Student 'surprised' Sheikh Mohammed remembers her after 4 years

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 2, 2020 | Last updated on June 2, 2020 at 06.45 am
Student, surprised, Sheikh Mohammed, remembers, after, 4 years

(Supplied photo)

The political science major lives in Ras Al Khaimah.

Fatimah Al Nuaimi, a New York University graduate, had no idea that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, still remembered her - four years after declaring her as the Arab Reading Challenge (ARC) winner.

She was stunned when last week the UAE Vice-President posted two photos of hers side-by-side - one of him planting a kiss on her forehead as she won the UAE leg of the ARC in 2016; and the other of her after graduating from university recently.

Read on: Sheikh Mohammed's sweet gesture for varsity graduate goes viral

He had tweeted: "A kiss on the head of my daughter in 2016 for winning the ARC. Yesterday, she graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi. Congratulations to my daughter Fatimah Al Nuaimi. With you, our country will always get better ... the country gets better by reading, and improves with knowledge."

Al Nuaimi told Khaleej Times that she was surprised and happy with the royal recognition. "I was touched and stirred by Sheikh Mohammed's congratulatory message. It has inspired me to seek for more knowledge through reading and it encourages the young generation to read more."

Meeting Sheikh Mohammed

The political science major who lives in Ras Al Khaimah recalled the "great moments" of meeting Sheikh Mohammed four years ago. "It is such a happy memory ... I relive those moments often."

The 21-year-old Emirati said reading has been her passion since she was a child. "I grew up in a typical Emirati family and my parents were interested in reading. I was exposed to reading simple books since I was a small girl and reading has been part of me."

Reading challenge

The young Emirati said her "long reading experience" helped her a win the ARC title. "The challenge was to read 50 books in five months and summarising the content. The year before that, I had participated in a similar local reading challenge and emerged the winner."

Over 160,000 students from 828 UAE schools collectively read 5 million books during the competition in 2016.

The ARC is the largest-ever Arab literacy initiative. Launched by Sheikh Mohammed, the initiative challenges students to read as many books as possible (over 50) in one academic year. 


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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