation to students from outside the Arab world.
“We wish this elite group of knowledge-thirsty Arab minds, who are on the right track to becoming scientists, writers and innovators of the future the very best of luck. Given their determination and spirit, each one of them deserves to be the champion,” she added.
Meanwhile, Al Salam School from Saudi Arabia, Al Ikhlas National School from Kuwait, Banat Al Awda Primary School from Palestine, Abdul Hamid Dar Obaid Sidi Ali Secondary School from Algeria and Al Wahda Elementary School from Morocco are competing for the title of the Outstanding School to win the coveted prize of Dh1 million.