UAE Reading Month: Initiatives help promote culture of reading among youths, says official

The initiative aims to establish reading as a habit among 50 per cent of Emirati adults and 80 per cent of school students by the year 2026


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 7 Mar 2022, 6:28 PM

The reading culture among youngsters in the UAE has considerably increased over the recent years due to hundreds of initiatives rolled out by authorities.

These efforts support the ongoing reading movement to cultivate the habit of reading as a fundamental part of society's development, said Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC).

"In building a culture of reading for pleasure, several UAE initiatives have been launched over the years to instil positive reading habits from an early age. These initiatives are designed to foster reading as a daily habit across various community segments in the country," Dr Ali told Khaleej Times on the sideline of the press conference held on Monday at the Abu Dhabi Youth Hub to announce details of the activities for Reading Month 2022.

He added, "Although no comprehensive survey has been conducted on the growth or improvement of reading among youths in the Middle East over the recent years, seeing reading materials in Arabic language growing and circulating on social media gives us a positive impression that more people, especially the youths are learning the habit of reading. This will promote intellectual growth in the society."

Dr Ali noted that the ALC was apparently coordinating with the Ministry of Culture and Youth to conduct a survey on reading in the UAE. and promote reading. The aim is to prepare a generation of readers and establish the UAE as a culture and knowledge hub,

At the press conference, the Ministry of Culture and Youth announced some of the key events and initiatives of the Reading Month 2022 being held this year under the slogan 'UAE Reads'. The Reading Months embodies the national vision to prepare a generation of readers and consolidate the UAE's position as a hub of content, culture and knowledge.

The UAE celebrates the Reading Month every March, in accordance with the Cabinet's decision. As part of this initiative, the Ministry of Culture and Youth along with its federal and local partners executes a month-long programme to foster a knowledge-based society.

The initiative aims to establish reading as a habit among 50 per cent of Emirati adults and 80 per cent of school students by the year 2026.

Mubarak Al Nakhi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture and Youth said: "Dedicating a full month to reading is in continuation of an integrated national programme aimed at strengthening a culture of reading and intensifying initiatives and programmes to support it. It is part of a series of cultural, intellectual and literary projects launched by the UAE since the inception of Reading Month.”

Ali Al Shaali, Acting Undersecretary for the Heritage and Arts Sector, Ministry of Culture and Youth, reviewed the Reading Month roster of events launched by the Ministry of Culture and Youth along with its partners. The Reading Month activities this year will begin with a special session entitled "Emirati Creator Icon of Culture", which coincides with International Women's Day. This session will have members of the public interact with Emirati luminaries who have made a mark in the field of culture.

A session discussing the impact of bedtime stories on children will look at the educational and psychological dimensions of children’s literature. There will be an Emirati poetry evening to coincide with World Poetry Day on March 21. A group of contemporary poets from the UAE will present their works and discuss the journey of poetry and how this literary form of expression has transformed over the ages.

Key initiatives for the Reading Month 2022

-UAE National Reading Index 2021 survey, implemented in collaboration with the Federal Centre for Competitiveness and Statistics to be revealed end of the Month.

- Launch of the Emirates Literary Youth Majlis and the allocation of spaces for the establishment and management of libraries in creative centres.

- The Dubai Arts and Culture Authority or Dubai Culture will launch three initiatives encompassing 65 different activities during the Reading Month.

-The Dubai Arts and Culture Authority or Dubai Culture will also launch more than 100 virtual activities including story-telling sessions in Arabic and English, poetry readings and author meeting sessions.

-The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre offers free subscription to read e-books and listen to audio books to the public for three months.

- The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre will also organise events in Umm Al Emarat Park for families and children. The centre will also launch a special programme for poetry, story reading and painting workshops. It will also launch a special website dedicated to poetry and release the largest printed poetry encyclopedia, and the launch of an integrated creative writing programme.

-Abu Dhabi’s Book House libraries offer programmes to all segments of society from different age groups who want to access the library services.

- The Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi will oraginise the Creative Reader Competition, a 50-year library exhibition in the UAE and creative writing essentials week.

-"Asma Siddiq Al Mutawa's first novel" award for new writers and the Al Multaqa Literary Salon competition of the literary forum on feminist literature to be conducted on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on March 8.

- The Emirates Literature Foundation launched the Book Club in correctional and penal institutions and reading sessions in a special children's corner in Expo 2020 Dubai.

-The Sharjah Book Authority is launching more than 35 activities that highlight the knowledge fields preferred by readers, seminars targeting groups facing reading challenges.


- Sharjah Public Libraries will present a number of films based on books that have made a mark in the world of literature. It will also launch a Reading Club to review and discuss contemporary books.

-The Sharjah Book Authority announced that UAE government employees would be given an opportunity to register for free for smart membership for one year for during the Reading Month.

-Emirates Literature Foundation is presenting several cultural initiatives and long-term projects to foster the habit of reading. It is launching nine initiatives during Reading Month, with two main objectives - to spread a love of reading for fun, and to connect local and international writers and encourage greater communication between them.

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