Reading challenge contestants face tough tasks - GulfToday

Reading challenge contestants face tough tasks

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Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

The first episode of the Arab Reading Challenge TV, aired late on Friday, revealed the judging panel whose members will evaluate the semi-finalists as they fiercely compete for the grand title – the Arab Reading Champion.

Millions of viewers across the Arab world will see Bahraini poet and TV presenter Dr Barween Habib, Tunisian author Dr Layla Al Obaidi and Syrian actor and director Jamal Suleiman as they challenge the 16 semi-finalists, who come from 14 Arab countries, through questions and activities to evaluate their comprehension of texts, critical thinking and analytical skills, teamwork spirit, creative expression and Arabic articulation of ideas through a different set of tests and activities.

The three judges were selected based on their literary expertise and strong command of the Arabic language, in line with the goals of the Arab Reading Challenge. 

Through different elimination stages, the panel will select five finalists through seven episodes, leading up to the final episode that will broadcast the winner announcement live from Dubai Opera.

The weekly show started airing on Friday at 9pm on MBC1, documenting the journey of contestants as they partake edutainment challenges.

Academic and literary expertise and strong command of the Arabic language were among the main criteria of selecting the judging panel.

Layla Al Obaidi is currently a professor in Arabic language at Sharjah University and the President of the Arabic Language Protection Association. Her book “Al Fakh in Islam” (Humor in Islam) earned Al Obaidi the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Barween Habib, the Bahraini Poet, researcher and media personality, won the George Washington University’s Dynamic Women of the Year award in 2011. She earned a PhD in literary criticism with distinction after her dissertation that addressed women’s language in poetry in the Gulf 1975-2004. She also earned her Master’s Degree in literary criticism with distinction from Cairo’s Ain Shams University after her extensive study and critique of Nezar Qabani’s work.

Jamal Suleiman, the godfather of Arab Cinema, is a Syrian actor and director whose roles in Syrian and Egyptian television series earned him wide popularity in the Arab world. He is widely known for his various theatre, TV and film performances, coming into prominence with the historical television series Salah Al Din. Some of his notable work includes “Al Arrab” (the Godfather), “El Kourban” (The Sacrifice) and “Hadaeq Al Shaytan” (Gardens of the Devil).

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