Dubai: The United Arab Emirates witnessed a heartwarming celebration of the ocean’s importance as the planet’s life-support system and a beacon of hope for humanity.
The Emirates Literature Foundation organised the event, uniting educators, parents, sponsors and over 500 enthusiastic students as part of their “Reading for Pleasure” initiative, paving the way for COP 28 to be hosted by the UAE from November.
This pilot project, in collaboration with DP World, is poised to revolutionise the reading culture among students, parents, and teachers across six primary and kindergarten level schools in Dubai.
Reading for Pleasure Initiative
The Reading for Pleasure initiative, spearheaded by the Emirates Literature Foundation, represents a groundbreaking partnership with DP World. This initiative goes beyond conventional educational paradigms to cultivate a genuine love for reading among young minds.
Over the span of five years, the foundation’s vision is to not only enrich school and classroom libraries but also curate a diverse array of reading materials.
The focus extends beyond providing reading resources to encompass the professional development of teachers, fostering a continuous learning environment.
Attendees at the Celebrating the Ocean event were met by Dr. Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei, Board Member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, Isobel Abulhoul OBE, Founder, Advisor and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation and Ahlam Bolooki, CEO of Emirates Literature Foundation and included Abdulla Al Basti, the Secretary General, The Executive Council of Dubai, Aisha Abdulla Miran, Assistant Secretary General, The Executive Council of Dubai.
Among the guests who were present also included Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, Knowledge Fund; Her Excellency Hanan Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; Latifa Ibrahim Hassan, Senior Executive Sustainability, DP World; Michael Allen, Provost and Acting Vice President, Zayed University, Sulaiman AlKaabi, Executive Director of Schools in Dubai and Northern Emirates; Alan Williamson, CEO, Taaleem and other high-ranking representatives from the UAE government and academic sector.
The power to inspire and inform
Isobel Abulhoul OBE, Founder, Advisor and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation said: “The Reading for Pleasure initiative is rooted in the idea that literature has the power to inspire and inform, to ignite the imagination and to drive change. When the health of our world is under threat, we have to harness the magic of words to promote sustainability.
“Through storytelling, we can cultivate a sense of empathy in the youth and raise a generation that are avid readers and climate leaders.”
Ayla Bajwa, Senior Vice President Sustainability, DP World said: “The well-being of the ocean is at the forefront of DP World’s Environmental, Social and Governance goals. We work together with our partners to make a positive impact by conserving oceans, cleaning the coasts and restoring ecosystems. It is crucial to educate the future generations and empower them to lead efforts that will safeguard the artery of global trade and are key to the future of our organisation and the world.”
Mohamed Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation said: “The library is a steward of knowledge and literature, and it is important for us to bring the community together. Our belief is that the society deserves access to information, no matter what their age.
"But we specially champion reading for pleasure at a young age so students can explore new horizons and direct their passion to secure one of our planet’s most precious resources, the ocean.
The Celebrating the Ocean event and the Reading for Pleasure initiative support Mohammed bin Rashid Library’s strategy and vision to create community center that is a force of positive change in the world.
With the Reading for Pleasure initiative, Emirates Literature Foundation is developing and sharing best practices in education and equality with the strategic support of equally committed partners.
It is an integral step in the journey to COP28 and beyond to ensure future generations have the opportunity to understand the importance of books and reading and the influence this has on caring for this beautiful planet we call home.