By Sam Bridge
Sudan's Anwar takes home AED500,000 while Imam Al Nawawi School for boys from Saudi Arabia won the AED1m Best School award
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday crowned Hadeel Anwar from Sudan as the Arab Reading Champion 2019 in a ceremony held at Dubai Opera.
Anwar took home AED500,000 after outperforming four finalists with her ability to communicate accurately and creatively in Arabic, and demonstrating the general knowledge acquired from her diverse options of books.
Imam Al Nawawi School for boys from Saudi Arabia won the AED1 million Best School award out of 67,000 schools in the Arab world, as part of the fourth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge.
Amira Najeeb from Egypt was also declared the Outstanding Supervisor, taking home AED300,000 after outperforming 99,000 supervisors across the Arab world.
Sheikh Mohammed also crowned Mahmoud Bilal from Sweden as the Arab Reading Champion of the Arab students living in foreign countries. Bilal took home a cash prize of AED100,000.
The ceremony, attended by over 3,000 guests, brought another round of the challenge to a closing with more than 13.5 million students across 49 countries taking part this year.
Millions of viewers across the world have followed the intense competition between the 16 semi-finalists from 14 Arab countries through seven episodes of the first-of-its-kind reality TV show, broadcast weekly on MBC1, leading up to the grand ceremony.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “The Arab world has been rewarded with the Arab Reading Champions and their passion of knowledge and eagerness to become the main pillars of the prosperous future of their countries.
“The Arab Reading Champions are the hope for our region to effectively contribute to the journey of human progress.
“We are the real winners of enlightened Arab youth and winners of the hope they have brought to our region. Our youth demonstrate our region’s capability to reignite its profound history as a beacon of civilization and knowledge.”
He added: “Reading is the first step towards a better future driven by knowledge and learning. Nations that read will lead the future.
“With ambitious, persistent and knowledgeable youth, the Arab nation will be capable of reviving the status it deserves in the world.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior also took part in awarding the top contestants and finalists, in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, secretary general, Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives.