Reading for Pleasure is Emirates Literature Foundation’s pilot project with DP World which involves engaging with students, parents, and teachers across six primary and kindergarten level schools in Dubai and providing them with resources and support to foster a love of reading for pleasure. Over the five years of the initiative, in addition to enriching school and classroom libraries and curating reading material, the Foundation will also offer professional development for teachers, regular two-way feedback with parents and author visits and extra-curricular activities for students.
Spirits of the participants were bolstered by the support of Her Highness Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for the Voices of Future Generations initiative for the Middle East. Attendees for 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 His Excellency Abdulla Al Basti, the Secretary General, The Executive Council of Dubai, Her Excellency Aisha Abdulla Miran, Assistant Secretary General, The Executive Council of Dubai; His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; His Excellency 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; Prof. 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.
Isobel Abulhoul OBE, Founder, Advisor and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundationsaid: “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.”
His Excellency 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.
About the Emirates Literature Foundation
The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.
Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.
In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the First Chapter, the School Librarian of the Year Award, Kateb Maktub, and From the Inside Out, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and mentorship programmes. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2020 International Literary Festivals Conference, the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference and the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference.
The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival.